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NRF: A Peek Into What's in Store for You
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Re: Taking the pulse at NRF
  • 1/23/2015 11:58:30 AM
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..

Terry writes


For better or worse, retailers view technology as a way to save money on their biggest expense: personnel. I wish this weren't so, but it's the market-driven truth. From digital signage to barcodes and analytics, the more they can automate, the better their bottom lines look.


 

The public transportation industry, as an example of a "retail service", may be considered a leader in the automation of "retail" and a harbinger of the future. For example, transit agencies across the country have been replacing human phone information personnel with IVR systems (not necessatrily eliminating all the humans, but substantially reducing the workforce and making it more difficult to access a human for information).

In rail stations, manned ticket kiosks have been eliminated on a massive scale, replaced by automatic ticket vending machines (TVMs).

Similar developments have been happening in other aspects of the industry — automated metro operations and automated security systems, for example.

Unfortunately a lot of this is not necessarily to the advantage of the passenger. Especially when visiting a different city, I find it increasingly difficult to obtain information (e.g., schedules, where to wait for a bus, etc.) and to purchase a ticket. My term for particularly difficult ticket machines is "TVMs from hell".

So I wonder what the future holds for retail store shoppers ...

 

Re: Taking the pulse at NRF
  • 1/16/2015 12:34:34 PM
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For better or worse, retailers view technology as a way to save money on their biggest expense: personnel. I wish this weren't so, but it's the market-driven truth. From digital signage to barcodes and analytics, the more they can automate, the better their bottom lines look.

Re: Taking the pulse at NRF
  • 1/16/2015 10:29:28 AM
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@Terry. What struck me was just how intense the technology presence is on the NRF show floor. A lot of the talk about consumer trends and the economy seemed to be off in the conference tracks or NRF member meetings. The show floor was pure tech, and largely focused on analytics and data.

Re: Locking it down at the POS
  • 1/16/2015 10:24:56 AM
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@Terry. I'm with you in being puzzled by why it has taken so long for US banks to adopt EMV. It would seem to protect them even more than the consumer. Most credit card fraud expense doesn't fall on the consumer (assuming they actually report a card as lost or stolen) but on the bank or, maybe, the retailer. A family member of mine had credit cards stolen from her purse twice in a couple of years. In each case the cards went on road trips in multiple directions (obviously a ring of thieves) to run up more than $12,000 at big box stores in a matter of two or three hours. The banks or retailers ate all but the $50 max each time.

 

Taking the pulse at NRF
  • 1/15/2015 9:34:45 PM
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The NRF meeting is also a bellwether for what's ahead this year in terms of discretionary spending, consumer confidence and retail hiring and staffing. It's not exactly the DJIA, but economists and other business analysts use this event as a barometer for calendar-year retail trends and prospects.

Locking it down at the POS
  • 1/15/2015 9:30:58 PM
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Before the end of this year, most of our credit cards will be reissued with EMV technology, essentially an embedded chip on every card, as another security measure. The thinking is that without the PIN, thieves who steal/hack credit card numbers will be stymied.

This technology has been used in Europe and elsewhere for more than 20 years. I wish I understood why US banks resisted it so long -- probably because they didn't want to pay royalties or were extra pokey in developing their own chip-based authentication method.

While not an analytics technology per se, data professionals will be watching this rollout to see what it does to consumer behavior, for vendors in all sectors, and of course, what the hacker response to this escalation will be.



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