The future of retail in the Avanade Digital Lab at NRF 2018

  • Posted on December 14, 2017
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Avanade Digital Lab at NRF

It may seem counter-intuitive to hold a global, industry-focused event in New York City in January, given the unsure weather and the after-the-holidays let down, but it seems to work for the National Retail Federation (NRF), the biggest retail organization in the world. They hold their Big Show in the Big Apple every year at around the same time, and each year it gets bigger and bigger. Of course, for retailers, January is the best period to reflect on what just happened to them (and others) during the crazy holiday period just ending and plan on how to make the next time around better.

In an earlier blog post, Corine Vives, Avanade’s Global Retail Lead, talked about the unique approach Avanade takes to the controlled chaos that the Big Show can sometime seem to be all about. This time, I’d like to give you a glimpse inside our Digital Retail Lab where we showcase innovative scenarios featuring real-life retail situations and show retailers how they can successfully leverage emerging technologies to create differentiated experiences for both customers and employees. Here’s a brief description of the scenarios we will be highlighting at NRF’s Big Show this year. 

Intelligent campaign management
Yes, we all know that it’s important for retailers to gather and operationalize as much data as possible on their customers. But it’s also necessary for them to cut through the mountain of data that those same customers have at their fingertips, as there are more products, more choices and more channels than ever before. This scenario shows retailers how to use different data sources, finely tuned predictive models and automated campaigns to ensure constant relevancy, reduce unwanted noise and deliver a truly “hyperpersonalization” communication across channels that will lead to effective sales.

Unified in-store associate experience
Not always, but often, the key to a successful customer shopping experience in the store is reliant on a personalized, friendly and successful interaction with the frontline retail associates. For retail employees to deliver on this promise they must be armed with intuitive, intelligent, affordable tools that train them, inform them and free them to spend more time with customers. This scenario, which goes to the very heart of retailers’ operations, features a foundational set of tools for the in-store workforce that are enhanced with automation and intelligence based on AI and machine learning capabilities.

Mixed reality commerce
With this scenario, we get to the fun and innovative stuff. A new retail channel is emerging, as augmented and virtual reality technology platforms mature, blending the digital and physical worlds into a single “phygital” experience. This recent technology promises to help retailers solve the pesky information disparities between online and offline worlds, taking shoppers one step closer to the goal of truly seamless cross-channel shopping. This scenario demonstrates how retailers can move augmented reality technology out of the realm of “retail theater” and create a new commercial channel (one on which the retailer can sell, cross-sell, upsell) in this new multi-faceted realm.

If you’re interested in taking one of our Lab tours, contact me directly or Lis Cannon, Avanade’s events lead for the Big Show. As you might imagine, these demo tours book up fast. But if you can’t schedule a time or if you’re not attending NRF this year, we will be posting video versions of all the demonstrations on our NRF 2018 Avanade site during the event. Stay tuned!

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