January 19, 2024 | 5 Min

NRF 2024: Five Key Takeaways

Beth Norton
AuthorBeth Norton
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AIEcommerce
If you weren’t able to get to the show in New York but you’re curious about the groundbreaking trends and insights unveiled at NRF, fear not — we’ve got you. Our team was there showcasing our AI Content Platform, walking the conference floor and networking with fellow professionals, so we got the lowdown on what’s rocking the world of retail.  

Discover our five key takeaways from NRF 2024 below.

1. Omnichannel retail: meeting the needs of today’s customers

Back in 2010 when “omnichannel” was considered a buzzword, the average consumer used two touchpoints per purchase. Today, the average is between six to eight touchpoints. From the physical store to the online store and social media accounts, shoppers expect a seamless experience, with consistent brand messages and promotions at each touchpoint. They want to use that promo code they saw on Instagram on the online shop, or in store, and when they shop from a browser, they expect their basket to be transferred when they close the window and open the app.

With customer journeys being anything but linear, brands and retailers need to meet customers where they are, maximizing the convenience and simplicity of making a sale. And by closely analyzing customer data, retailers can more effectively distribute their marketing budget and effort across different platforms, ensuring that they provide the best content and the best service where their customers demand it most.

To serve multiple digital channels and eliminate data silos, a headless CMS is crucial for a successful omnichannel strategy.

2. Intuitive search is IN

With demand for personalization at an all-time high, consumers expect intuitive search capabilities that reflect not only their preferences and past shopping behavior, but also intent. By leveraging AI, retailers can combine catalog data and user events to personalize the shopping experience for their customers. Search enhancements include:

  • Search autocomplete: the search engine predicts a customer’s query or keyword and provides product suggestions as they type.

  • Text search: scans the catalog for the most relevant products to the customer’s query or keyword.

  • Browse search: presents the customer with the most relevant products when they’re browsing the site.

  • Personalized recommendations: presenting the customer with products recommended specifically for them or, on a product page, presenting items frequently bought together.

By speeding up customer searches, making smart predictions and providing instant results, retailers can increase customer satisfaction and engagement, and consequently, loyalty.

3. Invest time in AI to understand how it integrates into your business strategy ... and empowers your employees

As well as transforming the customer experience through increased volumes of content, personalization and enhanced customer service, AI simplifies tasks for employees, boosting productivity and efficiency. To maximize the benefits of AI for both employees and customers, retailers need to invest time in identifying the right use cases that align with their business strategy and goals.

The shiny and new is always exciting but understanding where AI can provide most value will help retailers to capitalize on the benefits of AI technology, while focusing on empowering their employees.

Read our five tips to avoid AI failure to learn more.

4. AI without data is like retail without inventory

Essentially, it can’t and won’t function without it.

Successful AI outputs require high-quality data. From supply chain to stores to customers, retailers need to audit their data to realize the best return on their investment in AI. By developing data quality assurance practices, retailers can accumulate cleaner data sets and use them to develop customer-first strategies, fueling AI algorithms to learn, adapt and make business-centric decisions for optimal output.

5. “You can’t spell Retail without AI.”

A quote from Microsoft Corporate VP, Global Retail, Consumer Goods & Gaming Industries, Shelley Bransten. And yes, while it might be a bit cheesy, she’s got a good point.

Today’s retail industry is built on data-driven, highly interactive and personalized shopping experiences. And AI is the foundation for which retailers can deliver these experiences at scale. From content creation to image generation and personalized product recommendations, AI is instrumental in transforming customer experiences, boosting engagement and increasing customer loyalty. Retailers that don’t adapt will quickly lose out to their competitors.

Keen to know more about how Amplience can help your retail business? Get in touch with us today and find out more about our suite of AI solutions that will help you create more effective shopping experiences at scale.