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NRF 2020 Retail’s Big Show Recap – Day 2

The day dawned today in New York with ominous clouds and really horrible traffic – but it was not enough to keep us from going to the Javits Center and enjoying the second day of the NRF Retail’s Big Show 2020!

One of the principal conclusions today after visiting different exhibitor areas is that RFID is gaining ground quickly, with a greater number of suppliers exhibiting RFID-ready solutions (watch the video here of my visit to the Zebra stand).

Beyond the typical scenario for inventory counting, RFID technology can support other scenarios that bring benefits to both the retailer and the buyer, allowing them to offer an improved store experience. Examples include the quick location of products (by indicating the product code in the reader that emits an acoustic signal when it is found) and access to expanded product information (by means of label readers integrated in equipment such as kiosks or mirrors). The use of RFID is almost considered mandatory in scenarios such as ship-from-store in order to ensure the required level of inventory accuracy.

Confirming my impression from yesterday about the growing use of image recognition technologies, I found today’s demonstration at the Toshiba stand of its “Frictionless Store” concept through the use of two rows of cameras that control customer movements and product movements on the shelves extremely interesting. We will see how quickly these types of solutions – and others seen at the expo this year – are adopted by retailers, who, as we know, are quite conservative when it comes to implementing new technologies.

“Frictionless Store,” by Toshiba

As for conferences, it really is very difficult to plan a daily agenda with so many interesting choices happening at the same time. Today I was able to attend three of them, presented by Cisco, enVista and Amazon AWS. Not that many, considering the number of seminars presented, but it is a real challenge to balance attending conferences you want to see with visiting provider stands to learn about their latest technological developments.

I found most interesting the experience of enVista shared by one of its clients because it reaffirmed the importance of a flexible OMS engine with strong integration capabilities for the support of unified commerce today.

The use of the cloud is no longer a topic of discussion these days since retailers already recognize that it is the best way to achieve the degree of flexibility and scalability required today, a concept that was reaffirmed during the session with Amazon AWS.

 

 

At the end of the day, we visited the Amazon Go store on 42nd Street, where we were finally able to experience this new shopping concept firsthand (here a LinkedIn post talking about it). It was surprisingly easy, and highly recommended for those who can visit one of their stores in the city.

Talking about experiences, what better way to end the day with a very special one: the Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater. Surely no one could foresee that it would still be on the billboard after so many years (it celebrated 30 years in 2018!) and not give way to other works. Just like physical stores, considered to be “dead” by many but instead going strong and experiencing a revival with an especially important role to play in modern retail.

Exactly like the Phantom.

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