- 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.
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…
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.
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 of store and how it directly impacts on customer experiences.’
However, one of the biggest developments is centred on American retailers.
She explained: “The penny has dropped that the US will no longer be the world’s largest consumer: it will be overtaken by Asia by 2020. There’s a hell of a lot that they (American retailers) can learn from how (companies such as) Alibaba are doing physical retail.”
Lastly, she reflected on the ups and downs of the past 12 months within retail, amid constant headlines proclaiming the death of the high street. Instead, she said: “Online no longer needs to cannibalise a customer base. The store is very far from dead! We are going to see fewer stores but more impactful experiences.”
Alex Broxson and Anna Murphy are in New York for the NRF Big Show. Don’t forget to follow our social media accounts for all their top tech insights from the show and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch their highlights from across the expo.