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The Future of Grocery Retail: Insights and Highlights from The NGA Show 2024

The National Grocers Association Show 2024, held at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas, was a landmark event for the grocery retail industry. With an attendance of 3,600 professionals and nearly 350 exhibitors, it was the largest in the association's history, showcasing the sector's resilience and innovative spirit. This year's show, filled with educational opportunities, networking, and a glimpse into the future of grocery retail, provided invaluable insights into the industry's challenges and opportunities.


A New Era for CresLane Retail Solutions

One of the highlights was the unveiling of CresLane Retail Solutions, a significant rebrand from IT Retail Professional. This move underscores the company's dedication to leading the charge in grocery retail innovation, setting the stage for future advancements.

CresLane has introduced a new self-checkout solution called Flex, along with a fresh new look. The Flex product seamlessly integrates into the CresLane point-of-sale (POS) system, allowing grocers to set up a self-checkout for customers or an attendant checkout for the grocer. With the cash handler positioned behind the counter, the Flex solution also enables grocers to offer a customer self-checkout with the option for an attendant to accept cash. This flexibility allows the grocer to accommodate multiple payment methods through a single self-checkout.



Unmatched Networking and Learning Opportunities

The NGA Show 2024 offered a unique platform for independent retailers, wholesalers, and industry leaders to connect and share insights. The event was praised by Jaime Reesby and Greg Ferrara for its role in fostering industry growth and facilitating meaningful connections.

According to the National Grocers Association, a new attendance record was set. NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara commented, "The NGA Show continues to grow beyond our expectations, for attendance and exhibitors as well as the extensive on-trend educational offerings. I'm grateful for the companies that took time away from their stores and distribution centers to discover new ideas, products, trends, and connections to help them drive more growth. The bar continues to rise as we plan our next show for 2025."


Celebrating Innovation and Excellence

From the Technology Summit to the Best Bagger Championship, the show was packed with memorable moments. The expo hall buzzed with the latest in food products, store design, and technology, while educational sessions covered a wide array of topics crucial for today's grocery professionals. Keynote speaker Carla Hall and the various awards presented throughout the event highlighted the industry's commitment to excellence and community.


Embracing Change and Technology

The show also delved into critical industry themes such as succession planning, the economic impact of the grocery sector, and the integration of technology and AI. Discussions emphasized the importance of being prepared for business transitions, the significant role of the grocery sector in the U.S. economy, and how technology is transforming traditional grocery operations. 

In an NGA recap, Chris Martin, Principal Grocery at CLA Connect, says grocers are already considering AI as an investment; "robots aren't taking over, but knowing how to implement, utilize different technologies to make things more efficient, better serve the consumer."

The consensus was clear: leveraging technology to enhance customer service and operational efficiency is critical to staying competitive.



The Resilience and Adaptability of Grocers

Despite challenges like inflation and changing consumer behaviors, the grocery sector's adaptability was evident. Grocers are finding innovative ways to thrive through strategic data use, enhancing the in-store experience, or exploring new business models. 

The importance of the customer experience in the grocery industry emphasizes that despite technological advancements, the human element remains crucial. "It's the experience that everybody that's walking through your doors is how are they getting served at the end of the day." says Adrian Gomez, Principal retail at CLA Connect.

This resilience is a testament to the sector's ability to navigate the complexities of the modern retail landscape.


Looking Ahead: NGA Show 2025

The success of The NGA Show 2024 has set high expectations for next year's event, which will be held February 23-25 at the Caesars Forum Convention Center. As the industry looks forward, the insights and connections made at this year's show will undoubtedly influence the future of grocery retail, driving innovation and fostering a sense of community within the sector.

The NGA Show remains a pivotal event for grocery retail, showcasing the industry's best and charting the course for future success.

In conclusion, The NGA Show 2024 was a celebration of the grocery retail industry's current achievements and a forward-looking forum highlighting the dynamic changes and growth opportunities on the horizon. As we navigate these changes, the insights and innovations showcased will play a crucial role in shaping the future of grocery retail.