At NRF 2018, we asked retail leaders: “What are the top retail trends in 2018?” From artificial intelligence and machine learning to voice assistants, hear about six of the hottest retail technologies and trends they see making an impact this year.
Adrien Nussenbaum, CEO, Mirakl
I think 2018 has the opportunity to be the return of the retail Jedi. Definitely voice related technologies are a part of that. How do you thrive in a world where consumers are bypassing the traditional channels, through voice, and through other enabling technologies? The other thing is, I think that in 2018 we’re going to start to see more services built into the retail proposition. It’s no longer going to be about just selling you a hiking boots, but it’s about the hiking boots and the experience around hiking. Whether it’s a class, or it’s a group to meet and do trails together. The blend of products and services for me is critical.
Julie Sabol, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle
In 2017, retail was really starting to focus on the voice assistant. I think that trend is going to continue into 2018. Retailers will start to experiment a little bit more with those emerging technologies, and understand how to bring technology into the customer journey. I think 2018 will really be a transformative year for retailers, and incorporating technology into the journey.
Katrina Gosek, Senior Director of Digital Customer Strategy – Commerce, Loyalty, CPQ Cloud, Oracle
The top retail trends I see for 2018 that everybody is talking about are artificial intelligence and machine learning. I think the reason those are such hot trends is because everybody is looking for new and interesting ways to personalize and target content offers, and messaging to their customers. I think artificial intelligence really offers a new way to bring that to bear.
Kristen Flanagan, Director of Product Management, Oracle
Customers have so much data. It’s a story that’s been told over the last seven years here at NRF — really being able to take that data and drive it into a personalization experience. I think retailers are still trying to do that seamless journey for the customer, from in-store to digital to mobile.
Greg Worch, Head of Enterprise Sales, Worldpay
I think that the [retail] revitalization process is spinning out in so many different ways. I think that data is a really big part of the story for us, and as merchants start to think differently about how they take transactions, they’re also having to rethink some of the things that they took for granted. Fraud is a great example, and I think the thought from many merchants was that EMV was going to solve that problem, at least at a brick-and-mortar level. And it has at some level — and at the same time what it’s done is push the fraud into omnichannel, or in card-not-present, where they’re participating in a bigger way, and also in a kind of a back-door way. So thinking in a more strategic way about payments is really a critical factor; thinking about fraud.
George Eberstadt, CEO and Founder, TurnTo Networks
I think merchants and brands online are going to get smarter about other ways to compete with Amazon, and a lot of it is the customer experience. Amazon is a very undifferentiated experience. Buying batteries and buying fashion is pretty much the same thing, whereas brands and retailers that are specialized by categories can create meaningfully different experiences, and use tools to help shoppers that Amazon doesn’t have that makes them value-added shopping destinations.
Rohit Garewal, Partner, Object Edge
I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff here around augmented reality and how people are driving better experiences – not just gimmicks – but actually being able to go into a store, for example, and say, ‘Where is the milk aisle?’ Not having to look for somebody and ask ‘Where is the milk?’ You can actually pull up your phone and it will show you in augmented reality, steps leading you directly to the milk. I think that stuff is really cool, and it actually makes for better journeys and better experiences, which will make us want to go into stores, actually talk to people, and get out of the house.
To learn more about trends from NRF 2018, read 3 Days of Retail Customer Experience Takeaways from NRF 2018.
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