NRF Day 1: Getting my bearings

NRF, Getting my bearings

So, day one over at the NRF Big Show.  I cruised through the show for a brief overview of stuff, and stopped to look at a few key items. 

I didn’t have as much time to cruise the show and see what I needed to, because my luggage got left behind in Minneapolis.  So wearing shoes that weren’t great for walking, and having been in the same clothes for 30 hours, I went for a few hours.  Not to much more. 

But, even the short time I was there, I saw some really cool stuff! 

HP POS Hardware featuring talech software

Talech is a cool software platform, and it just got cooler with a new harward look from HP.  The hardware is sleek, stylish, and in a cool white color.  (I’ll have photos soon.)

The POS terminal itself runs Android.  It’s a sleek thin touchscreen, with a small customer facing screen.  But the main screen is reversible to face the customer as well, if detail is required.  

It utilizes new Paypal technology and has integrated contactless payment and NFC support, as well as the standard mag reader. 

As devices go, this one is pretty awesome.  And the rumors I’m hearing are that the MSRP is pretty reasonable.  But more details on that when it’s not a rumor. 

A mix of old and new

There were 2 things that dominated the floor when I was walking it.  And I preface, because it’s interesting how divergent the retail industry can be. 

#1, AI for Marketing and Supply Chain

AI and automation are the wave of the future.  And the trends seem to be automating simple data tasks.  

Marketing automation is all about combining loyalty programs, and purchase histories.  You use this data to segment your customers, and market to them based on the stuff they buy.  But the AI does the work for you! 

Supply chain automation is about learning what inventory you use, and the frequency you order.  It also uses information like how much cash reserve you have, and historical sales.  The AI uses this info to help you decide what to order, and how much.

This is the wave of the future!  Taking inventory and purchasing tasks off your list, and leaving it for the machines. 

Which is why it’s interesting that the next thing I saw was: 

#2, POS Printers, Cash Drawers, and Touch Screens

In the retail biz, it looks like legacy is still the name of the game for large companies.  Because the giants of the legacy industry were out in a huge force.  Epson, APG, ELO, and more, they’re all over.  Epson is for sure on every floor of the show. 

And the devices are now way cooler.  The ELO stuff I’m seeing is so much more stylish than the stuff from even 5 years ago.  They’re shrinking the footprint and expanding the screen size.  I’m a big fan. 

Meanwhile, I must have seen 4 brands of receipt printers in passing.  Epson is the king of this, with Star Micronics being a close #2.  But I’m seeing a ton of others trying to push into the business.  

And cash drawers.  Talk about steady business! What can you do without them? At the end of the day, you have to take cash.  And you have to put it somewhere.  POS-X, APG, and others are still making exactly what everyone needs. 

Headed back for more tomorrow

I’ve got a few interesting meetings tomorrow, so we’ll be rolling out some new stuff for you.  In the meantime, email or tweet at me if there’s anything you want me to check out.  Or if you’re at NRF and there’s something you want to show me!