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NRF’s Big Show 2017 Technology Wrap-Up

Christian Sharrow-Blaum • January 24, 2017

As the retail industry’s premier event, NRF’s Big Show always leaves visitors with plenty to ponder. The 2017 iteration was no different, as retail, technology, and thought leadership combined to shape the industry and illuminate new trends.

LYONSCG made its inaugural appearance as an exhibitor and fit right in, as concepts such as unified commerce and digital strategy reigned supreme. These concepts signify a significant transformation happening in retail – traditional brick-and-mortar strategy is truly struggling – and fundamental changes are necessary for these businesses to deepen consumer engagement and reinvent the customer experience.

LYONSCG’s Booth at NRF 2017

The vast majority of the market sees technology driving the shopping experience out of traditional stores and onto Internet-connected devices. While eCommerce certainly is a channel in the ascendancy, Brian Wolfe, CIO and VP of Technology Services at LYONSCG, implores the industry to look beyond eCommerce and utilize technology to unite shopping experiences across all channels.

Today, we capture much more data and insight through online shopping in order to optimize the shopping experience,” he says in reference to unified commerce, “but the foundation is there – through sensors and other technological innovation – to gain significantly improved insight into customer preferences and behaviors in retail stores.

– Brian Wolfe

According to Wolfe, the future of retail is not just the transition to digital shopping, but the holistic transformation of the industry – physically and digitally – driven by new technology.

Read on to learn more about three groundbreaking applications presented at NRF’s Big Show 2017 that truly aim to unify commerce this year and beyond.

InContext Solutions: Virtual Reality

The global leader in scalable cloud-based virtual reality (VR) shopping and retail solutions, InContext seeks to connect VR technology with the traditional shopping experience.

Big Show
InContext Solutions is helping to re-envision in-store testing

One of the most difficult aspects of brick-and-mortar retail is optimizing in-store displays, messaging, and product placement for premium results. In-store testing is very expensive and time-consuming to perform. In response, InContext is leveraging their VR technology to enable virtual optimization testing with real customers while mitigating the costs needed to test in store.

Look for more consumer-based technologies such as VR to re-imagine the brick-and-mortar customer experience.

Intel: Retail Sensor Platform

Long a player in the chip and computing market, Intel showed us how their Retail Sensor Platform technology can be utilized to reinvent retail at NRF’s Big Show 2017. Leveraging simple RFID tags, Intel’s Retail Sensor Platform tracks a wide array of inventory data, reducing wasteful spending while also providing real-time information to customers and sales personnel.

Brian Wolfe helps us understand how this technology works in real-time,

For example, the system can track individual inventory items to any location in the store. If a customer is looking for an item in a particular size, a store associate can determine its exact location, potentially saving the sale. More accurate inventory tracking reduces carrying costs, and mitigates the need to carry excess product requiring future mark-downs. Inventory movement data collected from the RFID sensors also helps retailers optimize store layouts by identifying high-traffic areas, complementary customer choices, and frequently abandoned products.

– Brian Wolfe

Simple RFID-tag technology can be applied to bring modern, digital intelligence to the traditional retail experience. Just another example of how technology is reinventing commerce in 2017.

Recon Jet Pro: Wearables In The Warehouse

Okay, the Jet Pro technology from Recon is just downright cool. Wrist wearables such as the FitBit and Apple Watch have taken the connected-device market by storm, but ever since Google Glass crashed and burned, wearable makers have stayed away from glasses.

At NRF’s Big Show 2017, however, Recon is bringing glasses back with their Jet Pro, and revolutionizing warehouse and logistical operations in the process.

These hands-free glasses allow workers to identify and scan items merely by looking at them. Furthermore, the Jet Pro confirms that the right item is being placed into the right box or package, reducing error rates and ensuring customer receive exactly what they ordered.

The Recon Jet Pro couples the digital and physical world in front of your eyes
The Recon Jet Pro couples the digital and physical world

Technology like the Jet Pro drives efficiencies and savings in retail, helping traditional and modern commerce strategies to blend into one.

Every year, NRF’s Big Show showcases the best and the brightest in retail. As a leading global commerce service provider, LYONSCG is trusted to identify the technologies and trends that continue to transform the retail industry, and develop strategies that integrate these innovations to inspire consumers.


Christian Blaum is the Content Marketing Strategist here at LYONSCG’s Chicago office. When he is not busy writing about eCommerce strategy, you can find him playing hockey, strumming his guitars, or caring way too much about Notre Dame football.

Christian Sharrow-Blaum

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Christian Sharrow-Blaum

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