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Insights from NRF's Big Show: Key retail tech trends to watch for in 2018

Matt Sebek, Vice President, Digital, authored an article for Retail Customer Experience discussing retail tech trends to watch for in 2018.

February 9, 2018

Matt Sebek, Vice President, Digital at WWT, authored an article for Retail Customer Experience discussing tech trends to watch for in the retail industry in 2018.

Posted by Retail Customer Experience on February 9, 2018:

If 2017 was the year of the so-called "“Retail Apocalypse," then 2018 may well become the year of the Retail Renaissance. Following last month's National Retail Federation (NRF) tradeshow, "The Big Show"— which helps to serve as a barometer for where the industry is headed — here are several key retail technology trends to watch for in 2018.

Retail is not dead, it is going through a rebirth

The death of retail that many industry experts predicted for 2017 never happened. The retail industry reported its best holiday season in seven years and the industry is expected to grow 4 percent in 2018. Not exactly patterns of an industry that many describe as on life support. Retail is certainly changing — but not dying. Sales are moving online and customer expectations in-store are higher than ever. In order to succeed, retailers will need to carefully consider the technology solutions that will help keep them relevant and competitive in the future. For some retailers, this will require them to reinvent themselves, and embrace new possibilities they hadn't before considered.

Tags, tags everywhere

The phrase "everything is a sensor" became cliché in 2015, but it's exponentially true this year. RFID is making a massive resurgence as retailers attempt to tag and monitor products from logistics to transaction — allowing them to be more intelligent and efficient with a dynamic inventory that is continually updated, while also offering frictionless "scan and go" capabilities at the point of sale.

With Amazon's automated grocery store, Amazon Go, launching recently in Seattle using only scan-and-go capabilities, more retailers will be experimenting with scan and go this year, enabling customers to skip the long line at the cash register, complete the purchase themselves with their mobile app and then just walk out the door. The technology also allows consumers to keep track of spending throughout the shopping trip if they wish, just as they can do with a virtual shopping cart online.

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