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If the crowded show floor at this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) event was any indication, things are looking up for tech this year. For the first time in years, I had to wade through masses of bodies to get to my appointments, as attendance was up some 27 percent, according to NRF figures. And while the show featured tremendous varieties of solutions for every retailer’s needs, perhaps what impressed me the most were those tools that didn’t exist in the field yet — the “proof of concept” models.
Tools such as digital signage that could sense whether a man or woman stood before it, and adjusted its messaging accordingly; or POS software that not only suggested complementary products, but sent a text message to an associate on the floor to get it for you if you clicked “yes” on a touch screen.
Displaying such technologies is extremely valuable — beyond the solutions they represent — because experiencing them gets you thinking out of the box, thinking of possibilities that haven’t yet materialized. What’s so great about that is that thinking about such possibilities is the first step toward making them happen.
I look forward to covering such possibilities in this year’s upcoming Trend Alerts.