Our team was in “Retail Disneyland,” also known as New York City, for NRF last week. We had a fantastic week and had the opportunity to meet so many great people! Below are a few of our key takeaways from Retail’s Big Show.
Personalize but don’t be creepy. It’s clear customers want a unique experience. Millennials are the largest generation right now and they are largely focused on experiences, especially those they can share. But the challenge is now allowing for authentic interactions as opposed to creeping your customer out. They need to believe they are being acknowledged as an individual as opposed to a segment or group based on online history or social media assumptions. As retailers look to personalize their omnichannel experience the next step may be looking at those individualization components.
One of the biggest hits within our retail booth was our POS tied back to our Digital Signage application to display personalized messages to the customer as they leave the store. It's one additional piece to delight the customer in their experience and thank them for their business.
Omnichannel is more than e-commerce in-store. Now that the majority of retailers are beyond asking what omnichannel is, the conversation has moved to what mistakes have been made in trying to achieve the omnichannel experience for customers. I spoke to a lot of retailers who had attempted to just place tablets in-store with their existing website. And it’s not working.
Customers want an exceptional user experience with exceptional content, often far beyond what a website has to offer. They expect screens to react quickly to their touch and they do not want to rely on slow load times. But even more than that, customers expect unified commerce. Both from being able to easily view what’s in stock vs. shipping availability and they don’t want have to make multiple purchases in one visit if they’re buying a combination of in-store and virtual product. This is a great place where additional technology can create efficiencies.
The importance of data visualization. When data isn't visible, it's easy to ignore. Many retailers have been trying to cut back staff, close stores, and reduce footprints but what they are quickly finding is that isn’t always the right answer to their problems. Many retailers expressed a need for a bird’s eye view of their companies to help make decisions around people, product, merchandising, sales, etc.
With Retail Visions we were able to show large format data visualization dashboards to illustrate the potential impact of putting metrics out in the open in front of staff. The goal being to provide always-available data and accountability through exposure.
Virtual reality in many shapes and sizes. There has been a lot of talk about how VR can play a part in the in-store experience and some retailers are even accomplishing it today. This year at NRF it became clear there are a number of ways VR can be used in-store – and it’s not just customer facing. A lot of companies were showing how VR can be used by employees to analyze in-store activity, including who are the best shoppers, misplaced products, etc.
When it comes to customers, VR was used to show how brands can communicate emotion through the use of 360 video and the sale of complex and oversized items where you can customize your purchase in real time.
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