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The Shaky but Awesome Future of Retail

Shekar Raman, Birdzi

We live in exciting times. The pace of progress in technology far outstrips the pace at which we are coming up with ideas of its applications. Hence the endless stream of exciting startups that come up with new and innovative ways of applying the technology and changing the way we live our lives. Exciting times indeed. There are however a few things that seem to take forever to change and are at contrast to everything else that is happening. Take for instance the retail industry—arguably one of the oldest and most established industries. For years, things have been done a certain way, and the adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ seems to be a recurring theme in this sector. Innovation meets inertia, and the result is often slow, sluggish progress. But as Dylan said, ‘the times, they are a changin’ . The technology innovation and competition to traditional brick-and-mortar is forcing traditional retailers and even supermarkets to sit up and take notice and start thinking about changing the way we have thought of retail. In particular focus is the astronomical adoption of the smartphone. In eight short years since the first iPhone was released by Apple (some people may argue that smartphones existed before that, but let’s not go there for now), 80% or more of the phones sold in the market are smartphones. More importantly ‘connected’ phones. Last year, mobile overtook desktop as the #1 way to access the Internet. Retailers have started to realize both the power that is in the hands of the consumer to research before they buy, and their own ability to reach the customer proactively with personalized recommendations.  In the mid to late nineties as the reach of the internet exploded and e-commerce seemed to be engulfing the world, the birth of Amazon, eBay, buy.com, and countless other imitators, seemed to suggest that brick-and-mortar is dead. Now, almost 20 years later, brick-and-mortar retail still accounts for more than 95% of retail sales. Long live ‘the store’! Humans are social animals, and as much as the convenience of online shopping is enticing, our very nature thirsts for interaction and exploration. So what does all this mean? There is not a minute in our daily lives that we are separated from our personal devices (looking at my kids, it seems like a minute is a long time to be separated from the phone!). This presents a huge opportunity for retailers to stay connected with customers in ways never before thought possible. However, it is only those retailers who can figure out how to keep the interaction personalized and subtle that will win the race to being effective retailers of the future.  Dealing with promotional emails from e-commerce sites or retailers has become a job in itself, and people setup email accounts just to manage that. Clearly, mass promotion is at best annoying, and given the pace of our lives, hardly effective. It seems so 2000s. The future is about personalization. Its about, ‘just let me know of things relevant to me’ at the right time and place. Doing this was unimaginable a decade ago. Only a good friend could judge your mood, intent and based on their intimate knowledge of your personality say the right words. Just imagine your local supermarket doing that with your shopping needs. Understanding your personal preferences, shopping cycle, intent and budget and suggesting (and notifying) items you may be interested in. Not in an obscene, ‘in your face’ way, but in a ‘friendly’ manner, with your best interests in focus. With the advent of big data platforms and cloud technology, processing massive amounts of data in short order and deriving insights into individual shopping behavior and then proactively suggesting products and services is now a reality. There are several exciting startups that promise just that. So what’s the hold up, why aren’t retailers flocking to this trend, or wait.. can they? If there is one obstacle that stands between most traditional brick-and-mortar stores and the future, its data. The quality of data that most retailers have on their legacy systems simply does not lend itself to the emerging platforms. We are talking about abbreviated, truncated, misspelled, crude, and just plain poor quality data. All our big data platforms, machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning platforms require one thing. Good clean data to learn from. Retailers who can address this fundamental issue and bring about change in how they handle and store data will put themselves in a position to own the future and offer a level of personalization that consumers will come to expect in the future. Amazon recently announced that they are planning to open up about 2,000 stores nationwide. With the quality of data they hold, I would be surprised if they don’t become a major brick-and-mortar presence, threatening even the most established players. If traditional stores don’t make fundamental changes and pay more attention to how data is collected and stored, they stand to see the ground slipping away under their feet, while trying to figure out how to hold on to their customers. The future of shopping is closer than you think, especially if you have good clean data! +MORE

Grab and Go Automated Commerce

Accel Robotics

We are building a ‘Grab and Go’ vision-based automated shopping system. Think about this like an Amazon Go solution for everyone else. +MORE

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Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery for eCommerce

ReadyCart.co

(2)

Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery Technology for retailer's eCommerce solution - laser focused around maximizing customer satisfaction and retailer profitability. ReadyCart Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery Technology Crowdsourced network build and eCommerce integration Retailer specific training collaboration and creation Network onboarding and ecosystem to handle training, scheduling, payment etc. Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery Technology  Picking&Delivery App Delivery Analytics Portal +MORE

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Darius™ for Retail

Darius Technologies

Darius for Retail is a fully integrated, cloud based shopper engagement platform. Darius delivers proven and measurable return on investment, by allowing retailers to put their shoppers at the center of everything and making it easy to engage and influence them pre-store, in-store, and post-store. Darius allows retailers to design, manage, develop and, measure interactions with their customers throughout the entire shopper journey.  The ‘tech’ bit: Darius™ is a modular ‘ecosystem’ retail technology platform that is designed to integrate and allow interaction with any existing retail systems and solutions such as Beacons, WiFi, dynamic shelf illumination, or e-coupons, and so on, to make continuous engagement with shoppers possible, wherever they are on the path to purchase. The customer experience bit: Darius™ allows retailers to put their shoppers at the center of everything by making it easy to engage and influence them pre-store, in-store, and post-store. The business bit: Darius™ delivers proven and measurable return on investment. That means more shoppers in-store, more often. It means attracting new and hard to engage shopper types. And it means bigger baskets and the increased spends that comes with that. It makes marketing budgets and, where they may already exist, retail tech investments work so much harder. +MORE

