To kick off the New Year with a must-attend event, the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show promises to be a hub of innovation, insights, and invaluable connections. From January 14 to 16, it will unite over 6,200 global brands in New York City.

Conference Advice

Having attended since 2016, I’ve collected a few tips that help me get the most out of the show:

First and foremost, walk the show floor and figure out early which booths are offering food, coffee and beverages – because let’s face it…no one wants to stand in a mile long line for coffee, hunt for water or hope that one of the few food trucks still has food left. 

Hot Tip: The Coveo Booth (booth 445 Level 1) will have a breakfast food and coffee station every morning and a snack and cocktail bar for happy hour. Please stop by to say hello to our team of retail experts, bartenders and baristas. 

My second tip is to figure out your agenda early. Then book your meetings or booth tours around those must-attend sessions. There are three celebrity keynotes you won’t want to miss but there are also tons of retail and tech experts hosting sessions that are bound to be insightful! Here’s a few suggestions: 

  • On the celebrity front, don’t miss the in “Retail disruptors,” keynote with actress Shay Mitchell — best known for her role in hit TV show “Pretty Little Liars” — along with Shopify President Harley Finkelstein and Glossier’s CEO Kyle Leahy as they discuss reshaping retail through innovation and disruption. 
  • Next, catch NBA legend Magic Johnson in “From winning championships to championing business,” where he shares his incredible journey from the court to the boardroom, unveiling the secrets behind his entrepreneurial success and community impact. 
  • And last but not least, Drew Barrymore will be joining Martine Reardon, the CMO and EVP of Content and Retail Strategy for NRF and Shae Hong, Founder and CEO of Made by Gather to talk about product innovation and accessible design.

With the recent focus on AI and GenAI, there are a lot of CIOs and IT Leaders speaking at the show. That’s going to be a big draw for our team with our aim to solve CIO headaches

Must-Attend Sessions

So which sessions are on my must-attend list? 

The Perfect Fit: Footwear Leaders 

At Coveo, it’s no secret that we love footwear brands. We’ve been working with Caleres across their brands, such as Sam Edelman, Naturalizer, Famous Footwear, the sustainable footwear brand Cariuma, and Kurt Geiger.

You’ll catch us at Oz Saar, CIO at Steve Madden,’s session about “Modernizing the in-store experience with unified commerce” alongside Jonas Goossens, COO at Bouclair and Chad Best, SVP of Customer Experience Operations at Lovesac. 

Marc Chretien, VP of Post-Purchase Operations & Business Analytics at ALDO Group will be sharing their AI journey and we’re looking forward to hearing from Michael Hines, VP, Direct to Consumer Digital Technology at Cole Haan and Ray Etzo, Vice President, North America Retail at Cole Haan who has worked in retail for more than 30 years for brands like Nike and Converse. 

See AI in Action With Coveo Customers and Partners

Coveo CMO Sheila Morin hosts a session with Vanda Provato, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) on delivering value to online experiences. I live in Ontario, and love searching the LCBO website to discover new wines and cocktails. 

Scott Jennings, Chief Strategist, Retail & CPG at Informatica, Wendi Whitmore, SVP, Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks and Joe Wilson, Global CTO at Workday are also customers with sessions we won’t be missing. 

Before Coveo I worked at another AI tech company that also counted Tailored Brands as a customer. So I am interested in hearing from Scott Vifquain, CTO & EVP at Tailored Brands.

Salesforce and SAP are both partners and customers of Coveo. Michael Affronti, CEO Commerce Cloud and Rob Garf, VP and GM, Retail at Salesforce have a session and. Rob who is a frequent industry speaker and will be talking about GoPro and their AI journey.  

Kristin Howell, Global Vice President, Retail Marketing & Merchandising at SAP will be talking about AI-powered retail: Strategies for monetizing predictive technologies. As an SAP Endorsed App, Coveo will be part of the SAP Village so make sure to stop by our SAP booth as well. 

What’s in my closet or purse?

It’s only natural to be drawn to sessions hosted by some of your favorite brands. 

For me that includes All Saints (James Reid, CIO, AllSaints) — black being my go to color. Or remote work must-have items like a good pair of Levi’s (Michelle Gass, President, Levi Strauss & Co.) and Roots sweats (Ron Ijack,SVP, Head of Information Technology Roots). 

I also got a Solo Stove for Christmas and I’m obsessed, so I’m looking forward to hearing from Jenna Flateman Posner, Chief Digital Officer at Solo Stove.

Other sessions of interest…

The session hosted by Ron Thurston, Co-Founder of OSSY and winner of the 2024 Top Retail Experts Award from Rethink Retail, should be an interesting one about 5G and the connected store. He will be joined by Al Lettera, SVP, IT at Tractor Supply Company. 

And have you ever wondered how Claire’s and Crocs became cool again? I bought three pairs of Crocs and Jiblets for my nieces and nephews this Christmas. Kristin Patrick, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Claire’s and Heidi Cooley, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer at Crocs are hosting about how to bring the cool factor to your brand. 

That’s a lot of sessions to cram into a few days. We might have to divide and conquer. 

Will We See You There?

And while some of you may be attending the NRF 2024 Opening Party, our team will be at the Vendor Partnership Awards. Coveo is a finalist for “Best Breakthrough Technology Solution” for our Personalization-as-you-go AI capability. With cookies on their way out, finding a way to deliver a true 1-1 personalized experience in a cookie-less world is going to be on everyone’s to do list. Wish us luck as we go for the gold. 

We look forward to meeting retail AI enthusiasts at the show, stop by booth 445 on Level 1 or the SAP village. You may even walk away with a must have item from the show floor … a pair of the coveted Coveo socks.

Interested in connecting? Reach out!