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Author's profile photo Derek Klobucher

See 3 Ways High-Tech Is Improving Retail’s Future Now #NRF2018

Stop waiting for the future. It’s here — and you can see it. Analytics understand your customer’s store behavior, product impressions and dwells; smart refrigerators warn of spoiling food and optimize grocery lists; and augmented reality lets customers instantly buy something at first sight — whether or not they’re in your store.

Machine learning will enable your connected refrigerator to help you optimize your shopping list, and augmented reality will make grocery shopping fun. See the experts at the SAP booth at NRF 2018 to learn more.

“All of this is real right now,” SAP Retail Solutions’ Steve Mauchline said Saturday in before NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show. Mauchline and other experts will be demonstrating how retailers can use SAP cloud solutions to help position their businesses for future success in people’s kitchens, in stores and pretty much everywhere else.

1. Connected Kitchen

The Kitchen demo will center on SAP and Samsung’s co-created connected refrigerator, which uses a camera and machine learning to help users track expiration dates, how long the door gets left open, and even update your shopping list. And for grocery stores, there could be a tremendous first-mover advantage to adopting augmented reality gamification of the shopping list, which would incentivize healthier choices in the aisles.

Loyalty for retailers is the most difficult thing to deliver … and kids want to beat each other at the gamification aspect,” Mauchline said. “So the grocer that goes with this has the ability to attract more than one family, but to attract their friends and their relatives.”

And consumers won’t have to buy new hardware to use a lot of the connective solutions in this kitchen — nor will retailers have to convince them to do so. SAP’s Immersive Kitchen Experience Framework paired with key elements of Apple’s AR Kit allows most people to simply continue using what they’ve got.

2. A New In-Store Experience

The Store will demonstrate how retailers can make the in-store experience more memorable and impactful by immersing their customers in experiences that aren’t possible online. For example, an IoT-connected store will guide shoppers to their desired product with ceiling lights, and an empowered employee will help a shopper customize her own shoes — and share them on social media.

“We’re showing you how to change the shopping experience for your customer through innovation,” Joe Reilly, an SAP retail solution engineer, said Saturday. “And we’re bringing technology and information about the customer into your store so associates can interact more intelligently with them.”

General merchandise showcases include demonstrations of streamlined in-store fulfillment and scan-and-go processes. And fashion showcases include clienteling, a cloud-based application to help high-end retailers improve relationships with their most valuable customers.

3. Instant Gratification

Retail Everywhere challenges the conventional notion that retail only happens within stores or online, showing how retailers can engage with their customers in new ways via augmented reality and other mobile experiences. This could include using your smartphone to buy something within a minute of first seeing it, be that at a park, along the beach or before a big game.

“Customers hanging out at the tailgate could see a product that they like, scan it using augmented reality, get more information about it, and then immediately have a purchase channel,” Sandra ten Brink, an SAP retail solution engineer, said Saturday. “So they can buy it from a retailer as they’re seeing the product and gaining interest in it.”

Other examples will include how sports teams and venues can engage fans as they prepare to leave home for the game. Also look for how nearby retailers can engage fans during downtime.

Go To Them

Technology is changing retail into something bigger than the four tiny walls of brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping sites.

“It’s actually expanding the four walls,” ten Brink said, “bringing the four walls to the consumer, rather than the consumer having to come to the four walls.”

SAP’s booth at NRF 2018 will be a tremendous resource for retailers looking to use new technology to improve customer experiences and update their business models. You can also learn about drones, chatbots, Pepper the Robot and more.

NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show will run Sunday through Tuesday in New York. Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

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