Something that caught everyone’s attention at NRF 2019 this year was the future home. I spoke with Ian Hutchinson, head of Business Development for the Retail Vertical at Samsung Electronics America, about the relationship between future homes and the future of retail.

“The future home is super connected and super relevant,” Hutchinson said, explaining that the devices that enter our homes will soon have the ability to talk to us — and to each other — and to deliver information that has great value for retailers. The idea is that technology should inform us — to the point of anticipating what we want and need. Consequently, these innovations are enabling consumers to start the purchase journey at home and collect a wealth of information before they even enter a store.

This trend is important for retailers to note because the connected home informs the connected consumer, and the connected associate participates in the same information-rich ecosystem.

“‘Connected’ is multidirectional and multifaceted,” Hutchinson added.

Now, imagine you are sitting at home. You start browsing brands you like on your phone or laptop. After a few hours, you’ve found a handful of items you are interested in. Now let’s say you decide to make a visit to a nearby store. When you arrive at the store, you are typically greeted by an associate.

In the past, store associates have operated at a disadvantage. They did not know what you know, and were not armed with the knowledge you have about the products you’re comparing. This often has a negative impact on the customer experience because associates are unable to provide value on top of the information they brought with them.

Samsung’s goal is to empower associates to meet consumer needs and offer expertise. An associate can quickly retrieve and share information through a mobile solution, such as a tablet. They can also use the device to seamlessly seek guidance from a manager or senior associate without disrupting the interaction with the customer.

The form factor of the tablet is familiar and can connect to a larger screen space to display product information and features in depth. The end result is a durable solution that can last the entire workday and assist in a variety of tasks from wayfinding to scanning effortlessly.

Connected devices are empowering retail associates to better assist the connected consumer.

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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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