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LISNR Smart Tones

LISNR

LISNR Smart Tones inaudibly transmit data from any speaker to any microphone using a secure data-over-audio communication protocol.  Leveraging the speaker system you already have installed, LISNR Smart Tones can deliver content, information, and incentives to your shopper based on their current location and previous activity in your store.  With over 80% of shoppers using their smartphone to assist them during their in-store experience, LISNR Smart Tones provide a seamless and efficient connection between the physical and digital environment. +MORE

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App Store for Retail

Sparkle CS Ltd

Sparkle connects legacy and online retail solutions into a real-time cloud ecosystem to enable Big Data, connected store marketing and a true omni-channel customer experience.  Using Sparkle’s technology, retailers from independents to major chains have been able to rapidly and cost-effectively deploy integrated digital technology to drive customer engagement and increase sales. Extensible Framework, an app store for your POS: Our framework allows the digital world to interact seamlessly with tills.  Want your till to do something we haven’t thought of? Add another app. Making Coupons Work, Example App: Redemption Validation (RV): Our RV POS App allows digital and paper coupons to be accepted by the POS with controls against mis-redemption, reuse and fraud. Driving Out Costs, Example App: Electronic Clearing (EC): No more need for expensive clearing houses! With EC, you know who owes you what within hours. Settle via trade accounts or let us manage it for you. Cloud-based Management, Take control of your tills: Our cloud-based solution will get you up and running in no time. Change how your tills behave from your tablet in real-time. Bridging the Gap, bringing tills online: We provide a range of patented technologies that allows legacy tills, from corner shops to mainline grocers, to join the App Store for Retail. Future Proof, avoiding strategic paralysis: NFC, RFiD or QR Codes? You don’t need to guess. The App Store for Retail allows new interfaces to be plugged in at low cost. +MORE

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Personalized Shopper Engagement Suite

Birdzi Inc.

(5)

Birdzi’s Personalized Shopper Engagement Suite is made up of the following components: Personalization Engine - Proprietary algorithms track individual shopper profiles & behavior and score offers & content for each shopper based on objectives Digital Touchpoints - Connect with your shoppers through your own branded mobile app, web and email In-store Engagement - Empower your shoppers to search and locate items in-store and receive relevant offers in the aisle through beacons Offer Management and Analytics - Build and manage offers and track performance in real-time To find out more click here. +MORE

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Mobile Checkout

FutureProof Retail

The Mobile Checkout retail platform digitizes brick and mortar stores, bringing the convenience and personalization of eCommerce to physical retailers and their customers. Mobile Checkout Eliminates the Lines Mobile Checkout is a brandable iOS and Android app, a better system than self-checkout for the complete shopping experience from scan to payment. Private White-label Retailers deepen the customer relationship and own the install by deploying the platform as their own-brand staff and shopper apps. Scan Products Customers scan and bag while shopping. Mobile Payment Pay securely with credit card or mobile wallet directly through the app. Skip the Line Customers never wait in line to check out. Customize to your needs Expand the system with functionality like loyalty programs or counter service mobile ordering.     +MORE

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GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck is mobile form and execution management software that enables team leaders to improve workforce operations. Organizations can assign tasks, analyze real-time reporting, and drive action to accomplish critical goals and objectives. +MORE

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Pseudo Customer Centricity: Fool’s Gold

