The NRF Foundation has announced this year's finalists for its Next Generation Scholarship and its annual Student Challenge. The top recipients of both scholarships programs will be announced on stage at the NRF Foundation Gala during NRF 2018: Retail's Big Show. See the finalists here.
Encouraging customers to post online reviews after the holiday season can boost your sales, writes Armando Roggio. Consider reaching out to holiday shoppers through email or social media, and make sure the process of writing a review is easy, he writes.
Small businesses should be aware of new functionality allowing users to follow hashtags on Instagram, writes Michael Guta. "Once you create your hashtag, don't forget to track the performance so you can improve or replicate it for future promotions," he advises.
To raise your chances of actually securing capital for your business, Marcia Kaplan discusses where entrepreneurs sometimes go wrong. It's important to develop a business plan, understand exactly how much money you need and research potential investors, she writes.
Visionary Eyewear, which sells contact lenses and all styles of eyewear, is part of the community in Newtown Square, Pa. "I have countless families that I've watched grow up, get married and now those kids bring their own families back to Visionary," said owner Michael Della Polla.
Landing.AI, a startup specializing in artificial intelligence integration, will focus on quality control and product yield, says founder Andrew Ng, formerly with Baidu and the Google Brain project. Ng expects AI to improve visual inspection accuracy and free up workers to make strategic decisions.
Artificial intelligence and the internet of things have potential in many fields, such as reducing unplanned downtime and improving operational efficiency in manufacturing, according to this Deloitte analysis. "For instance, for GE's drone and robot-based industrial inspection services, the company is looking to AI to automate both navigation of inspection devices and identification of defects from the data captured by them," write David Schatsky, Navya Kumar and Sourabh Bumb.
Enterprise software's role in providing mobility, usability and connectivity to digital transformation was the focus of three 2017 IFS studies. The people managing processes are critical to successful outcomes, no matter what technology is used.
Don't assume planned downtime for maintenance will be low risk, as employees will be engaging in unfamiliar tasks, writes Karen Hamel of New Pig Corp. Prevent injuries by providing specialized training for situations such as confined spaces.