The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

The Best Pre-NRF Briefings Ever

Membership: Unknown
Status: Unknown
Private: FALSE

So many booths, so little time. So many friends – old and new – and not nearly as much to time spend with them as we would like. We’re positive we’re not the only analysts in this boat. NRF is both a great place to catch up with people we may only get to see once a year and a great place to meet new companies that are bringing innovative new products and solutions to the retail technology market. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time to do one of those things – let alone both.


Thus, we have seen a rise in “pre-NRF briefings” where vendors (who also have the challenge of both trying to capture analyst and media attention with new announcements while also maximizing the amount of time they spend with prospects and customers) try to offload some of the meet-and-greet time of NRF onto a pre-show call.


We’re fine with that. Really. But if you’re going to do it, then here’s our short list of do’s and don’ts that should hopefully help you make the most of your pre-NRF schedule. We’re pretty sure this list will work with any analyst firm, too. Not just us.


  • DO talk about what news you’re releasing at the show. It can be embargoed. If you brief us in December, we promise it won’t slip out before NRF – we know that no one is really reading what we write during the second half of December so we rarely write anything anyway. If you’re trying to announce some customer wins and you can’t tell us who yet, that’s okay. You can easily entice us to look for your press release among the thousands that get put out around NRF by saying something like, “We’re going to announce a major win at NRF.” And then maybe spill a few details like what the customer bought or implemented, even if you can’t tell us who they are.


  • DON’T give us a virtual tour of your booth. We have tried really hard to be interested in that in the past, but if we’re not going to make it to your booth, showing it to us online is really just not going to make up for it. However, that said, it is good to know which solutions you’ll be emphasizing at the show – particularly if you can give us the “why” behind it. Because ultimately, what we’re most interested in is whether you are seeing the same trends we are. For example if, in your pre-show briefing, you said, “We’re not doing a lot around mobile in the booth this year because we’re seeing some backlash” you would definitely have our full attention. And a lively discussion is guaranteed to ensue.
  • DO talk about the strategy that went into your demo choices and how you came up with them. That stuff is interesting, and it gives us good insight into some of the use-cases you’re trying to address – along with the business problems you’re trying to solve – and by extension some of the more interesting challenges you’re uncovering in your work with clients.
  • DON’T give us a demo – especially if it’s one that is dependent on a mobile device. An online demo of mobile is one of the most difficult things to sit through. It’s like asking a kid to watch another kid play with a toy – but don’t touch! If you’ve talked through the demo strategy and the problems you’re trying to tackle, you’ll have given us so much more than can be conveyed on a virtual mobile screen.
  • DO tell us how much interest you’re seeing from retailers – are you setting up a lot of show appointments? Does the registration list look as strong to you this year vs. last year? One thing we’re always interested in is triangulating on both the mood and the volume of people at the show. If you’re booked to the gills for appointments already, then that’s a very good sign indeed.
  • DON’T take up all 60 minutes of the call. Plan on about 40 minutes of content – but not much more than that. Otherwise, there won’t be any time for discussion or feedback.


We know everyone is heads-down on their NRF strategies. We’re getting excited about the show too. Here’s to a great show for everyone!

Vendor Newsletters September 17, 2019