4 Ways NEC is Reimagining the Store Experience

NEC Showcasing Innovations at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show

Facial recognition technology and data analytics continue to change the in-store experience for shoppers. These technologies enable a more-meaningful, personalized in-store shopping experience, while also making checkout and other in-store processes more cost effective and efficient for retailers and customers alike.

From Jan. 13-15, 2019, nearly 37,000 retailers and industry experts from around the world will descend on the Javits Convention Center in New York to attend NRF 2019, the world’s largest retail conference and expo. During the Big Show, NEC will showcase how facial recognition and data analytics are transforming four areas of the store experience, including Customer Experience, Operations, Analytics and Marketing. As soon as they step into booth #1936, visitors enter a virtual store to encounter first-hand a new, improved in-store experience, resulting in better engagement for customers and tangible business benefits for retailers.

Your Face is the ‘Key’ to Unlock a Personalized Experience

When entering the NEC booth, visitors self-register by providing only a photo and first and last names. No need to use personal mobile devices, cards or keys. This frictionless, near real-time pre-registration process enables multiple touchpoints and experiences throughout the NEC booth tour.

Online shoppers appreciate the convenience of automatic loyalty offers, and NEC will demonstrate a similar in-store experience through its virtual store. Once registered, visitors are easily and automatically identified as loyal customers as they progress through the booth tour. Personalized greetings will appear while moving through the demos. Instead of waiting until checkout to ID loyal customers (when it’s too late for meaningful customer engagement), automatic identification results in 100% loyalty redemption rates for in-store shoppers.

Technology Improves In-store Operational Management

Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the Face Further, booth visitors can also interact with the face-based kiosk, which is being used by NEC customers. The facial-recognition kiosk demonstrates how easy it is to deliver fast and truly frictionless transactions. Guests can peruse a menu, choose items and then pay for their virtual purchases without pulling out their wallets or personal devices. All you need is your face!

Big Show visitors will get a glimpse into how facial recognition assists retailers with business operations. NEC’s facial recognition solutions are real-time and provide retailers with an effective, transparent loss-prevention system. As someone approaches a surveilled area, for example, alerts are triggered on the analytics dashboards.

NEC will also be showing how retailers can use this same technology to manage employees’ time and attendance. In-store staff check in and check out using face recognition, thus preventing proxy check in and check out. Near real-time reporting is available with this system so that schedules can be easily coordinated.

Check out NEC Retail solutions to learn more.Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to experience first-hand various models of NEC’s industry-leading point-of-sale hardware devices.

Booth “shoppers” can experience easy and deviceless checkout as well. Total expenditures and receipts show up on the wallboard next to the exit. No wallets or credit cards needed for this automated checkout experience.

Retailers Rely on Data Analytics to Tailor the Shopping Experience

For retail businesses, the ability to access up-to-the-minute sales data analytics helps them survive and thrive in this competitive marketplace. Reliable sales data and reporting enable retailers to make tailored in-store offers to their customers. Sales data aids in managing inventory plus helps store managers more effectively plan staffing, especially during critical times of high traffic. These benefits in turn elevate the customer shopping experience and help boost profitability in the store.

Analytics can also be used to track demographic and traffic data related to in-store shoppers. Stores have the capability to create heat maps to track and manage shoppers’ interest in various products or displays within the store. Advanced glance technology determines the amount of “dwell time” on items (such as a shelf display) by tracking interest and intent to purchase. This data can be matched to sales conversion data from the POS to judge the display’s effectiveness and use of shelf space.

The data gleaned from the in-person shopping experience helps retailers improve their outreach through targeted emails, app notifications and even in-store messaging.

Facial Recognition Software and Advanced Displays Expand In-store Marketing Capabilities

Using facial recognition systems aids retailers in recognizing repeat customers at a location without collecting any personally identifiable information. This information drives marketing content and analyzes purchase patterns.

NEC’s advanced display technology helps retailers improve their marketing efforts. Cameras capture customer data to be used for customized content distribution and for measuring message effectiveness. The technology also collects audience metrics automatically.

Want to know more about the exciting and industry-leading technology that NEC will be featuring at NRF 2019? Book a personal tour with an NEC retail expert while you’re attending the Big Show. Hope to see you there in January!

NEC Corporation of America

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NRF 2018: Five Trends We Think Will Transform Brick and Mortar Again

Last year, our show theme at NRF 2017 was Know Your Customer. This year, we think it’s time to use that knowledge to transform brick-and-mortar retail once again, helping it compete with online retailers.

How can in-store retailers create a frictionless, more personalized experience for their customers, while still making their own in-store processes more efficient and cost effective? At NEC we believe it’s by applying key technologies to make the entire store more customer-aware.

Here are five of those technologies we expect to see on display at NRF 2018.

