NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show: The Ultimate Guide


NRF 2023

After overcoming complex challenges in the past few years, 2023 will see in-person events return in full swing. This also means that marketing teams will have a vast array of events to choose from and will need to be selective with their budgets when determining which ones are worth the investment.

Businesses in the retail industry will have to choose which e-commerce and retail events can provide the most opportunities to interact with people and deliver B2B leads from valuable networking opportunities while being fun at the same time.

Consequently, one of the events that should be fixed in every retail team’s event marketing strategy is NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show.

What is the NRF Big Show?

NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show is one of the retail industry’s most important events. Over three days, educational programming, a standout Expo, and an innovative Lab and Startup Zone will feature all the latest retail solutions and breakthrough technology. Also known as the NRF Annual Convention & Expo, the event is the flagship show of the National Retail Federation

It’s renowned as a leading retail event, uniting over 37,000 retail vendors and professionals worldwide for networking and educational opportunities. After bringing over 40,000 attendees, 800 exhibitors, and 300 speakers before the pandemic, NRF went virtual in 2021. 

As a digital event, NRF was also a success, with over 90 sessions and 300 exhibitors. One year later, NRF 2022 returned as an in-person event to discuss new trends in physical retail stores, new digital culture, apps, and social commerce. The first step is to prepare for Generation Alfa, the Generation that will follow Gen Z.

After the success of NRF 2022, this year’s Big Show will continue to attract thousands of industry leaders and retailers to tackle and discuss the hottest topics in the retail industry. 

When and Where is NRF Conference Taking Place?

NRF 2023 will take place from 15th January to 17th January in New York City. The chosen venue to host the event is the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Opening Part will take place at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on 14th January, while the Expo and Conference kick off on 15th January.

NRF members will also be able to view Retail’s Big Show on demand after the event. 

Who Goes to NRF 2023?

Thousands of professionals attend NRF each year to learn, collaborate and network with other peers from the retail industry. If the numbers from NRF 2022 are anything to go by, this year’s event will attract over 15,900 industry professionals, 6,100 retailers, and 2,500 unique brands from over 90 countries.

This includes attendees from varied seniority, including VPs, C-level executives, Managers, Founders, and Directors from established companies and startups. There is also variety in the responsibilities of the attendees. 88% of people going to NRF play a role in purchasing decisions, and over 50% of attendees plan to spend over $100,000.

Along with this, all these attendees come to learn more about the retail industry, making NRF Big Show a must-see event.

NRF 2023 will also be more diverse than ever. 84% of participating companies will be minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned, or LGBTW+-owned. 

Who Will be Speaking at NRF 2023?

The National Retail Federation invites industry leaders to participate in its keynote sessions and exhibitions. But it also invites relevant public personas who can provide thoughtful insights into issues like leadership, empowerment, and teamwork. For example, Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in World Championships History and seven-time Olympic medalist, is scheduled to speak about her foundation for success this year. 

Other speakers include Karl Penn, actor and producer and former Principal Associate Editor of the Obama Administration; Marvin Ellison, Chairman and CEO at Lowe’s; Jeff Genette, Chairman and CEO at Macy’s; John Furner, President and CEO at Walmart and Sarah LaFleur, Founder, and CEO of M.M.LaFleur’s among the 350+ speakers. 

How Much Does it Cost to Register for NRF 2023?

Prices vary depending if you are an international retailer or a non-retailer company.

For international retailers that are not part of a team, the prices are as follows:

  • Retail Full Conference Pass: Registration fees range from $1000 to $1,400 for Members and $2,000 to $2,400 for Non-Members.
  • Retail Expo Only Pass: Free. Please note that after 12th January 2023, the cost will be $100.

For international Non-Retail companies that are not exhibiting:

  • Non-Retail Full Conference Pass: Non-Retail Registration fees range from $2,200 to $2,600 for Members and $3,200 to $3,600 for Non-Members.
  • Non-Retail Expo Only Pass: Members fees are $2,500-$1,600 and Non-Members $2,800-$2,900

Not sure which pass to get for NRF 2023? Here is a quick breakdown

NRF Full Conference Pass:

This full conference pass includes full access to the event, including keynotes and featured sessions, Big Ideas and Partner Perspective sessions, the Expo Floor, Innovation Lab, Startup Zone, Consumer Product Showcase, the Opening Party, and more!


NRF Expo Pass:

This pass provides access to the Expo during regular Expo hours. It includes the Exhibitor Big Ideas sessions, Partner Perspective sessions, the Innovation Lab, Startup Zone, Consumer Products Showcase, and the Opening Party. 

To register or find more details on prices, you can visit the NRF 2023 registration page. 

Why Should I Attend NRF 2023? Is it Worth it?

