Wowing the customer with cool in-store technologies can only go so far if retailers don't have the nuts and bolts down. For instance, showcasing a hot product on a fancy, high-definition screen doesn't do much for shoppers if the item is out of stock.
As such, many retailers and exhibitors focused on the importance of having up-to-the-minute inventory information, so that online shoppers can more accurately know when an individual store has the item they want in-stock.
RFID technology was a hot topic, because it can track an item's precise location in the store. In other words, if a product is in someone's shopping cart and not on the shelf, it may cause a retailer's website to mark the item as out of stock.
Technology firm Demandware is also working with retailers such as BCBG to offer them a single view of their inventory, whether it's online or in-store. By doing so, a store associate can complete a sale even if an item isn't in the store.
"Technology for technology's sake is kind of geeky and fun, but that doesn't do anything for anybody," said Michelle Tinsley, director of Intel's retail solutions division.