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I actually didnt dislike NRF this year. Javitz is not my favorite spot in Manhattan in January. Its normally cold inhospitable experience is often only made worse by a stiff cold wind from the river. My apartment, house, a warm office or restaurant normally sounds better.

This year though it was filled with people, warmth and enthusiasm for the return of stores and IRL physical interactions.

Still I felt it lacked one critical and clear thing: Business Use Cases.

“Transformation must have a purpose and

that purpose must have positive business outcomes”

Courtesy of Arthur Elgort

As the amount of digital retail tools exponentially nears saturation it is increasingly more evident that it is not the lack of technology innovation that is the limiting factor, but the ability to understand how it relates directly to a Brand, a Customer and directly to Purchase.

A week of great technology, incredible innovation and a world of possibility but the top-line takeaways were always; “Make sure you have clear goals, there is alignment across the org, make sure you have a testing plan in place.”

It is time to take these great technologies and apply great creativity, clear goals, and structured testing to get to success.

Here are my favorite Use Cases:

  1. Artificial Intelligence — Of course! ChatGPT, NeuralText, Jasper and so on are huge news, but they also have immediate applicability which really makes it exciting. A top multi brand grocery and healthcare retailer in Asia took me through a very clear purpose, application and testing cycles around the application of AI to consumer use cases in the consumer funnel delivering dynamic promotions, offers, and product bundling on their website. Very impressive. Coming to stores soon!
  2. Computer Vision- Incredible advances in accuracy and ability to augment and add information into the models in playful, fun ways will open up so much promise in busy crowded product environments with low staffing. Incredibly promising for retail, grocery and beverage. I really liked Diebold Nixdorf’s simple application around Computer Vision at Self Service Checkout.
  3. On-Location Media — The fall of social media related ad-tech due to privacy constraints has supercharged On-Location ads to get closer to purchase consumer purchase path. Paired with the computer vision above there are incredible opportunities to be unearthed. I’ve written a quick article on this available earlier here on Medium.
  4. Digital Twin — Still early but businesses are beginning to build digital infrastructure for physical objects. This is perhaps one of the largest changes we will see in our Built World over the coming years. I wholeheartedly believe this is the future foundation for Web3 in our world. We are doing a lot of work on the applications that will sit on top of this infrastructure for the future these days to reduce energy consumption and add/augment experiences into physical spaces.
  5. Services, Services, Services- One of my favorites; Brands, Retail and Spaces are expanding their utility, their data footprint and opportunities to interact and transact with consumers into non-product based services; Concierge, Loyalty, Promotions, Personal Shopping, Wellness + Health, … If you have trust, and a CRM-Driven direct relationship the use cases are expansive and exciting in this domain.
  6. Web3 Searching for Utility — Web3 communities are massive and its users are incredibly invested in their viability. Smart entrepreneurs are finding use cases to bring the value of their Web3 community into actual viable business cases. I really loved what the crew at Web3 Gallery were up to. Paired with the promise of on location media, malls and CRE take notice…entire new Revenue Platforms!

Thank You for reading. I do love writing and am always happy to get my thoughts out. I love innovation, creating transformation and building beautiful work even more so dont hesitate to reach out, say hi and see what we’ve been up to; [email protected]