‘’The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’’ Mark Twain
That was the impression Andrew Busby, founder of Retail Reflections, took away from the NRF Retail’s Big Show 2018 earlier this month. This famously misquoted saying by Mark Twain is certainly relevant following the optimism and innovation on display at the NRF show this year in New York.
Where there has been consistent and lingering pessimism around the supposedly inevitable death of physical retail, Andrew feels a shift in the narrative has taken place, and he is predicting a brighter future for retail in 2018.
One of nearly 40,000 attendees in New York, Andrew attends the event annually to take a litmus test of the industry and observe the trends and changes that it is set to face in the year ahead. We are delighted to welcome him back onto the Experiential Retail Podcast to share his thoughts and takeaways with us from the show. We’ve broken down some of the key points:
Technology & Virtual Reality is the new black
We are all aware that tech is a huge part of retail these days, but do we really know to what extent the market is relying on it? Pro tip: a LOT… From barebones POS systems to Virtual Reality shopping, there was a tremendous buzz around what could be possible to increase retail sales for years to come (including Myagi).
Andrew feels that now is the time technology is really starting to be embraced and accepted as a mainstream solution for retailers of all sizes, especially in breathing new life into physical retail. Technologies that create real value for the customer (ahem… did we mention Myagi?) are no longer being presented as something from science fiction, but as usable and effective solutions that can enhance the shopper’s journey – it was particularly interesting to hear Andrew recount the Virtual Reality examples he experiences at the show.
The Business Case for Integrated Technology
“Where previously we may have talked about technologies in isolation, we’ve noticed this year it is more about a blend of technologies…we’re now getting technology solutions which have found a home in as much as they’ve found a business case which a retailer can really start to use’’ —Andrew Busby, Retail Reflections
Take the example of artificial intelligence and facial recognition software. Alone each of these may not immediately be perceived as beneficial in the retail space. But combined they could become a tool for retargeting a consumer as they walk the store, the mall, or even the street where an ad space exists… something straight out of the film “Minority Report” is a not-too-distant reality after all.
Experiential Retail – Think you’ve heard it all? THINK AGAIN!
Experiential retail, a buzzword that you will have heard a lot is set to become even more important than ever. While stores continue to close at a rapid rate, those that survive and thrive will be the ones actually increasing spending on services & experiences, not cutting costs—thus making the stores of the future better than ever before. Something we can all look forward to if you’ve stepped into a mall lately!
Pivotal Role of the Physical Store
Stores are now being thought of as the junction of everything. The customer experience, the final frontier of the supply chain, the product showroom, digital research brought to life—physical storefronts are where all these things collide. Online may grab all the headlines these days (and don’t you dare ignore it), but just take a look at the numbers: 98% of Gen Z-ers still prefer shopping in the store.
So who’s going to win their attention? Retailers that create personal and innovative experiences right inside their own walls. Not only will they snag the initial purchase, they’ll capture and secure this group for the decades of spending they have ahead of them.
Artificial Intelligence in Retail
AI is the future, no doubt. Andrew has described our time as
‘’a watershed moment in the history of retail; the moment when Artificial Intelligence [comes] of age, the moment in history when people [realise] the awe-inspiring potential of this technology.’’
This is a point Myagi wholeheartedly agree with. Our online training platform is constantly growing and developing in order to ensure that sales associates are receiving the most up to date and relevant knowledge to help them with the sale. Using artificial intelligence, Myagi has a few plans in the works to make sure you receive training that is hyper-personalised and hyper-relevant.
Picture a sales associate working in an Outdoor Sporting Goods store in Washington or Oregon, where 9 months out of the year it’s cloudy and wet. When our intelligent content allocation system is informed that this region is about to see 10 straight days of high sun and great visibility (at a time of year it is usually blanketed in cloud), Myagi will prompt this sales associate to undertake training on Sunscreen and Sunglasses in order to make sure they are fully informed and ready to give customers who will be seeking these items an unbelievable experience.
Sales Associates are your best investment, not just warm bodies
‘’Sales associates should look forward to roles which are far more interesting and will become far more roles of ‘’trusted advisor’’ and relationship management and building. Engaging directly in advisory capacities with the customer.’’
With the ability for automation to take care of the more mundane tasks in a retail store, sales associates will soon be able to enjoy much more interesting and pivotal roles. Creating connections and building rapport and trust with consumers to increase sell-through.
Listen to the Podcast
Andrew continued to touch upon topics such as:
- Accessibility of tech for small and large organisations
- The impact all this has on the in-store associate
- Winner of the Retail Reflections ‘’Star of NRF 2018’’ Award
- Automation and the impact on retail
Make sure you listen to the full podcast (embedded below) for Andrew’s expert analysis and commentary on all discussed.