Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF’s chief economist, noted in the organization’s latest monthly economic review that 2022 is likely to be a “difficult year of substantial uncertainty with many questions to be answered.” Is the pandemic coming to an end? Will supply chain disruptions be resolved? How high will inflation go and how long will it last?
Indeed, in addition to the vagaries of the pandemic and its many variants, traders are also facing the twin challenges of high inflation and a disruption in the supply chain. The latter “will likely persist through 2022,” Kleinhenz said, as pandemic consumers are more likely to shop at retail (online or in-store) than spend their discretionary income in restaurants, theaters or other places of entertainment.
“This would put additional pressure on inflation since supply chains are already overloaded across the world,” he added. “Additionally, infections among port workers and truck drivers could become a speed bump for ongoing supply chain progress.”
In other words, it’s a mess over there.
MORE FOR DETAIL: Dive deeper into the technology trends that will shape the industry in 2022.
Supply Chain, omnichannel experiences on the NRF program
Big Show speakers will try to help retailers understand these challenges, wherever possible.
On supply chain, Vinod Bidarkoppa, CTO of Sam’s Club, will explain how his organization, a warehouse-like retailer that sells goods in bulk to its members, uses fulfillment technology, predictive AI and property-to-person processes to overcome challenges. Jon Gold, NRF’s Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy will discuss how bottlenecks at U.S. ports may ultimately resolve themselves — and when.
While not a new concept, creating effective omnichannel experiences for consumers has taken on new urgency since the onset of the pandemic. In a keynote session, Target President and CEO Brian Cornell will discuss the company’s strategy of putting stores at the center of its omnichannel and same-day digital execution goals.
Not to be outdone by his company’s chief rival, Walmart President and CEO John Furner will take “a long-term view of the next normal for the retail industry where the innovation fuels growth and customer-centric thinking underpins longevity” in a “fireside chat” with Shay, according to the NRF.
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