Today’s guests on the MarketScale Retail Podcast Show, Roland Memisevic and MarketScale’s own Geoff Short, discuss two “super” aspects of retail: the use of intelligent avatars in brick-and-mortar stores, and the annual impact of the Super Bowl on the industry. Quite uniquely, retail is being affected by future trends even as it continues to feel an impact from half-century old traditions.

A VIRTUAL WELCOME AT A PHYSICAL STORE

First up on the podcast is Roland Memisevic, co-founder & CEO of Twenty Billion Neurons, a company that creates intelligent avatars to fulfill different roles in a business space, from concierge to smart advisor to store greeter. One of those avatars is already making a name for herself in retail: Millie, the personal avatar they’ve created for brick-and-mortar stores, is providing a more personalized technology-based experience for shoppers. Coming off of NRF where we truly felt the importance of a quality experience for the customer, Memisevic explains how these virtual assistants can have just as big of an impact as the robotics transforming the warehouse, or the tech enabling frictionless payment.

“Millie is the world’s first context-aware digital avatar. Powered by artificial intelligence, Millie is a life-size helper who interacts with people by observing and understanding their actions and the physical context. With her friendly and like-able personality, Millie is the ultimate assistant, offering a level of personal care, from retail greeter and product promoter to personal coach for enhanced skills-based learning,” Memisevic explained on the TwentyBN website.

SUPER BOWL, SUPER SALES

Geoff Short, Chief Digital Editor at MarketScale, came on the podcast to give us a more focused look at one of the biggest intersections of retail and sports: the Super Bowl. Short pointed out that 60.9 million Americans were planning on attending a Super Bowl party, with 44 million planning on hosting. The average American will spend $81 in preparation for the game, with Millennials spending the most of any demographic: $118. Most of that money—80 percent—will be on food.

For individual teams, a Super Bowl appearance is a sure-fire way to boost retail sales; the L.A. Rams have sold “a year’s worth of merchandise in the last ten days, since they clinched their Super Bowl bid,” Short said. At the same time, Short observes that the two Super Bowl teams were probably not the best for the Atlanta market. After all, the Rams only returned to L.A. three years ago, and the Patriots have been to the Super Bowl nine out of the last eighteen years, most likely engaging few Atlanta-native football fans. All of this points to the complexities behind the retail impact of the Super Bowl, both nationally and within the host city.

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