By Erin Harris, editor-in-chief
If I had a dollar for every time I heard some form of the word innovation at this year’s NRF BIG Show, I’d be lounging in some tropical paradise sipping the local libation instead of writing about a renewed appreciation for what’s possible in retail. Innovation was a key theme from this year’s BIG Show, and rightfully so. Hurdles are imminent (e.g. EMV adoption), but there are plenty of operational upgrades and retail technologies that can help drive the customer experience. How so? In a word — innovation.
Innovation is one of those grand, esoteric terms that doesn’t mean much unless it’s paired with a specific revenue-driver. I heard and said the word innovation more times at this year’s BIG Show than I have in months. But we were not talking about innovation for innovation’s sake. There was substance to these conversations — the what, how, and why for the need for innovation in retail.
Indeed, the theme of retail innovation could not have been louder at this year’s BIG Show; retailers, analysts, and retail professionals alike emphasized the need to take risks with retail technology and to adapt the business-as-usual mindset. Trust me, I get it; that’s hard to conceptualize let alone put into practice, especially for SMRs who are too focused on the day-to-day operations of their business and don’t have time (or money) to wrap their heads around what qualifies as innovation let alone what innovation can do for the brand.
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