#RetailTech2013…The Future in Retail Tech lies in Social Commerce


As soon as we unwrap our new smartphone, we know that latest technology is already a thing of the past, a concept that, Creative Realities’ CEO Paul Price notes, extends to retail as well. Recently at Creative Realities headquarters, FIT professor Dalia Strum held a fireside chat with Price to address the future of retail tech. As with all things tech, the industry is set to become cheaper, better, faster. And to do that, Price suggests, make sure your company strives to be more open, aware and simpler.


retail tech

At Creative Realities, there are interactive touch displays you can try out which they’ve made for brands such as Adidas. Scroll through hundreds of shoe choices and share with your friends.  Incorporating that technology is something Price notes as being an essential aspect of today’s retail marketing – the experience.

“You don’t need a marketing department, you need an experience department,” said Price. For him, it’s important to consider that in today’s age, we have the open graph, a technology enabler that allows frictionless sharing on the internet.  Because of this concept, marketers must move away from the desire to persuade and to instead recommend their products to consumers. Other tips on what you should be doing:

  • Think of the consumer as the producer – Because of these sharing tools, consumers now have more influence on what they want to see being made. And with the emergence of 3D printing (a Makerbot can be purchased for $2000), that’s only going to become a more relevant concept to consider.
  • Focus on the user experience and stay human-centric rather than tech centric. For example, Facebook was able to suggest Valentine’s Day gifts for Price’s wife. Anticipating a customer’s needs is always a plus.
  • Think about the communities rather than segmentation – As Price noted, there are no borders on the internet, but there are plenty of unique communities such as Reddit or Quora, composed of all kinds of people worldwide.

If you’re still not convinced that you should be upgrading your tech as soon as possible, Price said that you should be aware of certain innovations and insights, such as the fact that since 2008, there have been more machines connected to the internet than humans. Some of the examples of the exciting innovations that are making life simpler:

  • Next gen phones, the Pebble Watch, a smartwatch crowdfunded by Kickstarter and yes, Google Glasses.
  • Mobile payment options: Paypal, Paypass– Biometrics, voice and iris recognition
  • Geo-location and robots: Check out Anki, an AI toy car, or Waston-winning Jeopardy. Computers that are getting faster and more accurate and will eventually be able to geo-locate within inches, not yards. Meanwhile, robots, said Price, are what allow Amazon to do same day delivery.
  • Google Fieldtrip: As Price said, “If you have Groupon stock, (Google fieldtrip) is a good reason to sell it.”

While your company may want to move forward with tech, do take note of some of Price’s dangerous assumptions. Of most importance: stop assuming that your consumers can spend more. According to Price, 76% of US households survive month to month. And don’t think us Millenials are eager to spend more. College loans and an environmentally-conscious era have definitely changed our spending habits.

That’s not to say that we won’t spend. It may just take the right nudge of a virtual shopping assistant to carry us over to that self checkout line, while a store manager with a fablet makes sure that you’ve gotten everything you need. That sounds like quite the entertaining shopping day that I’d be up to experience.

For full coverage of tech events in New York, visit The Watch.

About the author: Stephanie Santana

After receiving a dual degree in magazine journalism and anthropology, Stephanie moved to Korea to teach English to elementary students for two years. During her time there, she started a website for salsa dancing in Korea, BusanSalsafied.com. She is currently an editorial assistant at AlleyWatch and is happy to back in New York at an exciting time for startups.  She likes to document her experiences here: stephaniesantana.tumblr.com.

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