Gary Hawkins on Winsight Grocery Business, CART

Retailers must employ a customer-first philosophy into organizational culture Many regional retailers are (at last!) intent on becoming customer-centric, more than a decade after The Kroger Co. led the way and more than two decades after early loyalty pioneers proved the value of a true customer focus. But too many retailers believe that customer centricity can simply be bolted on to their organizations without realizing that true customer centricity is far more involved. Like the intrepid gold miners of the 1840s, these retailers awaken to the realization that what they’ve taken for retail gold is in actuality a false promise, seduced by the fools gold of pseudo customer centricity. I can recount meetings with senior executives from well-known retailers who espouse their customer centricity efforts; spending massive sums on consultants and solutions powered by a decade’s old approach based on customer segments integrated to the retailer’s category planning processes, and even personalized offers to shoppers. Countless of these retailers remain anchored in a product-focused world, even those who tout using technology to discover what products should be put on offer to their customers rather than starting with a vendor-funded offer pool.  True disciples of customer centricity deeply embed a customer-first philosophy into their organizational culture, extending it to every part of the enterprise. These companies realize that providing savings on products relevant to the shopper is only the beginning. Leading companies such as Amazon and Kroger are investing heavily in taking customer centricity to the next level: comprehensive, seamless user experiences across channels and devices, integrating personalized product recommendations with an understanding of the individual shopper’s specific health conditions, and laying the technology foundation for immersive shopping experiences melding the physical and digital worlds. Customer first disciples understand the dynamic flow of customers and their shopping behavior over time, putting in place capabilities and processes attuned to providing contextual relevancy inside and outside the store. And personalization—driven by past purchases and recommendation algorithms—is fast evolving to what I think of as strategic hyper-personalization, leveraging vast intelligence about each individual shopper to power a mix of recommendations to win the shopping trip, grow baskets, maximize retention, and foster customer advocacy—one customer at a time, in real time. Many regional retailers are based in more rural areas where company executives believe their shoppers are less tech savvy, relieving pressure on digital imperatives. According to Pew Research, 95% of Americans own a cellphone in 2018, with 77% of Americans owning a smartphone. Pew also calls out that in 2018, 89% of Americans use the internet. Location is no longer a proxy for customer technology illiteracy.  This year, Amazon is projected to realize over $258 billion in U.S. retail sales, an estimated 49% of all online retail spending in the United States. With this kind of penetration, and the ability to ship products anywhere overnight, traditional supermarket retailers would do well to remember that their shoppers are increasingly expecting (demanding!) the seamless and comprehensive user experience provided by Amazon, and increasingly by Kroger and Walmart. Yet, too many retailers remain mired in digital purgatory, constrained by capability silos and the inability to bring piecemeal capabilities together in a seamless fashion for shoppers.  Lastly, many seasoned grocery executives have spent their careers being rewarded for following, letting someone else bring innovation to market and only following when it has been proven successful. Years ago IT executives would buy IBM, even if it wasn’t the best choice, but because it was the "safe" choice. This practice continues today as retailers sign deals with "established" providers because they believe it is the safe choice, failing to understand that today’s environment rewards fresh, forward-looking thinking. Retail executives need to look beyond yesterday’s approach to customer centricity to capabilities and platforms that actually position the retailer for future success. The cost of failing to provide a seamless shopping experience, for failing to provide true individual shopper personalization, and failing to provide real time contextual relevancy, can rapidly obliterate any savings or security from yesterday’s "proven" approach. Tom Furphy, a former Amazon executive and the originator of Amazon Fresh, in a recent interviewspeaking to the challenges retailers face today, especially a reliance on past practices, says it all: “What seems safe is actually destructive. That’s a recipe for longer term disaster.” This article originally appeared on Winsight Grocery Business and can be viewed here +MORE

The Top Five Ways Retailers Benefit from Industry Trade Shows

Courtney Muller, Chief Corporate Development & Strategy Officer, Clarion UX

When was the last time you attended a retail or food and beverage trade show? If you have to pause to think of the answer – or know immediately that the answer is, “Never” – then it might be time to find a show or expo near you. Trade shows are the best places for those within the industry to get out of their stores and network; find new products and stay abreast of the cutting edge technology offerings; and gain invaluable education in the areas you need it most. In short, even if you spend time every day trying to stay current, you could never see it all – or know what to search for. There is no better place than a trade show … from seeing new products, meeting new people, becoming educated on a new way to engage your customers, or finding out about technology … this is the place to find what you don’t know!   Here are some of the top reasons you should attend a trade show this year: Network with Decision Makers When you think of networking, perhaps the typical “mixer” scenario comes to mind with people you don’t know awkwardly milling about a bar or restaurant, trying to strike up conversations with random people in the hopes that you might be able to benefit one another in some way. Networking at a trade show couldn’t be any more different. As an attendee, you can specifically find exhibitors with the products you seek; attend educational sessions that pertain to topics you are interested in, therefore attracting other audience members who share the same challenges; and be assured that your peers in the same industry as you are seeking similar solutions as you.  And you might even run into a colleague you haven’t seen in years! Find New Products and Foods You subscribe to industry periodicals and get Google Alerts in your inbox every day, but have you seen that new robot that identifies out of stock items and potential slip and fall hazards? Have you read about leveraging data to establish loyalty and trust with food delivery customers? A trade show is the perfect venue to scope out all that is new in the retail world from tech products to new foods and services – all in one place – to help you use technology to create a seamless customer experience. As you look for new technology innovation to keep you competitive, you may find the perfect partner for online ordering, rapid delivery, or rapid checkout through customer’s smartphones.  No matter what you want to go to a trade show to find, you will likely be pleasantly surprised by discovering even more than you thought along the aisles. See New Trends in Action Are vegan offerings a must-have? Should you offer chef demonstrations to showcase meal ideas? Are international flavors high on consumer’s minds? What chef dishes are they trying replicate at home? Be on the front line of this year’s and next year’s trends so you can bank on what your customers will be looking for in the near future. You’ll walk away with new products and great ideas you can implement immediately in your store operations. You may even realize that you are on the verge of creating an entirely different trend yourself that has yet to appear on the market – good information that you can capitalize on in the year to come. Receive Best in Class Education If school is a distant memory – or perhaps you learned hands-on in a family business and worked your way up the ranks – one of the best perks of most trade shows is the educational content provided to attendees and exhibitors alike. Whether you’re interested in operational excellence, developing your workforce, building bigger baskets, or sessions dedicated to those hot new tech trends we previously mentioned, trade shows like The NGA Show (presented by the National Grocers Association) in San Diego this coming February will have you covered on all fronts. What’s more, you can connect with presenting industry specialists to gain even more valuable insight into the topics that interest you most. Gain Immediate, Actionable Ideas The bottom line … your time is valuable and you want to spend any time out of your store obtaining the cream of the crop ideas - from new products, growth strategies and tech trends. Hear what the experts have to share, sample emerging products, uncover new technology, and refresh your enthusiasm for the business. You’ll walk away with a plan to bring all of these new ideas and initiatives into your store operation to drive profits, growth and innovation.   No matter where you are in your retail career, a trade show will no doubt provide you with opportunities, education and inspiration as you progress in the business. Interested in learning more? Check out the upcoming NGA show: National Grocers Association Show, San Diego, CA, February 24-27, 2019, www.thengashow.com  Each year, The NGA Show brings together independent retailers and wholesalers, food retail industry executives, food/CPG manufacturers and service providers for unparalleled opportunities to learn, engage, share, network, and innovate.  Given today’s ever-changing marketplace and evolving advancements in innovation occurring in the food retail industry, The NGA Show is a must-attend event, providing over 40 educational workshops, an expo floor featuring innovative and game-changing products and solutions and countless networking opportunities.  Registration is open at www.thengashow.com – early bird registration rates in effect through December 10, 2018.  +MORE

