NRF2020 – New Year, New Thoughts, New Sights

A new year starts, and in the retail world all eyes turn to New York and the annual event that is The Big Show from the National Retail Federation – known to all in the sector as simply ‘NRF’. Amidst the cross-continent reunions, the chance to see former colleagues and reminisce about earlier times, leaders of retailers huge and small come together to learn of the latest topics, developments and hype. Not only about retail tech (although a huge amount of the show is), the conference provides a forum to share learnings from throughout the industry: from the global giants through to the kitchen table start-ups that are disrupting the way we ‘do retail’ every day.

Each attendee has their own reason for being there. The technology companies that are selling solutions to problems that some attendees are not even aware of, and the retailers with problems that keep them awake at night, who are searching for the much vaunted ‘silver bullet’. Based on this, they all flock into Javits Centre from Sunday 12 to Tuesday 14 January, ready to walk and talk themselves into exhaustion.

The KIT team habitually attends the New York event and once again we are looking forward to talking about what we are doing with our customers and partners, the changes we are witnessing across the world within retail while offering our opinions based on our experience of working with clients on cloud strategies with all of the hyperscalers.

We will be showcasing KIT, our state-of-the-art Clienteling and Assisted Selling toolkit, which brings together the strengths of Apple and SAP into one easy to adopt in-store application. Many customers are using KIT across different retail segments: from replacing the ‘little black book’ of customer information, much loved of luxury retail assistants, to providing technical product details that help influence decisions of one versus another. Initial steps are also being taken for more innovative uses – indeed anything where you may need a one-to-one engagement between customer and associate.

Bridge for Retail  

KIT is a component of the Bridge for Retail solution – a cloud-based solution that contains a blend of SAP technology and Keytree developed applications that enable a retailer to operate. From Core Financials, Buying Merchandising and Supply Chain, through to KIT, Integrated Analytics and Human Resources; it truly is a business process toolkit. That scope is far too much for a business to afford and absorb in one project; which is why we have created packages for:

  • Financials & Analytics
  • Merchandising & Analytics
  • Customer Experience

These packages have been created based upon our huge experience of delivering these core capabilities to retailers; enabling us to deliver a defined scope (business capability), in a predictable timescale (speed), with analytics capable of driving the weekly Trading Meeting that forms the heartbeat of all retail businesses (KPIs to drive actions). Packages are delivered with business adoption as a first principle: technology is no use unless it is adopted as part of daily Business as Usual.

What problems do these solutions solve?

Good question. There must be good reasons to implement these tools, and there are. Looking at some specific examples, they are very relevant for businesses that have:

  • Developed beyond start-up, or have grown through acquisition and need standard financial controls and analytics to report to their stakeholders (Financials & Analytics)
  • Adopted the financial controls, but now need to apply rigour to ranges and inventory availability (Merchandising & Analytics)
  • Assessed a need for a single view of the customer, marketing preferences and marketing campaigns (Customer Experience)

Understood a need to replace the ‘black book’ of the sales associate, or a need to provide technical expertise on products, as well as making recommendations for cross and up-selling (KIT – Clienteling and Assisted Selling)

There’s no hard sell…   

Although we are at NRF to show what we can do, we are equally enthusiastic to learn from retailers what we need to do to be even more helpful to them. We can begin by discussing strategy and continuous business improvement and evolve to our technology wizards talking about the clever things that we have done around image recognition and visual searching (and searching by sounds too), all driven by data science.

I think that sums up NRF. it’s a place for reunions – where we all meet to compare what has happened since last year. It’s a place for showing – what we have developed and what results our customers have achieved. It’s a place for learning – who is doing what and how successfully. But most of all… it is a place for Retail.

Have a great NRF 2020, and we look forward to meeting you at the KIT booth #4125 – located next to SAP.