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NRF 2019: 3 Days of Retail Customer Experience Takeaways

SmarterCX Team
January 15, 2019

4 minute read

The SmarterCX team was on location at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show in New York City from January 13 – 15 to get an inside look at the latest in retail customer experience trends and technology. This year’s event featured 37,000 attendees including 16,000 retailers representing 3,500 retail companies.

Here are some of the hottest trends, technology, and takeaways from NRF 2019.

Target CEO Brian Cornell at NRF 2019

Target CEO Brian Cornell on the main stage at NRF 2019

4 key steps to stay ahead of the customer

In a main stage fireside chat, Target CEO Brian Cornell shared insight into Target’s success and growth, especially over the past decade. “2018 was a really good year for retail,” Cornell said, also referencing Target’s 2018 holiday season success, and the overall positive outlook for the results of the 2018 retail shopping season. “Target posted its best sales in a decade.”

So what’s changed over the past decade? According to Cornell, everything from the advent of the iPhone to the fact that Target was still running its website as a different business than its stores.

Cornell attributes the transformation and growth of Target to 4 key steps for staying ahead of customer expectations, including:

Step 1: Start with the consumer

Step 2: Be willing to invest

Step 3: Be willing to re-invest

Step 4: Be willing to disrupt yourself

In his fireside chat with National Retail Federation (NRF) president and CEO Matthew Shay, Cornell explained to Shay that although consumer behaviors will always continue to evolve, and technology will continue to advance rapidly, organizations large and small can stay ahead by putting the customer at the center of all decisions.

An up-close look at advancing technology

Evolving in-store experiences was a hot topic at NRF 2019, from the keynote stages to the expo floor. The SmarterCX team got a close look at innovations that are evolving in-store experiences, online experiences, and experiences that create a seamless blend between the two.

We spoke with CX and retail pros and asked them to show us some of their most exciting innovations. Watch our interviews below.

Seamless omnichannel experiences

Most retailers are familiar with and creating omnichannel experiences, but are they seamless and fast enough from the modern customer’s point of view? Danny Beltran, Principal Sales Consultant for Oracle, showed us some of the latest in omnichannel retail technology. Watch our interview below.

Decision points for business (and cricket)

At NRF 2019’s Innovation Lab, we met with several retail technology organizations that are creating incredible new experiences. Avinash Lele, President of Cybage, shared with us how their solution, DecisionMines, is empowering better decision-making for business and for sport – literally! Watch our interview below.

A new way to self-checkout

Self-checkout is a common staple in the retail environment. But many retailers run self-checkout kiosks as a separate project from the rest of the business. Newly released at NRF 2019, we take a look at Oracle‘s latest self-checkout solution which is run on the same code base as other device types in a given store.

Scott Scherler, Master Principal Sales Consultant, gives us a brief demo of the self-checkout kiosk. Watch our interview below.

The smart shopping cart

With lots of everyday devices going smart in recent years, why not add the shopping cart to the list? Ahmed Beshry, Co-Founder and CPO of Caper, showed us what he refers to as the “Amazon Go” of shopping carts. Add an item to the cart, and the cart adds the item to a running list on the cart’s screen, as well as provides insight on item location throughout the store, shows deals available, and more. Watch our interview below.

Using customer analytics to drive loyalty

Is your company doing a good job of capturing customer information? Has your company had success in in upgrading loyalty rewards customers from one level to the next — say from gold to platinum status? Rand Fernandes, Master Principal Sales Consultant from Oracle, shows us a customer insight retail analytics solution that helps surface critical data points and allow CX and retail managers to make informed decisions based on data. Watch our interview below.

Earn Bitcoin while you shop

We’re all familiar with loyalty programs, but did you know that you can earn Bitcoin while you shop? Alex Adelman, CEO of Lolli, explains how Lolli lets consumers earn Bitcoin while they shop at 500+ participating merchants, as well as shares his views on Bitcoin trends in 2019. Watch our interview below.

Turning customers into brand ambassadors

Promoting one’s own brand is part of any company’s marketing strategy, but getting others to promote your brand for you — especially customers — is ideal. Duel has set out to make it easier for brands to turn their customers into brand ambassadors, and also measure and reward customers’ efforts. Watch our interview with Duel’s Founder and Managing Director, Paul Archer.

Reimagining staff training with virtual reality

Our NRF 2019 experience wouldn’t be complete without giving some of the latest retail technology a try. We spoke with Jamie Fleming, Founder and CEO of Studio 216, who allowed us to experience a virtual reality environment that helps train staff on customer service and sales interactions by creating a virtual store experience, complete with a virtual customer, and guided by a remote trainer. Watch our interview below.

To find upcoming customer experience events and conferences near you, view the events calendar.

Header and main stage image courtesy of NRF.

SmarterCX Team
The SmarterCX team is comprised of subject matter experts, writers, artists, designers, and CX professionals who are dedicated to building a smarter customer experience.
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