NRF 2012It’s the second and final day of NRF’s Big Show in New York City and industry experts are spending much of the day looking into their crystal balls and talking about the future, with today’s docket including sessions like “What the Next Five Years of Retail Will be About” and “Retail 2020”. Here are some of today’s highlights:

Keeping up with the Millennials. The next-generation consumer is today’s 15-year-old kid, and their generation will expect the customer experience to be customized based on their history, preferences, social graph, intent and location. As if that weren’t enough, Millennials want to be an active participant in the manipulation of the experience. If they can’t interact with the brand in a customized manner, they’ll discard it and move on to a competitor.

Bryan Eisenberg, author of “Always Be Testing”, implored today’s retailers to prioritize keeping pace with customers over simply staying ahead of the competition. Eisenberg’s session, “The Future Shopper: How Offline is the New Online”, featured a thought-provoking video on what marketers should be thinking about as today’s children grow older and become the new target customers with high expectations. Check out the controversial video here and tell us what you think.

A seamless customer experience is no longer a nice-to-have. Forget the notion of the three-screen world – channel convergence means that we exist in a one-screen world. The screen in front of your customer right now is the only screen they care about, and today’s retailers had better be able to deliver relevant content to their customers in the moment and regardless of device. Consistency of experience between channels is key, and retailers must be prepared to optimize this in order to win the customers of tomorrow.

Finally, Flash Sales were another hot topic today, and the retail industry is really beginning to embrace the tactic as they recognize that these sales excite consumers about spending in retail again. Even stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are getting onboard with daily deals and limited time offers for their subscribers.

(Speaking of flash, did anyone catch today’s Flash Mob in front of the Oracle booth? It was an impressive brand promotion tactic for newcomer Zmags – killer dance skills, too).

That wraps up this year’s NRF Big Show. At 27,000 attendees strong, it’s safe to say that the retail industry is experiencing growth at a time when many other industries are contracting. We’re proud to be a part of this giant ecosystem and head home armed with a wealth of new knowledge, ideas and friends. Ciao, New York!