Each year in retail starts off the same: first CES and then NRF’s Big Show. It’s a marathon month of events that always set the stage for the year to come, and 2020 is no exception.
CES has kicked off in Las Vegas. After two days of press events and previews, readers may have already had their fill of new in-car technologies, gadgets aimed at improving health monitoring and maintenance and random robots.
There are always robots at CES and this year cats seem to be leading dogs in the robotic pet department.
Each year,the High-Tech Retailing Summit occurs at CES. It’s a day-long conference track meant to focus on technologies that impact retail. From data to digital displays, it’s the place for attendees to gain a better understanding of how brands are using tech, or should be using tech, to create a better retail experience.
With 15 separate sessions – presentations, fireside chats and panel discussions – it’s impossible to highlight all the, er, highlights. But for those who can’t be there, here’s what we expect will be big coming out of CES this year.
Mixed Reality Still A Mixed Bag
But AR and VR have great applications for retailers, both online and off. Some product categories are poised to benefit more than others such as home furnishings (Wayfair and Macy’s are using to good effect), home improvement (Lowe’s) and beauty (Sephora). CES promises more in-store hardware and online features that will further enhance the multi-channel experience.
Checkout Tech Takes Off
Autonomous checkouts have been in the spotlight thanks to Amazon Go’s ambitious unmanned store concept, but there are a host of other options with more to be revealed this month. Easing the checkout process will go a long way in solving customer pain points. In stores, self-checkout is finally being embraced by consumers, but options that let roving employees mobile checkout customers and mobile options that allow for simply walking out are coming.
Look for use cases that are slightly less ambitious than Amazon Go. Airports, gas stations and sports venues are coming online with new friction-less checkout solutions and even mass-market retailers will begin carving out spaces inside large stores where mobile checkout options make sense with grab and go items.
Photos Pick Up In Popularity
Image search has been a big trend in 2019 and should only pick up steam in 2020. Reams have been written on this trend and advancements in computer vision paired with more sophisticated image recognition programs and social media trends should all collide to make this a real boon for retailers and brands. Finally.
Consumer awareness around the gathering, use and value of data is growing daily and 2020 may prove a watershed moment. Legislation seeking to hand some control back to consumers is on the books and savvy brands will begin offering ways to work within this framework. It would be a mistake not to: A recent Harris Poll shows that 54% of younger shoppers are willing to give up data to get some kind of benefit.
Last mile problems won’t be solved in 2020, but things are improving. Amazon’s fleet of delivery vans are taking over from third party shippers, a group ripe to be disrupted. Whether you believe self-driving trucks are the answer, or even a real possibility in the near term, there are other options on the horizon like this delivery robot FedEx and Walgreens talked up at CES. Predictive analytics show promise to help here, too.