NRF Big Show 2019

In three reports touted at the NRF “Big Show” this past week, retailers need to up their technology game at the front and back-end of the supply chain.

While emerging technologies allow retailers to optimize fulfillment and extend choice for consumers, the in-store experience may increasingly involve a “back-to-basics” approach in setting the right ambience — with regard to sight, sound and smell — that actually gets customers back through their doors and not pinching their noses or yelling over a pumping bass line.

“Anywhere Shelf” Better With AI

JDA Software Inc. released a report in collaboration with Microsoft surveying more than 200 retail c-suite executives on their perception of artificial intelligence and edge technologies in improving customer experience. The report is conducted by Incisiv, a digital transformation insight consulting firm.

Respondents across retail formats being hard-line, soft-line and grocery categories — plan to offer “ship from store”; 79 percent, “pick up from store”; 80 percent and “delivery using third services”; 75 percent in the next 24 months.

Because of infinite customer choice carved out by multiple fulfillment methods, the “anywhere shelf” is further realized, as referenced by JoAnn Martin, vice president, retail strategy at JDA.

“As consumer expectations increasingly cut across formats, the store shelf has extended from a physical object to the entire supply chain,” said Martin.

Yet retailers lag in their ability based on existing supply chain technology. With the help of “emerging technologies” such as artificial intelligence, machine-learning, connected devices and voice recognition — there is greater promise for extending the shelf.

Retailers Cloud-Watching

In a separate report conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP, polling 135 retail decision-makers from nine countries, cloud-computing strategy is crucial.

In total, 87 percent of respondents “understand the importance of software that integrates across an end-to-end value chain in the cloud.”

But the benefits are not just vapor, either, as 97 percent of retail innovators see “improved service delivery and effectiveness” as well as “increased business satisfaction”; 93 percent, with cloud integration and transformation technology such as the Internet of Things, real-time analytics and machine-learning taking preference among the surveyed respondents.

In-Store Experience Gets Sensual, Customers Get Loyal

According to a study by Mood Media, a “leading in-store media solutions company,” sensory experiences such as music, visuals and scent drive nine out of 10 shoppers back to physical stores as opposed to online storefronts.

The study was undertaken by Walnut Unlimited, a market research agency with specialties in neuroscience and behavioral psychology, polling more than 10,000 consumers across 10 countries worldwide.

Pinpointing causes for increased customer loyalty from a global perspective, the results inform retailers of how shoppers experience their global storefronts and how detailed atmosphere adjustments in-store can affect their bottom-line.

For example, in the U.S., music is the “number-one factor to improve a shopper’s mood in-store,” which mirrors the global impression. Globally, 85 percent of shoppers show heightened enjoyment from sound in-store, according to the Mood study.

Piecing together the entire framework or “mood” of the in-store experience, sound overlays in-store visuals and scent psychology to produce the repeat visit. One in two global consumers say a nicely scented business “lifts mood,” whereas more than half or 58 percent of global consumers reveal video content as a positive impact on their shopping.

NRF’s Big Show 2019 placed emerging technologies at the forefront of the back-end strategy, yet as Mood reveals in their recent report, the in-store experience may benefit from basic sense, or senses.