Countdown to NRF 2020 – An inside view from Uncrowd
Date Updated: Thursday, January 9, 2020
Today, we’re excited to host a guest blog from Richard Hammond, CEO and founder of Uncrowd. Richard is heading off to New York to attend this year’s National Retail Federation conference, NRF 2020: Retail’s Big Show.
This time last year, we were a startup team of three and gearing up to make a run from the UK to the American National Retail Federation’s (NRF) giant annual show in NYC. We were winging it, having only a single meeting lined up and taking a gamble on finding some useful hustle.
In service of that hustle we found ourselves trawling the Microsoft stand, one conversation led to another and ideological common ground from there fast became the basis for Uncrowd’s selection for the Microsoft for Startups program.
Back then we couldn’t have imagined the potency of the rocket-fuel Microsoft would pour into our initially tiny operation. We head to New York again next week for the NRF2020 show with Microsoft’s wind in our sales, we have our platform available commercially on the Azure Marketplace, we have a contact book as long as your arm, meetings and pitches galore, including with key Microsoft retail clients. We’re in the Times Square store and the Microsoft Reactor for Hacks and talks. The whole thing is a roaring rush of opportunity. Of doors opened by us and doors opened for us by the Microsoft for Startups team.
The product we’ve been pitching through those doors is a new generation of customer analytics that for the first time in history is able to show a retailer precisely why customers shop with them or with their rivals. That common ground I talked of earlier, it’s why we’re now a transactable partner with Microsoft: they get retail. NFR this year even has Satya Nadella delivering the big keynote. That’s such a strong statement of both intent and of credible ability to deliver-in behind that intent. I’m a retailer, it’s been my passion for 35 years, it is my love and my obsession; I know we’ve found the right retail home with Microsoft.
The experience this year has been astonishing, we’ve made films in Paris with Microsoft, featured on their stand at the superlative Slush tech festival in Helsinki, appeared on blogs, in joint pitches to the world’s biggest retailers and had access to a depth of resources, learning, support and opportunities that have taken our breath away.
Materially, we are a better business now as a result. We will hit NRF hard on Saturday and we will do so, one year on, with a product retailers want and need and with that most valuable of startup commodities; momentum. We’ll catch up again in a few weeks on this blog and let you know how that NFR momentum pans out for Uncrowd!
Richard Hammond has been in the retail industry for 35 years, from stores to authoring the best-selling retail manual Smart Retail, which is currently in its 4th edition and is available in 22 languages. In 2018, Richard and his co-founder embarked on building the next generation of customer analytics through their startup Uncrowd.uk.