NGA Show 2019: The Epicenter of Grocery Industry Innovation

CART, Advancing Retail

In a special event leading up to the opening of the new NGA Show 2019, CART will bring together unique education, an impressive line up of speakers, and cutting edge innovation to make San Diego the epicenter of grocery industry innovation during Feb. 24-27, 2019. With a focus on regional retailers and dynamic independent operators, the CART team will present an innovation tour de force designed to help attendees not only stay in the game but help them win. CART is coming together with leading retailers through-out the industry to provide attendees a new worldview for the future of retail where transformation and disruption are the new normal: iRetail. Focused on five ‘i’s, iRetail will give attending executives a framework for evaluating their existing capabilities and provide a roadmap to closing the innovation gap. In a time of declining and disappearing industry events, the NGA Show has become a beacon of light for the industry as it has grown each year, even outgrowing its longtime home in Las Vegas, spurring the move to San Diego this coming February. CART has had a long time partnership with NGA and is taking the relationship to a new level this year, building on the success of CART’s Innovation Event at last year’s show.  Make sure to put Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, on your calendar and plan to attend the CART special event at the new NGA Show! +MORE

Technology's Profound Impact on the Supermarket Industry

Peter Larkin, President & CEO, National Grocers Association

Often cited as the one of the greatest catalyst of change within the retail grocery industry, technology is an area that independent supermarket operators must understand, and embrace.  Technology continues to have a profound impact, where virtually every detail of the supermarket industry is being touched by new solutions and platforms. I see three technology threads, each entwined with the other. One is the explosion of mobile applications and programs that are turning grocery shoppers into high information consumers. According to Pew research, smart phone adoption among Americans has more than doubled since 2011. Not only are shoppers becoming more sophisticated, but they are using technology as a way to gain more information, transparency, and convenience. At the touch of a mobile screen, consumers can instantly access to updated information on locally sourced perishables, competitive promotions, price checks and recipe ingredient lists. In turn, this migration to the digital space is shaping customer relationships with retailers. Today’s shopper does not want to be talked to but instead wants to be a part of the conversation. Consumer product manufacturers and marketers make up a second technology thread. By analyzing large chunks of customer data and retail sales, manufacturers, retailers and service suppliers are exploring innovative ways to touch their target audiences. Big data though can be vast and hard to harness. Whether it’s social media, a mobile payment system, or loyalty programs, technology can effectively create many new opportunities for savvy retailers to learn about and to connect with their shoppers to better serve their needs. A good place to see and learn about a number of these innovative solutions is right here at www.advancingretail.org. The third thread is in the store itself, where technology is increasingly employed to improve overall store productivity to program more effective lighting, to boost checkout efficiency, to track shopper traffic flows to improve layout and sales per square foot, or to offer customers immediate cost savings via real time wifi connections as they shop. A great, and very recent, example of this is Sedano's Supermarkets launch of a “robotic supermarket,” which entails an automated fulfillment center where AI-enabled robots will assemble full supermarket orders of up to 60 items. While the landscape is quickly evolving, many independent grocers are taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies to engage with their shoppers, find efficiencies, and reach new and existing customers where, how, and when they want. Independents have been making their move into digital. They are hiring dedicated staff, dedicating marketing budgets to digital initiatives, more effectively leveraging social media platforms, and integrating the latest technologies into their business strategies.  With the dramatic pace in which new apps and tech solutions are coming on to the market, it can all seem a bit overwhelming, but technology will play a defining role in the supermarket industry.  Those retailers that are on the forefront of implementing new technology and embrace the hyper-connected, tech-savvy consumer are positioning themselves for success. I’m one who is convinced that these threads will weave into a pattern of rising sales and profits. And that’s why the 2019 NGA Show will kick-off with a new educational event, spearheaded by our partners at CART, entitled “iRetail: Technology Innovation Reshaping the Grocery Industry.” The event is designed to give supermarket operators a framework for navigating fast-paced innovation while maintaining a focus on the importance of people and physical stores as we move into the future. Despite increased competition from all angles, it is an exciting time for the supermarket industry – and we at NGA are bullish about what the future holds for the independent grocers! Known as the true entrepreneurs of the industry, independents are nimble enough to quickly overcome obstacles, and are finding innovative ways to respond to changing consumer preferences, which is something they’ve always been good at given their close ties to their communities and the consumers they serve. +MORE

