Blog | NRF 2022 Recap


Jan 26, 2022

That’s a wrap on the NRF’s BIG Show 2022! It was great to hit the show floor in New York, where we got the chance to speak with top retailers and brands about challenges and opportunities in today’s stores.

What’s top of mind for retailers?

We’re facing tactical challenges such as lack of labor, keeping up with ecommerce, safety, automation, efficiency and supply chain. In short, retailers are looking to make the shopping experience simple, impactful and relevant. The good news is that mature, proven technology introduced in the store can add to the consumer experience as well as help back of house operations. We aren’t talking about tearing down the walls, overhauling the entire in-store strategy. And we’re not simply talking about passive retail digital displays, digital signage or digital signage software. The big picture is focused on “smart” digital displays — those that tie together digital displays to sensors and AI — to optimize the store from the parking lot to the checkout aisle and beyond.

While retail sales were down from pre-pandemic statistics, in-store retail numbers were up when 2020 is compared to 2021. What are some of the factors driving this? Consumers want to get back into stores, and expectations are high when it comes to the entire shopping journey. Experiential retail and customized, relevant in-store experiences are important factors in driving repeat store trips. With as many choices as today’s shoppers have, the “in-store” experience may extend beyond the four walls to include mobile integration or curbside pickup. Retail video walls, in-aisle shelf edge displays, attention-grabbing end cap displays, self-service kiosks — this retail technology delivers on that simple, impactful, relevant trip to the store.

Thanks for stopping by if you were able to attend the show! If you weren’t at the show, or if you want a refresher of what you saw, below is a recap of STRATACACHE’s booth retail experiences. The solutions on display had components and concepts that can be adapted and/or integrated into, or with, existing in-store solutions, platforms, fixtures, you name it. The application of each technology is unique to each retailer and sparked some great conversations around in-store experiences, efficiency and automation goals, and experiential retail ideas.

Experiential retail delivered with digital displays

The solutions in STRATACACHE’s booth focused on personalization of the in-store customer experience. After you introduce technology into the store, how do you improve it, make it consistent, make it easy, and then scale it? A trusted technology provider takes your brand goals and strategically applies tech. There can be a one-to-many customization that makes retail digital display relevant through real-time inputs and triggers on the backend. There is also one-to-one personalization of “known” customers, which may be customers who have a loyalty app, are members of the reward program, through sensor systems, a check-in system, item pickup identification or another way of identifying a specific customer. All of this is privacy conscious and respectful of consumer information.

A recent article in Chain Store Age highlighted key show takeaways by major brands.

“[Customers] came out to shop. They were out physically shopping in our stores. They returned to shopping malls. They were engaged. They wanted to be out there enjoying what retail can provide. It gives me incredible optimism for the future.”

— Brian Cornell, Target chairman and CEO

“As we think about what we need to be as a company, it’s been really simple. We want to take care of associates and be the best workplace we can be. We want to delight our customers. We want to make our communities better.”

— Marvin Ellison, chairman and CEO, Lowe’s Companies Inc.

We can’t agree more! A common thread in these sentiments is that focusing on the shopper experience, improving efficiency and automation are essential to the store’s future. And technology is here to deliver on that.

STRATACACHE in-store retail solutions highlights

Product discovery and retail digital displays in the beauty aisle

IMG NRF 2022 Beauty

This solution showcased how digital solutions enable personalized product discovery and ease of purchase. Shoppers use the digital display to explore detailed product information and suggested items or products, as well as being able to add products of interest to their shopping cart with ease. The order is then sent to pickup, according to the shopper’s preference. In our NRF booth, this part of the solution included smart pickup with digital displays, real-time queuing status and digital shelves or lockers.

The beauty solution highlighted:

  • One-to-one personalization for “known”/loyal customers
  • Curated product selection & promotion of high-value products
  • Suggested selling based on purchases or the shopper’s profile
  • Ease of purchase - tap to add to bag
  • Ease of pickup - send to locker, send to smart digital shelf

Digital smart shelf for order pickup

NRF SmartPickup
This solution solves the challenge of order pickup, creating a modern customer experience that is clutter-free, clearly marked, accurate and easy. Any range of products can be used for this solution in any high volume retail environment such as retail stores, convenience stores, restaurants, big box and grocery stores… Integrated with a queuing system, guests can see their order pickup status on slim form factor shelf edge displays. The displays dynamically update in real-time, ensuring the right customer gets the right order.

The digital smart shelf solution highlighted:

  • Real-time event triggering
  • Integration with existing queuing system
  • An impressive, modern look vs. clutter, confusion
  • Mitigating frustration as guests can see their order status, which is dynamically updated in real time

Digital smart pickup solution featuring pickup lockers

This solution solves the challenge of effective item or order pickup, showing integration with a locker pickup system makes pickup automated and personalized. The queuing board displays the pickup order status while digital shelf edge displays clearly mark which locker has the right item for the right customer.

