At the NRF Big Show, held Jan. 13-15 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, roughly 700 exhibitors will aim to showcase their newest technologies to 37,000 attendees.
And the timing couldn’t be better, particularly as the retail market faces challenges on numerous fronts.
Several companies plan to launch technologies that can be integrated into existing products and platforms. For instance, Kronos Inc. and Toshiba are respectively implementing AI to power additional insights into HR and point-of-sale (POS). Toshiba, the global POS market leader, is also releasing several POS and printing tools, including the TCx Single Station Printer; at 406 millimeters per second, it’s the fastest receipt printer in the industry.
“Toshiba is making frictionless shopping a reality by employing enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence,” said Bill Melo, chief marketing executive of global commerce solutions. “The solutions, services and innovative concepts that we’re demonstrating will enhance the shopping experience for customers and improve operational results for retailers globally.”
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NRF provides an opportunity for international companies to tap into a whole new market, including Taggstar, the Social Proof messaging company, and Nedap, creators of the fastest-growing RFID platform. Nedap’s !D Cloud platform has already seen large-scale rollouts in Europe and South Africa, but NRF will mark the introduction of !D Cloud to U.S. retail. Designed to utilize radio frequency identification (RFID) to improve inventory visibility, Nedap is hoping the launch will open up the possibilities of RFID to more retailers.
“We continuously strive to lower the barriers for RFID,” said Rob Schuurman, managing director at Nedap. “The latest feature we have developed is ‘virtual shielding,’ which provides reliable sublocation data and eliminates the need for ‘physical shielding,’ making it easier and more cost-effective for retailers to deploy RFID.”
While technological advancements dominate the NRF lineup, some companies are exploring the benefits of other avenues. The event’s programming includes Josh Luber, CEO of “stock market of things” StockX, which is launching a new rendition of its Drop-Off activation from Jan. 12-29. Drop Off allows customers to deliver dead-stock sneakers and streetwear for immediate on-site authentication and payout. This will be the third storefront test for the company as part of its larger brick-and-mortar plans.
“StockX is opening up the brick-and-mortar location in New York, and likely other cities very soon, to be closer to our customer,” said Josh Luber, co-founder and CEO at StockX. “Our customers, particularly our power sellers, spend a lot of time and effort just shipping us the product, so for that customer to be able to just drop off their shoes, it’s great. But at a higher level, brick-and-mortar is about brand. We’re a website, so it’s important to have a physical place where we can show what the StockX brand looks like.”