Locai Solutions

Locai Solutions Inc

locai is the first company to offer a full suite of software that integrates an e-commerce platform with a fulfillment management system. locai provides a flexible set of solutions including a turn-key eCommerce website, as well as access to great UX features - such as product recommendations, meal planning, and endless aisles - via APIs for easy integration into your existing eCommerce platform. These features have been proven to drive higher basket sizes, and create greater customer engagement, satisfaction, and retention. The locai platform is also the first eCommerce solution for grocers to be built on a cloud based architecture that enables order execution via the full spectrum of fulfillment formats. The locai Fulfillment Management System is versatile and capable of supporting numerous operating footprints, from warerooms to dark stores and/or dedicated distribution centers, and while fully integrated with locai's eCommerce Platform, the FMS can easily integrate with other eCommerce platforms and order management systems to create a unique solution for your brand. Embedded with real-time operating metrics, intelligent pick cart building logic and order verification, the locai Fulfillment Management System is proven to reduce operating cost per order while improving order accuracy. +MORE

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Pace of Innovation -- Shattering the Status Quo

Gary Hawkins, CART

Retailers are shellshocked by the increasing pace of technology fueled innovation that is transforming and disrupting the industry. It seems not a week goes by that we don’t read about yet another new competitor entering the grocery space or some new innovation being rolled out by an existing competitor. Case in point: Kroger’s recent announcement that it is deploying its Shop, Scan, and Bag self-shopping solution at 400+ stores. This in response to Amazon’s cashier-less Go store pilot and Walmart’s similar self-shopping solution. Supermarket retailers are challenged on several fronts relative to innovation. It is nearly impossible for a retailer to be aware of all the new innovation entering the market. As an example, CART reviews an estimated 100 new solutions each month. Beyond awareness though is the challenge of deciding what areas to focus on (supply chain, distribution, marketing, store operations, etc.) and deciding what specific solution to pilot. And then having to decide what new capabilities to deploy across operating stores. Having efficient operations, quality foods, and great pricing and service is simply the cost of entry to supermarket retail. The new battleground is innovation. This is a new world for retailers to navigate. As an example, we see too many retailers implementing different digital capabilities in a piecemeal fashion rather than working towards a cohesive and comprehensive platform. The self-shopping capability mentioned earlier is a great example. Some retailers are trying to implement this kind of capability through a third-party app or a separate app rather than bundling it into one mobile app for their customers. Shoppers are after an omni-channel, seamless experience, not being forced to interact with different apps or systems to do business with a retailer. CART is here to help. We’re able to leverage our strong retail experience, industry knowledge, and unique insight to new capabilities and innovation flowing into the market to help retailers understand where they are today relative to their competitors and best-in-class retailers. Developing an innovation roadmap is important to help in prioritizing what new innovation to focus on and to create a foundation capable of adapting to new capabilities and technologies as they come into the market. +MORE

