Giving back with feedback
The National Retail Federation is donating $1 (up to $10,000) to RetailROI for every unique session review on the NRF mobile app at the association’s annual “Big Show” in New York City.
RetailROI (the Retail Orphan Initiative) is a charity started by the retail community to help orphans and vulnerable children worldwide through clean water, education and computer learning projects.
The annual NRF convention will be held January 15-17, 2017, at the Jacob Javits Center. Click here for more information.
Target execs share their ‘wow’ picks from 2017 Consumer Electronics Show
Voice-activated technology and connected devices are among the hot tech trends that caught the attention of Target executives at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Target posted the faves of some of its executives on a blog on its website. Here’s a sampling:
“As we’ve seen in recent years, connected devices continue to be a mainstay at CES. This year, the acceleration of voice-activated platforms is changing the game — everything from cars to core electronics to sporting goods and more. The noticeable change this year is the increase in guest usage and adaption as these devices become more mainstream. Consumers want convenient solutions that will simplify their lives.” — Scott Nygaard, senior VP, merchandising, hardlines
“I think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) integration will become the new mobile integration. Basically, if a product doesn’t have some sort of AI component, it won't be taken seriously." — Ryan Broshar, managing director, Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator
“In 2017, we’ll see a much bigger presence of voice technology, and it will accelerate connected device adoption. The voice interface will ‘humanize’ the tech, because everyone knows how to talk to something.” — Gene Han, VP, consumer IoT, and head of Target’s San Francisco innovation office
"For me, the power of CES is about seeing larger trends that are on the horizon. This year, there were two trends that will shape the way I think about the year. First, computing technology is growing quickly, which helps explain why there is so much automation being developed for things like driverless cars, health diagnostic tools and dryers that fold your clothes. Second, CES was a good reminder on the power of data and how it can enable us to serve our guests even better.” — William White, VP, marketing
Click here for more.
Tech Bytes: Top three tech predictions
As the retail industry settles into 2017, CIOs industry-wide are dusting off their To-Do lists, and creating a game-plan on how to implement this year’s top priorities.
While these projects will run the gamut, retail is facing an inflection point — one that is influenced by new, “smarter” solutions that will not only change the trajectory of how businesses operate, but how chains will communicate with employees and customers.
With so many projects — and underlying disruptors — to choose from, following are my predictions of where CIOs will focus their attention throughout 2017:
Machine learning. Artificial intelligence is finding a place in retail, especially as more computers are designed for machine learning. A platform where computers learn from previous — and ongoing — processes, machine learning will play a role in how retailers embrace complex data, and produce more accurate results.
Staples for example, is piloting a machine learning-enabled office supply reordering system with business-to-business customers. The cognitive learning process makes the chain “smarter,” allowing it to make predictions, optimize orders, and better service customers.
A new level of personalization. According to loyalty marketing firm ICLP, 59% of U.S. customers would buy more if retailers understood their individual requirements better. This is more proof that traditional loyalty initiatives that neglect to individualize rewards and offer relevant perks are dead.
Shoppers are demanding their favorite brands cater to their specific needs — online and offline — or they will move on to a brand that can deliver. Consider this a wake-up call: it’s high time to better detect and act upon customers’ preferences, wishes and needs — and tap new sources to do so. Dig deeper into mobile and social networks, and use these nuggets to augment transactional data. Armed with this richer level of personal data, use shoppers’ individual interests, location tracking, and social influence to drive even more personalized engagement.
Drones for merchandise deliveries. If Amazon has taught the industry anything, it’s that relying solely on traditional delivery methods don’t work. If retailers want to compete with same day deliveries (heck — even hourly windows), they need to think outside of the box. Many companies, including Walmart, Toys R Us, among others, are off to a good start with buy-online-pick-up in-store services. CVS is further shrinking the window with its curbside pick-up service.
To cover more ground, especially in rural areas, however, drone deliveries are beginning to take off. Unsurprisingly, Amazon laid the gauntlet with its PrimeAir drone pilot in England right before the holidays. However, other competitors, like 7-Eleven are trying their hand at the service as well.
The key will be finding the right formula of technology, service and timing. While companies are in a race to see who can deliver merchandise the fastest (these aforementioned examples are making deliveries within 10-30 minutes), the only way drones will fly is if they can consistently get merchandise into shoppers’ hands quickly, accurately, and damage-free.