NRF: Convergent technologies on the retail horizon

Consumers will soon be able to set up personal accounts that track their purchases, store payment options and histories and give them coupons and offers tailored to buying history. The new service, Value Blueprint, is part of NCR Retail's converged retailing (c-tailing) solution, a set of software and services that enable retailers to offer consumers greater personalization and consistency across channels, such as the Internet, mobile devices, social media and in the store.

"Consumers are taking control of their own shopping experiences," said NCR's vice president of marketing, Rick Chavie, who helped launch the service Monday at the NRF. "The customer wants to be acknowledged and wants to express their preferences."

By applying Value Blueprint, retailers can create unique, personalized shopping experiences for customers and accelerate their ability to respond to changes in consumer behavior. Retailers can also gain a clear understanding of the business value that can be generated through c-tailing, Chavie said.

Chavie said that although many retailers have already launched bits and pieces of the technologies, — kiosks that allow shoppers to order a product in a different size or color or a mobile-phone app that can place an order for a birthday cake — NCR is the first company to help retailers integrate them all.

"It really enriches the shopping experience," he said. "You change the notion that some people have that the store is dying or going away," Chavie said. "You can flip it around when you bring in kiosks, mobile check-out and digital signage and tie it all together."

He said the convergence gives customers the personalized experience they usually only get online, but it's even better because they can now touch the products at the store.

According to Chavie, retailers who embrace the cross-channel system today will have a major advantage over those who don't.

"In four or five years, we are thinking the consumer isn't going to shop with you if you don't have these channels," he said. "But are they going to take the time to put all that information with every retailer."

At the show, NCR also demonstrated several products to enable c-tailing:

- NCR Advanced Marketing Solution is a software solution that drives consumer loyalty by creating and executing unified promotions across all consumer touch points.
- NCR APTRA eMarketing is software that enables retailers to deliver communications across marketing channels.
- NCR Netkey Kiosk and Digital Signage is a software platform that enables retailers to design, deploy and manage converged consumer experiences.
- NCR SelfServ Checkout will allow shoppers to experience faster and more personalized self-checkout.
- NCR Services is a professional and managed services that help retailers develop and support a converged retailing business model that drives revenue and lowers costs.

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