Winter 2017
Top 10 Industry Trends of 2017

5: Tech-ing specialty retail to the next level

We’re seeing a continued integration of technology in practically every aspect of retail – from new point-of-sale systems to smoother payment options such as Square that even small mom-and-pop business can avail of on the go. American Kiosk Management capitalizes on technology to create its new virtual reality kiosk while automated retail kiosks capitalize on unused mall space for income without much need for staffing.

“As we think about the growth of digital in today’s physical retail environment, technology typically manifests itself as experiential [e.g. digital signage, AR/VR], convenience/service [e.g. self-checkout kiosks, mobile payments], or operational [e.g. RFID-based real-time inventory, ship to home],” says Andy Wong, Partner at Kurt Salmon Digital, a digital design consultancy firm for retailers, “Alone, these pieces of technology are deployed to stores as capabilities. The retailers that are doing this well, however, are deploying technology holistically—not as a series of capabilities, but as a broader digital strategy for the brand at which point digital manifests itself more subtly.”

“The deliberate combination of multiple technologies in-store—such as live inventory via RFID, customer presence detection and profiling via their mobile app, and mobile-enabled associates with views into both—allows retailers and their associates to deliver true personalized clienteling in way that is both very human and yet very driven by new technologies in the store,” Wong says, “This combination of big data, machine learning/ recommendation engines … allows retailers to deliver personalized content and experiences to customers while maintaining full control of how product marketing and merchandising
is delivered, the context in which it is received, and how customers can interact.”

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Patricia Norins

Patricia Norins serves as VP of Specialty Retail & Publications at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Considered the authority on specialty retail, she has been tracking the industry for the past thirty years. Norins is Publisher of Specialty Retail Report, the voice of the specialty retail industry (carts, kiosks and pop-up stores). SRR has a readership of more than 75,000 each quarter.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor specializing in retail and the book publishing industry. Learn more at
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