We're just under two months away from the largest retail trade show in the US. Every January, the National Retail Federation puts on one heck of a show in NYC aptly named, the "BIG Show". And, if your job title starts or ends in "mar", "tech" or "comms" this is a show for you. With the holidays shortly upon us and NRF in the very near future, it had us thinking about 2017 - and what a year it was for retail! 

2017 can easily be categorized as noisy. It was incredibly challenging for brands to break through that noise which left them looking for unique solutions across vertical industries. One thing really stood out to us in 2017; the dramatic, and very public, shift of turning shopping into an experience. Now, this goes far beyond in-store and customer journey technologies but into new verticals that had once been overlooked. Cruise lines are a perfect example of this shift. Cruises are inherently experiential - the entire journey, from your dinner seat assignment to on-ship entertainment, is curated for a very specific audience. For instance, a cruise from NYC to Cozumel, Mexico may host an on-board tequila tasting event and that tequila is also sold in shops aboard the ship - a literal floating case study for brands. 

So what does that mean for retailers and brands in 2018? Look beyond "traditional" solutions and find opportunities that bridge the customer journey and experiential shopping gap. It may not look like what you've done before but being bold in 2018 will keep brands afloat.