By Jim Roddy, Vantiv
NRF 2016 was in my rear view mirror when I caught a late shuttle bus Jan. 19, but it’s taken me a full week to assemble and analyze my copious notes from the event. I just quickly searched what I jotted down, and these six words appeared the most often:
Customer: I saw several solutions aimed at improving the customer experience, specifically mobile engagement and associate assistance. Another hot topic was customer loyalty solutions.
Mobile: Mobile-centric, mobile engagement, mobile-first, mobile device management, mobile shopping, and mobile security all show up in my notes.
Innovation: I brought this word with me to all my meetings as the President of Innovative Retail Technologies magazine (and Business Solutions magazine). But I heard it right back quite often. The loudest was Glory Global Solutions with the word “innovation” three times in the first three lines of its company description.
Data: Now that every retailer is able to gather Big Data, the question this year was what to do with it. I saw more new data analytics companies at NRF 2016 compared with past years.
Personalization: Tying in with my prior point, those analytics companies are driving personalized marketing for retailers. And tying in with my second point, I heard frequently “mobile must be personalized.”
Channel: This came in two forms. Of course, omni-channel is essential to retailers. But I was also surprised how many vendors not well-known in the retail value-added reseller (VAR) world talked about building up a reseller channel in order to sell effectively to SMRs (small-to-medium retailers).