Retail IT News For VARs — August 8, 2014
By Christine Kern, contributing writer
In news this week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts K-12 back-to-school spending will total about $26.5 billion. Also, assisting customers virtually seems to be trending.
NRF Predicts K-12 Back-to-School Spending to Reach $26.5 Billion
According to NRF’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics, an increase of 5 percent from $634.78 last year. Total spending on K-12 back-to-school items will drop slightly to $26.5 billion as the survey found there are slightly fewer students in households this summer. Combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion.
New Technology Enables “Virtual Assistant” To Greet Shoppers
According to Altavia Watch, Grafton Shopping Centre, Cambridge, UK, is out to impress shoppers with a “virtual” employee who greets customers when they enter the mall. The Tensator Virtual Assistant, innovative technology which projects a life-like image of a person, interacts with customers, answering common questions and promoting mall offers.
Personal Assistant App Finds Items For Zappos Shoppers
According to Cnet, Zappo’s is testing a digital assistant that helps customers track down any fashion item, even from a competitor. Called Ask Zappos, the service provides a digital personal assistant that processes requests in the form of images and finds the exact item, while also providing links to some alternatives. Zappos has been testing the service since the beginning of June and has now started promoting Ask Zappos on its mobile homepage.
System Gives Shoppers Tablets To Access Info Via NFC
According to RFID Journal, a London furniture retailer is employing a solution provided by CloudTags that includes supplying shoppers with tablets so they can access information via near field communication (NFC). RFID tags are attached to furniture on display at the company’s showroom.
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