What is driving the changes? 2021 was the year of “The Great Resignation” which cut our industry deeply. Of course, attracting and retaining staff is a never-ending challenge for us, but never has it been harder. Add to that the increasing premium on providing top service in our stores, and innovation is never more needed.
I am excited to see the ways that creative and innovative firms will be introducing technology to fill the gap. Technology with a human face to augment and support the staff leads my interests. This is the year when retailers have to move beyond simple digital signage and engage customers with true interactive and narrative digital tools. The key is conversation – not lecture - multi-lateral with direction of the conversation led by the customer and shaped by the brand.
I am also excited to see if this is the year that AR and AI really deliver. There has been great promise up until now, but often paired with great cost and questionable return. With the price of the technology dropping, will there be a solution that really delivers? Something innovative that is accessible for retailers at all levels?
Finally, I am excited to see innovations in mobile technology. We have been resistant as an industry to embrace mobile, and I believe that is to our detriment. We most often treat our e-commerce and retail channels as separate entities. We manage them differently, give the channels different incentives, and market them differently. The thing is, shoppers couldn’t care less about those corporate distinctions, and they find frustration and irritation when there are barriers erected by brands within the brands themselves. Who is bringing the solutions to deliver true seamless integration across virtual and physical channels? What innovations are emerging there?
We all know as an industry that we need to accede to the future – today. I am hopeful for what NRF brings to propel our industry forward.
Come and join me at NRF!
324 S. Beverly Drive, #369 Beverly Hills
CA 90212 USA Los Angelos