Three takeaways from NRF Retail’s BIG Show 2017

Following the National Retail Federation Retail’s Big Show 2017 from January 15-17, we look at some of the most noteworthy trends coming to retail, especially those that will have an effect on e-commerce.

A.I. is expected to play an important role in 2017

One of the most noticeable retails trends during NRF 17 was the push for A.I. solutions in retail, specifically online retail. Right now, many A.I.-focused tech companies are bringing A.I. into merchandising for better optimization. However, this trend is expected to move far beyond just merchandising, as A.I. is expected to enter all facets of retail including, payment processing, demand prediction, and customer service. The shift towards an A.I.-based customer service experience has already begun to take place on social media channels such a Facebook and Twitter, through chat bots. These are A.I. systems that are programed to interact with customers and solve as many issues or answer as many questions as possible without having to resort to human interaction.

Retailers, large and small, are listening to customers more

Retailers are collecting data, conducting surveys, and building a ‘voice for customers’, to better understand how their customers think, feel, and purchase.

Expect to see a lot more customer-driven changes to your favorite online store in 2017. Retailers are collecting data, conducting surveys, and building a ‘voice for customers’, to better understand how their customers think, feel, and purchase. The upside will be more consumer-friendly loyalty programs and many more mediums to allow for customer feedback. Consumer habits and behaviors will be studied and analyze on a more precise level to allow companies, both online and brick & mortar, to pinpoint weaknesses and strengths in their customer journey.

Data collection is the biggest trend to watch in 2017

Following an increase in listening to their customers, brands are developing new innovative technologies to collect data from their customers in new and interesting ways. One company at NRF Big Show, Cloverleaf, unveiled a new software their calling shelfPoint, which is an A.I. that tracks physical details of customers while they shop. Some of these details include race, gender, age, etc. This type of data collection is a big step up from offering a customer survey on receipts at checkout. A commitment to digital innovations is becoming a priority for many top brands.