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JH: So, Michael, speaking of the NRF, you said it was “BIG” – truth or fiction, then?
MF: Bigger isn’t always better, but this year it’s true. And what a difference a year makes! More traffic, more energy, and conversations that are going to change everything. But I speak with hyperbole, and you are the master of understatement, so you tell me.
JH: You know, I am definitely seeing the traffic but also sensing something else. It’s not just the numbers – it’s the conversations. I’ve never heard such focus and the renewed sense of purpose is inspiring. Last year’s omnichannel hype is this year’s table stakes. But like Rita Brogley said on Monday “It’s all about the journey.” Turns out consumers don’t care so much about channels and “touchpoints.” What they really want is what they want, served up efficiently and, when appropriate, with some a degree of personalization.
MF: Personalization is certainly the buzz this year. I heard in a presentation yesterday that 83% of consumers see value in being recognized with personalized experiences across devices. And, 45%+ expect to be recognized with consistent, personalized experiences. More? Looks like 92% of consumers, age 25-35, are OK with in-store data used to personalize offers. But what’s really interesting is that 70% of consumers over age 55 are also OK with this. So much for worrying over Big Brother!
JH: Speaking of personalization the science is really catching up to science fiction. IBM’s Emotion Video Analytics was a a fantastic demo today. It can score your emotional reacting – happiness, sadness, fear, anger – based on realtime video analysis. How much more personal can you get?
MF: It’s a quantum leap. Two things, though. It’s where we’re going, the question is, is it where we want to go? And, are are we looking for insights that serve or is this this a new form of intrusion? All of us need to think about this, Jim. Yes, we want great service but we want our privacy respected as well. It’s a delicate balance, and a slippery slope from one thing we get in exchange for so much we’re giving up.
JH: I get you Michael. We walk a fine line. Retailers know they need to serve and engage, and consumers want a good deal that is convenient. I’m looking forward to hearing more today in our next round of sessions and on the floor with those inventing for and reacting to a new age.
As you like to say…”Hail the consumer!”