12 tips to know before you go

Navigate the BIG Show like a pro

With more than 520 exhibitors and more than 27,600 attendees, the NRF Annual Convention & EXPO has certainly earned the nickname Retail’s BIG Show. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on, so here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

Networking photos

1. Download the mobile app. 

The app has practically everything you need—personalized agenda, EXPO maps, exhibitor locations, session descriptions that you can filter by track or topic, speaker bios, the #NRF14 twitter feed and more! Bonus: Use the app to build your schedule in advance—you’ll stay focused at the show and it will get you familiar with the app before you go.

2. Print the Quick Program Guide.

For those who prefer a paper guide of the show, download and print the streamlined Quick Guide, which contains an at-a-glance view of the essentials.

3. Skip the convention center lines. Check in at satellite registration.

We do our best, but when thousands of people show up at once, lines are inevitable. Good thing there’s satellite registration at our two biggest hotels—the Marriott Marquis and the Sheraton New York Times Square. If you’re staying there or nearby, get your badge there first and skip the lines at the show. Bonus: Whether you’re checking in at the the Convention Center or one of the satellite locations, bring your barcoded registration confirmation email so you can speed through the (usually much shorter and faster) “Scan and Go” line.

4. Tweet and Instagram with us!

People are already connecting and talking on Twitter! Follow us on Twitter at @NRFnews and @RetailsBIGShow, and tweet with the hashtag #nrf14. We’ll also have lots of coverage on Retail’s BIG Blog during and after the event. Bonus: We’re giving $100 to the best shots on Instagram – tag them with #nrf14 and you could win!

5. Don’t miss BOTH levels of the EXPO Hall!

The enormous EXPO is the heart of the action, and this year, it’s even bigger with 520 solution providers and almost 200,000 square feet, so bring comfortable shoes. With games like Virtual Golf, Royal Flush and SCAN TO WIN, you better come ready to play...and win! Bonus: EXPO-only attendees can go to all the educational programming in the EXPO, too. Check out sessions on the EXPO Stage (Level 1) and the Exhibitor BIG !deas sessions (On Levels 1 and 3).

6. After the show, watch and share keynote videos.

If they can’t join you at the show, tell your team back at the office they can see two outstanding keynotes after the show featuring IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Life is good CEO Bert Jacobs. For access to even more recorded presentations after the show, upgrade your registration with the video presentation package.

7. Take a break in the NRF Members Coca-Cola Happiness Lounge. 

NRF members (and members of all our divisions) can relax in the completely delightful NRF Members Coca-Cola Happiness Lounge on Level 4 of the Convention Center. Recharge your devices, grab a Coke and a snack, take a picture with Mr. Oreo or a Sour Patch Kid, or just enjoy a comfortable seat. Bonus: Members can reserve a meeting room in the Lounge, just contact Kali Simon.

8. Play a leading role in retail’s next big win.

Did you know the retail industry is one of the most effective advocacy groups on Capitol Hill? New this year, you can get a big-picture look at retail’s impact on the U.S. and how you can make a difference for your own business, help your community and support the entire industry in this special session.

9. Don’t ever miss a free drink—or doughnut!

All attendees are invited to kick things off Sunday night at the Marriott Marquis Times Square for the Opening Reception as well as happy hours in the EXPO Hall on Monday and Tuesday nights. And on Sunday and Tuesday, full-conference attendees can start the morning off with doughnuts, compliments of Krispy Kreme!

10. Network over lunch.

Full-Conference attendees won’t want to miss the Networking Lunch on Sunday where you can grab a boxed lunch and make a few new contacts. Monday is the Retail Industry Awards Luncheon, where you can see the always-fascinating Mitch Joel speak, as well as our 2014 award winners.

11. Get a behind-the-scenes tour of some of New York’s coolest stores. 

The self-guided store tours will center on the Meatpacking District and Bleeker Street. Upgrade your registration now so you can take the team shopping one afternoon and come back full of ideas and inspiration.

12. Get around NYC with ease and Uber style.

Take note of the shuttle schedule, also available from the app. Learn which route is yours and the frequency of the loop so you can use your time efficiently. Plus, Uber NYC has offered BIG Show attendees a great discount on their car service. New Uber users can receive a $25 credit on a car ride and current users can receive a 10% discount off one ride.

And of course, bring business cards, dress in layers, wear comfortable shoes, remember to hydrate and most importantly—bring your A Game!

See you in NYC!