As retail’s biggest show, NRF 2023 provides three days of educational programming, the latest retail solutions, and breakthrough technology. It can introduce you to the ideas, people, and partners that can drive your business to success.

During this event, attendees can enrich their knowledge with experiences on various digital solutions ranging from NFT art, virtual fashion, the metaverse, building AI-centric inventory management, preparing and protecting for cyberattacks, and mobilizing your ERG for real change, among much more. With 800 exhibitors, 100 sessions, and multiple unique installations, there are numerous opportunities for businesses to learn and grow. 

There will be a variety of places to learn from too. The Innovation Lab will be an immersive exhibit showing groundbreaking artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, robots, and much more. The Startup Zone will appeal to newer companies in retail who want to share ideas and learn about breakthrough technologies. The Food Tech Pavilion will contain curated exhibitors with new systems that address the needs of food service operations. Then, the Exhibitor Big Ideas scenario will showcase over 100 sessions. 

Finally, NRF’s new Consumer Product Showcase lets attendees see breakout products from suppliers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and brands. All this takes place in a forum for small businesses to feature their consumer-facing products. 

Can NRF 2023 Improve Business Plans?

Apart from the wealth of knowledge and insights this event can provide, special attention should be given to the networking opportunities NRF 2023 delivers. The event is a hub for making deals, agreements, partnerships, and business operations. While many of these deals are made in situ, others are made privately or during side events in New York City. 

NYC itself is an ideal place for doing business. At this year’s NRF, marketers can discover how technology and innovations can transform their industries in the upcoming years and find new ways to target their customers. This confluence of marketers, sales teams, and potential customers creates the perfect scenario for making connections that can improve your business. 

Can NRF 2023 Help Drive Sales?

Many companies make the most of NRF to showcase new products, but many other businesses, founders, marketers, and executives use this event to drive relationships and sales. NRF can be an efficient channel to meet potential clients, customers, partners, and investors. However, reaching these goals and obtaining positive ROIs that can drive sales requires planning. 

While there is a chance you can meet several potential clients by simply attending NRF, businesses that deploy event intelligence will reap far more benefits. This requires incorporating a data-driven approach to even marketing to gain valuable results. 

Marketers are conditioned by KPIs and need to measure the success of their campaigns and justify their budget spending. These teams consequently need to ensure that they don’t invest blindly into researching and attending events without being able to provide a positive ROI. 

Event intelligence requires combining first-party data from past events with real-time monitoring and AI-predictive modeling to forecast who will attend or sponsor future events. These attendees do not necessarily need to attend NRF 2023 but can also attend side events in New York City. That way, marketing teams can know who will be where and use data to plan what events to follow and attend to reach their KPIs and find their ideal prospects. 

NRF 2023 is Also About Having Fun

A major perk of having an event in New York City is that the location itself has so much to offer while you are there. From catching a Broadway show, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, strolling across the Highline and indulging in the restaurants at Hudson Yards, or seeing the views of New York from the Edge or across Central Park, there are endless activities available during your visit to Gotham. 

Discover the Attendees and Sponsors Who Will be at NRF 2023

What Kind of Side Events Will There be During NRF 2023?

As much of a cliché as it may sound, New York really is the city that never sleeps, and this can be seen with the vast number of events that occur around NRF 2023. To begin with, the event coincides with NRF Retail Week. 

The week will kick off with the Opening Party of Retail’s Big Show. Attendees will be able to connect with peers during this cocktail party held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. There are multiple opportunities and events to liaise and connect from then onwards. 

This consists of a week-long celebration of parties, high-profile partner events, workshops, sessions, and store tours curated by NRF.

Events can vary from executive dinners at Soho House or Print Restaurant to exclusive e-commerce and retail networking gatherings at venues like the General French Consulate, AI Fiori, the Daintree, Ci Siamo, Sofitel Manhattan, Bloomingdales, Five Iron Gold, the Monarch Rooftop, the Cutting Room, or the Haven Rooftop among many others. 

These can open opportunities to enjoy an evening of excellent food, drinks, and conversations on different industry issues while connecting with leaders rethinking what is possible to drive e-commerce in the future. 

Where to Stay When Traveling to NRF 2023

New York City is full of hotels with a wide range of prices. However, NRF strongly recommends attendees only deal with their official NRF 2023 housing provider, MCI USA. A good reason to do so is that you can get added benefits. These include:

  • Best rate guarantees
  • Protection from hotel penalties in case of room cancellations
  • Protection from hotel relocations
  • Customer service via phone, email, and chat to assist with requests
  • Complimentary Shuttle service from non-walking official hotels and Javits Convention Center

All hotel reservations can be canceled 72 hours before your arrival date (by attendee) without penalty.

There are numerous hotels within walking distance of the event. The most notable are Courtyard NY Midtown Manhattan West and Four Points Sheraton Manhattan Midtown. 

