NRF 2016: The Continued Evolution of the Retail Experience

Picture this: a customer walks into her favorite clothing store looking for a particular item. After browsing the racks for a few minutes, she can’t seem to find the same article of clothing she’d seen online. She glances around, attempting to locate a retail associate, but the staff appears to be stuck behind the counter—either helping other customers or tethered to a computer screen. She takes one more fruitless trip around the floor (hoping an associate will free up) before she decides to come back another day. She leaves empty handed.

Sounds like a lose-lose situation. Not only does the customer leave the store disappointed, but the retailer loses out on a sale—and, perhaps more importantly, a chance to build a relationship with the customer.

This situation may sound all too familiar, but retail companies are actively working to change this dynamic through mobile technology. Earlier this month at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & EXPO (NRF), affectionately nicknamed “Retail’s BIG Show”, it became clear that retailers are embracing mobility in order to drive value for both customers and business.

Not only is mobility helping to bridge the gap between the customer and the associate, but it is also enabling a one-of-a-kind customer experience by bringing existing applications and product information to any device. This allows retail associates to leave the counter and engage with customers in a more natural and helpful way—and essentially changes the dynamic of the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

VMware and several customers recently attended NRF. Read more about what happened at the show, including a few key takeaways and interviews, on the VMware End-User Computing Blog.