Best of NRF 2016: Top 10 Takeaways

By RIS News Staff — January 20, 2016

Eye-Catching Booths
  • In the Samsung booth, eyeQ demoed its facial recognition technology which is able to recognize and analyze the characteristics and behaviors of each shopper and customize the content that is highlighted on digital displays based on age, gender, location, frequency of visit and emotion. 
  • Elo Touch Solutions highlighted its Elo View technology that allows headquarters staff to quickly and seamlessly update digital signage content in individual stores or across the chain with a simple drag and drop interface. 
  • Impinj and Inmotion announced that ShopWithMe pop-up stores are now fully enabled with RAIN RFID technology, creating smart, portable, interactive retail environments. The Impinj booth showcased how the ShopWithMe interactive “Smart Stores” stores combine a retailer’s content and inventory to offer a fully integrated shopping experience anywhere. The pop-up shops also employ interactive displays, smart fitting rooms and advanced checkout functionalities.
  • The Lexmark booth drew a crowd with its Wizard of Oz theme. Visitors could have their face projected onto a large facial display hung high above the crowd to become the Wizard.
 Retail Rollouts
  • Kronos Incorporated  announced that Swarovski, producer and retailer of high-quality crystal product collections, has deployed the Kronos Workforce Central suite of workforce management solutions in locations across Europe and the U.S.
  • Gerrity’s Supermarkets in Pennsylvania is partnering with SKIP to implement a phone-based app that lets customers scan groceries bag as they go and pay, then skip the lines and use a dedicated express checkout lane.
  • Macy’s showcased its reimagined productivity of store floor employees using a sleek modern dashboard. Designed and developed by Confiz, the solution utilizes Microsoft Azure and delivers an engaging experience over Surface 3 tablets with Windows 10 to help its management team be more productive wherever they are in the store.
  • Revionics announced a multi-year agreement with Houchens Food Group, part of Houchens Industries’ widely diverse portfolio of holdings. As part of the agreement, Houchens Food Group has selected Revionics Price Management, Revionics Price Optimization and Revionics Strategic Price Simulation solutions as well as its Advanced Analytics solutions (KVI Analysis and Elasticity Workbench).
  • ForeSee announced that more than 40 prominent retail companies around the world have recently chosen ForeSee’s platform for customer experience measurement including: Fossil, Nordstrom, Torrid, Vans, Zulily, Sephora, Sur la Table, and The Home Depot.
  • True Religion is leveraging Aptos and Formula 3 Group to bring endless aisle to customers via the Apple Watch App. The Apple Watch app is fully integrated with Aptos Mobile Store Point of Sale and Aptos Enterprise Order Management — uniting the online and in-store retail worlds, arming sales associates with a powerful new customer engagement tool.
  • Tyco Retail Solutions announced Macy’s use of RFID to fuel its “Pick to the Last Unit” program for omnichannel order fulfillment.
  • Brooks Brothers, The Rockport Group and VF Corporation have chosen SAP SE’s SAP Fashion Management application, a multichannel, vertically integrated fashion application that harmonizes wholesale, retail and manufacturing processes within one back-office software system.
  • SHOP.COM is using SPS Commerce, Inc.’s advancement to the SPS Commerce Sourcing solution, including an expanded service for retailers that streamlines the process of selecting and onboarding vendors by tapping into the SPS Retail Network and its team of experts.
  • The Americas arm of retail software and services provider PCMS, announced that Giant Tiger Stores Limited, a Canadian owned family discount store with approximately 200 stores, has selected PCMS VISION BeanStore as its Point-of-Sale (POS) solution to replace a legacy system.
  • Cabela’s Incorporated, a hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear retailer, is using Theatro’s voice-controlled wearable devices to replace in-store associates’ two-way radios, expecting the devices to improve customer service and store operations.
  • The Dandy Lab, a London based men’s lifestyle and retail store, is using Cisco’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology to merge the digital and physical worlds of retail by creating an interactive ‘living laboratory’ for customers, providing personalized experiences and unique offerings. 
 New Tech Releases
  • System integrator Direct Source announced expanded depot services, offering equipment replacement (often on the same day) so in-store teams can focus on the customer experience instead of device maintenance.
  • Aila Technologies displayed associate handhelds and displays with scanning capabilities that use patent-pending imaging technology to deliver smaller packaging and ergonomic designs for deployments like smart dressing rooms and interactive store displays.
