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new york fashion store ribbon free stock photoIn New York this past week, NRF 2015 set new records with 300 speakers and over 34,000 attendees from 85 countries. A much needed third day was added for visitors to tour the nearly 600 technology exhibitors.  The retail show energy was high and time passed extremely quickly.  

Following are the top three landmark topics from NRF 2015:

Retail ROI Super Saturday Delivers Pride to the Industry

For the first time, I had the pleasure of attending the Retail ROI (Retail Orphan Initiative) Super Saturday and the experience was both moving and insightful. One of the speakers was Katie Meyler, an "Ebola Fighter" featured in the Time Magazine Person of the Year" issue. She delivered a very powerful message on what it is like to step into "Hell on Earth"


From Part 1, summarizing the initial five 2015 top 10 retail technology predictions: the internet of things in retail; omnichannel wave continues; inventory visibility & FutureApps2RFID; retail innovation deliver; and the mobile consumer journey.

Completing the top 10 list, following are the next five top 10 retail technology predictions for 2015.

The Rebirth of the Physical Store

In 2015, the role of the physical store will continue to evolve as a destination to experience the value of the brand. Much like a performance in a theater, the store itself will be a showcase for consumers to engage and understand the value of their purchase.

Technology will be a key driver of the continued store evolution. A recent study, pointed to the following four areas for transformation:


FutureApps2014 was another year of disruptive transitions for the global retail industry. Legacy brands in key western markets struggled to maintain their historical leadership.  

New business models emerged including the biggest online retail IPO in history. Technology continues to be at the center of the ongoing retail transformation.  

Following is Part I of the top 10 retail technology predictions for 2015.  Part II will be posted at the same time next week. 

The Internet of Things in Retail



According to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer 2013-2014, retailers lost $128.51 billion to retail theft. As indicated in the previously published video summary, the cost of retail crime to honest consumers averages $403 in USA, 184 Euros in Europe, 845 in Hong Kong Dollars in Asia Pacific, and $143 in Latin America.  

The highest stolen categories included make-up products, fashion accessories, power tools, mobile accessories, wine and spirits. After multiple years of positive growth, can personally confirm that retailers are increasing the level of source tagging of high shrink consumer items.  For apparel that source protection is extending to millions of dual technology EAS / RFID hard tags.  One secure carrier for both shrink protection and inventory visibility.  Welcome to the Internet of Things. 

Top 10 Global Retail Shrink Takeaways - 2014 vs 2013 Infographic


Is Technology Today's Answer?

A Lowe's video this week on their first deployment of a robot in a retail store to enhance customer service sparked this blog post. The file000620187388narrator stated that shopping in a retail store has not changed in the past 100 years. On multiple levels he is correct.

Summarizing the fundamental changes to the retail industry in the last 100 years:

The invention of the supermarket which started the journey to retail sub-segmentation and self-service. The cash register which introduced data as an important element to measure the success of the business. Mass production and the computer which allowed manufacturers to drive production efficiencies, better information on what is selling, and lowered overall cost of goods. The bar code as the first item level visibility technology and the consequential explosion of retail chains in major industrialized countries. Globalization which proved that consumer markets do not have national boundaries.

The Retail Paradox

The retail paradox is very simple.


A World of Retail Opportunities Ahead

Attending the India Retail Forum (IRF) a few weeks ago, absorbing the vibrant energy of the attendees, and listening to the insightful IRF 2014 Speakingpresentations was a great reminder that these are exciting transformational times for the global retail industry.  As summarized in the last post, driven by consumer technology, retail disruption will increase and will include a few surprises from emerging markets such as India.   

The India Retail Opportunity

The retail sector in India has reached more than $500 billion in industry sales.  Organized retail which today is at 8% penetration will grow at more than 20% during 2012-2020.  The retail industry has contributed consistently 18%-20% to the country's GDP. Food and grocery is the largest category with the retail sector with 60% share, followed by apparel and telecom.


Last week had a chance to speak to a large audience at the India Retail Forum in Mumbai. Chairing an industry panel discussion, my 8thWonderOfRetailcontributions included an opening presentation to a session titled "8th WONDER IN RETAIL - FUTURE PARADIGMS AND TECHNOLOGIES THAT HAVE THE POWER TO CARRY OUT DISRUPTIVE INNOVATIONS". Summarizing key insights from the opening presentation:

4th Megatrend Reshaping Global Retail

Post World War II, retail has been re-shaped by four megatrends.  Technology has been the driver of retail power shifts through each of four megatrends.  The fourth retail megatrend had its origins in 1992 when IBM released the first smartphone.  It started transforming retail with Apple's smartphone around 2010. 

Complementing smartphones are emerging deployments of smaller / smarter store sensors that will lead to customized, higher value, improved shopping experiences.   All four megatrends have been about the availability of data and its effective utilization. The fourth megatrend places retail power in the hands of the consumer. 

The Pace of Change is Accelerating


zara RomeCouple weeks ago Inditex, one of the world's largest apparel retailers, went public with their Zara deployment of item level RFID.  Pablo Isla, the chairman and CEO, announced that Inditex has already installed RFID at more 700 stores in 22 countries and will complete the rollout of the Zara brand (nearly 2,000 stores) by 2016. 

Loss prevention technologies are playing a key role in the deployment of RFID at Inditex. Included in the rollout are dual technology RFID / EAS hard tags, dual technology RFID / EAS point of sale detachers, and a hard tag global re-circulation program. 

The Inditex announcement coincides with a ChainLink retail research study on RFID published earlier this year. The top three reasons identified by retailers for deploying RFID included loss prevention in stores, item-level/on floor replenishment from back-stock, and cycle (inventory) counts in stores.


Latest Retail Shrink Data / Why Do People Steal? / New Technologies

In 2012-2013, global retailers shrink mental trianglelost $112 billion to shrink or 1.4% of retail sales on average. The top 5 countries with the highest shrink as a percent of sales included Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, USA, and China. 

This past week, Jack L. Hayes, published his 26th annual USA Retail Theft Survey. Highlights of this latest report:


The Five Future Megatrends Affecting the Region

Regular trips to Asia, retail customer meetings, APAC industry keynotes, and recent business articles confirm that economically China is Chinagoing "Back to the Future".

Before USA surpassed it in 1890, China was the world's largest economy.  By the end of 2014 China is on track to become the world's number one economy once again. This crowning achievement is arriving 5 years earlier than originally projected by the IMF.   

It took 155 years for the UK to double its GDP with about 9 million people in 1870.  The USA and Germany took 30 to 60 years with tens of millions of people.  China and India, with 100 times the number of people than the UK doubled their GDP in one tenth of the time.

Asia Market / Technology Trends

By 2030, the majority of the world’s population will be considered middle class. China and India will have the largest middle class consumption as a share of the world's total population.