Top 3 Takeaways from #NRF16

Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 in Connected Store, Events, Omnichannel, Retail

CloudTags is back from a great week in New York and wanted to share our top highlights from the conference. We hosted a Connected Store Experience at Timberland at their Herald Square location and had many people come in and out to get a glimpse at a CloudTags powered store. In case you missed it, we made a short video of the store experience.

Here are the top highlights from NRF. What was your favorite experience at NRF this year? Let us know on Twitter @cloudtags.

1. There Is A Shift Of Power In Retail and Technology Is At The Center

With mobile web + apps dominating the first half of the decade, the next half will be focused on developing in-store technologies that cater to the today’s shopper. They are comfortable with how online retailing is handled and expect that same level of choice and assistance in the retail store. However, the biggest disconnect for retailers in this arena is the way shopper behavior is measured online vs. in the store. Unlike e-commerce, very few retailers are measuring in-store behavior well and up until recently, the technology had not matured enough to pique enough retailer interest. As we push ahead into 2016, there are many in-store technologies that will help bridge the gap in measurement between online and offline efforts.

The main reason behind this push? Online retailers are carving out their own piece of the omnichannel pie. According to Steve Barr, a partner and the US Retail and Consumer Sector leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, “If the leading retailers are grabbing a disproportionate share of the overall growth, then it’s coming at the expense of the store-based retailers and their online offerings.” At the end of the day, brick-and-mortar can play and win against online retailers; they need to become smarter and leaner about how they think about their holistic retail strategy.

2. Retailers Are Starting To Actively Invest In The In-Store Experience

Retailers have been trying to crack the code on how to create great experience through consumers mobile devices. As we move into 2016, retailers are starting to figure out how their mobile strategy plays in the broader customer experience. For retailers to thrive years ahead, they are quickly on a crash course with their e-commerce counterparts.

The two biggest advantages that brick-and-mortar retailers have today are that:

  1. Most purchases are still made in their retail stores, not online
  2. Their stores are the only place where they are in full control of their customer experience

The retailers who recognize that and create meaningful experiences for their customers are key to driving lifetime value and brand loyalty over time. It will be interesting to see how retailers adopt different approaches to in-store technology and the how successful their customers will adopt that experience over time.

3. No Great Technology Can Replace A Mediocre Strategy

With all being said with technology helping innovate the in-store experience, it can only take you so far in driving long-term success in this ever-changing retail landscape. Retailers can use as many technologies as they want, but if they are unable to understand the “why” of their customer experience strategy, then it won’t matter what they do use because shoppers will tune them out over time.

To put the retail landscape in perspective Here’s an excerpt from the Forrester/RetailNext report, Real-Time Data Drives The Future Of Retail:

“Consumers don’t differentiate their shopping experiences by channel, and if retailers want to thrive in the age of the customer, they must align to the customer, not the channel. This means that companies need to understand shoppers across touchpoints. Embracing digital capabilities in-store and harnessing customer data that is actionable in the moment and can help drive greater lifetime value are vital to delivering exceptional CX.”

Retailers are at a moment of truth where they need to rebuild their foundations and prep for the next five, ten, and twenty years. The pain of innovating and take chances now is better than going out of business.