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NRF 2018: Technology Takeaways

NRF 2018 Retail Assist
  • 22 Jan

NRF 2018: Technology Takeaways

Retail Assist NRF 2018 We’re back from another successful visit to NRF 2018, Retail’s BIG Show and Expo. Over 5 floors at the Jacobs K Javits Center in New York, we were immersed in the latest solutions, technology developments, and trends driving retail in 2018 and beyond. If you haven’t already watched our NRF 2018 vlogs, reported by Rhianne Poole, you can watch Day 1’s vlog here, Day 2 here, and both below. We bring you 5 minute round ups of the top technologies seen each day: > So, what were Retail Assist’s key technology takeaways? “Retail is nothing without AI” Once again, and as reported in 2017, artificial intelligence came out on top. However, at this year’s Show artificial intelligence was taken to the next level through relevant application in retail. We were excited to see many use case scenarios and retailer case studies, taking AI from conceptual to applied benefits. AI has transitioned from “data is the new oil” to “retail is nothing without AI”. Retailers must see how critical it has become to operations as well as the customer experience. Beyond more relevant personalisation, there are opportunities for better product visibility, better product suggestion, and enhanced stock positioning. No longer an example in isolation, AI is offered with complementary technologies, such as inventory search; when blended together it becomes a valuable offering which the consumer can relate to.  IBM Watson, always a leader in AI, has applied Watson technology to its retailer chatbots, which are able to understand and respond to the tone of voice used by the customer in the chart below. Should the customer type more quickly, or use a frustrated tone of voice, the chatbot will adapt its semantics and speed of response to fulfil their demand with the best reaction. This leads us onto the next trend – convenience. The customer journey must exist at lightning speed, from browsing, to selecting a product, to payment completion. As Andrew Busby put it, automation is not to be afraid of in retail, and technologies such as those offered by Slyce and Mercaux make the product discovery process more fun, as well as more successful. Convenience for the retailer is just as important: and RFID has finally become more mainstream, enabling greater store and warehouse stock accuracy. We saw examples of an RFID gun sweep in 5 seconds recording over 200 pieces of inventory – pretty impressive for a daily stock take. The dress below has dual tagging – RFID and security embedded within one tag, which can be easily re-encoded. For the retailer, store associate, or customer, AI will combine with more and more elements of the retail customer journey to offer convenience and optimised experienced.…
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  • 17 Jan

NRF 2018 Vlog Day 2

Retail Assist NRF 2018 Hello again from New York! Rhianne Poole from Retail Assist’s Marketing team brings you more highlights from Retail’s Big Show in the second of our NRF18 videos. In our video we see demos from L’Oréal and Fingopay, as well as catching up with Retail Analyst Andrew Busby and hearing his highlights from NRF 2018. Press play below to watch the video, or watch it on YouTube here. (You can catch up with our Day 1 round-up here). AR (Augmented reality) Augmented reality and digital mirrors have been around for a while in the retail space, but we were pleased to see more realistic and relevant user case scenarios in the beauty/cosmetics industry. Used with cosmetic brands, the technology improves the convenience of trying different make up looks, and provides post-engagement to increase conversion. The value of this technology to the customer was much more evident than in previous years. Frictionless payments By 2020, it is expected that more than $5.6 trillion in payments will be secured by biometric technology. Fingopay, developed by Sthaler, is the world’s earliest customer identification technology powered by Vein ID biometrics. Seamless payments remove the number of touchpoints in the transaction journey, and Fingopay is a great example of this. Fingopay not only offers greater convenience for the customer though frictionless checkout, but also provides benefits for the retailer. By integrating with the retailer’s loyalty proposition, engagement with the brand and repeat transactions are encouraged. Retail Reflections We also caught up with Andrew Busby, who gave his insights into the top trends this year at NRF18. We share perspectives on the empowerment of the store and its teams. The place of the store in the retail customer journey must be prioritised: 98% of Gen Z still want to shop there. Experiential Retail is key for their demographic. To sum up the sentiment of the conference, sessions and Expo itself – Retail will be nothing without AI. You can check out Retail Reflections’ NRF18 content on their website here.…
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  • 16 Jan

NRF 2018 Vlog Day 1

Retail Assist NRF 2018 Hello from New York! Rhianne Poole from Retail Assist’s Marketing team brings you highlights from the Show in the first of our NRF18 videos. The key trend we identified from Day 1 of NRF 2018 is the advancements in AI, turning the power of data into realistic, use-case scenarios. Watch our technology insights from NRF Expo 2018 in the below video or over on YouTube here. Here are our 3 tech highlights from NRF 2018 Day 1. AI for product visual search: Slyce Visual search was brought onto the retail scene last year by ASOS, to enable the customer to take a photo of a product in real life, on a catwalk, or from a magazine – whenever inspiration or a customer need occurs. Slyce is taking this to the next level, partnering with retailers such as American Eagle, Tommy Hilfiger’s UK and US app, and Urban Outfitters. Working with another AI disruptor, Find Mine (used by Adidas), Slyce offers slick integration with a chat bot to provide the instantaneous social commerce favoured by Gen Z. Slyce’s customers have reported a 20% increase in average order value thanks to the technology’s ability to successfully identify product in an engaging way, or offer similar items to close a sale. AI and conversational commerce: IBM Watson now reacts to emotion in real time during conversational commerce. The demo seen in our vlog above is applied to an online scenario, but also works paired through voice. AI is playing a role in the following: • Supply chain – for efficiency • Operational – for merchandising • Consumer – to interact in a retail context (voice, natural language, emojis). The consumer is the main focus for Watson Commerce. Watson’s Chatbot demonstrates conversational commerce and learns to undertake emotion, changing the content to meet consumer needs. In the demo, the user has asked to see a range of sweaters. She asks the chat bot “Add that to my cart”. But what is “that”? Watson is able to identify which item the user might desire based on the fact that she clicked into the item detail, and by inferring positive sentiments from her language use. Rather than a typical Siri based “all questions, less answers”, Watson has learned to pre-empt and suggest to improve the customer experience. This links to Google Home/Alexa, whereby asking “where is my order” can bring up previous order history and delivery details. And the buzzword process for cognitive? Understand, reason, learn, interact. You heard it here first! Digitisation of the store through smarter product looks You may have seen recently that Retail Assist has partnered with Mercaux. The in-store technology company enables retailers to transform their in-store shopping experience by bringing the benefits of digital into physical stores. Mercaux, which supports the likes of United Colors of Benetton, L.K. Bennett and French Connection, offers a mobile platform that unifies a retailer’s online and in-store sales experience and empowers store associates to deliver an exceptional omnichannel customer journey.…
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NRF 2018 retail trends
  • 8 Jan

