JGA Chairman Ken Nisch recently spoke at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference in New York City about the potential of technology to not only transform products, but the way that companies are selling those products, too. Today, there are about 31 billion connected devices in homes, in work places, and in stores. By 2025, that number will jump to 75 billion. How can retailers prepare?
Nisch led the session “The Connected World: Advances That Will Change Your Life,” which included Shelly Ibach from Sleep Number, Jonathan Hall from JennAir/Whirlpool, and Tim Woods of Autonomous Vehicle Alliance.
Nisch claimed, “Technology has changed retail many times before.” He referenced the automobile, the television, and the Internet. Those become facilitators and at some point, expected.
“There is a new language that has come up around connectivity,” Ken stated. “Empathic.” Typically technology at NRF has been back of the house and been geared more toward security and IT, but increasingly it’s becoming important for the consumer facing side of retail. This is where data and connectivity come together. In a connected world, all of these platforms will be personalized, engaging, and in every way empathic.
As our lives become more and more connected, brands are using smart technology to add meaningful value to consumers’ lives. Winning experiences are not just easy—they are effortless, personalized, and engaging. Connected technology platforms in sleep, home, and mobility are building fiercely loyal customer relationships by disrupting industries with purposeful and life-changing experiences. The success of brands such as JennAir and Sleep Number has come from bringing life-changing innovation that adds value to people’s lives.
Ibach, Sleep Number’s president and CEO, says that it’s about understanding that their product needed to account for other factors outside of sleep. Hall, JennAir’s product and brand marketing director, spoke about how the company hopes to solve problems before they even happen. Woods, general manager of the Autonomous Vehicle Alliance, brought up the impact autonomous vehicles will have on retailers in terms of addressing shifting needs, personalization, and potential for new business opportunities. Ultimately, Woods stated, “It will enable them to drive efficiency and get them in front of consumers more often.” All are calculating the impact that products have on the greater portion of consumer’s lives, not just when they are using them.
In this future world of empathic platforms, the store may be your car, it may be your refrigerator, or your bed. These forms of connectivity are increasingly going to be ambient, unobtrusive, intuitive, and empathic. Trust will be essential. Nisch closed by stating, “New luxury will really be focused on ease, convenience, and anticipation. It’ll disrupt when, where, and how we shop.”