#1 Data and data analytics in full swing

Think about it. Big online retailers seem to know more about you than you do.
They know what to show you and recommend to you, what you’ve looked at, “liked” or bought before—even what you’re likely to want next. By crunching all that collected data with demographics, preferences and social media data, they can predict what shoppers will best respond to.

Why shouldn’t brick-and-mortar retailers collect, analyze and apply the data available to them to tailor the in-store customer experience, too? After all, everything else being the same, there’s still nothing quite like an in-person shopping experience. And analytics can help retailers better tailor their outreach—via emails, app notifications, even in-store messaging—to bring customers back into the store.

#2 Loyalty programs enhanced by facial recognition

Face it – technology can also help with building and retaining loyal customers, by making rewards program more effective and personal.

Using facial recognition technology, for example, a retailer can identify a frequent shopper or loyalty member as soon as they enter the store. Store clerks are able to greet them by name and make suggestions based on past purchases. And later, at checkout, you can automatically apply loyalty rewards and special savings, based on their status.

#3 In-store digital signage becomes customer aware

Digital signage is nothing new in retail, but when paired with facial recognition and big data analytics, it can become customer aware. That means shelf tags and screens can display messages or ads to the nearest customer, calling attention to nearby items or specials that past behavior indicates might appeal to that customer.

But smart signage can also utilize object recognition to enhance the customer experience. This technology can detect when the shopper picks up an item (or puts it back) and direct the signage to display personalized information. For example, more product information, available options, upsell ads, or even warning about potential allergic reactions—and make alternate recommendations.

#4 Chatbots with AI and AR help both customers and staff

What if a coffeemaker needs a filter change or a checkout printer needs the ink cartridge replaced? Little things like this can bring operations to a halt, and in turn affect how well associates take care of their customers.

Instead waiting on a repair, a store associate could quickly use a tablet at the malfunction to virtually chat with a robot (artificial intelligence) about how to fix the issue. Augmented reality (AR) can even show the associate how to get the device back up and running “live”—so they can get back to serving customers.
Shoppers could benefit directly from AI/AR chatbots, too. Pointing a smartphone at an item, the chatbot could answer questions, show the customer what’s size and colors are in stock, even show the shopper wearing the items before trying it on. Of course, a chatbot can also summon an associate over to help them personally.

#5 POS and check out becomes fast, easy and automatic

And let’s forget not the checkout experience. For single-item and multi-item purchases, using biometrics and object recognition-augmented POS systems allow for an efficient, frictionless checkout experience.

How would this work? Using both facial and object recognition, the POS solution identifies both the shopper and the items as she puts them on the counter. The system quickly totals the bill—applying the appropriate discounts and rewards based on the shopper’s loyalty status—and the customer pays with a mere glance at the camera. Now that’s convenient for the customer—and efficient for the store, too.

Which technology trend will be the winner this year?

Do you see five separate technologies in our NRF 2018 predictions—or one huge opportunity for transforming brick-and-mortar retail once again?
In each of our scenarios, it’s difficult to see these applications as separate technologies. At NEC, we think the key is unifying them to make the whole store customer-aware, from end-to-end.

At NRF 2018, you’ll see how our retail and advanced recognition solutions work together, to provide more efficient store operations, and for customers, a seamless, frictionless and more personalized experience.

True, technology helps retailers get shoppers in-and-out of the store more quickly—if that’s what they want. But more importantly, NEC retail solutions allow them to spend more time enjoying the actual shopping experience. And isn’t a personal, in-store experience what brick-and-mortar retail has that online shopping simply can’t provide?

Register today to receive a free pass to NRF 2018, Retail’s Big Event

Digitizing the Shopping Journey

When a consumer browses a product or online store, ads seemingly follow them around the internet, enticing them to come back, take another look, or buy. When the same consumer is in a physical store, the retailer still has options to bring the customer back to the product and encourage them to buy. The challenge is how to use the data – the demographics, shopper preferences, and previous physical browsing history – to build an in-store experience that’s similar to an online experience.

Data Rich, Information Poor

Download our white paper Digitizing the Shopping Journey: Building a Business Model on Never Saying “No”Today’s retailers have access to more personal customer data, including tracking online and mobile searches through browser cookies and location data, in-store facial recognition technology, NFC, e-wallet, RFID tags, beacons, or simply monitoring whether a customer opens the store’s emails.

The challenge is not necessarily obtaining the data. The trick for retailers is now to figure out how to use all the data they accumulate to create better in-store experiences and products. Retailers are data rich, information poor.

Download our whitepaper “Digitizing the Shopping Journey: Building a Business Model on Never saying “No” Intent of the Data

Random gathering of data, originally intended to move retail into the future, now challenges retailers to thoughtfully formulate its use.  Used properly, valuable customer information can personalize messages, customize preferences, appeal to each individual shopper in a social way, and digitize their shopping journey.

