The countdown is here for the retail industry’s BIG Show, when retail and technology merge together again for the National Retail Federation’s annual convention and tech expo.
As the pulse of where the industry is heading in 2017, all eyes will be on the latest and greatest technologies that will help drive retailers’ business forward. And in my 20-plus years participating, there’s never been a more exciting year to attend.
Today, technology has evolved to a point where the time is right for retailers to embrace digital transformation—re-imagining their customer experiences and business processes from the ground up to stay relevant and competitive.
These advancements are opening new doors to transform the future of retail by empowering people throughout the shopping experience—from the digital experiences that make shopping fun, to the productivity and collaboration solutions that allow retail employees to provide outstanding customer service, to the intelligent systems that provide deep insights and empower advanced decision-making and personalization.
When retailers hit the Javits Center floor, we’ll be showcasing how we believe digital transformation can, and is, reinventing the customer journey, providing consumer-centric experiences that meet and exceed the shopper’s constantly increasing expectations for personal, relevant, and differentiated shopping experiences.
Here are the key things you won’t want to miss in the Microsoft Booth #2803!
1) See the power of digital transformation in action. Our customers and partners will take center stage in our booth, and we are thrilled to have some of the world’s leading retailers and consumer goods brands sharing their digital transformation successes with you.
From a major department store using the Internet of Things (IoT) to transform the in-store digital customer experience to a leading beverage company applying data and machine learning technology from Microsoft to optimize inventory assortment, and lots more, you’ll want to witness what these industry innovators are doing!
2) Immerse yourself into personalized shopping experiences that will create differentiation with your customers. In today’s customer journey, personalized experiences that span both digital and physical environments will be critical to meeting consumers’ expectations, and the brands that can provide these experiences will set themselves apart among the competition.
In our booth this year, you can step into a day-in-the-life of a digital shopping journey as you shop for groceries and apparel, experiencing first-hand how technology advancements like machine learning and the Cortana Intelligence Suite, conversational bots, artificial intelligence, beacons, recommendation engines, beacons, and mobile solutions, can make true retail personalization a reality.
3) Check out technology that will empower your store associates with information and tools to improve productivity and sales effectiveness. Today, mobile devices and role-optimized dashboards provide anywhere-access to product and customer information, and productivity solutions enable better collaboration and productivity so employees can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on the floor serving customers.
Explore new ways for store leaders to collaborate inside and outside the store; support associates with better training, knowledge bases, and social tools for sharing best practices; and pull in-depth product information directly with the sales floor with Microsoft tools like Office 365, Surface and StaffHub.
4) Learn how the latest advancements in data and analytics will empower you to drive optimized outcomes and evolve your business practices to meet consumer expectations. Computing power is digitizing nearly everything around us and is giving retailers ten times the insights on their customers and business processes in one-tenth of the time.
You’ll see how Microsoft innovations like Cortana Intelligence Suite solutions power advanced analytics and predictive capabilities to enable retailers to gather insights on shoppers’ demographics and preferences, improve customer service and response time, optimize forecasting and inventory levels, personalize offerings, and better manage their supply chains to accommodate customer demand.
5) Visit our Innovation Zone. Here you can get up close and personal with even more new, game-changing technologies to enhance customer relationships and optimize operations. Try on a new outfit in our virtual dressing room. Watch an intelligent robot scanning shelves for products. Experience the benefits of innovative lighting that can understand traffic patterns. See the value of smart shelves and smart buildings. And beyond your physical walls, learn how blockchain technology with RFID is poised to transform supply chains with increased transparency and verifiability for product traceability and fair labor practices.
6) Hear from cutting-edge technology industry leaders. Don’t miss our Exhibitor Insights Session (Tuesday, January 17 at 11:30 a.m.) where I’ll be moderating a customer panel of leading industry retailers as they share their stories of digital transformation. And in our Booth Theater, we’ve also assembled a full line-up of expert speakers for you to learn from on the latest technology trends and advancements you’ll want to know about to drive transformation in your business.
More details and full schedule will be coming soon on our event site here. Retailers can also access a free NRF Expo pass, courtesy of Microsoft.
I also encourage you to schedule time to meet with Microsoft executives to discuss your transformational journey and see how we can help you. Go here to learn more and request an executive briefing or hosted booth tour with the Microsoft leadership team.
And for all our NRF news, links and photos, follow @MSretail and @MSFT_Business on Twitter.
We look forward to seeing you at this coming year’s event!
LinkedIn: Brendan O’Meara