On January 11-12th, DataArt participated in the world’s largest retail conference, held in New York, in order to stay informed of market updates and to share our own expertise.
NRF gathered hundreds from the retail industry, with the purpose of uncovering critical insights and foreseeing possible new areas for business development. We have participated in many streams and identified the key technological trends influencing these industry-specific businesses.
Let’s discuss each technology in detail to understand what NRF 2020 was all about.
Enhanced Shopping Experience with Immersive Technologies
A range of sessions at NRF 2020 were focused on the impact of immersive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, on each customer’s shopping experience. It’s estimated that the AR value for retail will approach $7.95 billion by 2023 — 95% more than in 2017.
VR and AR technologies are transforming how retail companies sell products. By implementing these technologies, businesses gain many benefits, primarily:
Higher customer engagement through augmented reality applications
Better in-store navigation to help customers find items
Great competitive advantage among other retail businesses
A clear understanding of the value of VR and AR has led many globally-recognized retailers to implement these technologies into their operations:
In 2018, Walmart launched a mobile feature that allows customers to scan the barcode of a product and receive an AR image of it, with data such as price, size, expiration date, and so on.
Warby Parker, the glasses manufacturer, has developed an AR application allowing customers to virtually try on specific frames.
Balmain, the French fashion brand, has an AR application that provides customers with access to exclusive content. Some brand locations in Milan are also equipped with Oculus headsets for an improved virtual experience.
Here at DataArt, we understand that in retail, customer engagement is of primary importance. To help just one of our clients enhance its customers’ shopping experience, our team developed an in-store AR navigation application. When visiting the store, customers input a list of goods they’re interested in into the app, and it navigates them around the mall, optimizing routes and displaying AR mapping images.
Improved Customer Satisfaction Through Artificial Intelligence
The value that AI can deliver in the retail industry cannot be overestimated. Based on research conducted by Capgemini, AI applications can save retail businesses up to $340 billion annually. As well as being cost-effective, AI offers many other benefits, including:
Minimization of human errors in retail operations due to AI-based automation systems
Better data accumulation, organization, and management
A personalized customer experience that leads to customer growth
Among those companies already making use of AI are the following:
As a third-party payment system for many retail companies, PayPal uses AI to detect fraudulent activity. They apply open-source AI tools to spot unusual behavior.
Starbucks has launched an AI-based Deep Brew program to improve inventory management at its stores, by managing huge data volumes.
To improve its customer experience, Lowe’s has launched an AI in-store robot. This robot accompanies people through the store and displays products.
DataArt was recently engaged in the development of a mobile application for iOS based on ARKit, to provide the functionality to correctly define recommended goods in-store.
Predictive Maintenance for Enhanced Facilities Monitoring
Predictive maintenance (PdM) solutions are gaining traction across the retail industry. They are widely used in warehouses and distribution centers to identify potential facility failures before they occur.
PdM systems collect data about each facility’s equipment with the help of sensors located on the premises. Then this data is analyzed and data patterns are created by built-in machine learning algorithms. The system compares the patterns, spots differences, and notifies personnel about possible damage.
Integrated PdM systems provide a range of benefits, the most significant of which are:
Enhanced monitoring options and smoother running of retail operations
Higher equipment effectiveness due to analytics-based maintenance
Cost minimization due to damage prediction on equipment
PdM solutions are used by many international companies to save on equipment maintenance costs. Here are just some of them:
Duke Energy, an electricity and natural gas retailer, applied PdM technology to detect damage in their turbine rotors and saved $7.5 million.
Siemens developed a predictive platform, MindSphere, which spots equipment-related cracks.
SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service system is widely used by retailers to monitor their facilities and detect potential harm before it happens.
The DataArt team has facilitated a project for a leading global provider of intelligent material handling systems. Our engineers developed a cloud-based predictive maintenance platform to analyze equipment data and predict failures before they happen.
RFID Technology for Accurate Inventory Tracking and In-Store Self Checkouts
The final big technology discussed at NRF 2020 was RFID. This is an effective replacement for standard but outdated merchandise tracking tools like barcode labeling.
By applying RFID technology, retailers can guarantee quick self-checkout, improve inventory visibility, and at the same time avoid count inaccuracies. Here are some other benefits:
Enhanced accuracy of order fulfillment due to item-level visibility
Real-time monitoring options for completed orders and separate items
Faster decision making based on the data collected due to RFID technology
RFID is already widely used, but it’s still an active area of development in retail and supply chain management. Here are just some of the companies actively using RFID:
Amazon has been using RFID in its order fulfillment centers for several years and intends to continue doing so.
BJC HealthCare is using RFID for its smart cabinets to monitor medical inventory.
General Steel integrated RFID into their supply chain management system to be able to keep track of inventory in real-time.
Fujitsu has presented a few ready-made solutions that allow for in-store self-checkout, without item-by-item scanning, and with a built-in age validation system for goods requiring this.
DataArt has enormous experience in the creation of digital solutions for retail companies, and our teams can develop first-class custom software for RFID readers, for improved inventory control and management.
If You Couldn’t Meet DataArt at NRF 2020 or Couldn’t Attend
So, what was the NRF retail conference all about?
Alla Lemlekh, DataArt expert, shares her vision:
“NRF is definitely one of the most valuable events in retail. It was a great opportunity to meet clients and partners and to discuss the immersive technologies.
In DataArt, we have and continue to develop expertise centers in AI, ML, Big Data, VR/AR and 3D. We deliver projects using these technologies. NRF gives an opportunity to see more cases in the retail industry and discuss the trends in retail, specifically using these very technologies with our partners.
NRF gives the opportunity to see and feel the innovations in a practical way and enriches us with more ideas for digital transformation.
It was also important to have the human-related context at the show – brand humanity, emotional economy, ethical enlightenment.”
If you didn’t get the chance to visit the NRF conference or weren’t able to meet our representatives there and discuss your challenges, it’s time to book a free meeting with our experts. Drop a line to Alla Lemlekh firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your transformation ideas through AR, VR, AI, RFID, and much more.