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As one of the curators behind the Innovation Lab at NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show, Seth Webb of Tusk Ventures has his finger on the pulse of retail’s newest and most game-changing technology. This year’s Lab showcased in-the-moment technologies like AI, AR, VR, robotics and big data. As to when these will become mainstream, Webb says they already are — and in some cases, they’re scaling internationally.
Webb joins the hosts of this episode of Retail Gets Real from the Javits Convention Center in New York to explain how the popular NRF 2018 experience was curated and give a snippet of things to come in the not-so-distant future.
So how do these innovators get into the Innovation Lab? Developers of the latest retail tech face a rigorous screening process and must showcase market fit — proof that the technology has been tested and launched with positive feedback from clients and even venture capitalists. Webb’s team also considers solutions at different stages in the customer shopping journey, whether it’s awareness, engagement, logistics or post-purchase.
Technologies that are poised to transform the retail industry from this year’s show include a digital storefront from Glass Media that turns window displays into dynamic experiences controlled from the cloud. Spacee allows retailers to use natural light to create a VR experience without a special device, and EverThread increases conversions by enhancing product visualization.
Truly innovative technologies achieve success in today’s retail environment because they help increase productivity or enable retailers to do something they could not have done before. “[Robots] can increase human efficiency,” Webb says specifically of Locus Robotics on display in the Innovation Lab. “They’re not replacing humans.”
Read seven ways NRF's Sarah Rand foresees shopping getting beter by 2020 after her visit to the Innovation Lab. Listen to this episode to hear about the robotic pen that creates hundreds of personalized handwritten notes and the selfie that recommends skincare products.
To see the Innovation Lab, click through the album below:
Katie McBreen is a co-host on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.