Competing with Robots at the NRF’s BIG Show

Events, Industry Insight

In three weeks I will hop on a train in Baltimore, bound for New York and the National Retail Federation’s annual Expo & Convention. Nicknamed ‘Retail’s BIG Show,’ this is definitely one of the biggest and most influential gatherings in retail, known for hi-tech demonstrations and a bird’s eye view of where the industry is going in the next year and beyond. This will be SalesWarp’s first year on the BIG expo floor and considering how quickly retail technology is advancing, I’m pretty excited to see what’s in store.

competing with robots

The author vs. an Amazon robot invasion

2014 was a big year for retail tech. With widespread use of the term ‘omnichannel,’ retailers were asked to meet the demands of tech-savvy customers who expect to be able to shop anywhere and purchase with the timing, location and delivery method that they choose. Retail tech companies responded with innovative solutions: mobile commerce tools like Apple’s iBeacon and Apple Pay, eBay’s interactive touchscreens in Rebecca Minkoff dressing rooms, the Kiva robots that pick orders for Amazon, just to name a few. These companies are pushing the envelope of traditional retail, and shaping the expectations of today’s customers.

This year the SalesWarp team spent a lot of time asking questions and listening to what retailers have to say about their operational pain points. And while the responses to our questions can be split up into categories and topics such as inventory management, order consolidation and system integration, all the pain points stem from one basic challenge: meeting the expectations of today’s customer. When one retail giant implements new technology, they force all other retailers to step up their game or risk being left behind. And if there’s one thing that Amazon’s customers have come to expect besides competitive pricing, it’s timely and accurate order fulfillment. In some cities, Amazon has even begun to offer same-day delivery!

How can small and mid-size retailers keep up? This is the problem that we’ve been solving at SalesWarp. How can we build a system that will give small and mid-size retailers the power and flexibility needed to meet the demands of today’s customers? In the area of order fulfillment, we’ve made some exciting developments that I’m ready to get into the hands of retailers on the BIG Show expo floor. We’ve integrated barcode scanning into the receiving and pick-pack-ship process to support accuracy and speed in the warehouse. With an interface designed for mobile, warehouse workers can take SalesWarp out into the aisles, providing system-wide visibility at their fingertips.

SalesWarp will be in Booth 717 at NRF’s Big Show, with an interactive demonstration of all our mobile warehouse capabilities. If you’re attending the show (and really, why wouldn’t you?!?) stop by, pick up a barcode scanner and see how it all works. As one part of the SalesWarp management system, we think these new warehouse features will help small and mid-size retailers to improve order fulfillment and meet the needs of today’s customers. When I’m not checking out all the cool new retail gadgets from other exhibitors, you can find me at Booth 717 in a white doctor coat handing out M&M’s and taking down omnichannel pain points. Hope to see you there!