National Retail Federation

Saving brick-and-mortar retail with tech

The National Retail Federation (NRF) hired Tusk to curate and promote tech innovation at its largest retail conferences that draw over 40,000 people annually, as well as create and execute a new engagement strategy for the larger tech and venture capitalist communities.

Press Hits

The Stakes

As retail continues a major transition driven by technology, the NRF needed to overhaul the way it engaged the tech community and distributed content related to technology so it could effectively drive attendance to its largest revenue-generating events, deepen engagement with its members and enhance its reputation and influence.


The Process

Tusk created, produced and promoted the NRF Innovation Lab at NRF’s largest national events, 2017 and 2018 and Big Show 2018 and 2019. As part of the project, Tusk also helped redesign NRF’s Retailer-Startup engagement program and developed a venture capitalist and tech accelerator strategy. Tusk handled all research and concept development, startup/tech provider recruitment, event production and sponsor/exhibitor management. Tusk engaged 300+ startups and venture capitalists (VC), designed lab selection criteria and negotiated company participation in each event. Tusk also curated and moderated retailer panel discussions and hosted special access media events and NRF VIP tours to drive local and national media coverage and enhance key members’ experience.

Tusk helped us reinvent the way we showcase and communicate how technology is transforming our industry. Their work has helped us better support our membership, drive attendance to our marquee events and enhance our brand and reputation.
Susan Newman, SVP of Conferences, National Retail Federation

The Conclusion

The Innovation Labs were celebrated as the most popular and engaging parts of each event as measured by attendee surveys, foot-traffic and media coverage. Later on, Tusk helped the NRF navigate jumpstarting the conference following the pandemic in 2021.