Recent advancements in technology have reshaped the retail industry — from in-store experience to the ability to buy items directly from apps like Instagram. These advances are connecting associates and customers, creating an overall better shopping experience for both parties (and sometimes leading to more people — hypothetically, me — spending more money).

While at NRF 2019, the largest retail conference and expo in the world, we asked experts and executives about the innovations they were most excited to see emerge in the retail industry.

“It’s what is happening on and around the device,” said Evan Kirstel, B2B social media influencer. “Applications like AR [augmented reality] and VR [virtual reality] are leveraging smartphone technology to extend the experience.”

The shopping experience technology provides consumers is not only better, but larger and more interactive. Resources such as AR and VR give consumers the opportunity to engage with brands and imagine what life would be like with their products.

“The things we get most excited about are the things that enable the associate,” said John Soricelli, director of technology and analytics at The Home Depot. “Our customers are getting more and more educated on products before they come into the store.”

Consumers are also saving time by utilizing technology to research the products they want before going to the store — making it especially important that associates are prepared to meet customers where they are.

“I’m super excited about fulfillment because I think that’s really going to redefine how customers shop,” said Nicole Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded. “Marketing and omnichannel have played a big role, but fulfillment is what’s going to make or break a retailer’s success.”

By taking advantage of the tech resources available to them, retailers can remain more knowledgeable than the consumers — and ultimately succeed in the retail space.

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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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