With NRF 2017 just days away, retailers can expect a continuation of 2016 technology trends like mPOS, staff handhelds/wearables, camera analytics, and interactive mirrors with AI, chatbots, IoT and VR replacing omnichannel as this year’s overused and oversold buzzwords. But smart retail is in a state of swift transformation, and there is much happening within the market that will not yet reach the tradeshow floor. ABI Research outlines the important technologies—including 3D sensing and inventory management—that it believes are still too nascent for this year’s show, but should be top priorities on retailers’ technology agendas.
“Amazon Go scared the life out of the industry with the excitement it stirred, so expect to see a lot of ‘me-too-but-not-quite’ technology,” says Patrick Connolly, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “Without doubt, mPOS, staff handhelds, camera analytics, beacons, and more all will play key roles in the future of smart retail. But there will also be a number of very important trends that will go largely unnoticed this year which retailers should be aware of and plan for in order to drive new revenue opportunities.”
In its latest report, Smart Retail: Predictions for 2018, ABI Research identifies a number of key trends that will shape in-store retail IoT:
- Dynamic pricing technologies
- 3D sensing
- Handset-based SLAM technologies
- Next-generation labels and signage
- PWAs, the physical web and the death of native app
- Real-time, in-store inventory management
- Customer and product analytics
Many of these edge technologies focus on the digitization of the store, whether through its customers, staff, inventory or the physical store itself. By combining these technologies with the industry’s current hot topics, they will provide ways to deliver new services to customers, streamline processes, measure performance, and drive new revenue. This is an essential first step in facilitating the move to retail IoT.
“A retailer can deploy an IoT platform with the latest in artificial intelligence, but if the wrong I/O edge technologies are in place, the system falls down,” concludes Connolly. “The Amazon Go concept is a great example of this, combining a variety of edge technologies in-store to significantly streamline the shopping process and build a service that will excite its customers.”