IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

#NRF2019: Technology Takeaways

NRF 2019 Day One Vlog
  • 21 Jan

#NRF2019: Technology Takeaways

Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Executive Just one week ago, we were at the NRF Big Show held at the Javits Center, New York City. With the members of the global retail community in attendance, there was a turnout of 37,000 people, viewing over 800 exhibitors and our Marketing Team were there to capture all the highlights across both days. Including top technology, industry insights and in-depth interviews with retail experts Miya Knights and Andrew Busby, our vlogs cover all you need to know from Retail’s Big Show. Missed our vlogs and blogs? Don’t worry – you can catch them below. Day One Click here to watch our Day One Vlog on YouTube Our Day One coverage reports on the rise of cryptocurrency in retail, the evolution of drone technology and an interview with journalist, author and Head of Industry Insight for Eagle Eye, Miya Knights. Miya shares with us her reflections on the key trends showcased at this year’s expo, including her predictions for retail in 2019. Day Two Click here to watch our Day Two Vlog on YouTube Our Day Two coverage looks at the rise of robotics within retail, vivid digital holographic displays and how retailers can make best use of in-store apps to reach customers from the comfort of their own sofa. All this and our interview with retail influencer, Andrew Busby, and his reflections on the future of retail – does he believe in the ‘death of the high street’? For more of our vlogs, subscribe to our YouTube channel here.…
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Day Two NRF 2019
  • 16 Jan

NRF Day Two: “Dead? No – retail is in great shape!”

Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Executive After another day of walking the show floor at the NRF Big Show, we have even more highlights to share. From robots to holograms, digital displays to in-store apps, we have our top takeaways from Day Two, all topped off with fascinating insights from top retail influencer, Andrew Busby. We’ve had a fantastic time at NRF 2019 and we hope you’ve enjoyed our updates. Click here to watch the video on YouTube In-store Digital Apps Hero is an app that allows customers to interact with store staff from the comfort of their own homes. Initiating a chat through the brand’s website, the customer is connected to a store assistant, preferably within the customer’s locality. The store assistant is then able to send photos and product recommendations to the customer, answer any queries and is also able to show live video – a huge help for customer queries regarding size and fit as the assistant would be able to not only show the item in detail, but also try things out. Throughout the chat, the store assistant is also able to track the customer’s journey through the website and see what other items they might be browsing, to offer the best shopping experience and bring bricks-and-mortar into the home environment. Robotics Whilst robots seem to feature most years at NRF, we noticed an increase in the functional support that robots offer, helping to improve the customer experience. Chinese mega-brand, Alibaba, was showcasing its robotic waiters; customers simply walk into the restaurant based in their Freshippo supermarket (formerly called Hema) in Shanghai, China. After ordering through their app, the robot waiter collects the food from the kitchens and delivers the food to where the customers are sitting, before flipping open its lid, allowing the customer to take the food out. Conversely, Tompkins Robotics have designed a robot to support warehousing, with an automated material handling sortation system. Their t-Sort system has a tray that sits onto of a wheeled mobile unit; the robotic unit can wheel in any direction and the tray on top flips to help sort items into boxes placed around the robot’s path. Digital Displays One stand that impressed us this year from within the Innovation Lab was delivered by Hypervsn, a digital display system that integrates a holographic display. The system is comprised of LED lights and air fans, delivering vivid, intense colour and a 3D effect. With awe-inspiring visuals, the image appears to ‘float’ in mid-air – quite magical! Expert Opinions Andrew Busby is the writer and founder of Retail Reflections, with a finger firmly on the pulse of all things retail. Offering his thoughts on the show this year, he said: “One thing I’ve noticed is that, two years ago, artificial intelligence was being talked about in isolation for the sake of technology. However, going around the show, I’ve noticed that it is now embedded in the solutions you see, with phrases used like ‘driven by AI’ or ‘deep learning’.”…
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NRF Vlog Day one 2019
  • 15 Jan

NRF Day One: “The Store is very far from dead!”

  Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Executive As the sun sets on Day One from the NRF Big Show, we reflect on our highlights from the first day. With over 700 exhibitors and 37,000 people attending, The Big Show certainly lives up to its name, packed full of ideas and developments. However, whilst we’ve caught up with familiar faces over the last 24 hours, we’ve also spotted familiar technology being showcased at the show, along with the usual industry disruptors that one would expect to see. Here’s a round-up of the evolutions, the revolutions and retail reflections from industry expert, Miya Knights. Click here to watch the vlog on YouTube Evolutions They might have been spotted at Gatwick Airport recently, disrupting flights and causing havoc, but drones are also set to disrupt traditional shelf management within the retail industry, too. Whilst drone technology is nothing new, Pensa Systems have developed a drone that uses strategic visibility to navigate stores to report on shelf stock. This evolution in drone technology has enabled the drone to learn and recognise as a human does, with all natural variations making the drones smarter. Operating both after hours and selectively within store hours, the drone charges every time it lands; all the drone needs to know is where it’s going and then learns from that, enabling retailers to keep accurate data on shelf stock. However, it might be some time before we see if this idea really takes off… Revolutions A new trend appearing was the availability of cryptocurrency within retail. Bitstop, a Bitcoin ATM, allows users to see the exchange rate changing in real time, accepting cash deposits and converting these to Bitcoin shares. Andrew Barnard, Bitstop’s co-founder, explained that he was inspired to create Bitstop after thinking about how his mum could buy Bitcoin; although she had cash savings and an interest in investing it, she lacked the technical expertise to know how to convert it to cryptocurrency. This easily accessible technology now sees Bitstop in supermarkets, airports, retail spaces and even petrol stations. Lolli also makes Bitcoin easily available but works as a cashback site. However, rather than a cashback amount in a usual monetary value, it gives the customers up to 30% back via Bitcoin. Although it’s only been running for five months, Lolli is already operating with 500 retail agents and has plans for global development. Expert Opinions She’s an author, journalist and Head of Industry Insights at Eagle Eye, and what Miya Knights doesn’t know about retail simply isn’t worth knowing. We caught up with her to give her reflections on this year’s NRF Big Show, with her analysis of the latest trends and developments. Miya said: “Retailers have been stung in the last couple of years – but 2019 will be a great year to be a consumer.’ She continued: ‘Unlike in previous years, the focus of the 2019 NRF Big Show has shifted from e-commerce back to the impact on store, with a real focus on digitisation…
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Dufry Customer Testimonial
  • 9 Jan

“They know our business intrinsically” Dufry reflect on Retail Assist support

Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Executive Serving in airports all over the globe, Dufry’s impressive brand portfolio continues to provide excellent customer service at all hours of the day. With this in mind, Dufry decided to outsource their front-line IT services and it was paramount to find a support partner who could deliver round-the-clock care and operational monitoring. Gary McDonald, Head of IT, said: “We found ourselves in a position where we needed someone to support our POS solution at very short notice. Retail Assist were recommended by a support partner who could hit the ground running. “Retail Assist came into our environment and lived and breathed our solutions.” Click here to watch the video. He continued: “Retail Assist came to the table and provided the key support function for us, 24/7, 365, for a number of years now.” Having previously traded as World Duty Free, Dufry has encountered much change as a company. Gary reflected: “The transition from World Duty Free to being under the Dufry umbrella is significant. There has been a lot of change for us as a company, but also significant change for our support partners who adapt and move with the pace that Dufry now do things.” If you would like to know more about the support that Retail Assist offers, get in touch at marketing@retail-assist.co.uk.…
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NRF Survival Guide
  • 7 Jan

Q&A: A NRF Survival Guide

Alex Broxson, Retail Assist’s Head of Marketing, shares her top tips Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Executive 2019 will mark the 8th year that Retail Assist has attended the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show in New York. Taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from Sunday 13th January – Tuesday 15th January 2019, Retail Assist’s Marketing Team will be bringing the latest tech updates and developments live from the Expo Hall. However, as a Big Show newbie, I haven’t got a clue where to start. But, luckily for me, Alex Broxson, Retail Assist’s Head of Marketing, is here to give me her top tips. Q: Alex, this is your 4th year of attending. What are you most looking forward to experiencing this year? Obviously the bright lights of New York certainly gives the show an exciting buzz.  Not only this, but it is often THE show to go to meet up with the majority of UK retailing, so I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there, too. For me, I find the ‘Innovation Hub’ one of the most exciting areas of the show.  It is here that we tend to see the latest in retailing and each year the area is allocated more and more space, so it’s definitely worth checking out.  The last time I attended the show in 2016, we spoke to IBM Watson and a car retailer in our Vlog; they had teamed up to develop machine learning, so that the car learnt about regular journeys to offer the driver incentives from retailers and leisure providers whilst driving around.  This technology was completely geared around the personalisation of messaging (literally!). We also saw the introduction of contactless payment technology.  The most interesting take away for me was a ring that was pre-credited with money, which you could then pay with.  It gained power from the blood pumping around your veins: I found this pretty incredible. Aside from the show, the networking events will be great; it’s at these events that we look forward to catching up with faces old and new. Q: This will be my first experience of the NRF Big Show. Here at Retail Assist, we specialise in fashion retail, so I’m especially keen to hear your thoughts on what I should pack?! Firstly, take something warm! New York is always freezing in January. Secondly, wear comfy shoes for the show: it might sound obvious, but there are a lot of miles to cover… Lastly, pack some nice outfits for all retailing events we will be attending whilst out there.  We’ll be heading to the Marriott Marquis on the Sunday evening for the opening night reception, and there’ll also be dinners across the few days that we’re there, including the famous McDonald Butler NRF Party on the Monday evening. Q: Brilliant, thank you! What are your three essential items to take? My big winter coat! An iPhone, so that we can share the latest updates on social media and You Tube. My ever-expanding…
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