NRF 2024 – 3 Key Observations in the Market

NRF 2024 – 3 Key Observations in the Market

Last Yard, one of AWS certified Retail Partners, attended NRF this year, the largest retail conference in the world, in New York where it was connecting with retailers, partners and other technology vendors driving further global expansion.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all our three key observations in terms of market trends, and what customers are focused on to sell/ market and serve to their customers.

A fundamental shift in three areas of retail is occurring: how shoppers are discovering, purchasing and receiving their goods.

Omnichannel smart retail

Shoppers make hundreds of decisions during the buying journey that get them from how they explore, research and discover a product to how they pay for it and get their purchase into their hands. Some of these decisions happen online, some happen in-store, some happen while they are online or in-store.

Today’s shoppers don’t think about which “channel” they are using. They move seamlessly across platforms and spaces. The lines are blurred, and, to succeed in this next generation of retail, Last Yard is the platform to provide agility, responsiveness and redefine omnichannel at speed to retailers to create a centralized view of all store-specific product, price, inventory and promotional data to ensure accurate and real-time activation across in-store and online channels.

The need for unified pricing activation whereby the data is harmonized and synchronized is fundamental to providing a seamless interconnected experience driving an adaptive retail strategy and ultimately a better-personalized customer experience across every touchpoint exceeding customer expectations.

Coupled with this is the need for retail-ready accurate price-integrated design at scale is even more fundamental to meet and exceed the customer expectations of today.

The Last Yard platform has this capability at its core and we have to stay agile, predictive, and responsive as we help redefine omnichannel for retailers.

ESL providers have started to bring ESL rails to the market that provide a platform to bring multi-use cases to retailers.

Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) Rails

This unlocks a platform to drive an ecosystem of partners allowing retailers to think broader about what interactions they can initiate with the customer and what data they can capture as a result of that driving more intelligent store journeys. Some of the actions that an ESL rail could provide are now:

  • ask for help button triggering a notification to an associate when a shopper is in the store and needs assistance
  • proximity meter identifying how many times shoppers come close to a product.

And so hardware product companies (like ESL manufacturers) that originate from the mechanical world are transforming themselves into platform companies, whereas traditionally they would typically only apply software to create features that sell more hardware, i.e. the limited template proprietary software to drive content to ESL hardware.

Platform companies believe that data is critical for insights so that customer needs can be understood, influenced, and evolved. These needs are seen as infinite, and the fastest way to create the most extensive data platform and personalized services is through easy-to-access-and-consume software services (SaaS).

With this shift, hardware (the rail) is considered a gateway to new data, and software is the primary means to deliver new functionality and engage through personalized services that create value for users and producers alike. Hardware becomes an enclosure for software and data, and AI will be the engine for new functionality.

The above is a tremendous market opportunity for retailers and the Last Yard platform can be the central platform for integrations, automation, design, and publishing to orchestrate the retail-ready data and activate different “platforms” across its store network and online. Last Yard allows retailers to unlock these new market opportunities and value seamlessly while controlling operating costs.

AI, Hyper Personalisation, and online channels were three key themes throughout the NRF conference.

AI and Hyper Personalization in retail

The Last Yard team that was at NRF has already picked up on some relevant use cases that underpin these key themes/ trends.

  1. update product descriptions to consumer-friendly ones with generative AI
  2. add media radio as a channel to the platform by partnering with Qsic underpinned by generative AI capabilities
  3. the ability to drive unique price promotion at the individual shopper level to and offer hyper personalisation across their channel of choice (mobile, web, and dashcart screen that are installed on shopping carts/trolleys)
  4. consumer loyalty and mobile apps are more and more common channels to drive increasing demand in store. The ability to connect to these, keep stock on hand, and prices in sync at store level is an immediate possibility.

The Last Yard platform is strategically well positioned for these three key observations/ shifts in the market for retailers as we are the in-store and online platform to activate any channel for price changes and promotions.

If the above sounds of interest and you would like to explore how we could assist you with your business and IT digital in-store and on-line transformation, please contact us.

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