NRF 2018 – Remember the Mullet

Retail’s Big Show #NRF2018 Wrap-Up

Yesterday, as a recap to #NRF2018, we discussed putting people first.  

Today, let’s begin to explore ways the technology can help to unlock a people-first strategy.

Remember the Mullet

One of my favorite lines from a presentation at #NRF2018 came from James Curleigh, Executive Vice President and President of the Levi’s® brand.  He referenced the 80’s hairstyle, the mullet, known for its “business in the front, party in the back” functionality.  

His comparison was to technology, and his guidance was, “Keep it simple on the front and sophisticated in the back”.  Implement sophisticated technology in the background to support your front lines, freeing them up to be there for your customers.  

Here are some specific examples of how tech in the background can maximize interactivity throughout the store (B&M or online):

    • Invest in technology to help with inventory, freeing up people to do things only human beings can do
    • While AI hasn’t yet been perfected to replace humans, it has other practical uses on the backend, for example, product feeds – utilize natural language processing to auto tag the products with attributes freeing up your writers to focus on consumer facing copy to help bring your product to life online
    • Utilize Chat Bots for simpler requests and create business rules to involve humans where necessary
    • Offer technology options in the dressing room – Rebecca Minkoff has created a way to “buzz an associate” to request another size and offers friction less check-out from the dressing room

So often, we think about how new and shiny technology can give our customer’s a better experience.  There is something really powerful about freeing up our employees, through technology, to allow them the time and opportunity to deliver a better brand experience.  



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