More than human
Information technology has for a long time helped human beings to extend or augment their capabilities. This is very obvious in areas such as Finance, but at NRF 2016 I saw many examples of how information technology is changing the role of the store associate and, in turn, I see this as a broader move to a change in the role of the store itself.
It seems to me that stores are moving more and more in the direction of showrooms, and this means that store associates need to have much greater product and customer awareness. You can think of this as taking on more advisory roles, and in that role it is important to be able to interact effectively – fast access to knowledge, eye contact etc.
So for example, Theatro (https://theatro.com/) demonstrated some very interesting Internet of Things wearable devices – replacing two-way radio with tiny voice-controlled computers that can help with person-to-person and person-to-machine communication in store. No distracting hand-held devices!