January 17, 2020

NRF 2020: Highlights on key topics and trends

BI at NRF 2020It’s good to be back! We just returned from a great trip to New York City for NRF 2020 Retail’s Big Show where we not only had the chance to showcase Cash Process Automation within our booth, but also took note of predictions for this year in the world of retail.

Today’s customers expect more than just transacting when shopping. Liquid or fluid customer expectations occur when they encounter inconsistencies between a past and current shopping experiences. In a session entitled “Using technology to reinvent the purpose of the store,” Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal was quoted as saying, “I don’t think retail is dead. Mediocre retail experiences are dead.” Retailers are becoming hyper-focused on creating positive, unique customer experiences, but that requires associates to spend more time on the sales floor and less time on operational, back-of-store tasks. A clear theme throughout Big Show was that technology is the best way to do that.

Here are a few of the key topics we picked up on during our time there:

AI & Machine Learning: It’s not a matter of if, but when retailers will begin to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning. Brick and mortar stores aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. At the same time, retailers need to find a way to connect with customers, and the best chance of doing so relies on updating in-store tech. This will enable them to improve in-store shopping by creating unique and customized experiences, and to spend less time on back-office, operational tasks.

The Human Element: It almost seems counterintuitive that another trend is the human element while we’re heading into a digital world. Retailers are already making major strides in revamping loyalty programs, but creating a positive experience goes well beyond loyalty. Customers place a high value on personalized journeys through their decision-making process – personalized recommendations, shopping integrated into their daily life, understanding how to get the most out of products, and being empowered with the proper tools to control their experiences. This is driven by retail tech and enables face-to-face interaction that help customers have a positive brand experience.

Data-driven Decision Making: It should come as no surprise that data was a hot topic at NRF 2020. Many retailers get caught up in data storms and take on more than necessary, or just don’t know what to do with all of the information they have in their possession. Overcoming trust issues around data-informed decisions made at corporate is another challenge at the store level. When it comes to actionable data, you need to keep it clean and know what you have. Retailers must use their data to create individualization by delivering convenience, personalized choices and engagement based on preferences. How do you ensure customers get what they’re looking for quickly and simply? You use data to understand their problems, how to make problems better and what you have to offer as a solution.

We’ll cover these topics and more in our next blog series. In the meantime, check out how Cash Process Automation helps retailers use data to their advantage to focus on what matters most: customers.