NRF 2016: Personalization of In-Store Experiences

February 04, 2016 | B2B Retail Trade Show

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Last month the National Retail Federation held their Big Show in New York where exhibitors and attendees were buzzing about the use of facial recognition technology and other products and services that personalize the shopping experience.


Large retailers including Hershey’s, Virgin Hotels and Gap were rolling out personalized products and services that they believe will make a big impression on consumers. Virgin Hotels and Gap have partnered to provide a concierge clothing service for guests staying at Virgin Hotel properties. Genius really, when you think of all those travelers who arrive at their destination and think, “It’s way colder here than I expected.” Now guests can use the Virgin Hotel proprietary app to order up Gap clothing from nearby stores and have it delivered to their rooms.


Tricia Nichols, Global Lead of Consumer Engagement and Partnerships for Gap said on the company’s website, “Traveling can be full of unexpected surprises – weather, lost baggage or you just want something new. Through this partnership, our goal is to provide shoppers convenience, ease and on-trend fashions, all through the touch of a button.”


Facial recognition technology is another innovative solution that retailers are using in-store to gather demographic information. Armed with the knowledge that a shopper is young and female for example, retailers can then customize their digital signage and promotions based on her age and gender. These technologies also provide vital feedback on a promotion’s effectiveness based on whether or not shoppers engage with a display or walk right by.


The Hershey Company is also rolling out new in-store technologies that allow customers to personalize their shopping experiences. A 3D printer will create unique custom designs in chocolate and new facial recognition technology will be used to dispense free candy to happy consumers. Dubbed the “Smile Sampler,” Confectionary News reports, “Hershey plans to introduce an interactive sampler to retail stores that dispenses products after shoppers smile in a bid to enhance the in-store experience and create a sales opportunity.”


Retail Info Systems predicts using technology to personalize in-store experiences will be a hot trend in 2016. “In 2015, we saw the growth and expansion of a number of interesting, cool, fun and engaging technology products, services and capabilities thereby shaping, enhancing and changing the guest shopping experience in different ways. Expect fuel to be poured onto the innovation fire in early 2016 as these will be absolute retailer differentiators.”


Posted by Andrew Changelian | Request as a Speaker

Client relationship manager & quarterback of complex integrated marketing campaigns. Family man & lover of all things Boston. Into sharp suits & leather shoes.