  • Revionics unveiled its latest innovations in dynamic pricing. The solution can help inform retailers' pricing strategy and guide them when to price match and when it is not necessary.
  • Panasonic announced it Toughpad FZ-Q1, a 12.5” semi-rugged tablet with POS, mobile POS, kiosk and mobile dashboard applications for retail. Purpose built for mobile workers, the tablet features a full HD, 350nit, 10-finger touchscreen, while providing the ideal level of durability for retail work.
  • SAS previewed its suite of IoT products set to be released in the spring. Retailers using SAS Analytics uncover patterns emerging from the downpour of retail data — even while the data is still moving — a key differential component of SAS' first foray into IoT.
  • Checkpoint Systems, Inc. announced that its RFID-based fresh meat solution, which is in development, is now being piloted by food retailers. Results of the pilots have been overwhelmingly positive with 50% reduction in labor, 35% decreases in waste, and 7% increases in sales being reported.
  • IBM announced its Dynamic Pricing solution, a cloud-based offering that automatically recommends an online retailer's best response to changes in performance data and market conditions as well as the latest competitor pricing information.
  • ShopperTrak, introduced its new Advanced Analytics platform, which seamlessly integrates multiple data sets into a centralized location and subsequently provides insight for retailers and mall owners/operators. 
  • Posiflex demonstrated its XT Series of touch screen POS terminals which have a uniquely designed base with integrated options, including a wide range of peripheral connectivity, data redundancy and power backup.
  • Epson America, Inc. announced Epson OmniLink Merchant Services (OMS), a suite of cloud-based software solutions for the retail and hospitality markets. OMS will be fully released in Q2, 2016 via Epson’s cloud partner network, and is currently in pilot release with a number of retail and hospitality brands testing the cloud solutions and evaluating the key partnerships leveraging Epson’s OMS cloud environment. 
  • Advanced Pricing Logic launched PRICEXPERT, a price optimization solution created for retailers of all sizes, which is delivered as a SaaS solution and can be implemented in as little as six weeks.
  • NCR Corporation, a consumer transaction technologies company, is offering new applications available as part of NCR Retail ONE. In addition to integration with consumer-facing applications, such as e-commerce, click-and-collect and 3rd party applications, NCR Retail ONE now supports merchandising and supply chain applications. The company also launched the NCR FastLane SelfServ Checkout Release 6, featuring an integrated convertible option that makes it easy to switch from self-checkout to cashier-assisted mode in peak selling times.
  • Intel Corporation announced the new Intel Retail Sensor Platform, a vertical end-to-end Intel IoT Platform solution that combines an Intel-based gateway, and the Intel Trusted Analytics Platform (TAP) to provide a way for retailers to gather actionable, near-real-time intelligence.
  • Zebra Technologies Coorportion’s new Price Management Execution enables retailers to help implement price changes quickly and can feed back into POS so the price on shelf is the price at the cash register. In addition, Zebra’s new lightweight, ergonomic TC8000 Enterprise Mobile Computer can help increase the productivity of warehouse workers by an average of 14 percent based on workflow.
  • OneView Commerce announced OneView Inventory Management, a cloud-based omnichannel inventory management solution that optimizes order fulfillment with real-time visibility into inventory.
  • Brother International Corporation introduced a series of monochrome laser printers and All-in-Ones to serve a full range of office, workgroup, and larger-volume print environments.
  • Integrated retail technology software provider Celerant Technology unveiled Report Designer, a new tool that gives users of the company’s browser-based platform, Stratus Retail, the power to view sales, inventory and customer information with high levels of speed and accuracy, and features a new wizard that guides retailers through the process of generating customized reports in a simple step-by-step manner.
  • Cash management company Cashmaster International has expanded its range of count-by-weight products with the launch of Cashmaster One, which delivers a count-rate six times faster than manual counting alone.
  • HP Inc. announced the HP RP9 Retail System, the first retail point-of-sale (POS) product shipping with key integrated peripherals that are enabled with Intel® Data Protection Technology for Transactions.
  • Coloredge showcased its digital mirror merchandising solution designed to attract customers with immersive content and engaging them further through an interactive experience.
  • Impact Power Technologies (IPT) highlighted new research that found that by replacing original scanner batteries with IPT aftermarket batteries distribution centers can see a 35-40% rise in productivity.

