NRF Kiosk – What Retailers Want at NRF? Updated JAN 2024

By | January 12, 2024
alex richardson

Tips for NRF Kiosk

Recommended article by Alex Richardson, one of the original pioneers in the self-service space with digital kiosks and digital signage kiosks.

Before you venture into the Javits Center, please read this list. (Friends I look forward to your own ideas.)

In collaboration with many of my talented colleagues in cross functional areas, I’ve learned a lot about how large companies make purchasing decisions.     I’ve seen how small and upcoming firms can win business from more established, mature publicly owned players.    I’ve seen how established firms, despite a variety of seasoned business development teams, lose the deal despite having strong relationships with the C-Level Management.  I’ve also  negotiated over +200 contracts and have seen how many firms waste valuable time in the contract negotiation process arguing over business, legal, data security, indemnifications, and SOW terms.

In this article, I summarize of some of my  observations so that we can all spend less timing in the marketing and presales process,  reduce legal fees, reduce execution time and get to the final goal which typically is to improve the customer experience and operational excellence. .

Here are a few things to think to consider as you begin the NRF/pre-sales journey with your client.


1.      Know the client’s business.As a client, we expect our vendors to be in synch with our company goals, industry background, key management names, and competitors. I’m amazed how often I have to prod prospective vendors to turn off their computers, get out of the office and visit our stores  and websites to gain a sense of the brand and how our customers interact with store associates or online customer service agents.

a. One of the most annoying questions from new vendors is: “please tell me about your business?”

i.      It’s clear to me that they have not studied our website, read the PR, looked at my Linked In bio—ie they don’t have the energy to win our business.

ii.      This question often comes from Pre-sale business development teams that are trying to “qualify” the lead before the more senior business development manager gets involved.    In my opinion, these calls are a waste of time.

2.      Listen carefully and offer specific suggestions.As a client, when I do explain our company’s problem and goals to a vendor, I don’t want a PDF catalog or URL with links to dozens of products in response.

a. We want a few strong recommendations on how to solve my particular problem. I don’t have the expertise or the time to sort through product specifications.

b. We value strong problem-solving skills in their prospective vendors.

c.     We are numbed by too many long PowerPoint/Google presentations that never focus on a specific solution for a situation.

d. We want a few simple ways that you help us provide “DIFFERENTIATED EXPERIENCES” to our customers.

e. Balance your approach with the right mix of women and men on the team.

f. Don’t swear during your conversations. I’ve seen some of my vendor pals swear at the first NRF or Client meeting. Scott Galloway gets away with it-Not you, especially if you want to demonstrate mindfulness during the client presales journey.

3.      Provide real information.My vendor heroes are:

a. Seasoned technology project /product managers and pre-sales engineers who are authentic, brilliant and great listeners.

b. Who can stick with the engagement after it is sold.

c. I know we need the “sales” team on sales calls, but their job should be to manage the process (and get the coffee/snacks) and keep quiet during the meetings.

d. Today, clients don’t need or want to be entertained by five-star restaurants or elaborate office décor.

i. Stop wasting money on large trade show displays.

Instead, have a small display area and a small room for meetings scheduled in advance with key leads.

e. Clients want to beat their competitors and enhance customer experience procuring great, innovative products and services at reasonable prices.

4.      Price for Phase One.Pricing your solution is always a conundrum, especially in the digital retail industry since projects often are a three- or four-stage process: 1) proof of concept, 2) limited pilot, 3) larger pilot and 4) full deployment and maintenance.

a. Clients tend to go with lower cost, but dependable, solutions for Phase One.

5.      Balance price and features.

a. A common vendor mistake is to over-listen to a client’s wishes and then over-deliver on the client specifications. Trying to fulfill all of the client’s wishes makes their bid 50 percent higherthan a lower-cost, lower-featured competitor.

b. Clients value speed, responsiveness and low cost since they tend to have limited budgets to test the value of new digital services.


Though I’ve included a few brief set of observations in this article , the best course of action for digital /technology vendors is to develop a set of needs assessment questions for prospective clients that help you and them create a list of requirements for the project.

Also, client interviews should include departments outside of the direct client contact – such as IT, security, procurement, marketing, direct-to-consumer, catalog, retail/store technology, and other departments that may be influenced by your digital marketing solution – because it’s good to make friends across the company, as a precautionary measure.

It’s like getting to know the neighbors before your house burns down.

For more information please contact me at: [email protected]. WHO ARE WE: We work with leadership and investor teams to accelerate change, optimize org structures, and reboot the global digital tech stack with the right trusted providers-through a rapid, proven and affordable framework.

Author: Staff Writer

Craig Keefner -- With over 40 years in the industry and technology, Craig is widely considered to be an expert in the field. Major early career kiosk projects for him include Verizon Bill Pay kiosk and hundreds of others. Craig helped start kioskmarketplace before leaving. Note that the point of view here on kioskindustry is not necessarily the stance of the Kiosk Association or