Apple Hits the NRF Show Floor, Sort of
By Ron Margulis, Managing Director,
Apple, the maker of the iPhone and the Macintosh,
wasn’t an exhibitor at the National Retail Federation’s
99th Annual Convention in New York this week, but you wouldn’t have thought
that after walking the expo floor. There seemed to be new iPhone apps at every
other booth. There was a vendor selling a Mac-specific POS system and a few
of the booths even looked a bit like iPods.
A very informal poll revealed that
the number of iPhones used by retail and other NRF conference attendees is
way up over last year. This is backed by the fact the nearly every vendor I
talked with has one or more iPhone applications available or in development.
There are now apps for everything the busy retail executive could want, including
competitive price checks, reviews, dashboard essentials and many more.
came out with the Retail Shopping Assistant, a consumer-facing application
that helps with in-store shopping. Sterling Commerce now offers a series of
new applications to enable anytime, anywhere access to capabilities of its
key offerings as part of the company’s strategy to extend its collaborative
applications and integration solutions to mobile devices. There were new apps
from Intel and many others, and the companies that didn’t have them on display
were talking about them in development.
One other point: The number of apps
designed to drive business to their stores and websites offered by the retailers
directly or through networks is also growing dramatically. During the recent
Christmas season, Nordstrom, Macy’s and other retail chains offered their products
through Nearby Now’s Holiday Gift Guide, an app that lets shoppers select featured
products and either put them on hold for pickup at a store or order through
the retailer’s website. Shoebuy.com
has an app that lets shoppers buy products from Shoebuy’s online catalog.
Question: Apple Stores have certainly had an impact the retail landscape. Will
iPhone apps change retail as well?