January 24, 2016

NRF 2016: 3 things we heard from retailers



Another NRF has come and gone, and, as usual, we loved getting to meet new retailers and connect with our customers. We talked with retailers of all types and sizes, and as we spoke, we noticed a few common themes. 


Retailers want more insight into what’s happening at the store level.

When you’re at the corporate office, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on at each store. Reports will tell you, but we find that most retailers rely on manual reports sent from each store. Spotting issues in a timely manner from these reports can be tough. We heard retailers telling us that they’d like to find a better way to stay up to date on activity in their stores.


They want to spend more time with their customers to improve sales.

As RSR analyst Paula Rosenblum points out in her latest Forbes.com article, employees on the floor help improve the in-store experience. And when people get help from a knowledgeable associate, they’re more likely to make a purchase.


They want access to their data, but they want it in a simple way.

All the devices and technologies in retail stores provide real value, either directly to the retailer or by improving the customer experience. But they also produce an astonishing volume of data. Sifting through it to make the best business decisions can be maddening. Data analytics solutions assemble the information you need and present it in an easy-to-consume way. A number of my conversations touched on this topic  so much time is spent working with data that retailers don’t seem to have time for much else.


With all these sources of data, retailers told us they wanted to make the technology they’ve invested in more relevant. The best way to do that is to unify them. These systems — like self-checkouts, smart safes or new a POS  are major investments, and they need to be connected to be relevant.  Disconnected, they provide information in silos. When they’re connected, they can provide consumable information simply and efficiently. Retailers who look at the overall retail technology ecosystem in their stores will find themselves on the right track.