Making Online Grocery Easy and Affordable for Every Grocer

Josh Ray, ShopHero

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Neilson published a study in January 2017 on the growth and future of online grocery. Among other things, they forecasted that nearly 20% of annual grocery sales would occur online by the year 2023. That was a very bold prediction about a developing part of the industry that many retailers weren’t sure about. Many I spoke with around that time had mixed feelings about online grocery.  “We tried it in the 90s and it was a big failure!” It’s true online grocery failed in the 90s. That was a long time ago and so much has changed since then. It may be tough to remember life without everyone’s favorite addiction – their smartphones – but believe it or not, there was a time when you couldn’t access everything in the world at a moment’s notice. Technology has changed the way we buy everything, and grocery is just starting to catch up. Online grocery is growing faster than anyone imagined. Amazon spent $14B acquiring Whole Foods, instantly gaining 400 distribution centers around the country from which to provide same-day delivery of grocery (including perishables). Walmart and Kroger offer online ordering in over 1,000 locations each, with plans to double the number of locations offering the service in 2018.  We’ve been working with grocers for years and watching the changes happen right before our eyes. Three or four years ago, there was a single workshop on eCommerce at the NGA show in Las Vegas. This year, there was an entire track dedicated to technology with a major emphasis on online grocery. This January, FMI and Neilson published a new study forecasting 20% of annual grocery sales to be online by 2022. In one year they saw enough growth, customer demand, and technology improvements to speed up their projections from 2023 to 2022!  Hometown grocers face more competition than ever, but they also have more opportunities to distinguish themselves from the big box stores today. Their size allows them to be more nimble and provide an eCommerce experience tailored to their community and their shoppers. The level of service they provide has always been better than the national retailers and with the right tools they can ensure their shoppers get the same great experience online that they expect in store. ShopHero is proud to work with 100’s of these hometown grocers across the country, helping them offer online ordering. ShopHero provides a while-label eCommerce site that is customized for each individual retailer. Grocers are often surprised at how easy it is to get setup with ShopHero. We work with every point of sale (POS) system, loyalty program, and wholesaler. We’ve done all the heavy lifting so the retailers don’t have to, which means stores can get online in one day. We provide images, product descriptions, nutrition facts and more for everything in the store. Our unique approach allows the store to focus on what they do best – serving their customers – while we take care of the rest. Just getting online isn’t good enough. Retailers need a true partner who understands the importance of providing world class service on every transaction. We are proud of our reputation in the industry as the best option for grocers who want to be online. We’ve built that reputation on a few key tenants – service, technology, and price. Service We truly understand the important of customer service and don’t just talk the talk, but we walk the walk. We provide live shopper support that your customers can access via email, phone, or chat. This means we are on the front lines with you. We hear the questions, comments, and concerns your shoppers have, and we make adjustments accordingly. ShopHero is the only online grocery vendor to offer this service. Technology We’ve made our technology as simple as possible, so that every grocer (even your grumpy uncle) can easily work with it. We really do all of the work to get you setup, you don’t have to worry about anything. We provide a store rep to work with you on training, support, and more – and he is available 24/7 to answer all your questions. Price We know many retailers can’t afford large setup fees and even larger monthly fees. Online grocery shouldn’t be expensive, it should be easy and affordable. ShopHero provides the industries only eCommerce plan with no monthly or annual fees. Really. No catch, no hidden costs. We value our partnerships and have structured our service in a way to show that. If you own a grocery store and you’re not online yet, we need to talk. If you’re online, but you’re paying too much or not getting the results you should, give us a call. I would love to hear about your store as well as your concerns and goals with online grocery. Our online grocery specialists work with retailers everyday. They understand the challenges and concerns you have and are happy to provide a complimentary consultation. +MORE

eCommerce and Home Delivery Solutions for Grocers

ShopHero

(2)

ShopHero provides online grocery and home delivery solutions for grocers. We're more than just another eCommerce company. We've built a digital customer engagement platform from the ground up that's easy to use for you and your shoppers, and works on all devices. Shopper habits are changing and it's more important than ever to keep up. In 2016, 5% of all grocery sales were online and industry experts are forecasting that number to reach 17% by 2023. Online grocery is no longer a nice to have feature, it's a must have for every successful supermarket. Stores that neglect this growing segment of customers are missing an opportunity to grab market share and risk losing customers to other online options.  We offer a true end-to-end platform that includes building and managing your online grocery site, fulfillment and delivery, and highly targeted marketing personalized for your customers. Using advanced data analytics and integration with your POS we promote your highest margin products to the customers who are most likely to purchase at just the right time. In addition, our platform learns your customer's habits and we're able to provide a unique digital commerce experience for each shopper. This leads to an average basket that is 3.5 times bigger than the average in-store purchase. Online grocery is here and your store can be online in less than two weeks. Contact us today, we'd love to learn about your goals and discuss ways we can help. +MORE

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iOS & Android app development

Appus Studio

Design and development of mobile applications for iOS (iPhone, iPod & iPad) and Android platforms. Distribution to App Store and Google Play is free of charge service. +MORE

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Kitchology

Kitchology

Kitchology is the first company to create an integrated social cooking platform for the 160 million people dealing with special diets and the suppliers who sell to them $500B in groceries every year. It is available on the web and as free app. Consumer find a recipe of interest? Using machine learning, we substitute ingredients creating a set of better new recipes taking predicted pantry stockings into account. A recipe can be modified typically  to up 15,000 variations to accommodate diets. Consumers plan to shop? We prepopulate shopping lists, suggest additional ingredients to buy, and make product recommendations. We stay with the cook during the cooking process and use a social graph to connect them with others. Suppliers use Kitchology for access to unique analytics used for marketing and product design. They also publish content and present offers on the platform while the consumer is doing meal planning and shopping. Kitchology is big data for special diets.  +MORE

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BRdata Connect

BRdata Software Solutions

BRdata Connect is our exciting new consumer app that empowers grocery retailers with technology to engage shoppers. It is hosted in the BRdata Cloud, so there is no server hardware/software to purchase and it supports both iOS and Android devices. BRdata Connect is branded to each retailer and provides shoppers up-to-date ad prices and targeted deals, a grocery list that can optionally be sent directly to the store to be picked ahead of time, recipes, a store locator, a loyalty program, push notifications, banners, an item locator, and iBeacons for in-store promotions and heat maps. +MORE

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ShopWell

ShopWell

ShopWell is America’s leading personalized nutrition solution that scores food based on an individual’s age, gender, dietary goals and allergies.  ShopWell’s patented algorithm (developed by Registered Dietitians) analyses multiple dimensions of the ingredient and nutrition data for 350,000 UPCs to create a score, educate, and intelligently suggest healthier alternatives for shoppers.   Over 1.3 million shoppers have registered for the ShopWell app.    ShopWell Insights enables retailers and manufacturers to explore their products’ market position, strengths and weaknesses for specific dietary segments, analyze shopper behavior and survey highly targeted shoppers – and identify new opportunities to grow market share:  optimizing existing products, identifying opportunities for new products, and engaging with influential consumers at home and in-store. +MORE

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FoodLoop System

FoodLoop Inc.

