#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

NRF 2014

NRF 2014

“Jeff Bezos is out innovating the rest of the retail industry put together. It is time to innovate or die.” — Jeff Roster, Gartner

This year’s NRF drew the largest attendance to date. Over 30,000 participants from all over the world travelled to NYC to discuss retail trends, innovative tech solutions and set the agenda for the retail industry for the next 12 months. Here are some highlights of the show:

  • The battle for real-time in-store analytics platforms has begun. Companies like SAP are investing big-time in startups like VSSOD or NexVisionIX taking competitive positions against veterans like RetailNext. This race to become THE one platform to rule them all is prompted by studies that predict over one third of retailers are considering selecting one single platform to manage transactions and online interactions across all channels.
  • Retail tech that offers individual personalization of in-store experiences has been prioritized on the wish list of many retailers. Intel’s answer to this trend is a concept they first showed as a prototype in 2012. The MemoMi is an interactive digital screen that mimics how a dressing room mirror works. The difference is -in reality, its not a mirror at all. The device is actually a video recording device connected to a flat panel display. The solution allows the shopper to record several seconds of a video taken as they try on clothes. The customer can then playback the video for a comparison of outfits. The recording and playback functionality is activated by a gesture driven interface.
  • Mobile continues to be the catalyst for both on-line and in-store transactions. Big players such as PayPal, Square and Google are each pushing their versions of omnibus credit card and loyalty mobile apps. Google seems to have a home court advantage as they are have started to integrate online mobile search history and geofencing to allow mobile wallet owners to set notifications for products they have previously searched for when they are on-site or in close proximity of an retail location that sells items they are interested in.

NRF Redefines Retail

The National Retail Federation recently launched the first phase of its This is Retail campaign to counter many of the misconceptions around retail. The NRF hopes to tell the Real story on retail and its critical role in driving innovation.

Retailers are driving innovation to pave the way for quicker access to products, smarter shopping through mobile, and better customer experiences. Why? Because their customers demand it.


Look for more to come in this summer!