Ready to catch up on what was trending at NRF 2019? This year’s big Retail show was full of innovation, offering retailers lots of choices when it comes to optimizing customer experiences, whether online or in store. There are lots of tech solutions—including robots— out there for retailers, and finding the ones that best fit their goals and business model can be tricky. We talked to the experts on the show floor to gather some intel on what next move retailers will make, and we also had the chance to speak to retail expert Bryan Eisenberg about his thoughts post-show. All of this and more in this NRF-themed episode of the Retail Podcast.

ON THE FLOOR: NRF INNOVATORS AND VENDORS GIVE THEIR TWO CENTS

Many of the vendors at NRF 2019 had a lot to say about what the next big thing in retail will be, but much of it revolves around AI and machine learning as well as creating personalized experiences across all shopping channels. We hit the floor to get an ear-to-the-ground perspective on the future of Retail.

“Personalization on websites has become very advanced. The next stage is personalization on mobile devices,” said Michelle Fischer, Chief Customer & Marketing Officer at Kibo, a cloud commerce solutions company.

Erik Archer Smith, Marketing Director with Arm Treasure Data also offered his opinion on personalization and data: “Retailers can no differentiate between buying behavior on web, mobile, and in store. They can use this data to create specific experiences. This wasn’t possible even 12 months ago. The data is no longer in silos and is more meaningful.”

THOUGH INNOVATIVE, NRF BROUGHT BACK THE BASICS

Next up, Bryan Eisenberg, retail expert and co-founder of Buyer Legends, gave us his perspective on the show. While there were lots of shiny new things to see, he believes the show got back to the basics of enhancing the customer experience.

“Personalization isn’t actually a technology challenges. It’s a people and process challenge. In a world where some retailers are moving away from shoppers interacting with employees, retailers should rethink this,” Eisenberg said. “Retail, at is fundamental core, is about people. Use tech to do some things that employees are doing now that aren’t customer focused so those employees can be out creating relationships.”

Eisenberg had a lot to say about two phrase buzzwords: customer-centric and frictionless payment. “The problem with retailers and the use of customer-centric is it may be interpreted in different ways. To be customer-centric, the entire culture has to shift,” Eisenberg said. “Even the stores that allow you to checkout on your smartphone aren’t frictionless. Customers still have to scan items—the same with self-check-out. There is less friction, but it’s not eliminated.”

Eisenberg also shares his predictions for the next year in retail, including the physical store transformation and how brands can create an experience or destination, taking a cue from one of the hottest brands out there, Chip and Joanna Gaines, who spoke at this year’s event.

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