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FoodLoop provides automated, location based, real time marketing of your in-store discounts. Marking down perishables that are overstocked or reaching their best before end has been common practice for decades. Despite this, on average 53 Kg of food items per day per store, still ends up as write-offs and waste,which could have been avoided if it was communicated in time to the right customer. This common practice has remained stagnant despite technological advances. Retailers willing to change, are able to receive large returns. We at FoodLoop are here to facilitate that. We set out to create an efficient way to market goods in danger of not being sold within their shelf-life. Now, with FoodLoop, mobile customers can explore all your discounted products and services and quickly plan their meals with ease. With personalized offers, all streamlined to the palm of our hands, you'll be driving more businesses to your stores. What's more, they'll be proud to spend! They'll know, they're reducing the CO2 footprint. The FoodLoop system builds on the increased adoption of connected devices like smartphones: On average two thirds of people in an industrialized country own a smartphone. More than half of these users, check shopping options on their smartphones before making purchase decisions. So why not take the information of individual store discounts and clearance sales beyond the door and into the customers’ pocket? The FoodLoop System is available to all retailers and wholesalers. The system has also been developed to support the new GS1 DataBar; the new barcode standard which can incorporate best-before-date information on a product level. So as retailers upgrade to the GS1 DataBar, they'll be happy to receive seamless integration (and further improved results like cutting labour hours) with the FoodLoop system. +MORE

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Koupon Media

Koupon Media

Manage all of your mobile offers in one place. Koupon provides the underlying technology to create and deliver mobile offers to customers. Our Platform handles the ins and outs of offers so you don’t have to. +MORE

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TONE

The TONE Knows, Inc. ("TONE")

TONE, in it’s most simple form, is “audio-beacon” technology. An instantaneous direct-to-device marketing & analytics technology platform, TONE uses imperceptible, embedded audio “tones” to deliver contextual content directly to mobile devices WITHOUT THE EXPENSIVE HARDWARE. We integrate the customer’s entire brand journey. +MORE

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Store

BRdata Software Solutions

BRdata Store is a powerful and flexible, full-function in-store retail solution.  Retailers can track sales movement while controlling price and cost information from one central database.  BRdata store is a multi-user,graphical application.  Databases can be stored or accessed locally in the store or remotely via a thin-client connection to a BRdata Host system in a chain environment. +MORE

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How to Build and Scale a Successful Pickup Program

