After a shortened trip due to a projected blizzard in NYC, I am proud to say that I survived my first trade show, a National Retail Federation show in NYC. I knew that the “Big Show” would be a one of a kind experience. I did not fear I would perish before my return to Minnesota, instead, I came back more alive and invigorated than ever upon gaining a plethora of knowledge about the retail world. I find extreme importance in knowing the trends in retail technology, considering it is Retail Tech’s largest served market. I had the opportunity to spend most of my time exploring the exhibit hall while my colleagues mainly stayed at our booth. Aside from our partners IBM and Epson, I found three particular booths most interesting…..
Traditional shopping is not enough anymore. Shoppers are looking to gain a “virtual experience.” Intel defined this. It was no wonder the company had the busiest booth at the entire show (after Retail Tech, of course). Boasting a 2,400 square foot “futuristic retail storefront,” Intel showcased the newest technology for the market of retail and digital signage. Squeezing through the impressed onlookers was difficult, so I only caught a glimpse of the innovations. DigitalSignageToday.com says “Intel’s innovative retail solutions are designed to meet the changing needs of tomorrow’s marketplace by promoting brand interaction and delivering a more personalized and enjoyable shopping experience.” As if shopping is not fun enough!?
I also ventured over to another innovative genius, Toshiba. As I walked up to the booth, the 3D TV caught my eye right away…and might I add no ridiculous glasses needed! With a goal to implement the technology first in retail stores, eventually, 3D Television will make way into homes everywhere. Walking a little further into the booth, I noticed a group huddled around something else spectacular. A robot that scans barcodes and talks to customers! Could this be a ploy to keep children entertained at the mall? Like Intel, Toshiba wants to generate a virtual experience for consumers. Why not start with the youngest generation?
Who hates trying on clothes? The last booth that really caught my eye, Imagine That, has created a way to view new styles and eliminate returns. Marketed toward retailers’ websites, the software program is essentially a 3D fitting room. Currently, the site does not accommodate a sizing chart but rather is meant for online shoppers to see the product on themselves without the ability to physically do so.
Ultimately, my one day stint at NRF was a success. I saw a lot, met some point of sale hardware enthusiasts, and even managed to grab a slice of infamous New York za! While I picked my top three favorites, I would love to hear about any I may have missed!
After exhibiting at the show, Retail Tech is sure that 2011 will be a great year for all! I hope this positivity is contagious and that retail store decision-makers are not afraid to spend some money on this new technology, especially point of sale hardware!