SalesWarp attended the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show last week in New York. There are big trade shows and then there are BIG TRADE SHOWS. NRF was definitely the latter. With thousands of retail professionals flooding the area around the Javits Center and two full floors devoted to the EXPO hall, NRF was the biggest trade show SalesWarp has attended so far, and a major event for the retail industry as a whole. We came prepared to hand out our signature “OmniChannel Pain Relief” bottles of M&M’s and talk to retailers about speeding up order fulfillment. We had the opportunity to show off SalesWarp’s mobile warehouse features with our interactive warehouse shelf, tablet, and barcode scanner demonstration.
What we found is that most retailers attending NRF are coming from a traditional brick-and-mortar retail background. While many of them maintain online sales channels as well, a primary focus of retailers at NRF was how to enhance the in-store experience and merge it with the online shopping experience to create a true omnichannel experience for the customer. This includes a consistent product assortment, inventory visibility and the ability to fulfill from any source, be that in-store, warehouse or dropshipper. It makes sense that NRF attendees would be focused on this. With NYC, aka “flagship store central” as a backdrop, in-store experience was a hot topic for the entire show. In the EXPO hall, we found ourselves surrounded by point-of-sale software vendors and booths offering unique in-store experiences with elaborate kiosks, facial recognition technology, beacons and more. One booth I visited displayed technology that utilizes in-store security cameras to identify customers by age, gender and even mood!
As a company that offers management software for primarily online retailers, you would think the SalesWarp booth stuck out like a sore thumb amongst all these in-store solutions. In fact, quite the contrary ended up happening. As we spoke with retailers at our booth, it became clear that many established retailers have developed their online sales channels separately from their brick-and-mortar channels. The stereotype of “siloed” sales channels cropped up everywhere. While marketing teams have done a great job of providing a unified brand experience on the front end, many retailers are still struggling to provide the operations infrastructure to support this seamless experience on the back end. Enter SalesWarp, Booth 717, at your service! Well, at the service of retailers looking to make the leap from siloed sales channels to full omnichannel operations.
The biggest pain point we heard from retailers was syncing in-store inventory with online inventory, and offering real-time updates of available in-store inventory online. In an age of elaborate interactive technology and ambitious data-driven campaigns, this seems like a simple request from the omnichannel shopper: visibility of in-store inventory that is current, accurate and accessible. E-tailers who started out selling online are already well aware of this pain point: accurate inventory is mandatory for the smooth operation of any eCommerce site. But brick-and-mortar retailers who may have developed their eCommerce operations separately from their store operations are starting to feel the pressure of merging the two.
We’re looking forward to what 2015 has in store (pun intended), especially the chance to work with established retailers on bringing their siloed sales channels under one unified omnichannel umbrella. All in all, SalesWarp had a great show at #NRF15. We even found some time to fit in pie and hot chocolate…