Representatives from iBeta attended the National Retail Federation “Big Show” for the first time as the initial step in a year-long program to expand iBeta’s presence in the retail industry, and formalize iBeta’s expertise and standing as a retail technology quality assurance leader.
Said Mike Stark, Director of Sales and Marketing, “We have worked for years with companies across the retail industry, from brands to retailers to agencies to technology products and service providers. After an account and technical review last year, we discovered that we had organically accumulated a substantial footprint in the retail industry already, including skills, knowledge, experience, and technical capabilities that constitute a genuine specialization in retail technology. The NRF 2017 show was the best and biggest place to formally introduce iBeta as a quality assurance leader in retail technology.”
All Commerce is eCommerce
Technology drives every aspect of retail today, not just web and mobile eCommerce. Stores are wired with sensors and analytics. Sales staff are enabled with sophisticated mobility tech to enhance and enrich sales and customer service. Products are enhanced with IoT and situated in an ecosystem of mobile and web application technology. Signage is dynamic, customized, and contextualized. Big data flows from every stage of product and customer journeys, and is matched with other databases to provide insights retailers have never had before.
And every single piece of that technology needs to work flawlessly for brands and retailers to achieve success in an environment of unprecedented competition, and sky-high customer expectations.
That’s where iBeta comes in. iBeta systematically breaks technology, and reports on the how and why, enabling companies to polish their technologies before profit-killing flaws get loose in the wild. Quality is the first, and best, competitive edge. iBeta-tested retail technology simply works better.
Big Deals at the Big Show
Certain big themes emerged from the Big Show. First and foremost was the stress that bricks-and-mortar retailers are facing from eCommerce generally, the biggest eCommerce players particularly, and from brands experimenting with eCommerce-enabled direct sales. From our many conversations at the show, we gleaned an impression of a big rethink underway about physical stores, their operations, and their future roles. Repurposing stores as distribution centers and warehouses for eCommerce sales was one idea discussed by several folks, for example.
Three particularly hot areas of technology stood out at the show:
- IoT/sensor-enabled analytics in the retail environment, e.g. RetailNext and their suite of sensors, backend, API, web/mobile SaaS and related technology.
- BD and BI (Big Data and Business Intelligence), e.g. Domo (BI specialists), Mercatus (agency-side), Honeywell (sensors and analytics).
- The growing use of eCommerce platforms instead of home-grown solutions (plus heated competition and market consolidation among platforms), e.g. Magento, SAP and Broadleaf.
Like Coming Home
Also a big deal was the number of friends and clients we discovered at the show. With over 35,000 attendees, 450+ exhibitors, and thousands of companies represented, the Big Show was overwhelming as a first time experience but certainly not an unfriendly one. Among the attendees and exhibitors were clients of our core web/mobile/desktop/SaaS functionality/compatibility services as well as load/performance, security, and even biometrics testing/certification services.
NRF’s 2017 Big Show confirmed the already strong foothold iBeta has in the retail industry, and the opportunities that lie ahead for iBeta’s specialized Retail Technology division.