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Blog / Jan. 19

NRF 2017 Trends Report Part 1: Could Retail Finally Be Looking to Get Personal Inside the Store?

Dave Bruno

It’s early on Wednesday morning, after four days of all things NRF, and as I make my way home on the long flight West, I will attempt to coherently document my impressions about a few of the NRF trends and hot topics discussed in our booth during the BIG Show.

And what a BIG Show it was (or perhaps I should say what a “Bigger Show”) as this year they attracted an estimated 35,000 attendees, which is yet another in a long line of record-breaking years.

While Sunday and Tuesday afternoon were typically slower than the peak times, even the “off hours” were active.  We had close to 400 meetings during the three days of the exhibit hall, and several consistent themes emerged from all those conversations.  Let’s explore a few of these NRF trends in a little depth, in a three part series, beginning with persistent personalization:

NRF Trends #1: Persistent Personalization in the Store

As an industry, we long ago began reaping the rewards of higher conversion rates and larger order sizes once we began taking full advantage of digital technology to personalize the online experience. Recently viewed items, purchase history, shopping cart interactions, shipping preferences, and segmentation profiles are just a few of the many digital assets we now leverage to personalize the online experience.

For a variety of good (and a few “pretty good”) reasons, we have been slower to create the same kind of persistent personalization in the store that we now take for granted in digital channels. However, based upon the conversations at NRF, I believe store personalization is about to reach a tipping point. The technology, the costs, the application of the technology and ever-present consumer expectations are all converging to create new opportunities to mimic many of the online experiences inside the physical store.

To demonstrate the potential of truly persistent in-store personalization, we came to NRF armed with a collection of applications powered by the combination of our platform, our clients, and the expertise of our experience innovation partner Formula 3 Group (F3G).

Getting Personal is Getting Easier

Several platform assets including Mobile POS, Order Management, CRM and Clienteling form the foundation for these applications. From there, we work with F3G and our clients to extend the platform and deliver interactive and personalized displays that respond to shoppers’ phones or RFID-enabled loyalty cards to greet them with relevant, contextual and empowering content. We also showcased digital displays that automatically respond to shoppers’ interactions with products to provide detailed product information about the merchandise they handle. We provide inventory availability, size/color options, shipping options, and order taking options for desired inventory that is only available outside of that store.

Check out the video below (starring a stressed-out and rushed yours truly!) to see a couple of these applications. I think you will find them interesting, to say the least:


So, did you indeed find these capabilities interesting?

If so, you are not alone.

Almost everyone we spoke to during the show thought so, too. Retailers were enamored by the potential for empowered and enriched interactions and highly relevant experiences throughout the store, and they loved the potential insights from the experience analytics scorecards.

The momentum we saw makes me think that 2017 will be a very interesting year indeed for all things personal inside the 4 walls of the store.

Interested in hearing more from the show floor? Check out Part 2 of our NRF Trends Report Series: Order Management Moves to the Top of the Pecking Order.