Building the Store of the Future: 3 key insights from NRF’s BIG Show 2017

In the fast-paced world of retail, innovation around the customer is critical to success – and nowhere are the latest innovations showcased better than at NRF’s BIG Show in New York.

The BIG Show sets the agenda for the retail year ahead, as tech companies and retailers come together to discuss the top trends, talking points and technologies for the next twelve months. Here are ShopperTrak’s key insights from this year’s show:

Data must drive customer understanding

While the importance of big data is nothing new, many of the keynote sessions underlined the necessity of having a granular understanding of who the customer is, and what they want from their retail experiences – particularly when it comes to the store.

Deloitte’s U.S. Retail and Distribution Leader, Rod Sides, revealed that less than half (47%) of consumers feel that their needs are being met when shopping in the bricks-and-mortar environment. Therefore, more must be done to analyse and interpret shopper behaviour.

Understanding the customer inside and out is a key pillar of the ShopperTrak brand, not just through our own traffic insights, but in the broader capabilities of the Tyco Retail Solutions business.

We were delighted to showcase new profiling technology at our NRF stand this year, which enables retailers to identify shoppers by demographic, and recommend products to them based on this knowledge.

The store associate should be empowered

As NRF launched a new RISE Up education programme at this year’s show, designed to attract new talent into the industry, there was a lot of discussion around workforce skills and productivity.

Far from replacing the need for a human point of contact, the show’s main speakers agreed that technology will empower talented front-line staff to serve customers better, by connecting them to important operational data. This is certainly something we at ShopperTrak already emphasise by giving store managers access to hourly footfall trends through our mobile-optimised online dashboard, enabling them to effectively adjust staff and tasking assignments accordingly.

Store associates will also become customer-focussed as technology takes over logistical processes that encroach on their ability to serve and sell. For example, Tyco used our stand at NRF to highlighting the latest developments in inventory automation, introducing retailers to a robotic device that scours the store when it is closed, providing facility security while also scanning RFID-based inventory intelligence tags for accurate in-store stock check.

The smartphone is getting smarter at engaging store shoppers

Hot on the heels of Amazon Go, there was a lot of discussion around mobile’s role in the physical shopping experience – and the opportunities this presents to retailers.

As the one unanimous device across channels, it was widely acknowledged by NRF speakers that engagement, interaction and loyalty in the store need to be driven through consumers’ smartphones. Otherwise, there is a risk that shoppers can use their mobile device to drive them in the wrong direction – looking up prices online and buying the item cheaper elsewhere, for example.

Thankfully, NRF showcased innovative new ways in which mobile technology can reshape the way retailers engage with physical retail consumers. For example, the ShopperTrak/Tyco Retail Solutions stand featured a new mobile-based security solution, which enables shoppers to unlock security tags through their smartphones.

At the same time, these intelligent tags can add value to the retail experience, by dynamically changing prices to optimise the cost of items in line what competitors are charging – showing that productivity and value are not just confined to the store associate.

What were your key takeaways from NRF’s BIG Show 2017? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ShopperTrakEMEA.



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