NRF 2018: Retail Technology Trends

NRF 2018 With just 6 days to go until NRF Big Show and Expo 2018, we’re preparing ourselves for the miles of retail technology on show. Taking place from Sunday 14th January – Tuesday 16th January 2018 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Kevin Greathead, Head of Partnerships, and Rhianne Poole, representing Marketing, will be in New York for the duration of the Show. CES 2018, the Consumer Electronics Show, taking place this week in Las Vegas, usually gives an insight into the types of innovations and retail technology trends we might expect to dominate 2018. At CES, wearable technology has become even smarter: how about L’Oreal’s nail-size chip that monitors UV exposure, or smart shoes which detect if its elderly wearer has fallen? Wearables have definitely evolved from ’tech-for-tech’s sake’ gadget types to genuinely useful devices that benefit the user in day-today experiences. And that’s the key word: experiences. Experience-led retail Oasis at Tottenham Court Road delights customers with a cocktail bar, coffee lounge, and in-house nail & hair salon. In 2018, retailers must focus on their customers’ omnichannel experiences, and the stories they want to hear. It’s no coincidence that Instagram launched ‘Stories’ last year as a method of documenting its users’ lives “in the moment”. Retail must follow this example to continue to excite and delight its customers. It has become a well-quoted statistic, but as Generation Z and millennials acquire a greater proportion of consumer spending power, they prefer experiences to a simple transaction: why they are buying an item (the story behind the product or experience surrounding the purchase), rather than what they are buying.   Retail Reflections has put forward “Immerse, Inspire, Intrigue” as the 3 pillars of customer experience for 2018. We’ll be meeting up with Andrew Busby, founder of Retail Reflections, and Vend Top 100 Retail Influencer, whilst in New York, so stay tuned for further insights. Retail Technology Vlog Retail Assist’s retail technology blog and NRF vlogs will combine new perspectives on retail trends, by identifying upcoming technology innovations as well as purposeful, easily deployable solutions.  If you’d like to meet up with us whilst in New York, just fill in your details here and one of our team will be in touch. Not attending NRF? Don’t miss an update! We’ll be tweeting @RetailAssist, posting Facebook Live videos and compiling NRF 2018 vlogs on our Youtube channel. Want to check out our highlights from NRF 2017? Watch our 2017 retail technology vlogs featuring RFID, AI, cognitive computing and more.…
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NRF Retail Assist
  • 2 Jan

Countdown to NRF 2018

Retail Assist NRF 2018 Happy New Year! It’s just under 2 weeks until NRF’s BIG Show and Expo in New York, taking place from Sunday 14th January – Tuesday 16th January 2018 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Attending NRF Expo annually, Retail Assist continues to lead the way with retail technology insights. The show brings great opportunities to chart latest developments, and network with faces old and new. We’ve already heard from some of our partners and customers, but if you’d like to schedule some time to meet up with the Retail Assist team whilst in New York please fill in your details here and we’ll be in touch. This year, Kevin Greathead, Head of Partnerships, and Rhianne Poole, representing Marketing, will be in attendance for the duration of the Show. Want to check out our highlights from NRF 2017? Watch our 2017 vlogs of the technology highlights, including cognitive computing, RFID, and more: We’ll also be recording vlogs this year, as well as posting live feeds from our Twitter and Facebook page via the Facebook Live function. So, what can we expect to see from NRF 2018? Cognitive Computing Last year at NRF 2017 the Retail Assist team saw impressive advancements in IBM’s Watson technology as the biggest opportunity for retail. The amount of data generated continues to grow at an exponential rate. Cognitive computing, making sense of unstructured data sets, is the gateway to more relevant, and more intuitive retail personalisation. Once brands begin to mine data intelligently using cognitive, we can expect to see personalisation become successful: to use a well-worn phrase, ‘cool’, rather than ‘creepy’.   Empowering stores with Digital Many retailers attend NRF in the spirit of ‘New Year, new technology’. Retail Assist’s latest partner, Mercaux, is on the cutting-edge of store digitisation – if you’re looking for a simple, powerful solution to increase store conversion, visit Mercaux on Stand 438. Offering a dynamic mobile platform for store associates, Mercaux brings the power of digital in-store to enable better store-to-store communication, improved stock visibility, and optimised customer service. Find out more about Mercaux here. If you’re attending NRF in January, join us for a demo at Mercaux’s stand: just fill out your details here to schedule a meeting. Click here to meet up! We’re looking forward to seeing you next Sunday.…
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