The Profitect team joined thousands of industry leaders during NRF’s Big Show in New York and we were given the opportunity to learn firsthand about the retail and technology trends that will shape the future. There’s no question that retail is shifting, and it’s our job to adapt to these changes rather than be intimidated by them.
There was a lot to learn during the Big Show – between sessions, panels and seeing both new and familiar faces at our booth – but the following are the three biggest themes I took away:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is More than a Buzzword:
We hear the term ‘AI’ all the time, especially in relation to retail. To provide a real-life example, a large shoe retailer is using machine learning to cluster purchase behavior to better identify and maximize sales and profits. This is an example of hyper-localization based on the behavior of customers. On the first day of NRF, I was lucky enough to join Seth Hughes of Walgreens and Andrea Weiss of the O’Alliance to discuss this very issue. Andrea made the point that only a decade ago, stores were just learning about RFID – IoT and machine learning in stores was not even a thought, let alone a concern. This simply demonstrates the quick pace that technology moves at and how important it is to keep a steady drumbeat on the trends ahead.
- Store Employees Need Help Too:
We hear all the time that the shopper is the one that needs assistance while browsing through a store or looking for items on a website. While this sentiment certainly still holds true, we often forget that the employees working to provide a great customer experience need help too. During NRF’s Big Show, we witnessed a lot of technology providers taking notice of just how important it is to provide the store employees with the right tools to make this a reality. We were happy to see others follow suit here, as this has always been Profitect’s mission. From understanding buying patterns by using advanced data, to prescriptive analytics, retailers now have the opportunity to be armed with advanced capabilities to provide the best experience to the customer.
- Customers Want More Than Omnichannel:
Just a few years ago, retailers were laser-focused on creating a better online experience for customers. Shopping across devices is something we now expect from a retailer and we want the experience to be a positive one. However, moving beyond traditional omnichannel strategies has become crucial for retail success today. I found during NRF retailers were calling this term ‘unified commerce.’ The name simply changed, but the strategies in many cases remain the same. When a customer decides to shop either in-store or online, it’s the job of the retailer to make the most out of this experience. This means moving beyond omnichannel into customer-centricity. A consumer should never have to go searching in a store or through a website for an extended period of time. It’s the job of the retailer to put the right tools in place to ensure a truly customer-centric experience.
If you missed us at NRF this year, check-out the video of our session with Walgreens and the O’Alliance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tq-AIJ5ybfA&feature=youtu.be
Or take a look at some of the news coming out of the show:
- TotalRetail: Turn Useless Reports Into Actionable Data
- Retail TouchPoints: NRF 2017: Personalization, Deep Analytics And Talking Robots
- LP Magazine: Loss Prevention Technology Providers Exhibit at Retail Industry’s BIG Show
- LP Magazine: The NRF BIG Show 2017: Pre-Show Buzz