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What’s in the Shopping Cart for the 2022 National Retail Federation Big Show?

In just a few days, from January 16-18, the National Retail Federation will launch Retail’s Big Show in the shopping capital of the world, New York. As retail professionals know, NRF is a not-for-profit association and the world’s largest retail association dedicated to “connecting people to an industry that is a great place to start and a great place to grow.” But beyond its impact and resources for industry professionals, NRF’s annual show is also the one-stop-shop to get an accurate pulse on retail’s biggest challenges and opportunities. So what will this year’s show have to offer? There will be a plethora of great speakers, content on almost every topic imaginable, and session themes such as how to work smarter, accelerate experiences, how to stand out, invest in a team, and build the businesses of tomorrow.

To prepare ahead of the show, we enlisted five retail experts from different niche markets to tell us what they see as the top trends for this year’s event.

Improve the omnichannel experience

According to Daniel Binder, managing partner of retail strategy at Colomb Consulting.

“The shift to omnichannel was rapid, and the industry moved from a traditional brick-and-mortar environment to e-commerce and then multi-channel, where shoppers purchased in separate but disconnected channels, to an omnichannel experience, which is now a fully integrated environment,” Binder said.

How did companies like Columbus Consulting begin to thoughtfully integrate this omnichannel experience into the entire customer and B2B experience?

“We’re focused on what we call LIST, which is the foundation of what brings the omni experience together and what we think are the most critical investments to build on that foundation,” Binder said. “It’s our acronym for Logistics and Supply Chain, Inventory, Organizational Structure and Smart Technology”,

Binder added that these core components are consistently examined by visualizing the customer journey from an end-to-end scenario.

3D product models

3D product models are also expected to be a sold-out topic at the show. Ashley Crowder, co-founder and CEO of VNTANA, believes this is due to the changing nature of consumer shopping habits and the push towards experiential retail both online and in-store. Crowder explains that the number of searches people perform before buying a product is only increasing, and that increasing the business presence on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram with 3D products will help to significantly increase conversion rates . She says 3D products increased average basket size by 60% and reduced returns by 40%.

“Study after study shows that people are not only researching social media, but also discovering new products, and so you really want to make sure you have the best possible content on all of our social channels as well as your e-commerce site,” Crowder said. “3D is one of the best types of assets you can have because it gives people such an understanding of your product.”

What’s even more powerful with 3D product models is how they can shape the entire customer journey and integrate with other cutting-edge technologies. Naturally, says Crowder, the more images and videos available on your brand’s site, the better.

“And of course to take it a step further and have a 3D model on your website is huge because it allows people to see it from all angles. And then you can incorporate augmented reality so they can actually hold their phone and see this product in their living room. Does this couch fit or what size is this bag,” she said.

Al, Al and again Al

Artificial intelligence will also be a top retail trend this year. According to Pini Mandel, AI is something more retailers should explore and expand their use, given that its use cases have only scratched the surface of usefulness in the industry.

“At Quicklizard, we have seen a massive shift in the conversation towards algorithmic machine learning and AI. AI machine learning has been used in other areas of retail, but is now changing the world of pricing,” said Mandel, CEO and co-founder of Quicklizard. “I have the impression that we are only at the beginning of the journey”

Yogesh Kulkarni, co-CEO and head of merchandising and marketing at antuit.ai, added that retailers already see things like product recommendations on websites as AI.

“But these are use cases that are actually early in the AI ​​adoption journey,” Kulkarni said.

Pini sees smart shelf labels as another AI trend that will dominate the Retails Big Show.

“Physical retailers need to be more agile and competitive, accelerating technology adoption both to improve our purpose by integrating with price optimization platforms and to overcome staffing issues,” Pini said.

Adopting AI can be difficult for retailers, not because there’s a lack of trust, but because AI is data-intensive, according to Mandel. Last year’s data is not as useful to retailers today because in today’s world, volatility rules.

“There are so many other factors — local events, demand destructions due to COVID shutdowns — that all are driving demand very differently than before,” Mandel said.

Integrate technology thoughtfully for the consumer journey

So it’s clear that 3D product models and AI will need to integrate into the omnichannel experience for retailers to keep up with industry trends in 2022. But how should they go about it? Melissa Gonzalez, host of Refined detailguarantee of capitalization of key experiences.

“Consumers responded that they were 2.5 times more likely to purchase after visiting an experiential flagship, and found themselves having a deeper connection with the brands that create those environments,” Gonzalez said. .

Crowder thinks the use of augmented reality in social media is another way forward for retailers.

“It’s not just for e-commerce and online sites, but social media platforms have now enabled features for you to take advantage of on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram,” Crowder said. “And even in store you can only have a limited amount of inventory, it’s impossible to have every color and every version, but using augmented reality you can actually show an infinite number because it’s digital.”

There’s clearly quite a bit in the basket for the National Retail Federation’s Big Show 2022. So how will participants choose what to prioritize? Unfortunately, 3D models and AI won’t help you “buy” sessions and events in this case, but for now, visit NRF.com and marketscale.com for the latest updates.