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The Intelligent Appointment Scheduling Blog

Once again, the world of retail has taken over the Javits Center in New York City for the annual NRF BIG Show. TimeTrade is there, of course, ready to demonstrate our unique approach to appointment-driven personalization. You’ll find us—with a crowd—in booth #2235.

As the team here was preparing for the show, I started thinking about the irony of an industry that is increasingly having problems attracting people to come to their stores to buy things holding an event that requires people to come to a convention center in the country’s biggest city to meet and… buy things.

It’s no secret the retail industry continues to struggle to attract shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores when it can be more convenient to just fire up a laptop or smartphone and buy virtually anything online. I hear that upstart, Amazon.com, is doing a fair bit of business these days….

One of the major topics of discussions in the sessions and at many of the vendors’ booths at the BIG Show will be how to win back customers who are choosing the convenience—and selection—of online shopping vs. the time and other “inconveniences,” such as getting out of your pajamas, getting into a car and driving to a mall, that are generally required when you shop in a store.

While many experts, pundits and worried retailers are debating every aspect of the online vs. in-store dynamic, they’re doing it at a physical event where people from all over the country, and beyond, are willing to travel to in order to hold those conversations. And the key to that willingness to travel to New York City in January is one word: conversations.

TimeTrade’s most successful retail customers have figured out that the secret of attracting shoppers to their stores lies in the ability to create conversations between customers and knowledgeable staff members. Whether it’s helping someone find the right dress or suit for a wedding or other big event, or a business that sells makeup offering a free makeover as a way to generate more sales, our retail customers are creating conversations with their prospects and customers that drive business.

And no matter what type of retail business you operate, there is almost always an opportunity to enhance the customer experience by providing highly personalized service. By offering shoppers an appointment to come to your store and be served—on schedule—by an expert who is committed to providing outstanding customer service, you are creating an environment that online retailers can’t match.

There are more clichés about the value and/or lack of time that we all have in today’s busy world than I could reference here, were I so inclined. But the reason there are so many clichés about the scarcity of time is because it really is a problem in today’s busier-than-ever society. That’s why smart retailers committed to providing an exceptional experience to every customer, every time have deployed the TimeTrade Customer Engagement Cloud to offer their customers an easy way to schedule online appointments. They know that providing a personalized, convenient in-person shopping experience is what sets them apart from the competition.

So if you’re at NRF this week and want to learn how to offer your customers appointment-driven personalization—along with Concierge services for shoppers and Analytics that help you maximize your sales and marketing efforts—make an appointment to talk with our TimeTrade experts in booth #2235.

Our team will show you how your store can benefit by providing every customer with “We’ve been expecting you” service by deploying online appointment scheduling that enables them to make appointments with you—at their convenience.

For many in the retail world, the months leading up to NRF’s Big Show last week were exciting, action packed, and consumed by show prep. The hard work paid off: the event was a great success, with many informative sessions to attend and interesting booths to visit. But now, as NRF excitement finally wanes, it’s time to think about what the retail industry has in store for the coming twelve months.

Themes that captured NRF attendees’ attention included the challenge of mastering omnichannel retail and how to improve shopping experiences to meet rising consumer trends and expectations. Clearly, the age of the on-demand economy is upon us. Disruptive brands like Uber have radically changed the way consumers purchase goods and services – customized offerings are now available at the click of a button, at very reasonable prices. As a result, expectations are rising. Today’s shoppers want personalized service and attention, and more traditional brick-and-mortar retailers must evolve their offerings to both improve the in-store experience and better connect disparate omnichannel touch points. This should be a main focus for retailers throughout the year to come and beyond.

TimeTrade’s recent State of Retail report underscores these findings. The company surveyed more than 5,000 consumers about their shopping habits, and results show that while brick-and-mortar still dominates, rising consumer expectations are forcing retailers to invest in improving the in-store experience. And there is significant room for improvement – only 27 percent of respondents feel big-name brands try to provide VIP-like service. The same low percentage of respondents believes retailers provide a consistent experience across channels.

