|Another NRF (The National Retail Federation “Big Show”) is in the books! It was a busy, exciting time. We met with many interesting people from all walks of life in retail, and we had a great time showcasing our new partnerships and product features.|
The big theme of this year? Data. But not just data. Data that helps you get closer to the customer. Retailers want more opportunities to touch the customer, influence them and provide great service. Customers want great service, but they also want it to be focused and efficient, with as little “wasted interaction” as possible. Data makes this possible through targeted recommendations. Data at our fingertips is also enabling distributed order management and online/offline inventory control in real time, as well as better focused marketing campaigns, mobile offers and timely discounts. Even retail marketing decisions are now driving the point of sale, because the information we can glean is actionable and helps us understand what customers want – where, when, and how. Data is changing the world of retail and we’re at a pivotal point in the industry. Those who don’t analyze daily doses of data will lose, period.
Speaking of mobile, it’s another big theme for retailers in 2015, with its rise as the top customer engagement channel. Mobile used to conflux retailers but now that consumers are always on, retailers can no longer ignore it, and many are taking a mobile-first approach to marketing and sales. Long gone are the days where mobile was an after-thought, especially as, mobile's influence on in-store sales was $593 billion, or 19 percent of all sales in store in 2013 (up from $159 billion in 2012), according to Deloitte. Thanksgiving 2014 was also a huge indication of how mobile is being embraced as a key focal point – not an afterthought – for mobile shoppers.
It’s clear that retailers are also realizing that digital is a must-have for marketing and sales success. With the majority of shoppers using digital before or during a store trip – often to price compare – retailers must engage with a smart digital strategy. Consumers make purchase decisions long before they land in your store or on your site.
Of course, security was also a big theme, with the looming October 2015 deadline for retailers to comply with EMV regulations for credit and debit card payments. More than 50 percent of retailers are not yet fully prepared for the deadline, according to a new ACI Worldwide retailer survey.
Those were the main themes that we saw dominating the conference floor. What other themes did you see? Stay tuned for more insights as we unveil our video recap - coming soon - where we asked conference attendees one word to describe the state of retail tech in 2015.