With 30,000 people in attendance, the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual conference in New York is one of the biggest events in the retail calendar.

With about 30,000 people in attendance, the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual conference in New York is one of the biggest events in the retail calendar.

Not only do delegates from all over the world come together to share new ideas and hear from the industry’s experts about the topics that matter most to their business, the array of technologies on display is also vast, giving visitors a chance to have hands-on interaction with the solutions shaping the future of retail. Our feature here details the event’s hottest themes and examines the top technological and digital innovations on show.

This year, understanding how mobile technology can have a direct impact on consumers’ in-store path to purchase was a chief focus at NRF’s Big Show. With location-based technology tipped to be a major trend in 2014, Retail Week finds out how retailers are tracking shopper behaviour using mobile apps to deliver highly targeted advertising, and asks just how widespread the trend for push marketing through geofencing could get.

Across retail, technology is driving the ever-increasing pace of change, making retailers’ capacity to innovate more crucial than ever. But this doesn’t just mean innovating in-house - retailers’ relationships with their technology suppliers are also changing as new ideas and technology get the attention they deserve.

Retailers have responded in a variety of ways, with new schemes to help them sift through supplier pitches and projects to help them harness innovation. At the same time, retailers including Marks & Spencer and John Lewis are building large teams of software developers to improve in-house innovation and ensure the intellectual property stays in-house. Retail Week takes a look at those projects, and finds out how different retailers are working with their technology partners to foster fresh ideas.

As technology continues to transform the way people live, shop and communicate with one another, how is the retail proposition being redefined? That question will be addressed by some of the industry’s leading names on the technology stage at Retail Week Live on March 12 to 13, and delegates can find out more about what’s driving genuine innovation in the retail space. The Retail Week Live preview has the lowdown.