It’s certainly an exciting time for the retail industry as it changes and evolves to meet the needs of the 21st century customer. We expect 2016 to be the year of personalization in retail, a year in which retailers set themselves apart by delivering high-level, on-demand services with a personalized touch. The store is not going away, but it is certainly evolving. Check out our scheduling solutions to learn how TimeTrade can help brands deliver the customized in-store experience needed for the years to come.

Stay up to date – like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @timetrade.

The TimeTrade team is back in New England after an exciting and eventful week in New York City for NRF’s annual Big Show. As usual, retail’s biggest industry event didn’t disappoint. The show as a whole was a great success, and the TimeTrade booth saw some strong traffic throughout the event. The team offered an engaging demo of our PurchasePath solution, and we also enjoyed some productive conversations around the importance – and challenge – of delivering a personalized experience in today’s retail space. Our very own booth butler spent the event catering to booth visitors’ needs and quenching their thirst with complimentary champagne, offering them a taste of concierge service.

In addition to booth duty, the team also attended a number of great sessions during the show. One of our favorites was titled, “Physical or Digital? The Choice is BOTH!” It explored the changing retail space, particularly in regards to the conversion of physical stores and digital technology. Brick-and-mortar retail still dominates, but it’s no secret that the expectations of today’s consumer are increasing, which in turn forces retailers to reexamine how they manage the in-store experience. Incorporating digital in-store technology is the way forward, as retailers strive to both improve in-store service and better connect omnichannel touch points to create a cohesive customer journey. You can read more on this in our recent 2016 State of Retail report.

There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time for the retail space! Some of the main themes discussed at NRF 2016 included the challenges of mastering omnichannel retail, improving customer experience across channels, the growing expectations of today’s consumers and the general transformative state of today’s retail industry. It was a great way to kick off 2016, and we’re looking forward to an eventful year to come.

To stay up on the latest from TimeTrade, follow us on Twitter at @timetrade.

Hold on to your hats – we’re here for the 2016 NRF Big Show in New York City. The TimeTrade team is geared up, and ready to go in the Big Apple for the retail industry’s biggest annual show, and we’re looking forward to what’s sure to be an eventful week.

This week, we’re excited to share our State of Retail 2016 report, ahead of all the show action. TimeTrade recently surveyed more than 5,000 consumers and 100 senior level retail executives about their shopping behaviors and perceptions. The results paint an interesting picture for the future of brick-and-mortar retail: the demand for in-store shopping remains strong, but rising expectations mean retailers must deliver a more personalized “concierge” experience to stay competitive. Additionally, results from the two surveys indicate a possible disconnect for the coming year between customer perceptions and expectations and retailers’ focus.

You can check out the full report here, and our experts will also be on hand throughout the show to discuss the findings and what they mean for the future of retail. A visit to our booth, number 2235, means you’ll also get to meet our very own TimeTrade butler, who will be available throughout the show to demonstrate the meaning of a true “concierge” experience.

What: NRF 2016 – Retail’s BIG Show – at the Jacob K. Javits Center in NYC
When: Sunday January 17-Wednesday January 20
Where: The TimeTrade booth: number 2235

The coming year is set to be an exciting one for the retail industry! We hope you’ll stop by our booth next week to chat about the State of Retail 2016, the growth of the “on-demand economy” and what consumer trends we can expect to see in the months to come.

Whether you’re at the show or not, follow TimeTrade on Twitter at @timetrade for all the latest, and join the conversation using the #nrf16 show hashtag.

NRF’s Big Show is less than a week away and we’ve never been more excited to join and to be an official sponsor. TimeTrade will be at booth #2130 there showing you how responsive customer engagement builds brand loyalty and higher lifetime customer value.

The new reality of customer engagement involves constant renewal and reinforcement of a personalized service model that creates brand loyalty and fuels sales growth. Moving customers seamlessly from online browsing to a live conversation or an in-person visit with the right associate creates the personalized journey that differentiates a brand. TimeTrade’s cloud-based Responsive Engagement Platform lets organizations concentrate on delivering a highly personalized customer experience using the systems and staff they already have.

Will you be attending the NRF Big Show in NY?
Come by our booth #2130 to learn more about responsive customer engagement and enter to win one of two Beats by Dre prizes.  Even better, schedule a quick 15 minute demo at and we’ll give you a $15 iTunes gift card. Just click here to book a demo!