The most exciting tech innovations from the National Retail Federation Expo 2024

The dynamic solutions that made the biggest splash at this year’s show and will soon be deployed in a local store will transform the way we shop, hire staff, and even operate physical stores and e-commerce. Organize websites.

Since the last National Retail Federation (NRF) Expo, technology has been transforming retail at a rapid pace, and these innovations will become commonplace just as quickly. While some of the systems listed below have been around for some time, the models introduced this week were second generation and updated with the latest AI features to meet changing customer expectations.

Samsung showed next-generation LED screens at NRF 2024. Image:

Media for retail

Is your digital signage not performing enough? Samsung, whose technology powers Khloe Kardashian’s Good American brand, among others, has developed LED screens for stores that can be set up or simply hung on the wall and whose content changes depending on who is standing in front of them.

Using radio frequencies from smartphones or headphones, the screen detects within milliseconds whether a customer is an individual or a family, where and how long they are in the store to show similar content and thus the occasional browsing of sales to convert. Screens can also be programmed to reflect viral social media conversations around the brand or relevant current topics to engage customers and increase brand visibility.

Author tries out Verizon's Virtual Mirror at NRF 2024

The author “trying on” a Tommy HIlfiger puffer jacket using the Verizon Virtual Mirror at NRF Expo 2024. Image: FashionUnited

Virtual Mirrors

“Immersion in the brand universe is the next level of customer experience, and the possibilities are endless,” Frederique Liaigre, President of Verizon France and Managing Director for EMEA South & Benelux, tells FashionUnited. Following last year’s head-turning launch of Proto, the remarkably realistic, life-size holograms that carry Burberry’s latest collection, Verizon introduced its Virtual Mirror at this year’s show.

Using augmented virtual reality, the digital mirror offers customers the opportunity to try on any item of clothing, even if it is not available in the store. It also offers customization options that are as creative and unique as the artwork of each luxury company Verizon counts as a customer. Verizon received permission to use Tommy Hilfiger items for the exhibition.

Alternatives to facial recognition

Criticism of facial recognition technologies potentially leading to bias has drawn attention to companies like Samsung, Kepler Analytics and Avery Dennison, which have developed alternatives to provide a seamless shopping experience. Radio frequency identification (RFID), used in self-checkout at Uniqlo and Just Walk Out at Amazon, has been around for over a decade, but it’s only now really coming into fashion. “The apparel industry is by far the largest user,” Alex Kim, responsible for Digital Apparel Solutions and Innovation at Avery Dennison, tells FashionUnited.

40 percent of Australian company Kepler Analytics’ customers come from the clothing industry, including Speedo, Coach, Calvin Klein and Tiffany. They’re all impressed by the tracking system, which collects no personal information, fits into a small, mailable box, and can be installed under a counter in just a few minutes.

The technology is powerful enough to track pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk and can also help retailers determine whether their window displays are eye-catching enough to attract customers to the store. It’s worth knowing that the technology, invented by founder David Mah in 2017, was originally developed to locate buried miners in collapsed mines.

In-store traffic counting without facial recognition technology

In-store traffic counting without facial recognition technology. Image:

More flexibility for store staff

Soon you won’t have to fight in front of grumpy bosses to apply for vacation. Zebra Technologies’ software simplifies and streamlines the chain of command, allowing employees to virtually log in, switch shifts and book vacation without ever coming into contact with overly involved managers.

They can also complete their tasks and instructions independently and confidently. Founded in 2021, marketplace platform Reflex, which connects store teams with flexible, experienced on-demand retail staff, has hired 30,000 people in the last 12 months and works with Faherty, 7 For All Mankind and True Religion.

1-1 Live Video by Parla Retail

1-1 Live Video from Parla Retail. Image:

Chatbots are out of chat

Gone are the days of the frustrating question machines that were the chatbots of old. Tymely has developed AI representatives that are indistinguishable from human agents for even the most complex queries, mimicking our mannerisms and behaviors via email, live chat or text. These AI representatives are the result of several days of observation of human retail employees to observe authentic speech and reaction patterns. You will also significantly reduce personnel costs.

Parla Retail, on the other hand, makes it easier for online customers to connect authentically with people by allowing them to speak via video call with a sales representative who can be in another store, in a call center or even at home.

New generation fashion labels

The UPC barcode, the series of black lines used to identify retail products, turns 50 years old this year. “No other retail technology has remained unchanged for so long, nor should it,” says Carrie Wilkie, senior vice president of standards and technology at GS 1.

The GS 1 technology, already in use at Puma, combines the QR and UPC codes to provide customers with a single point of information that includes supply chain data, care instructions and the ever-evolving brand stories, while also… Mobile check-out made easier. “It’s about empowering consumers,” Wilkie tells FashionUnited.

This article originally appeared on Translated and edited by Simone Preuss.