Jaron Waldman, Curbside

The double digit sales growth opportunity for retailers is Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) and  curbside pickup. 66% of shoppers have used BOPIS in the last 6 months and 90% of retailers are expected to offer BOPIS by 2021. Retailers like Lowes are now seeing 60% of their online orders being picked up in stores and Target saw a 10% increase in orders while testing of its curbside pick-up service. It’s probably clear by now that you need a pickup program, but how do you get started and what factors determine whether a program will be successful? Technology Any successful mobile order ahead program starts with the right technology. Companies need the right tools to consistently deliver exceptional pickup experiences that provide convenience and expected time savings for the mobile customers. Your mobile order ahead technology should integrate easily into your existing mobile app, provide an interface that simplifies fulfillment and handoff for store personnel serving order ahead customers, and provide accurate and reliable arrival alerts so you can deliver 5-star customer experiences, every time. In the past, businesses have only had available low-accuracy technologies like cameras, geofences and beacons. Unreliable technology meant that processes required that customers checkin, designate a specific pickup time, and/or reach out to the crew by phone if anything changed. At low volumes, those approaches were adequate, even though many customers don’t follow directions. Regardless when order volumes exceed 100 per week, standards and reliability become important and exceptions need to be minimized. Curbside’s arrival prediction technology, ARRIVE, opens up new possibilities for taking the friction out of real-world customer experiences by reducing customer wait time, increasing overall throughput, improving employee productivity, and enabling simple communications from customers to crew. In fact, it is now possible to greet customers by name with their order ready just as they arrive, making a one-minute pickup an attainable goal. It allows the crew to know where a customer is and can provide a work queue of “next served” like an old butcher shop, without the customer needing to check in or pull a number. Training Your order ahead technology can only be as effective as the store associates using it. Unfortunately, many retailers fail to invest in training employees in new tech. According to a Training Industry Report by Training Magazine, 68% of retailers are not increasing their training budgets. By failing to invest in training, companies are unable to utilize the full potential of their tech investment. They will often see negative results from their pickup program, but may not associate the failure of their program to the insufficient training of their staff. It is critical to the success of your program that staff are not only equipped with the right technology but also fully trained and empowered to maximize the ROI on your technology investments. Technology is a tool that is meant to simplify processes for both the customer and store associates. By investing in the right technology and training associates on how to use it effectively, you can remove friction from the entire pickup experience, from fulfillment through handoff. Even though pickup programs can often introduce expanded responsibilities for associates, the proper tech and training will allow associates to take on this added responsibility through more streamlined order fulfillment. Our ARRIVE web console makes it easy to get staff up to speed quickly on your pickup program as it was designed specifically for less experienced associates serving order ahead customers. It can be accessed from any existing store device for instant visibility into pickup order status, arrival ETAs, and customer wait time.   Data After investing in an order ahead technology and training store personnel to execute flawless pickups consistently, businesses need to ensure they have the right data to optimize and scale their pickup program. Partnering with a solution provider that offers advanced data and analytics will help you to understand key performance metrics like customer wait time, dwell time, and customer satisfaction.  These metrics help refine a program that has just launched and spot training needs as crews change and the program matures. One of the most important metrics to keep an eye on is customer wait time. The amount of time a customer waits is directly correlated to their likelihood to make a repeat purchase. The benchmark that retailers should strive for is 2 minutes or less. Customer that wait less than 2 minutes are 2x more likely to make a repeat purchase. Wait time can sometimes be difficult for retailers to capture, since it requires staff to close out pickup orders immediately after handoff. In these cases, dwell time can be a good surrogate for wait time. Dwell time is the time period that your customer is at your location from wheels/feet on premises to wheels/feet off premises. This metric can be especially useful as it can be measured solely with location technology, like Curbside’s ARRIVE technology, and does not require changes in processes and systems. If you’ve just started building your mobile order ahead program, or if you’re not seeing the results you’d like from your current program, contact us to discuss how Curbside can help you build and scale your order ahead program. Poor technology, lack of training and inattention to key metrics might be sabotaging your offering holding back repeat sales and referrals +MORE

Know When Customers ARRIVE

Curbside

Mobile order ahead is growing exponentially. Customers expect local businesses to meet the needs of their on the go lifestyle with quick and convenient mobile ordering and store pickup. We help retail and restaurant chains drive repeat sales and higher ratings from their mobile order-ahead programs with our premium location technology, ARRIVE.   ARRIVE provides highly accurate and reliable arrival alerts when your customers are approaching your place of business. Until today, retailers have been armed only with unreliable technologies like cameras, geofences and beacons. ARRIVE opens up new possibilities for taking friction out of real-world customer experiences, allowing retailers to re-imagine what’s possible at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds. Eliminate scheduled times, manual check-ins, and unnecessary calls. Instead, greet customers by name with their order ready and all the details taken care of in advance of their arrival.   Don’t have mobile order ahead yet? We offer a full suite of tools to help you quickly build your order ahead program, including online storefront, inventory management, and pick and pack fulfillment tools, all of which work seamlessly with ARRIVE. +MORE

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Visual Discovery Platform

Artifacia

Beautiful discovery experiences with one simple API Similar Products: Show visually similar fashion products to what your users are viewing and improve product discovery on your website or mobile app. Complete The Look: Sometimes your customers want to buy multiple fashion products that go well together. Give them a pleasant discovery experience with our Complete The Look feature. In-Image Commerce: You customers can find inspiration anywhere be it social media, the web or the real world. And now you can help them buy fashion products from within an image like never before. Simple Pricing: Competative pricing for all our solutions Fast Onboarding: Completely online effortless onboarding Easy Integration: Restful APIs and clients to get you started within minutes +MORE

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Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping and Recipe Discovery App

BigOven

BigOven is the meal planning, grocery shopping and recipe discovery app for the home cook. Over 12 million downloads Over 3 million registered cooks 4.5+ / 5 stars on all app platforms We partner with our sponsors to understand their audience, targeting and branding needs across the web and mobile space. BigOven offers: IAB standard placements including “add to grocery list” ads Custom sponsorships: keep your brand top of mind as cooks are planning meals and grocery shopping In-app native advertising: high SOV opportunities +MORE

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Augmented Reality Experiences

Layar

EASILY DRAG & DROP ENGAGING CONTENT With the Layar Creator, you can enhance flyers, postcards, packaging or any other item with interactive content, including video messages, Web and social links, photo slideshows, music clips and much more! TRANSFORM EVERYDAY OBJECTS INTO… A MULTIMEDIA PLAYER: Bring print to life with rich media, including video messages, photo slideshows and music clips. A SOCIAL MEDIA HUB: Encourage interaction with links to share, follow and like your content on various social media networks. A CONVERSATION: Find new ways to connect quickly via email or phone and with instant interactive polls and surveys. WHATEVER YOU IMAGINE: Use your creativity by embedding HTML, allowing other apps to open and other advanced features. TAILOR MADE SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS: Looking to add Augmented Reality to your own mobile app? Let us help with our bespoke development service or create your own integration with our embeddable SDK. +MORE

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