During our time at the NRF's Big Show, we have taken the Retail Exchange podcast team across the pond to record episode with leaders in the industry. As well as exploring more of the exhibition halls, our third day involved a number of thought leadership podcast interviews– the NRF special episode will be available to listen to at www.theretailexchange.co.uk next week.
On the exhibition floor, the Perch team is creating some interesting interactive displays, including this one for Jo Malone. Perch specialises in technology that allows the touch of an in-store shopper to launch a digital and physical experience. When customers pick up a bottle, the digital display in the background shows a beautiful image associated with that bottle's fragrance. Stunning, clean, eye catching and very responsive.
The beauty sector is embracing technology such as that from Perch, enabling customers to view more information about a product, read how-to tips and share on Instagram with ease.
Brother pulled in the crowds with this big dude.
The Retail Exchange podcast host, broadcaster Ben Bland.
Ian McGarrigle, founder & chairman of World Retail Congress, joins us to share his thoughts on the industry.
Jason Breazeale, director of innovation at Ahold Delhaize, also joined us in the podcast booth.
Karl McKeever, founder and managing director of Visual Thinking, and Retail Focus columnist, takes to the podcast booth to share his thoughts on this year's show and the future of retail.
Cristina Ceresoli, senior vice president for retail strategy at the National Retail Federation, said footfall was at a record high this year – 37,000 visited the show in 2018, up from 35,000 in 2017.
We met up with Alison Wiltshire, global practice lead, retail and consumer goods at BT, on the 56th floor of the New York Times Building where the company has its own demonstration store.
To end the show, Michelle Peluso, senior vice president & chief executive officer at IBM, chatted with Tommy Hilfiger, founder & principal designer of Tommy Hilfiger about 'The Power of disruption'.
The exhibition halls were bursting with solutions – AI, RFID, NFC, AR, VR, data analytics and till systems. There is just SO much choice and retailers have the unenviable task of getting their heads around it all and deciding which solutions are best for their customers and business. Now a very technology-focused show, one thing was clear at the 2018 event – no one has the magic answer for what's the next big thing? The reality of technology replacing some of a person's duties in store is clear, as well as the use of technology to aid the sales assistant to deliver a smooth and stress free experience for the customer. When we asked a robot what role humans have in retail, 'it' replied: 'The humans are behind the technology that is being put out there.' We'll always need the human touch, and the emotional thinking behind it... Showcasing it at NRF's Big Show is one thing, but implementing it successfully is another.
Read our full review of NRF's Big Show in the February issue of Retail Focus magazine.