To help retailers employ the overwhelming mountain of data, NEC retail solutions go beyond “cool hype” to provide value and increase efficiency. As an example, Stanchion™ Store software from NEC offers real-time access to data, enabling stores to respond faster to customers, improve communications and increase in-store productivity.

Easily configurable and cross-platform agnostic, retailers can expect:

  • The ability to control point-of-sale (POS) specific tasks, including modifying the user interface, searching for products, checking prices and more.
  • Enterprise-level, back-office capabilities including managing all aspects of in-store operations and system administration.
  • Fast and flexible tools for managing shelf labels, reporting, producing promotional displays, activating campaigns on the fly, and managing data through all stores.
  • Customization based on local-level market demands and reporting to help increase sales.

 See how NEC is using data analytics to digitize the shopping journey

Data Security and Customer Loyalty

Retailers must also consider that customers will stay loyal if their data is accessible and secure. Consumers want to be able to easily obtain and opt out of stores’ access to their personal and financial information. Data breaches and hacking have made some shoppers wary of sharing or storing their data with online or traditional retailers.

As stores continue to amass customer data, their responsibility for its use becomes greater year after year. Retailers need to understand their options for using customer data and how it can create a stronger relationship between customers and stores. With technological advances and online retailers ambitiously considering the future of shopping, partnership and guidance is required instead impulsively purchasing disparate solutions.

How can #retailers create a stronger relationship between customers and stores using #data? #CX Click To Tweet

The bottom line is this: if a shopper continues to have a positive experience with the retailer and feels a sense of reward for remaining loyal and relinquishing their information, the retailer may have created a customer for life.

Use of Data for Cashless Payments

Amazon Go, the new “grab and go” concept uses current technologies, but employs the data like never before. Shoppers are encouraged to walk into a prototype store, pick up their items, and simply walk out, without any interaction with a cashier or checkout counter.

For retailers to consider a similar concept, solutions to manage mobile POS, supply chain and inventory, and biometrics or facial recognition for payment are helpful. While shoppers are looking for convenience, they may still need to interact with retail employees within the store. Inventory must also be managed and restocked as customers make purchases.

NEC’s NeoFace® facial recognition engine is recognized as providing the highest level of authentication accuracy and is currently deployed among law enforcement agencies around the world. After a series of trials with Japan’s SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Card in late 2016, NEC debuted NeoFace® as a facial payment solution at 2017’s NRF Retail’s Big Show.

The technology matches pre-registered customer images with those in the POS system. Customers are also given a PIN to secure their account and confirm their identity. As with the Amazon Go prototype, NEC is tracking the solution through its trials with SMBC and within the company’s headquarters in Japan.

Watch this quick video to learn more:

Take a look at how we’re transforming the customer experience through NEC’s Retail Solutions.

NEC Corporation of America

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Digitizing the Shopping Journey

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People. Patterns. Predictions. Meet the new NEC Advanced Recognition Systems.

This week I am celebrating my sixth anniversary with NEC. I recall that my original trip to visit the Headquarters in Tokyo was postponed by the unfortunate events of the 2011 Tsunami and earthquake.

Since then, we have established our Center of Excellence in North America and extended our offering to U.S. Federal clients. We also introduced a number of products and services, including ground breaking cloud-based Identity as a Service (IDaas), and we solidified our position as the premier provider to Law Enforcement and public safety clients in the United States.

These days, rather than thinking about the past I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the future. A future where I see continued proliferation of biometrics use, increased emphasis on crime prevention and a convergence of “identity” with access management. Through advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), our biometrics technology can evolve from technology used to determine where people have been and what they may have done, to predict where people will go and what they will do.

In response to these emerging market trends, today I’m proud to announce that we have rebranded our former biometrics solutions division to NEC Advanced Recognition Systems. I believe that biometrics coupled with high-powered analytical engines can predict and positively alter our travel experiences providing easier access, shorter lines and improved utilization of resources; recognize patterns for real-time monitoring, threat assessment and escalation and through it all provide tools for improved planning and forecasting.

Want more information about a Safety and Security solution from NEC?
Want more information about a Safety and Security solution from NEC?

To underscore our mission and align our products and services the new Advanced Recognition Systems group will give emphasis to three key words: People, Patterns and Predictions.

People. Our primary mission is to serve citizens and the people who protect them. Whether keeping the public safe at home, supporting troops overseas, improving the experience of travelers, or providing the right identity at the right time, our advanced recognition systems supply trusted intelligence to help build safer and brighter communities.

Patterns. From fingerprint pattern recognition to arrangements of accessible data, sequences of critical information are everywhere—you just have to know where to look. Our cutting-edge advanced recognition systems can pinpoint valuable patterns for solving crime, strengthening national security, and identifying trends and efficiencies for tech-savvy businesses. All to help enable diverse missions and realize the possibilities.

