HIGH POINT – Following a year spent online shopping, working and socializing by many consumers, many retailers and tech providers are going into 2021 with big predictions for how technology may impact the retail industry in 2021.
In a discussion on the future of retail technology and how COVID-19 changed everything during the National Retail Federation’s annual retail conference NRF 2021, moderator Christ Walton, CEO and founder of Omni Talk, called 2020 a “groundbreaking” year for tech and retail.
“Things very rapidly changed in 2020,” commented Philippe Bottine, CEO North America of SES-imagotag, an electronic shelf-labeling systems company. “We saw some big shifts in the way shoppers were spending and consuming, and all that resulted in a big increase in e-commerce spends for retailers. … We saw nearly a 10-year acceleration in e-commerce in just the matter of a few weeks.”
Keith Mercier, general manager of WW retail and consumer goods for Microsoft, agreed. “What we’re seeing globally is that COVID is the new chief innovation officer in the retail industry,” he noted.
From his perspective, COVID-19 changed the role of the store forever, colliding the front and back of house and turning every retail store into a kind of