NRF Big Show 2017 Review: Part 2 – Insights, Analytics, and Intention are Major Forces In Digital Commerce For 2017!
The second half of the NRF Retail’s Big Show 2017 proved to be just as informative, exciting, and insightful as the first. (You can read about Part 1 HERE) Notable presentations were done by a great many industry arbiters, and among the most notable were those done by Intel and Levi’s. A large amount of focus was dedicated to the current means of utilizing data in retail operations, and also to the in-store experience and how important it is to overall sales.
Data was often referred to in very fluid ways, as part of a “virtuous cycle” that includes the user experience along with the usage of devices. During the Intel Presentation, it was noted that this reliance on data will not be going anywhere; it’s just the beginning as it is predicted that data will soon be infusing and transforming every industry, at many levels.
Intel: Emphasis on VR
Additionally, a further focus was devoted to Virtual Reality, which is another frontier on the verge of becoming mainstream. This innovation is going to allow people to immerse themselves virtually in whatever store they want, with all of the conveniences availed, without actually having to go. It’s just one aspect of the many ways that virtual reality and augmented reality are redefining and transforming the customer experience.
One example of a company already employing these technologies is Walgreens, who has developed the means to enable customers to virtually shop their stores using technology created by ShopperMX and InContext Solutions. The results are smooth, easy, and very realistic, enabling customers the ability to shop in an extremely realistic manner.
The Power of Data Analytics
Handling data continues to be a massive mission that is inspiring a wide array of innovations to manage the many intricate duties. One of the most interesting that was presented during The Big Show was Tally, a new robot designed to detect price errors, inventory availability, and the right place/location with auditing shelves. The main challenge was to develop a cost-effective solution for retail, and this utilization of AI seems to be honing-in on the necessity with great accuracy.
Digitizing the Distribution Center
In regards to streamlining the work of distribution centers, more and more innovations have emerged out of the need to further update the old models. One method that was prominently featured was a type of vision-picking application and device, which is already selling online and ready to use. Some of its benefits include an improved amount of efficiency, plus a decrease in the rate of errors in Intel warehouses. This technology is creating a store of the future with extremely smooth and fast operations.
Additionally, real-time insights to fully understand customer behavior (by Reveal) are being used to better enhance the shopping experience, along with assisting in the development of features such as the automating fitting room, identifying products, cross-selling, and analytics (like abandonment, for example).
Levi’s Presentation: Maximizing Intention
During Levi’s presentation, they made a point of remarking on a common theme in the retail industry, in which most parties have experienced a decrease in foot traffic, but have been able to strengthen their reach to those who enter by focusing on the digital commerce experience. As the intention of the buying consumer is increasing, this also enables the retailer to provide a higher level of customized service for those who come to the store.
Additionally, in-store operations are becoming more easily managed through the usage of sophisticated technology such as real-time and all-the-time inventory management (using methods such as rfid tags + sensors). Simplifying store management enables associates to further focus on the consumer. Levi’s currently has 50,000 points of distribution, and from their experience, utilizing data allows them to create a more meaningful and relevant experience to the customer.
Overall, the NRF Retail’s Big Show 2017 was a tremendous success, and we were very pleased to have been a part of the entire experience. Witnessing the current trends of the retail industry, previewing where the industry is going, and understanding the many innovations that will be impacting it in the near future is of great importance to all parties involved in retail, both digital and in-store. As digital commerce continues to impact in-store, the constantly growing precedence of omnichannel becomes ever more clear, and the relevance of data will continue to transform how the retail industry is executed.