For three days in January 2023, more than a thousand exhibitors and 38,000 visitors came together in New York at NRF, Retail’s Big Show. Brent Hollowell, CMO at Volumental, looks back at the event and shares his highlights and insights for the future of omnichannel retail.
Fit tech that ticks the boxes for market-leading retailers
Volumental scanned over 350 feet, and demonstrated their new self-scanning software. Hollowell expands:
– NRF is a fantastic meeting point for national and international retailers who share challenges that need to be solved, and this year, there was optimism in the air. Brick-and-mortar retail is coming back strong after a tough couple of years. Retail tech decision-makers want to improve their customer experience and close the omnichannel loop.
Volumental’s booth was visited by a steady stream of current and prospective buyers from a wide range of retail segments, mainly looking for retail technology that ticks their ROI-related boxes. Many of them were excited about Volumental’s current fit technology as well as the new self-scanning solution:
– It’s clear that there’s a big demand for retail technologies that can help stores provide their customers with high-end shopping experiences, despite being a store where customers outnumber the store staff, and that’s where this new Volumental product offering comes in.
The top 3 takeaways from NRF
Hollowell describes the ongoing discussion about how the acquisition cost for new customers has doubled in the past two years:
– Now more than ever, retailers are looking for ways to mine the customers they already have. There’s a need to create stickier retail systems that:
lower customer acquisition costs
increase the lifetime value
improve the NPS
These were the three most discussed solutions to close the gap, according to Hollowell:
1. Personalization at scale
– We noticed an increase in apparel and footwear companies offering personalized fitting experiences through manual fitting and software AI. These companies aim to provide customers with a tailored fit that suits their individual needs, but they fall short when not relying on inventory-based recommendations using actual retail purchase data from the customers.
At Volumental, we compare the shopper's 3D foot scan with retail purchase data and use an AI engine to deliver perfect size and style recommendations. Based on the data, our customers increase the promotion conversion rate by 200% and build long-term relationships by only recommending products that truly fit.
2. Omnichannel retail solutions
– Retailers want to create omnichannel experiences and close the loop between physical stores and e-commerce. It’s either because of harder KPIs, such as increasing sales, or “fuzzier” values, such as improved shopper journeys and higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
Either way, Volumental meets tangible and less tangible demands while increasing retention as 79% of shoppers opens their post-scan emails, and 50% click to view their foot profile on average five times in the first 6 months.
3. Sustainability in focus
– Improving sustainability is a much-celebrated trend throughout the retail industry, but saying it is one thing – taking real action is another. There were a lot of discussions about doing that from a software or operational perspective. Still, the reality is that one of the quickest ways to minimize your carbon footprint is to look at your returns. How high is the return rate, and what can you do to prevent returns from occurring in the first place instead of just simplifying the return process?
Volumental helps retailers reduce return rates by 18% by ensuring that customers get the best fit straight away without unnecessary bracketing.
High hopes for 2024
For next year, Hollowell is curious to see how the retail industry adapts to the recession. Hopefully, the fit tech category will be given more space overall as it checks many boxes for the problems retailers face today.
And on a less serious note, for next year Volumental will need to review the best way to provide customers and prospective buyers breakfast… This year, the size of the breakfast spread they ordered from convention services ended up being bigger than the booth – making it a terrific spot for eating free muffins and drinking coffee but it made things a little tight for product demonstration. After all, it’s all about the perfect fit.