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By Mike Grimes, CRO at Mobee

Retail’s BIG Show did not disappoint with the newest in artificial intelligence, connected devices and augmented and virtual reality. These cutting-edge technologies hold unbridled promise for the retail industry. We will no doubt see and hear more about drone delivery, interactive dressing rooms, the endless aisle 2.0 on in-store mobile devices and even virtual retail locations in your living room.

Yet amid the buzz and excitement of new technologies are gloomier headlines about the demise of brick-and-mortar staples. Macy’s, Sears and The Limited all announced store closures in the new year, citing a decline in shopper traffic and the rise of e-commerce. Footprints are shrinking and so are store sizes, yet shoppers are demanding the same or expanded inventory.

As noted by Carrie Ask of Levi Strauss & CO and published on NRF, “Retail store traffic may be declining, but purchase intent is rising since people don’t ‘have to’ go to a physical store anymore. That makes the accuracy of shelf-level inventory in-stocks more important than ever.” Add that the value of omnichannel customers increases with the number of channels they use, and an optimized offline presence becomes even more important.

The takeaway? Omni-channel retailers need to do a better job with the limited physical space they have. Technology can help—when deployed correctly. Before tacking on new and innovative features, retailers should use solutions like mobile crowdsourcing, RFID tags and mounted sensors to improve the basics of store-level experience.

Here are three places to start:

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When it comes to purchasing decisions, millennials know exactly what they want.
By Kevin Cundiff, VP of Retail for Fortegra

Millennials: they truly are the in-the-know generation. They do their research to educate themselves on their potential purchases — and by the time they actually get to making that purchase, they know exactly what they want.

And, many times, they’re making those purchases online instead of heading to a brick-and-mortar location to chat it out with the sales associate. Even if they’re not purchasing online, they’re doing research online beforehand. According to CMO.com, 72 percent of millennials research their options online before going to a store to make a purchase.

So, when a salesperson encounters a millennial who has done their digging beforehand, what should they do? Here are a few ideas:

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DirectBuy takes a look at the state of retail, etail and m-commerce and where the industry might be headed and what could drive it forward.

By Mike Bornhorst, CEO of DirectBuy

Based on eMarketer’s latest forecast, total retail sales in North America reached $5.254 trillion in 2015, including $4.785 trillion in sales in the United States alone. The same report predicts that U.S. retail sales will approach $5 trillion in value this year.

So, where is the industry headed and what should retailers be focused on in the coming years? There is no shortage of data points out there pointing to the state of retail today, but rounded up below are what stand out as the most meaningful insights that will continue to drive the industry forward.

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By Guy Amisano, Salient Management Company

Another holiday season is upon us and with it the constant battle small retailers face to earn their piece of holiday shopping sales. This means not only competing with big store brands, but also e-commerce sites, which are making it easier than ever for shoppers to complete their holiday shopping lists without ever leaving the couch. So, how do smaller retailers ensure they have enough customers in-store this December and capitalize on developing relationships with new customers for 2017 and beyond? The answer lies inside the vast pool of data being collected by their customer loyalty programs. 

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By John Findlay, Launchfire

The holidays are a busy time for marketers, consumers and our inboxes. There’s a lot of noise to cut through and it’s hard to get your marketing campaign to stand out. Sometimes we get so caught up in increasing our bottom line that we forget the best way to do that is to provide the customer value.

And we’re not talking discounts.

People have a lot going on during the holidays. If you can make it convenient and enjoyable to shop, you’re going to have their appreciation and their business.

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