Part 2 of a 4 part series by Jared Hauser, Senior Product Manager
Hello from New York City! We’re at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show this week, and couldn’t be more excited to share what we’re seeing, learning, and thinking.
Last time, we shined a light on how the Experiential Revolution of Retail isn’t new, but rather an evolving paradigm which defines how brands and consumers interact. Whether we’re talking about a personal model in a luxury clothing store, ice-cold lagers at your local hipster barber shop, or a mobile check-out app to streamline purchases, the very nature of retail is and will continue to be experiential. But what are some of the current digital technologies that can differentiate your brand and turn customers into fans?
To help answer that question and many more, today we’re excited to announce our Retail Innovation Accelerator.
We see huge momentum in the adoption of transformative technologies such as AI, IoT, and blockchain across retail. However, retailers — like all businesses — often struggle to take the first step in this journey, overwhelmed by a sea of platforms, solutions, and integration challenges. That’s why we’ve launched a new industry landing page called Retail Transformation, which defines key technologies within a larger digital transformation strategy. Let us help frame your challenges and goals within the emergent technology landscape, and prioritize a roadmap to unlock the most ROI.
As a creative engineering agency, we know how important it is to “learn by doing”. We pride ourselves in making big bets on technology platforms, and investing in knowledge-building internally before deeming ourselves experts. That’s why we’ve been hard at work building our Retail Innovation Accelerator, which showcases the power of three core retail pillars: data & insights (PowerBI, IoT), voice & chat (AI, ML), and modern supply chain (blockchain). You can read about our accelerator projects on the Retail Industry Page, or schedule a live demo here.
No one moves faster than retail, which is why we see enormous value in building strategic partnerships that allow for agile and adaptable solutions. Today we’re highlighting three key partnerships:
1. ImagiCorps —While retailers are of course expected to have seamless e-commerce platforms, this doesn’t mean physical spaces have become irrelevant. In fact — with technologies like IoT, projection-mapping, and mixed reality — the opportunity to deliver memorable brand experiences in brick and mortar has never been more exciting. ImagiCorps designs and produces physical solutions that support brand initiatives across retail displays and environments, trade show exhibits, interactive kiosks, and launch events. “ImagiCorps is incredibly proud of the continued partnership with Valence,” says Solomon Hutchinson, Vice President at ImagiCorps. “In leveraging the strengths of each agency, ImagiCorps and Valence have been able to design and implement incredible experiences for our clients across a number of business segments. ImagiCorps’ 30-year history in capitalizing on strategy, design and deployment, coupled with Valence’s innovation and experience in pushing digital frontiers continue to create impact and drive tangible, industry-leading results.”
2. Footmarks — Physical experiences can immerse customers and differentiate brands, but they don’t provide much tangible value when siloed from your larger omnichannel strategy. Beacon technology is a great way to tie physical spaces to your digital presence, and can unlock powerful insights about your customer. Footmarks is an enterprise beacon solutions provider, bringing digital intelligence and high-impact customer experiences to physical spaces. Their SmartConnect beacon platform is an end-to-end proximity solution, enabling contextual awareness and insights around anything from customers to supply chains. “Footmarks is excited to partner with Valence as their preferred proximity and location solution technology to create even more value and innovation for retail and CPG customers that are embarking on a Digital Transformation journey,” says Brian Slettvet, Senior VP of Sales at Footmarks. “The proliferation of IoT sensors and scalable cloud computing are creating vast amounts of data and new opportunities for collaboration and integration between solution and service providers. By partnering together, Footmarks and Valence bring best of class technology and service capabilities to new and existing customers.”
3. Amazon Alexa for Business — Voice technology is revolutionizing the way retailers conduct business and engage customers. Imagine a grocery store employee being able to check inventory and replenish stock hands-free, or a busy mom being able to book a salon appointment with just a phrase. Valence has continued to develop expertise with Amazon and the Alexa for Business platform through “Valence Bot”, an internal, employee-focused Alexa skill. Built on the Amazon Alexa for Business platform, this voice bot is experienced via an Amazon Echo device that each employee receives the day they start at Valence. It provides access via voice commands to all the corporate information an employee needs to get their job done, including human resources information (benefits, employee count, and more) as well as access to corporate systems like IT requests, CRM data, and more. This bot demonstrates a framework for how enterprise retailers can use voice to better manage their people, products, and services. Valence Bot was recently highlighted in the Amazon Alexa for Business ‘This is My Skill’ showcase, providing a great example of how businesses can leverage voice technologies to improve employee experiences and ultimately provide more value to customers.
The announcement of our Retail Innovation Accelerator projects — along with these exciting partnerships — represents our dedication to harnessing emergent technologies to develop customer solutions in an agile way. By framing technology platforms within specific industry needs and desired customer outcomes, we strive to identify value for retailers and pave meaningful omnichannel growth while mitigating up-front investments.
Next week, I’ll be sharing all the amazing things we’ve seen at NRF, as well as provide additional color around how Voice & Chat, Data & Insights, and Blockchain can serve as transformation accelerators for your retail business.
If you want to chat more about how we can help you on your digital transformation journey, contact us.
About Jared Hauser
Jared Hauser leads Valence’s Digital Solutions Strategy for Retail across key emergent technologies. Jared has spent the first 10 years of his career working in retail technology for large enterprise brands such as Microsoft and Starbucks. As a Marketer and Product Manager, he’s launched numerous tech-fueled experiential retail initiatives that have both saved and made money. Techie by day and musician by night, Jared likes to be the dotted line between marketing, UX design, and engineering. He admittedly owns too many guitars, DVDs, and devices.