All retail eyes were on New York last week as the National Retail Federation (NRF) held their annual exhibition, which our Directors were lucky enough to attend this year, thanks to one of Cybertill’s partners – PartnerTech (excuse the pun!) who had a very impressive stand at the show, but more on that later.
I caught up with Ed Micklewright, Chief Customer Officer, and James Gallacher, Chief Technology Officer, here at Cybertill to hear their take-aways from retail’s biggest show (aside from the hangovers and jetlag, of course).
What was your biggest take away?
Ed: My biggest takeaway was knowing that we as a business are on track, we are in the right area, we are doing things right. Experiential retail and the next phase of data and digital is definitely the place to be.
James: It was interesting to see a lot of smaller organisations offering technologies to a similar degree of success as the big boys. The Chinese marketplace is also interesting, and it’s a place to look to see what will be big in retail in two years time.
Was there technology that you have not heard of yet or seen before?
James: No, but I did see combinations of previously seen technologies together. It’s also encouraging to learn that technology that is on the Cybertill roadmap was at NRF, in fact all of it was!
What was the most innovative tech that you saw at the show?
Ed: The convergence of a number of different types of tech to give a personalised shopping experience, especially PartnerTech’s smart electronic shelf edge labels. The PartnerTech electronic shelf edge labels were screens that ran the length of the shelf, a camera identifies aspects of the customer for personalisation, e.g. age or gender, and displays personalised offers and information to them. The shelves also have a weigh scale built in, so can identify when a product is picked up off the shelf and placed into the customer’s basket. We can see various elements coming together with this product such as proactive information, self-checkout and personalisation to offer customers a truly unique shopping experience.
The PartnerTech stand was a sight to behold, with their hardware displayed around the edge of the stand so that visitors could see, touch, feel and understand the hardware.
When it comes to retail, the shop staff hardly ever do ‘just one thing’ and so we are starting to see this replicated in retail tech. In-store technology will replicate this notion and will need to do more than ‘just one thing’.
Did you see any tech that’s on our roadmap, or that we’re doing already?
James: Yes, all of it was. Experiential retail as a theme is prevalent. Hardware vendors are now coming back into software. A lot more self-service!
“Fantastic show this year at NRF. Cutting edge retail technologies across the board. Looking forward to bringing these ideas to all of our customers to increase value in their operations. Roll on 2020.”
James Gallacher, CTO, Cybertill
Can you explain the PartnerTech partnership to me in more detail?
James: Cybertill through its partnership with PartnerTech is now partnered with one of the largest hardware producers in the world, and the great thing about PartnerTech is that they listen. They are leading the shelf edge media, recognising personalisation based on key areas like gender, age, and then using these things together to make retail experiences better. They have taken all of this and brought it together into a great customer experience.
“It appears that most retailers know that they should be using their data better, but are still grappling with what data it is they want, and how to obtain it. This conundrum fits perfectly into Cybertill’s strategy over the coming year!”
James Ward, COO, Cybertill
Would you recommend people to attend? Would you go again?
Both: Yes and yes! It’s a great event for Marketers, Product Owners and Directors to attend.
See you next year, New York!
Rachel is passionate about retail and the ever-changing retail technology environment, with a keen eye for upcoming retail trends that are set to shake up the sector.