The National Retail Foundation (NRF) 2018 – Retail’s Big Show – was held last week in January, 2018, in New York City. This is a showcase of trends and technologies that will drive investment directions for the next couple of years and consumer experiences for much of the next decade.

Akumina has some distinct capabilities to bring business functionality, information, task management, and feedback to frontline workers. We feel strongly that if we can enable retail-oriented enterprises to empower their front line workers with the information and the tools, the training and the guidance, in an as-needed timeframe, that organizations will better be able to execute on their directions as a complete enterprise.

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Front line employees and line management also benefit, with immediate access to product availability, and the ability to push feedback from customers and one-off order configurations upwards into the product supply chain. A range of technologies are brought to bear here – text and graphical bots to accelerate input and improve communication, artificial intelligence capabilities to help match employees and their specialty roles with the right information culled specifically from an always increasing scope of content providers.

Integration with Office 365 for an employee’s individual calendar and tasks that apply to the employee, their team, or their assigned department, combined with integrated support for Microsoft StaffHub, is only the starting point for technology in the retail showcase solution.

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Akumina was present at NRF 2018 in partnership with Avanade, a leader in providing advanced solutions for every industry. Together, Akumina and Avanade have collaborated on deployed technology solutions targeted to retail customers. Some examples of these solutions include deployments at some of the most progressive and growing retailers around the world.

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Mr. Ruven Gotz, a Regional Technology and Innovation Director for Avanade, created this video where he describes the feature integrations presented in the technology demonstration that was showcased at NRF 2018.

The bot technology demonstrated in the video is named, “Sally,” and has been developed with a few discrete purposes – to provide an optimized capability for front line employees to initiate requests for product, inventory lookups, or to register feedback from customers; to serve as a facilitator for training and employee capacitation, to improve employee skills, knowledge, and understanding; and it has been designed to work on any size device. Note the suggested button-style formatting that enables rapid response entry on touch-enabled devices, such as phone, tablet, and touch-screen POS devices. Together with Avanade, and other partners (Swirl is also mentioned in the video above), we expect to continue to innovate to improve the retail employee (and customer) experience.

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If you would like to learn more about or get involved with Akumina’s initiatives for the retail industry, please reach out to us here.

Avanade Inc. included many other partner technologies also in their showcase event. You can find complete details about Avanade’s successes and insights for Retail and related to NRF2018 here.