IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 7 Jan 2013

NRF 2013

It’s nearly time for our annual visit to NRF Retail’s Big Show.  If you haven’t heard of it before it’s an exhibition and conference that brings together world retailers, providing the chance to showcase and engage in the latest technologies, thinking and networking opportunities. I wanted to share some of my experiences from last year, and my predictions for the technology we might see at the Expo.

There were several highlights for me when visiting last year’s show, the first of which is easy… being in New York! Having never been before, the opportunity to go was amazing.  It really lives up to its reputation and is indeed the city that never sleeps.   I don’t think I will ever forget how tall the buildings are, or the requirement to actually lean back to see the tops of some of the buildings.

A word of advice… taking the open top bus tour in minus 10 degrees is not a good idea, unless you want to look blue in the face….literally.

Of course the main highlight was the technology and experience gained at the show itself.  You can read about the highlights from last year by visiting my blog post, ‘NRF 2012… New York… New York!’

So, on to NRF 2013 and my predictions for the show.

The digital store

Stores are becoming more digitally enabled.  Therefore I expect that we will see many technologies that enhance every element of the shopping experience to increase engagement with customers, including:

  • Technologies and solutions that allow store staff to be better equipped with information via tablet or mobile devices
  • Solutions that enable in store staff to immediately provide answers regarding stock and online products
  • Solutions that enable in store staff to carry out stock transfers, giving further visibility within the retailer and essentially bringing together multiple channels to achieve more seamless omnichannel operations.
  • The ability to have devices in store to enable the ‘point of sale’ to become detached from a fixed place in the store, enabling customers to self-checkout or pay via apps on their mobile phone
  • The use of live screen technology to bring in feeds and reviews from social media platforms, and likewise pushing information out from the store to their social platforms.

In addition to these points, it may also be the case that digital signage solutions are on the increase, bringing the outside world and wider brand experience in to the store.


Multichannel solutions

With retailers such as John Lewis revealing that their multichannel customers spend three times more than single channel customers, this is an area many other retailers will be willing to invest in.  It is likely that digital solutions such as iPad’s and in-store WiFi will be introduced, alongside any new technologies that allow the customer to maintain a connection to the outside world and the wider store experience.

Last year we saw several examples of Kinect enabled in-store technology used for Augmented Reality, designed to overcome the time spent in dressing rooms, or to indeed be used in the home for online shopping.  I think we will see more examples of this at the show, although I am yet to see this technology being used in store.

Whilst all of these technologies support the changing multi / omnichannel retail world many businesses are now looking to host in the cloud and, therefore, providers using cloud based technology are sure to be on show.

We look forward to visiting the show, and reporting the latest trends for technology innovations in retail.  If you are attending NRF 2013, and would like to meet up, please get in touch.

Alternatively, if you would like to know if any of my predictions were correct, keep an eye on the blog and on our Twitter account (#NRF2013), where we will be posting updates throughout our time at NRF.

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