The Big Show, an annual event by the National Retail Federation, wrapped up this week in New York City after a successful, and eye-opening, series of keynotes and vendor showcases. The latest technology for retail has always been at the forefront of conversation at this event, but what set this year apart may simply be the overall optimistic attitude towards technology itself. While artificial intelligence, virtual reality and location-based devices have been around for a while now, 2017 seems to be the year that they become more widely accepted, as the retail industry tips toward a younger generation of movers and shakers.
The show could easily be referred to as the "CES of Retail" because of the shear amount of cutting edge technologies and innovative ideas that float around the giant convention center. But while robots and automation in the retail industry could be seen as threatening to long-standing ways of doing things, most NRF attendees have begun to regard innovation as crucial to staying relevant.
Case-in-point, the event kicked off with a bang from keynote speaker and Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson, who spoke about the importance of brands and retailers embracing the changing times.
Here at InContext, this has been the mission from day one. We were lucky enough to be present at two areas of the show this year, with a booth as a vendor and also as a part of Intel's Responsive Retail Platform, which was demonstrated during an hour long keynote session by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. During that presentation, Brian gave a live demo of ShopperMX™ on the main stage.
Here is a video of the keynote:
As the event continued, we hosted an influx of attendees who stepped up to learn the benefits of working with VR, like the ShopperMX™ platform, to streamline retail innovation and ultimately save on the bottom line.
While VR technology—along with many other disruptive tools designed to push retail forward—have been slightly intimidating in the past, we found that this year people seemed generally open to understanding that future will rely on technology like VR to make processes easier and more seamless.