The smart pickup lockers solution highlighted:

  • One-to-one personalization and experiential retail
  • Real-time event triggering
  • Automation and labor efficiency
  • Personalization assures shopper of a secure, seamless pickup experience
  • Modernization of the store experience

Product discovery and experiential retail in the grocery aisle

IMG NRF 2022 Grocery
This solution transforms traditional retail gondola shelves into an interactive shopping experience. Digital displays are integrated into standard fixtures to allow retailers to incrementally modernize their store while creating a personalized shopping experience for their customers. Shoppers use the touchscreen display for product discovery and basket fulfillment. This solution highlights inspirational shopping, how an investment in technology directly impacts the customer experience with a combination of enjoyment, assisted selling and upsell. The shopper uses the touchscreen to browse recipes, selecting one of the ingredients, triggering the digital shelf edge display to highlight that ingredient on the busy grocery shelf, making it easy for the shopper to locate the product.

  • The grocery aisle solution highlighted:
  • Product discovery
  • Modernizes in-aisle shopping and visual merchandising
  • Real time event triggering
  • Heavy focus on customer experience
  • Product discovery
  • Elevated shopping experience and store expertise without the need for sales associate assistance

Fresh grocery end cap solution delivers real-time price adjustments to minimize food waste

This solution shows how digital displays bring even greater attention to end cap displays, a high value area of store shelves. Additionally, in a fresh grocery scenario, prices are able to be changed in real time to mitigate waste, a top tier concern. Shelf edge displays enable eye-catching, modern visual merchandising, while also allowing for real-time pricing adjustments. Outside of grocery, this is applicable to adjusting prices on digital signage retail displays throughout the store, to move sales of a certain product more quickly.

The fresh grocery end cap solution highlighted:

  • Modern visual merchandising in a high-value area of the store
  • Real-time pricing updates by authorized sales or manager employees
  • Eliminating clutter and waste of paper tags on slim form factor displays
  • Food waste mitigation or quickly moving product
  • Effective product promotion

Extending the store experience with outdoor digital displays

This solution extends the customer experience outside the four walls of the store, offering an order/pickup solution on STRATACACHE outdoor digital displays, which are ruggedized with a modular design, and made in the USA. After the shopper places an order — shown in STRATACACHE’s NRF booth in a home improvement store or QSR environment — shoppers’ orders and status in the queue are clearly displayed. This solution can be used in any high volume consumer environment where shopper automation solutions help with efficiency and self service.

The outdoor digital display pickup solution highlighted:

  • Convenience and safety, allowing shoppers to complete their purchase without having to enter the store, reducing number of people inside
  • STRATACACHE’s outdoor digital display, a ruggedized, modularly designed fixture that is, delivered from our factory in Ohio. The display is sensor-ready and field serviceable.
  • Ordering simplicity and queuing clarity
  • Digital signage retail experiences and shopper communication opportunities in the parking lot
  • How delivery/directional messaging adds clarity to the customer experience and eliminates frustrations

Shopper personalization with store insights and data — WALKBASE TREQ + retail digital displays

Walkbase is a sensor-based, high accuracy solution that provides an unprecedented, data-driven view of the in-store customer journey. Walkbase integrates multiple data sources and metrics to clearly show how you can make impactful changes throughout the store. The dashboards on display at NRF 2022 showed some of the in-store insights that Walkbase’s sensors can gather, which informs content and allows for personalization on the retail digital displays.

Components of Walkbase TREQ:

  • Walkbase Occupancy - Real-time occupancy management and COVID-safety compliance for facilities such as retail stores, restaurants and banks. High accuracy, 3D sensors are installed at the entrances and exits to ensure a precise occupancy number.
  • Walkbase Queue Analytics - Measure and manage cashier lanes better by using real-time data of customer movements. Understand idle customer wait, total checkout time, and improve operational efficiency and staffing.
  • Walkbase Merchandising - Sensor data uncovers insights about shopping cart or basket analysis, assortment planning, category visibility, as well as end cap and demo effectiveness.
  • Walkbase Traffic - A cloud-based solution that uses Bluetooth location technologies combined with patented Walkbase algorithms to deliver cost effective, high-precision and scalable asset-location monitoring services.

Assisted Selling Kiosk (ASK) for in-store assisted selling and remote expert assistance

IMG NRF 2022 ASK Fixture
This solution allows for specialty product discovery without the need for an on-site dedicated sales associate to be manning the fixture or area. A lift-and-learn functionality is elevated with interactive shelf edge displays. A product is selected, and on-screen display content updates with product comparison, helping with product selection. The shopping experience is complete with the shopper choosing their order pickup or delivery preference. A virtual sales associate aspect elevates the experience even further. A live video feed and speakers connect the shopper to a product expert, who will listen to their needs, in this instance what kind of food/occasion, and make a product recommendation. This can be applied to a wide range of high value products.

The ASK kiosk highlighted:

  • Integrated shelf edge displays
  • Lift and learn functionality
  • Attract, engage, interact
  • Product discovery
  • Automated guided selling
  • Remote expert capability for virtual assisted selling

It’s important to note that the experiences and solutions in the booth were home grown and fully operational with our own products. Everything was conceptualized, researched, created and executed in-house by our team. The solutions ran on our digital signage software, which can handle delivery at scale. Even much of the hardware used is STRATACACHE’s own — digital media players, Walkbase sensors, LINQ tablets and shelf edge displays.

If we spoke at NRF, don’t worry, we’ll be in touch to talk about your in-store retail goals — whether it’s digital signage retail solutions, “smart” retail digital displays, or customized, integrated solutions that personalize the shopping experience, STRATACACHE is a proven, trusted partner to bring your retail technology to market.