Even though the National Retail Federation has designated MCI USA as the only housing provider for NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show, alternatives outside the scope of the designated provider are available. However, some fraudulent companies and organizations will try to present themselves as official partners of NRF 2023 and may offer you potential rooms that have not been guaranteed or may not be available. 

How do I Arrive at the Javits Center?

The guest entrance of the Javits Center is located at 445 11th Avenue, New York City. You can reach this location by car or public transport, including New York’s bike-sharing system Citi Bike or the NY Waterway to help you get across the Hudson River, located only one block from the Javits Center.

You can access the convention center in Hell’s Kitchen in several ways. If you want to use public transport, there are metros and buses available that can leave you nearby. These include train lines 1,2,3 and 7 that stop at 34th Street, with line 7 stopping at 11th Avenue.

The lines A, B, C, D, E, F, N, Q, R, and 4,5,6 all stop in blocks nearby.

Bus routes also serve the Javits Center, including the M34, M42, M50, M12, and M11. Use the MTA website to get customized directions, but note that the span of service and frequency vary by route. Not all buses run overnight; however, the M42 runs 24/7, and two additional overnight routes serve the Javits Center – the M99 and the Bx99.

How to Prepare for NRF Big Show 2023

Deciding to attend NRF 2023 is an important step. But after that, preparation plans are still required to make the most of the event. Firstly don’t forget these main factors:

Plan Well in Advance For the NRF Event

As soon as you know you are attending the NRF 2023, it would be best if you started planning for it. This includes preparing necessary documents and equipment, organizing meetings, and booking your hotels early. Another important early step is knowing who will be attending what event and having your pitch ready for when it comes to networking.

Bring Your Business Cards

Attending NRF 2023 will be a great opportunity to meet peers and colleagues. Remember to bring plenty of business cards to share with as many potential clients and networking peers as you want. 

New York is Chilly This Time of Year

There are plenty of event hubs in the United States. New York City stands out for its vibrancy but is also notorious for chilly winters. Bear that in mind when packing and know what clothes to wear if you are going to spend the whole day without visiting your hotel room and in networking mode. 

Pick a Suitable Place for Your Meetings

New York City has many stylish cafes and restaurants to connect and build networks. Another alternative is to invest in reliable private meeting places, like suites, if you have the resources available. It can give a stronger and more professional impression. 

Take Advantage of the NRF Side Events

There will be many chances to build your network at NRF 2023. However, it’s wise to leverage the series of small events around NRF. Have a clear idea of your target audience and use event intelligence to plan carefully. You can attend smaller, more focused gatherings, where it’s a perfect opportunity to meet exactly the kind of people you want to meet for your business and, subsequently, justify the investment in going to New York for NRF 2023. 

The least you can do is go with a shortlist of 2-3 people you would like to build a relationship with and turn into a potential lead, and who you would usually have difficulty meeting if it wasn’t for this event and connect with them on your arrival. 

Leverage NRF Big Show 2023 Attendee Data: Discover Who’s Attending And Prepare For it 

Vendelux already has NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show attendee data, with thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors going to New York City for the event. This information lets you analyze the kind of audience who will be at the event. For now, the audience includes 46% of peers with professional seniority, 30% are C-suite executives, and 24% are VPs and Directors.

If done with preparation and attention to detail, attending NRF 2023 can provide you with leads and partnership opportunities that can deliver a positive ROI.

Summary: Careful Planning Can Make a Difference When You Go To NRF 2023

NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show is a standout event for many businesses. Its unique community spirit brings together the whole retail industry and provides many opportunities for businesses to coincide and build connections. This year’s events can deliver new technologies, new partnerships, and innovative experiences that can help your business break through to new levels of retail.

The biggest names in retail will be at NRF. Whether you look for future retail technology at the Innovation Lab, sample inspiring food at the Food Service Technology Pavilion, or forge partnerships at the various networking events and side parties, there is a lot to look forward to at NRF 2023. 

However, attending these events requires investments in terms of money and resources, along with support from your C-suite. Managers will demand positive ROIs from these investments. Businesses should make the most of the face-to-face networking opportunities in and outside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 

To make the most of the event and the trip to New York, prepare and organize yourself for the city’s many after-parties and post-event networking opportunities. To do so, it’s best to scope out the sessions that interest your business and identify all the possible networking opportunities inside NRF 2023. Create a plan of who you would like to connect with, and once that is done, gather all the necessary NRF 2023 attendee data and leverage these insights regarding the attendees you want to network with. 

With careful planning and the best use of insights, you can enjoy NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show and deliver optimal results, lead generation opportunities, and a positive ROI for your company. 

Discover the Attendees and Sponsors Who Will be at NRF 2023


Stefan Deeran

Co-founder and COO of Vendelux, the leading AI platform for event marketers and conference organizers.

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