#NRF17: Top 5 Trends to Focus on NOW

All  the gadgets and gizmos at NRF are always a lot to take in. There are miles of new technology to explore. So what are the top NRF trends that you REALLY need to pay attention to NOW?

Here’s our take:

OmniChannel = Unified Commerce

“Omnichannel” has been the name of the game for quite a while. But, in reality, the age of “multi-channel” is OVER. We’ve reached the next generation—Unified Commerce. Shoppers expect seamless integration across ALL touch points. They want what they want when (now, of course), where and how they want it, and they want to pay however they want. Retailers must deliver reliable products and repeatable experiences across every touch point. Because of this, marketers need to organize cross-functional teams to really evaluate your company’s progress on omnichannel deployment. Map your desired customer’s journey and identify gaps and opportunities in your communication strategy.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-Cognitive Systems
AI might still seem a little futuristic and intimidating to some. But, it’s here and it’s not going away. AI can dramatically improve your customers’ shopping and buying experience. Imagine you are searching and searching for a product—it’s time consuming and tedious—when instead an AI can step in as your personal consultant to quickly learn your behavior and consumption habits and then make personalized product recommendations for you. No more SEARCHING!

For marketers, this is great. It means you can analyze disparate data to provide predictive analytics commerce insights and help you better manage your supply chain and staffing plans. Win. Win. Win. Our advice: Identify opportunities to test and learn how AI can improve your customer journey. Leverage existing platforms for speed to market and cost efficiencies.

Retail Clienteling
Clienteling. What do we mean by this? It’s time to take your customer service, experiences, messaging, etc., to the next level. Today, loyalty can be earned only through sustained engagement achieved through differentiated “enriched” personal, social, sensory and disruptive experiences. Retailers must gain an understanding of customer needs and motivations and then create personalized experiences that provide guidance and make customers feel valued.

Its time to reimagine your customers’ experience! Move associates out from behind desks and cash registers and in front of customers. Incentivize customers to download and use your mobile apps. And, empower your associates with omnichannel data so they can provide consultative services without extensive training.

Connected Retail—The Smart Store

For marketers, smart stores are a dream come true. There is no better way to truly create a meaningful dialogue and experience with a target. Retail IOT enables us to dramatically improve customers’ experiences and provide a robust foundation for business intelligence. We can’t improve what we can’t track and measure. We can’t provide unique, personalized experiences if we don’t know who we’re talking to. Smart stores are a game changer.

For those of you new to this game, we recommend a test-and-learn strategy. Start today.

Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality + Augmented Reality is not just for gaming anymore. It is quickly gaining mainstream acceptance and visibility.

Many are still confused about how to use AR/VR at retail. Just like we suggest above, you won’t know until you test. Test and learn. And, test and learn again. Use AR/VR to test new concepts such as product placement, store design and layout and merchandise prior to company-wide rollouts. Use it to evaluate the most favorable shopping experiences. Test with real shoppers.

For more information or a deeper dive, give us a call or send us an email! Contact information can be found below and at tpnretail.com


About TPN (www.tpnretail.com)
TPN is a dynamic-retail marketing agency born in tradition, fueled by innovation, and living at the intersection of commerce and imagination. TPN’s Modal Dialogue™ ensures success in dynamic retail, first by identifying a target’s retail mode of behavior and then by creating content in sync with those modes. Driven by a commitment to making the buy happen for global brands, TPN is celebrating more than three decades of reimagining retail. TPN is a part of the DAS Group of Companies.

New Business Contact: liz_schwab@tpnretail.com

Don’t Lose Your Intern POV

8 months ago, I walked through the doors of TPN as a college student, who had recently finished their junior year, ready to take on this new journey—my first internship.

8 months later, I am a changed person.

Starting your first internship impacts you in a way that school never does—It’s experience in the real world. I also learned that what is necessary for an intern is also important to the established professional:

Be ready for anything
It’s tough to enter a new space and have no idea what you are going to encounter, but the trick is to be ready for whatever is thrown at you. Be ready to pick up whatever is put down and run with it. New concepts, new ideas, new terms—you may not understand it your first encounter, but it will be useful later on. Go into everything you do with an open mind because you never know when you’ll experience something that will change the way you think and act, in your personal and professional life.

Learn, and learn some more
Everything you do can be a learning experience. Whether you’re attempting to craft the perfect email, build the best campaign, give a winning pitch, or trying to make the sale—you are learning. We are never too old to learn something new. Throughout our lives, no matter our age, we will always have room for improvement. In all you experience, find the lesson hidden within and take note of it.

Meet new people at every turn
Network. Network. Network. I’ve heard it in school, I’ve heard it from friends and family and I’ve experienced the benefits. Introduce yourself to new faces; get to know those, whose faces are familiar, a little bit better and never hesitate to build a connection. There will always be some kind of benefit behind it.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to others
Being in a new role comes with obstacles. There are challenges that you may not have a solution to, at least one that comes to mind right away. Asking for the help of others can give you a new view of your challenge, lead you to a resolution and even make you completely change the path you were headed down. Everyone has a different way of doing things, and sharing ideas with others is going to always benefit both parties.

Your Intern ‘Point of View’
It’s an intern that goes into work ready for anything, wanting to learn, with hopes to meet new people, and ready to lean on others when they need it—A guppy in a big sea of experienced fish.

For those of you out in the world that have your 5th to 25th work anniversaries… do you still have your ‘Intern Point of View’?

Even though you may feel like an expert in your field, or comfortable in your role, you are never too experienced, never to knowledgeable, and never have a big enough network to not have an intern attitude. Go into all you do ready to pick up anything that is thrown at you, you may have been in the business for 25 years but that doesn’t mean you’ve seen it all. Never stop learning! There is never a point in your career where you won’t need to learn something new. Meet people. Your network is ever growing, you can never have too many connections and when you can network—network! There’s no telling who you’ll meet that can help you. Last but not least, reaching out to others for help should never be looked down upon. It doesn’t mean you’re uneducated or behind, it’s quite the opposite. It’s a smart move—trust me, a new outlook from someone can change everything.

Whether you’re new to the real world, or have been in it for decades—never lose sight of those attitudes you need to get the most out of your work. Never lose your ‘Intern Point of View.’