The future is exciting and we’ve got the proof if the National Retail Federation show floor is any indication. This was the second year Avaap attended the retail big show and attendance was definitely up. More than 35,000 individuals crowded the Javits Center to cast their eyes on new technologies, strategies and opportunities to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution – automation.
Booth attendance was strong. Exponential growth in machine learning and an imperative to adapt it kept us busy in the Infor booth where there were more than 150 meetings booked during the three-day event. We covered everything from financials to forecasting and assortment planning. When not learning about software modernization, attendees explored augmented reality solutions, point of sale scanners and artificial intelligence technologies.
Unified Commerce was a major theme. Smart retailers know that the best customer experience blends the convenience of online shopping with the sensory experience of the physical store. Interest in unified commerce was strong as retailers seek to bring together ecommerce and point of sale (POS) platforms, giving consumers an easy, fast, secure way to make a purchase. With consumers pressed for time more than ever before, a positive, unique experience is what will bring them back to the store and develop brand loyalty. Mobile POS is a must to break through the wait-in-line dynamic of the traditional retail experience, enabling consumers to complete a transaction in a convenient, personalized manner from their mobile device even while on the sale floor.
We talked a lot about machine learning for forecasting. Gone are the days of time-series regression-based forecasts with exponential smoothing. Machine learning allows retailers to forecast on many attributes, have the ability to change those attributes quickly, and better understand patterns, correlations and solutions to business problems. Of interest: how neural networks overcome the limitations of traditional forecasting methods and improve forecasting accuracy.
Advanced analytics and real-time visibility were a draw. Retailers and planning executives that came by the Infor booth got a firsthand look at the Infor Retail Demand Management solution and Avaap’s implementation templates. We heard how assortment planning has been something the industry has struggled with for a long time. We were energized to share how Infor has solved the challenge in retail along with Avaap’s implementation accelerators and how customers can speed time to value and lower total cost of ownership.
Andy Cariveau is vice president of Retail at Avaap, where he is responsible for enhancing the customer experience with Infor software including tools that can help create a modern approach to retail forecasting and item planning. Want to learn more about Avaap’s assortment planning and merchandise financial planning solutions? Get in touch!