Written by One Step Retail's Blog Team | Images from NRF and Flickr
As one entered the halls of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, one could not help to notice the buzzing energy among attendees and exhibitors at the show. Retail apocalypse? Where??? Retail was alive; filled with endless possibilities. Innovation was at every turn.
The message resonating throughout the show was simple. It is all about the customer. Whether it was a new form of technology, service, or device; every solution presented or discussed at the show offered retailers the opportunity to enhance customers' experiences by providing value to the customer at every step of their buying journey.
Doug McMillon, president/CEO of Walmart, summarized it best when asked about the retail apocalypse,
If we move in a way that helps us increase value, continue to offer the broadest assortment they are looking for, and then constantly improving the experience whether it is an app, through the spoken voice, someday through VR— regardless of the vehicle. If we are better than that, we are going to be here. If not, we won't.
Increasing the value, improving the experience, simplifying the customer's lifestyles— these were the motivation behind the many of the innovations exhibited on the floor. Here are some of the innovations that caught the One Step team's eyes.
1. DATA-DRIVEN PERSONALIZATION
One of the biggest game changers retailers can implement today is technology designed to collect and analyze data in real-time with an end purpose to improve customer experiences. The Big Show exhibited a variety of data collecting and analytic solutions that delivered key insights such as customer traffic, dwell time, customer count, demographics, inventory movement, and past-in-store behavior— insights essential to better understanding the customer journey.
2. PEOPLE TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
Eyes were watching everywhere at the Big Show or, better yet said, artificial intelligence was watching. With the latest advancements in AI, people counting technology has leaped new bounds in the industry and has become an essential tool in enhancing the customer's journey. Exhibitors showcased technology ranging from AI facial recognition to dynamic QUE detection in mock-up store environments. Attendees were met by personalized screen messaging as they neared the monitors or mock-up store shelves. With the use of IoT sensors, cameras, and applications, attendees' movements and interactions inside the booths were tracked, analyzed, and segmented. Acquiring such powerful insights is essential for a retailer to better understand the customer's wants and needs and thus provide a more customized experience.
3. SMART SHELF SOLUTIONS
We noticed a number of connected shelf-technology offerings that ranged from Wi-Fi enabled, digital shelf signage to automated inventory intelligence. With the latest smart shelf solutions, retailers can view and track inventory in real-time, change product and pricing displays with a click of the button, and even turn the shelves themselves into interactive displays. Gone are the days of printing individual price tags and point of sale signs. The shelves of today are brights, engaging and most importantly, connected!
The retail innovations mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg of how shopping will be changing in the next few years. With so much technology, it is impossible to not be part of the digital transformation, but we must not forget that innovation for the sake of innovation is not true innovation. Retailers cannot and should not implement every new form of technology that comes out in the market. The implementation of new technology must bring value to both the business and the customer, solve the business' own unique challenges, and fit seamlessly in the retail strategies at hand. Otherwise, the investment will be a waste of time and money.
Which Solutions Provide Value to Your Business?
Unsure? One Step is here to help. Our retail consultants are on hand to answer any of your retail technology questions. We understand that no one business is the same. Every challenge is unique to each business. Our job is to identify those challenges and find the solutions that meet your specific needs. Let us help you find the solutions that will bring value to your business and in turn help you enhance the shopping experience of your customers. Contact Us Today >>