By Steven Rodriguez & Alexa Genova
While attending the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Annual BIG Show, it became apparent what an impact technology is going to have on the future of retail.
Sure, we see and use technology to shop now, whether it’s shopping online, using our Smartphone for a coupon or just “checking in” via social media at a store. But what we saw at NRF gave us a glimpse into how technology will change retail as we know it.
As students at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) we are taught to use the tools available to us to help get the job done and that technology is a friend that can be leaned on. While attending NRF we toured many booths that gave us an opportunity to try out the newest technologies in the retail world, from shopping with Google glasses, to trying on clothes virtually with a digital “mirror,” to seeing how buyers can one day change the way they work to become more efficient and timely with improved analytics systems.
These new technologies will revolutionize how retailers deliver a superior customer experience as well as drive sales. With improved analytics systems stores will have better control of inventory, collect more accurate sales history, and replenish merchandise more efficiently and effectively.
With wearable technology retailers will be able to connect with their customers on a whole new level. Imagine, as a retailer, being able to know exactly which section of the store your customer favors, which items they pick up the most, and then be able to offer promotions directly to them. Consumers will no longer just be browsing a sales floor.
They will be chasing virtual coins and landmarks that offer discounts or product information through devices, a feature that not only enhances the experience of the store, but also gives retailers a chance to direct the consumer to where they want them to go. The average retail store would cease to be simply a “place” to shop but a destination and experience for customers.
Customers will no longer have to worry about finding the “perfect gift” or remembering the brand or size that fit them best. With state-of-the-art technology, these troubles are solved for the customer with the click of button.
As millennials, we can’t help but feel a certain pressure to perform and produce at the highest standard in this ever-growing industry. We are expected to be technologically savvy and able to adapt to these innovations with ease. After leaving NRF, we were filled with inspiration, motivation, and enthusiasm for the future and were excited to be a part of this remarkable industry.
As students at FIT, we get a chance to learn about the retail industry from all angles – the past, present and future. We are definitely excited for what the future holds for the retail industry and to be part of it as it continues to reinvent itself.