The store of the [very near] future, as inspired by NRF’s 2015 Big Show
The National Retail Federation’s 104th annual conference, Retail’s Big Show 2015, took place on Jan. 11-14 in New York City. The more than 570 exhibitors and 30,000 attendees got us thinking about the future of retail. Here are a few items that have the potential to completely change the way you shop:
Powershelving gives greater control to retailers—allowing them to quickly adjust prices and be notified when items are out of stock—and helps cut down on the cost of labor and materials. Several companies arrived at NRF offering varieties of smart shelving, including Powershelf by Panasonic. Powerself can be installed on existing shelving units. It boasts inventory and price management software, as well as out-of-stock sensor technology, among other capabilities. Powershelf combines battery-free, wirelessly powered electronic shelf labels (ESLs) with several applications to help drive engagement and loyalty among customers.
2) A store in the palm of your hand– Cloud Technology
Avid gamers will be excited about GameStop, which announced plans to use Microsoft Azure, a new cloud platform, to enhance in-store engagement among customers by creating a digitally-driven shopping experience within the store. Utilizing Azure, GameStop will be able to stream video game and promotional content direct to mobile devices of both shoppers and stores associates.
Customers will have the ability to access and view GameStop’s catalog of video games, and associates will also be able to obtain individual customer data for those who have opted-in. Other capabilities of the cloud platform include: streaming video game trailers direct in-stores and an in-store mobile shopping cart.
3) Memory Mirror
For indecisive shoppers, Intel is here to help by stepping up the personalization game with its new Memory Mirror, which offers shoppers and side-by-side comparison of outfits they’ve tried on through the use of intuitive hand gestures. Customers are also able to view photos and videos of outfits they previously tried on, digitally changing the colors of an outfit, as well as sharing photos of outfits via social media. This magical mirror is currently deployed at select Neiman Marcus locations, so go on and check it out today (or tomorrow, which is the future).
4) Pocket Printer
A ripe example of one of the new, yet relatively common, technological innovations that’s popping up in stores today is the point-of-sale checkout, which is when a sales associate offers to ring up your purchase in the aisle. When a customer is rung up in this manner, they are often forced to part with their precious email address (assuming it’s typed correctly) in order to receive a receipt.
Thankfully, this might be changing, as technologies such as Zebra’s mobile printer gain in popularity. Zebra’s palm-sized printer allows for your paper receipt to be printed anywhere in the store at a rate of up to 3.5”/second. The mini printer syncs with Apple products via Bluetooth. These mini printers will (hopefully) save shoppers who want to return their items miserable minutes of sifting through their endless piles of junk email.
5) Geospatial Analytics
If you’re one of the majority of shoppers who continues to conduct nearly all of your day-to-day shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, be careful about where you choose to sign your next lease agreement. Today, where you live can have a greater influence on what you buy than it has since pre-internet days.
Geospatial analytics, as this burgeoning data analytics field is often called, will influence what type of promotions and marketing campaigns are visible to you, based on the habits of the people who live near you. Geospatial analytics companies will look at the types of media you and your neighbors consume in effort to create appropriate marketing campaigns based off what the data shows. Retailers can now plan their promotions and how they advertise said promotions around socioeconomic and demographic information that lets them customize campaigns to tiny subsections of a market— a campaign that is targeted to people who live within only a 15-minute drive time of a specific store will not be unusual.
Check out this fascinating geodemographic infographic put out by Esri to determine how your neighborhood might be classified by big data.