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IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

  • 14 Jan

Latest technologies and experiences from the NRF EXPO

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Having just returned from the NRF EXPO in New York where we exhibited our Merret Supply Chain solution, I wanted to share my reflections, it’s highlights, and the technological influences we may see retailers using in the future for anyone who was unable to make the EXPO show.

It sure was a huge show, packed with delegates, and really busy.  The general themes coming from this year’s event were around three areas:

  1. The customer experience/interaction
  2. M-commerce
  3. Apps (which essentially brought all of this together)

One App I wanted to share with you was launched at the show.  It ultimately allows consumers to place a bid on an item in a shop, to try and get a reduction in price.  If the bid is accepted by the retailer, the consumer then receives a voucher code or coupon for the price reduction, which the customer can then take to the till.  This allows retailers to determine the highest price a shopper is willing to pay, yet the consumer is happy as their bid allowed them to gain a reduction on the original price tag.  Ultimately this may allow retailers to move slow moving inventory whilst still making a profit.  For retailers it could also remove the need for discount stores, and allow them to compete against discount online, without being forced to cut all prices.  All this is done from a shopper taking a photo of the product, scanning its barcode, then using a clever app that allows them to tell the retailer how much they are willing to pay for the product and how long they are prepared to wait for a response. This is then sent back to a central application where the retailer can use pre-determined rules, or manual intervention, to accept or reject the offer, or make a counter-offer.  This seemed pretty amazing, and something which again may change consumer expectations, and the way in which retailers interact and move goods.

Another advancement, again utilising the iPhone to assist retailers, was a hand held terminal that the iPhone can be inserted into to create an end-to-end retailing tool. The combination of hardware and software brings together a printer, magnetic swipe reader, barcode scanner, smart-card reader all in a hand held portable device.  From one device there are endless uses including point-of-sale and transaction procession, inventory control and management, route accounting and delivery, citation issuance and tracking.  Something which retailers would greatly benefit from.

With much international presence from delegates, these influences are likely to be global, and development endless.  It seems that smart phones really do make retailing so much easier, and will become the way forward for both the retailer and consumer, as it becomes an ever more accepted way of doing business.

If you did attend the show, please comment and share with us your own highlights, and the new technologies you may have seen.   No doubt in the coming months we will start to witness retailers utilising the new technologies available to them.

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