As eluded to in the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Retail Predictions for 2017, an overarching theme at this year’s NRF Annual Convention and Expo was consumer engagement. One of the largest shows in the industry, more than 35,000 industry professionals attended the event last week in New York City. Retailers big and small attended sessions and explored new retail technologies in an effort to stay relevant to their consumer base.
This year’s show saw advancements in technology that improves operational efficiency as well as new technologies that increase the effectiveness of customer engagement. With more than 500 exhibitors and hundreds of sessions, three topics seemed to capture everyone’s attention.
To keep up with consumer buying trends, retailers are increasingly expanding their operations to include online and mobile stores. As these platforms evolve, retailers are seeking ways to create an excellent OmniChannel experience, while ensuring brick and mortar stores are profitable.
Over the past few years the availability of consumer data has increased and retailers now have a vast reserve of data from which to gather insights. Retailers are now looking for technology solutions that provide automated analytics in order to help them make decisions relevant to their customer base.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is alive and well and has a place in retail. Retailers are employing everything from electronic shelf labels to touch-sensitive shelving to help retailers track the path of in-store purchases and increase their effectiveness of engaging with their customers.
Judging by this active community, brick and mortar retail stores are far from dead. Retailers continue to look for the latest and greatest technology to ensure their continued relevance and engage customers both virtually and in stores.