For all my time working in the retail space, I finally had the opportunity to attend the NRF (National Retail Federation) Big Show in New York City. They were not kidding…this thing is BIG.
First impressions, it is a who’s who of new tech, old tech and retailers. People from all over the world descend on this space to show their latest and greatest. There are ton of innovative ideas, lots of off the wall ones, and even some that have been in the space for a long time but have new advancements to share. Let me elaborate…
- Store Analytics and Optimization – There were several booths at the expo that shared how they are capturing and helping to analyze trends within the market. From Robots that patrol the aisle looking for plan-o-gram compliance to cameras validating out of stocks and in store impressions and store associate enablement tools – this area was hot. It will be interesting to see how much of this tech gets pushed into the stores and leveraged on a grand scale.
- Platform Solutions – All the big players were here ranging from ERPs to PIMs and everything in between. Organizations continue to evolve their platforms to meet the needs of the industry, and as AI, AR and VR continue to drive forward, these platforms are also evolving to support them.
- Consumer Tracking – I saw many organizations who are striving to make sense of us the consumers. They have cameras, digital tracking software and demographics to provide insights to the stores around traffic, in store impression to conversion and if the individual used their mobile device. All of this tech is translating into more impactful Store layouts, better products being available and an enhanced physical experience.
- Frictionless Commerce – So Amazon Go right? Well kind of..Lots of organizations were working on taking the grab and go concept to new levels, either by smart shelf tags that let a user take-tap-and go to complex digital shelves that recognize the product visually and add the items to your digital cart. Is this going to eliminate the cashier? Not yet, but there are several different organizations who are working towards it. The most interesting to me was the image recognition pieces, as it puts the least amount of effort on the end consumer.
As Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality become more mainstream, the commerce experience is getting continually closer to a seamless connected experience.