The NRF Big Show lived up to its name. It was big and at times overwhelming – sensory overload is more like it. With nearly 38,000 attendees, 800 exhibitors, and more than 200 sessions, it was difficult to find what’s most important to you and your retail business. As technology is playing a larger and larger role each year in the retail space, vendors are partnering to improve customer experience and personalize the shopping process. As speaker Rodney McMullen, Kroger CEO, discussed regarding the future of retail, “You can’t do it overnight. You have to figure out where you are trying to get to and who you are going to partner with to get there.”Once again, Celerant exhibited at the NRF show and this year unveiled its new Product Catalog which allows retailers to view and import thousands of retail products from within Celerant’s retail software. The Product Catalog is comprised of more than 2.5 Million products from over 75,000 well-known brands. Celerant has hit the ground running in 2019 and plans to add many more new partner integrations this year. Recent partners like MePOS (mobile point of sale solution) and made4net (warehouse, truck routing & delivery management) are some examples of Celerant’s commitment to business growth and efficiency.
Key Takeaways from the NRF Show 2019
The three words that seem to keep popping up- mobile, personalization and fulfillment. Retailers are asking themselves: “how do I leverage mobile technology?”, “How can I offer a more personalized shopping experience?” and “how can I improve my fulfillment process?”. Below summarizes how these questions might be answered in the very near future.
Mobile devices help retailers improve store operations and the overall customer shopping experience. Mobile devices not only help store associates to be more effective salespeople but they also enhance customer engagement. With flexible mobile point of sale (POS) devices, Like MePOS, and interactive lookbooks, retailers can allow staff to freely move around the store to help customers, process sales more quickly and better personalize those customer’s experiences. Unlike traditional registers, portable tablet POS devices can display products not available in store. These products might be found on the retailer’s website or a vendor’s online catalog.
Mobile devices make it easy to capture customer’s data so these non-store items can be ordered and shipped from the website, drop shipped from vendors or picked up in-store. This personalized data can further be used to personalize printed receipts, which can be printed from mobile receipt printers, order/shipping notifications and post-purchase promotional emails. Likewise, in-store kiosks allow shoppers to look up retailer’s vendor inventory, find the product they want, drop it into their eCommerce shopping cart and complete the sale, right from the show floor. The product is then drop shipped directly to the customer from the vendor.
Retailers are finding ways to personalize products, promotions and shopping experiences for consumers beyond the traditional touch points. New technologies will power things like easy-to-use, touch-screen kiosks, smart displays and interactive tables, where consumers can upload or edit images to see changes in colors, fabrics, styles, etc. in real-time while also accessing product catalogs. Personalized voice-control technology will continue to evolve while traditional promotional email marketing is completely reinventing itself. With so many data points being collected through store, website and mobile devices, retailers are able to segment and automate email campaigns based on personal data points like last purchase date, geo-location, products purchased, reward amounts, etc..
Transactional emails can also be personalized, like product reviews, customer surveys and order status notifications. Companies like TruRating are personalizing the credit card transaction process by providing a unique question to pop up on the credit card device, while the cashier is scanning and prepping the sale, before the sale is completed. This gives the retailer powerful insights into the customer experience, allowing for customer feedback in real-time. PromoPRNT by STAR Micronics is another exciting product that enhances the transaction experience. PromoPRNT allows retailers to effortless design & build printed promotional receipts for their stores in addition to point of sale (POS) receipts. STAR Micronics created a web based, editor tool so retailers can easily design these printed promotional receipts which integrates with their receipt printer. The process is fully automated, boosting sales and customer retention. Retailers also have access to analytics, providing insight into each promotional campaign.
The ability to receive an order within a few hours is going to make 2-day delivery feel like 2 weeks. Retailers are leveraging technology to better serve their customer’s demand for more convenience. In-store fulfillment, where customers buy online and then pick up in the store, is quickly becoming a must-have for retailers who want to grow their eCommerce businesses and better compete with Amazon and Walmart. Fulfillment technologies which allow a full view of the supply chain are helping retailers improve efficiencies in receiving and stocking. Being able to update inventory levels in real time, in-store and online, and automating purchase orders based on minimum inventory thresholds are some ways productivity is being improved.
Location sharing technology is helping online shoppers find the closest store locations with available stock on the item they are viewing. This improves the fulfillment experience where shoppers can enjoy expedited delivery with in-store pickup. For online deliveries package location tracking gives shoppers more insight into their arrival times helping to reduce delivery inquires with customer service while improving their expectations.
This year at the NRF big show, Celerant showcased its new Product Catalog and it received overwhelming enthusiasm. The Product Catalog, available with both Celerant’s retail software solutions, allows retailers to access thousands of products from vendor catalogs in real-time, including items they don’t physically stock in their store. Special orders can be created for these products as they automatically get imported into the point of sale. Upon finalizing the special order, a purchase order is automatically deployed to the vendor. The days of manually entering products and purchase orders are over.
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