New Product Introductions at NRF


Most of the major trends in retail technology--mobile technology and applications (both for consumers and store associates), increasing customer engagement through personalization, interactive digital signage, and growing support for Apple devices--are reflected in the new product introductions that were unveiled at the NRF Big Show. Following are some of the new solutions that were introduced this year's event.

DemandTec Previews DemandTec Connect
To help retailer and consumer goods clients increase the effectiveness of its partner eco-systems, DemandTec announced that it is developing DemandTec Connect. This collaborative community tool will initially include such capabilities as Profiles, where users can put a face with a name and learn more about colleagues; Communities, where users can join groups, share files and documents; and Activity Feed, where users create categories (other users, application objectives, and so forth) and automatically receive updates in real time on their desktops. This solution is currently in beta and will be available in June.

Epicor Provides Support for Apple Mobile Devices
Epicor retail applications, including those providing point of sale and back office functionality, can now be supported on Apple iPads and iPhones as well as other tablet devices. Retailers can use these devices to place orders, process sales transactions and support other retail applications such as Business Intelligence, Enterprise Selling and Customer Relationship Management.

Fujitsu Demonstrates New Self-Checkout Concept Being Tested by Kroger
Fujitsu showed off a new self-checkout concept that is currently being tested at a Kroger store in Hebron, KY. The checkout system uses 12 optical readers placed within a scanning tunnel. Items are placed on a conveyor built that runs through the tunnel at a speed of 80 feet per minute. The device is capable of reading the items' UPC codes without regard to their location, configuration or proximity to each other. A store associate will still be available with a handheld device to scan larger items such as grills that will not fit through the scan tunnel. Payment is handled at a separate station. Benefits include faster checkout speeds and fewer opportunities for cashier "sweet hearting" that causes shrink.

HP Offers Slimmer Digital Signage Options

The HP LD4201 Digital Signage Display provides a 42" diagonal display showcasing high-definition images, and it is designed to run up to 14 hours per day. The commercial grade HP LD4210 and LD4710 Digital Signage Displays are 42" and 47" respectively. They include HP Network Sign Manager software for on-the-fly settings changes from a single source via the network.

Manhattan Associates' to Debut Mobile In-Store Execution Application
Manhattan Associates' Store Commerce Activation is a mobile solution providing inventory management and order fulfillment capabilities. The application can be used by store associates managing inventory from a mobile handheld device or managers monitoring key tasks. It also enables buy online/pick up in store and buy online/fulfill from store functions, and allows users to locate inventory both within a store and at any point in the broader supply chain.

NCR Introduces Enterprise Preference Manager
This year NCR is focusing on what it calls “converged retailing” or c-retailing. This refers to a retailing solution set that synchronizes all retailing channels and store touchpoints into a centralized management approach, enabling retailers to serve shoppers in a personalized manner and in the way they want to be served. NCR’s new Enterprise Preference Manager allows marketers to capture and use consumer information to tailor personalized outbound communication based on such preferences as language (Spanish, for example), device (cell phone, PC, etc.), method (text or e-mail), areas of interest, frequency and more.

Omnego Consumer Mobile App Offers Flexibility
Walgo, the mobile app from Omnego, provides retailers with multiple ways to use its platform. Customers can convert both print and online coupons to their mobile devices; scan both 1D and 2D barcodes; see what gift cards they've received and the balance they have on ones they've used; check their loyalty card points; view banner ads and link to a retailer's web content.

Outlier's Swagg Offers Mobile Gift Card Organizer Plus Promotions
Swagg, introduced in December 2010, offers consumers the ability to send, receive and organize gift cards on their mobile devices, and also channels promotional offers to shoppers from a network of 3,000 merchants. The technology, from Outlier, a division of Qualcomm, avoids "overload" by allowing users to set preferences in terms of categories (e.g. yes to apparel offers, no to auto parts coupons), and the application also uses analytics to further refine the offers based on customer activity. Outlier is using a performance-based business model for Swagg, with merchants paying the company a commission when a promotion or other activity results in an actual purchase.

Retalix Launches Retalix 10 Store Suite
Continuing its effort to broaden its technology footprint, Retalix announced the launch of the Retalix 10 Store Suite, targeted at retailers with high-volume, highly complex environments. “Retalix 10 takes the concept of store software solutions and architecture to a new level by efficiently and seamlessly combining major customer-centric retail functions—customer touchpoints, store management, targeted promotions and loyalty—into a unified solution based on one software ‘engine’,” said Shuky Sheffer, CEO of Retalix. The suite has been designed to unify the management and deployment of in-store systems, online storefronts and mobile commerce opportunities, and to provide a seamless customer experience across multiple touchpoints and channels, including point of sale, self-checkout, self-scanning, customer kiosks, customer scale terminals, online storefronts and a variety of applications for mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers.

Teradata Zeroes in On Geospatial Business Intelligence
Claraview, a division of Teradata, demonstrated its Geospatial business intelligence (GBI) functionality at the NRF Big Show. GBI offers retailers insights that can help them determine the optimal location for a new store and how much cannibalization such a store will create with existing locations. GBI modules can also show the impact of competitors' stores and provide valuable information about reaching new customers in new markets.

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