Predictions. Our advanced recognition systems can transform the efficiency of your team. Instead of simply gathering and reporting data, our technologies analyze intelligence to predict public safety threats, alert agencies to emerging global concerns, pinpoint potential risks in high-traffic venues, and provide invaluable input to critical business decisions.

Our new name better aligns our extensive local and global capabilities in meeting the all-encompassing needs of our clients. Using our systems integration approach to the market we are committed to understanding our clients’ challenges first, and assist them with a full solution implementation in comparison to any specific biometric technology or tool.

While finding success in reaching these new markets, we remain committed to our roots and will continue to consistently provide high-quality, accurate solutions for government and public safety markets.


I’d like to thank everyone who has participated in NEC’s success in the past six years and who have also contributed to the study and launch of this new vision. I hope you’ll take a look around the new Web site and help us spread the word.

Here’s to the future!

Advanced Recognition Systems
People. Patterns. Predictions.
Raffie

Advanced Recognition Systems and Solutions

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Empower End-Users with Real-Time Analytics And Other Reasons to Upgrade to Cognos 10

Business intelligence is only powerful if it is easily accessible. By putting the end-user in the driver’s seat, businesses can maximize analytics and data without putting a burden on the IT department to run reports. Not only does this improve productivity, it puts the data in the hands of those who can do the most with it. Frankly, this level of end-user empowerment is a solid-enough reason to upgrade IBM’s Cognos software to the latest V10.2. But don’t take our word for it. Take a look at the impact first hand.

Cincinnati Zoo Saves more than $100,000 per Year

The Cincinnati Zoo was challenged with increasing attendance and revenues while also enhancing the customer experience. It also needed to boost sales on food and in the retail outlets and optimize labor costs. These are no small tasks! By implementing IBM Cognos V10, the zoo was able to utilize business analytics that allowed the zoo staff to use iPads to track the information real-time. The results were incredible.

“By being so closely aligned with the day-to-day interactions within the zoo, the team could spend more time with visitors and see even the most basic of changes that were needed, said Marti Walsh, Channel Enablement Program Manager with IBM Analytics. “For example, perhaps traffic patterns showed that moving a hot dog stand to a different location would result in heavier traffic to the stand. That could be marked immediately on the spot, rather than waiting to return and transcribe notes into a database.”

Real-time capture of the #data resulted in savings of more than $40,000 on marketing in the first year Click To Tweet, and more than $100,000 per year by identifying less-effective promotions and discounts. Plus, the zoo increased overall attendance that prompted at least 50,000 new visits in 2011. All by putting the power of analytics in the hands of the end user.

How Does Upgrading Help Your  ‘Zoo’?

The ability to empower end users makes sense when the user interface is easy to use and allows for quick adoption. Cognos V10 has a more streamlined interface that is easier to navigate, making it more readily adoptable for end users who want to simply access and understand the data.

Another major component is collaboration between co-workers and other departments. Cognos V10 incorporates collaboration within the interface, so that threads are maintained and data is kept within the platform, rather than having to utilize a third-party system for collaboration and communication.

“End users don’t stay put, so mobility is key, particularly if the focus is to capture and analyze data real-time,” said Marti. “With Cognos V10, users can literally analyze on the go with systems that work whether they are connected or disconnected.“

Even with the mobility and dynamic analytics functions, the system has very fast response times and handles very large data volumes. Using Dynamic Cubes increases the performance of the tools and allows for end users to slice and dice data with a fast response time, keeping them happy and focused on analyzing data.

Make Better Business Decisions – in Real Time

By putting analytics in the hands of everyone, businesses will benefit from having information in the hands of those best suited to take action. Cognos Business Intelligence allows for integration with the next logical step – predictive analytics. By adopting business prototypes quickly, companies are now able to build out corporate solutions faster than before. “What If” and scenario modeling help determine next appropriate steps giving the business a more prescriptive solution.

In Your Corner for the Cognos Upgrade

Of course, the next logical question is how to tackle the upgrade. While the benefits are certainly proven, tackling an upgrade of any type requires thought and process to ensure the most seamless approach is taken. That is where NEC Analytics team can help.

NEC is largest global systems integrator, and has more than 50 years of experience in the North American market alone. We leverage our rich history coupled with partnership experience with IBM and others to ensure a positive outcome.

Our analytics team focuses on Performance Management, Integration, Total Performance Outsourcing (which includes design, deployment and management) and Smart Predict Solutions designed to meet the specific needs of our clients (you can learn more about our analytics solutions in this short video).

NEC specializes in supporting Cognos and is offering a complimentary assessment to ensure that all your business needs are captured to create a seamless upgrade. Contact us to schedule your assessment or visit our Analytics Center of Excellence for more information.

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