     
 Retail Tech Companies Join Forces
  • Predictix amounced a strategic partnership with Infor in a structured partnership that includes Infor investing $25 million in Predictix for a minority stake in the company.Under the agreement, Infor will resell Predictix applications as part of the Infor CloudSuite Retail.
  • Shopatron announced that it is now part of a unified omnichannel commerce solutions company called Kibo. Vista Equity Partners, a leading private equity firm focused on investing in software, data, and technology-enabled companies, acquired Fiverun, a leading innovator in the mobile point of sale arena. Together with Vista’s December acquisition and merger of software leaders MarketLive and Shopatron, the addition of Fiverun will create Kibo.
  • Verifone announced it has signed an agreement to acquire AJB Software Design, Inc., a Toronto-based provider of payment gateway and switching solutions for large merchants in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Mi9 Retail has acquired Montreal-based Raymark Xpert Business Systems, Inc., bringing together two retail software companies to offer a broad suite of real-time enabled applications, including merchandising, analytics, point of sale, omnichannel, clienteling and CRM. Mi9 Retail has also acquired Systems Corporation (ASC), a company with experience developing software solutions for jewelers.
  • Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding with NCR Corporation to form a global strategic alliance, which will focus on delivering technology solutions to customers in key sectors, including: retail point-of-sale, supply chain distribution, public sector and federal government information services.
  • Manthan announced a new technology partnership with Hortonworks, the leader in Open Enterprise Apache Hadoop.. As a Hortonworks Certified Technology Partner, Manthan’s packaged analytics solutions on the Hortonworks Data Platform enable customers to get the fastest ROI on their Hadoop investments.

Session Quick Hitters
  • RIS News' editorial director Joe Skorupa, Greg Buzek, president, IHL Consulting Group, and Deanna Steele, VP, brand IT, Lane Bryant, Ascena Retail Group presented the latest research from the 12th Annual RIS News/IHL Group Store Systems Study. A free copy of the first major retail tech study of the year can be downloaded for free here.
  • Jenn Markey of 360pi presented the company's "Holiday Insights Executive Intelligence Report" and shared some of the key takeaways from the annual look at the pricing strategies of Amazon, Walmart and Target. Among the insights Markey revealed: Walmart typically within 5% of Amazon's prices, but during this holiday season the gap increased to 10%; Amazon's Prime began to offer products exclusive to its membership, including 3% of its toy assortment; in hard goods 15-20% of Amazon's assortment changes its price each day.
  • Chris Kelly, senior director, operations and planning, Giant Eagle, presented in a closed door session on the unique challenges the grocery segment currently faces. He explored how the chain's latest Reflexis pilots and rollout are helping solve workforce management challenges and allowing managers to spend more time on the sales floor where they can truly make a difference.
  • Ethan Bernstein of Harvard Business School and Stephanie Burriack, director, retail operations, DKNY presented on how collaborating to create schedules creates happier, more loyal workers, which in turn deliver superior customer service, maximizing conversions and sales. By optimizing their employee scheduling DKNY saw a 5% increase in a nine month, nine store pilot with Workplace.
  • Aaron Surasky, senior director, assortment planning and analysis, The Home Depot, discussed how the retailer is balancing art and science to make localized assortment decisions and leveraging customer and associate feedback to customize assortments at the store level. Partnering with Home Depot on the project was the analytics provider Predictix, which helped the retailer create differentiated, locally relevant assortments while operating multiple channels, explained Kevin Sterneckert frmo Predictix.
  • Chris Ingraham, IT Dir., Strategic programs, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation talked about how the company was running three ERP systems at a time and everything was manual, despite the company’s breadth of products and varying international needs. Fender needed a content management system, which, after implementation has allowed the company to move to two ERPs and it will be down to one image system soon. Before the company could never give its full customer product content to its dealer network, but now they can add that to their e-commerce sites. There is also a standardized place for translations, so globally users can select what language they want product content in.
  • In the “NYC 2016 Virtual Store Tour” session,  a map of innovative NYC retail locations was distributed and reviewed, which you can access a digital version of at retaildesigninstitute.org. The session covered specific stores that provide customers enriched, personal, social, sensory or disruptive experiences.
  • In a keynote session, Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express Company, chatted with Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO, Macy’s Inc., about how companies have to be clear about what their values are. He explained how traveler’s checks were the best part of American Express’s business once, but the company had to “cannibalize” this successful part of their business to survive. Chenault said the company’s success is about what the American Express brand stands for and noted “you need to be at the right place at the right time with the right offer.”
Gen. Colin Powell's Keynote
 
Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret.) energized the retail crowd during the Monday morning keynote session, “Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust & Values.” Gen. Powell joked, “I have to be candid, at this stage in my career I’m just glad to be anywhere.” Gen. Powell talked about how he started out in a baby furniture store in the Bronx, and it was in this little retail toy store where he had a boss who cared about him and pushed him to go to college. This event marked him for life. He urged retailers that it’s their duty to give young employees opportunity and support so they can go on to do great things. He noted that when you trust your people they trust you, but that it requires confidence to delegate. Give employees the training and the tools they need. “The most important things you have in your organization are the employees, the people,” he said and urged retailers to “give them a sense of purpose.” If your employees trust you and know they are being taken care of they will follow you, he explained. He said one of the lessons he was taught in his military career was that “you’ll know you are a good leader when your troops follow you if only out of curiosity.

Rock N Roll Retail

 
The seventh Annual RIS News Rock n' Roll Retail event saw over 300 retailers flood into the Hard Rock Café in Times Square to see their colleagues and friends take to the stage. Three bands made up of vendors, analysts, and retailers entertained their peers and helped them unwind after a long day working the Big Show floor. Among the highlights was a tribute to the late David Bowie, the giveaway of two Fender Guitars to lucky retailers who put their cards in a bowl, and a final song group sing that saw all three bands take the stage at once.

SuperSaturday

 
The seventh annual RetailROI SuperSaturday event was described by many of the 300 retail attendees as the best ever. “This year’s SuperSaturday and NRF programs will raise $525 thousand," Greg Buzek, President of the IHL Group said. "More than 94% of these funds, and all of the funds raised by RetailROI, go to grants and programs for the kids, like the Ebola relief effort in Liberia, which was described by those who received the funds as being like a rope handed to a man about to drown.”

 
Hybrid Mobility

 
A recurring theme on the trade show floor was the idea of hybrid mobility, or one device to rule them all. Countless hardware and software providers were displaying their latest solutions that bring true mobility to the sales floor. Mobile devices that could act as a POS unit either in the hands of an associate or while docked at the cashwrap or self-serve kiosk; used on the sales floor for clienteling, save-the-sale, and endless aisle capabilities; leveraged as an inventory management device; grant associates access to workforce management tools; and more were a key competent of the mountains of tech on display.


Kroger's Personalized Approach

 
In their Getting Personal Through Customer Science session, Matt Thompson, VP, digital business, The Kroger Co. and Yael Cosset, CIO, 84.51 discusses how the mega grocer is attempting to bring the personal touch back to retailing. Cosset recounted his childhood growing up in a French village and the personalized experience the local butcher provided him and his family and compared it to the experience the Kroger team is attempting to bring to its customers, albeit with a modern twist. Thanks to the insights the wholly-owned 84.51 is able to provide Kroger, the grocer is personalizing both associate/shopper interaction and the retailer's promotion management. By tailoring its promotions to shoppers specific interests Kroger has been able to greatly increase its e-mail open rates, with results as high as 50% in some instances.

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