This year at NRF, many retailers took a step back to ask themselves: What problems are we really trying to solve?

As e-commerce becomes a staple of the shopping experience, retailers need to ask — and answer — the right questions to keep customers in stores.

We spoke with several industry experts on the show floor to find out where retailers should focus their efforts in 2019.

“Retailers are trying to motivate customers to wake up on a Saturday morning and spend a couple of hours at their store versus sitting on their couch and surfing online,” said Hamshy Raveendran, director of Enterprise Sales at Samsung Electronics America. “With the rise of ecommerce, a lot of brick-and-mortar retailers have to rethink the customer experience in-store and how they provide a personalized experience.”

David Weinand, chief customer officer at Incisiv, agreed that the role of the customer experience needs to be recentered. “[Retailers] can no longer be channel-centric or category-centric. They need to look how they can be customer-centric,” he said.

Using digital solutions to connect with customers is one way to find out exactly how customers feel while in-store.

“Retailers are trying to solve problems around customer information and data,” said Carlos Rosado, technical presales manager for Samsung Electronics America. “What are my customers doing?” Rosado considers. “Are they happy?”

Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist at Salesforce, believes that retailers need to take advantage of more connected and emerging technology.

“In a digital economy, the new currencies are speed, mass personalization at scale and intelligence. This is why retailers need to think about emerging technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), mobile, social and cloud in order to deliver the ultimate experience for the shopper.”

Shifting customer behaviors are driving new technology-assisted retail associate performance.

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Natalie Zfat

Natalie Zfat is a social media entrepreneur and Forbes Contributor who has partnered with some of the most iconic brands in the world, including Rolling Stone, Food Network, American Express and Levi’s. Curating original content and videos, Zfat gains millions of impressions for the brands she advocates for. When she's not engaging with her half a million followers, Zfat loves sharing her entrepreneurial thought leadership at conferences and universities, including Carnegie Mellon, NYU Stern School of Business, The Harvard Club of New York and Internet of Things World. Follow Natalie on Twitter: @NatalieZfat

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