Consulting

Transportation Optimization - a silver bullet to solve "last mile delivery?"

Ted Matwijec, Managing Director, ACT Operations Research – Raleigh, NC.

Learn how knowing your constraints and customer demands feeds sophisticated algorithms to provide optimal routing and balance delivery vs costs   Lately I have been seeing more and more of those brand-new Amazon Prime - Mercedes panel trucks making deliveries around my neighborhood.   Also, I have even seen the USPS delivering packages on Sunday (contracted by Amazon I am sure).  What’s going on Sunday deliveries? On demand delivery with time windows specified by a customer is becoming the consumer norm.  Remember the delivery or service call by your cable TV/Internet provider saying my service guy will be there between 8 am and noon then shows up at 11:50am.  Met their promise, but ruined your whole morning wasted sitting around! Let me assure you that customer service problem can be solved and you don’t need the resources of Amazon, UPS or Fed Ex. Amazon is clearly moving into the supply chain delivery markets much to the chagrin of FED EX and UPS to take back their “last mile” deliveries of their goods and solve this problem for the customer.    The question is how can they make the most expensive part of delivery – the “last or golden mile” to a customer profitable? From our experience in these markets, simply put, Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS and other large transportation companies have the best and brightest staff of Math, Statistical Phds that constantly hone their algorithms to minimize costs and maximize the service requirements.   When profit is measured in pennies in a transportation system – (that’s why you see the UPS guys running from each delivery back to their trucks) – the solution cannot be a spreadsheet or database or even year 2000 optimization technology. It is not rocket science, well maybe sort of, but rather advanced mathematics (think Calculus) applied to route planning optimization and fleet capacity analysis.  These transportation algorithms (remember the traveling salesman problem) have generically been around for decades, however now they are totally customized, enhanced and improved enough to cover the most minutia of system requirements – by many software companies.  I read that UPS has put 10’s of millions of dollars in R&D over the years into their algorithms to update and improve optimize their KPIs – as an example! So, why now is the “last delivery mile” more complex and expensive than ever?   The short answer, the customer is demanding it and will go other places if your company cannot provide it!   We all know how poor delivery can be written up in YELP or GOOGLE about your business – a big problem in the social media world for your marketing department.   (eg. – delivered food late for a kid’s birthday party) The good news for any retail or grocery store fleet manager is that to solve the “last mile delivery” the technology today is much less expensive and available for all size of fleets and route planners The long answer is the complexity of the business rules, constraints and requirements to execute this service.   First some examples…of customer/supplier requirement I am seeing today in our markets of retail and grocery applications - Customers: Wants confirmation of a tighter availability of their grocery delivery – eg. In the next 30 minutes Desire communications via a mobile app, email or text to the customer – about the updated arrival time. Want a positive experience to tell their friends how good their deliveries are! – We all want that on demand! Grocery/Retail Stores with their own fleets, or outsourced via 3PLs - Wants a confirmation signature the groceries have been delivered and that information is sent back to the IT system in real time, with SKU information, for example – for replenishment purposes. Wants real time updates from their drivers about location, traffic and estimated delivery window to communicate back to the customer. Wants to be able to reschedule a driver in real time for a new pickup at the store/warehouse or pick-up a returned item. So, the lengthy transportation distances between warehouses to stores is a natural issue solved by logistics teams for inventory replenishment.  Now add that complex delivery network and inventory now required “on demand” from a store location or back in the warehouse for a customer that wants it delivered this afternoon – and you get to see why the “last mile” delivery starts to become complex and expensive!  From a labor, IT system connection, communication systems, loading, unloading, time window point of view, the human brain cannot possibly manage all the variables in your network – to balance cost vs services. Lot’s of moving business costs involved to serve the customer. So, from my 30  + years in the Operations Research field, I can strongly recommend an updated math model is appropriate for route planning and optimization and is the potential strategic “silver bullet” you are looking for – to support you competing in your markets!  Of-course it is not the whole answer, you have to execute a plan, change some processes and manage the fleet – the cultural processes. Question, when was the last time you asked for your route planning algorithms to be updated in your home grown business system,  TMS or ERP system, meanwhile your points of service network has changed a lot just in the last 5 years! I have seen the market share winners in the tight margin grocery or retail store business realize that the supply chain strategy to optimize delivery to their clients from source through the delivery point is accomplished by using transportation optimization.   Managing constraints like labor, fuel costs, traffic conditions, time window, texts and emails to meet that short time window and the “last mile” requires serious modeling/computational power and IT changes. The good news is that this technology is more readily available, less expensive from providers, easier to use for your staff, and has proven real cost savings – to meet or exceed your customers expectations. How much did your optimization algorithms cut your cost in your delivery system last year? Find the hidden value in your delivery system today, using math optimization, your savings should be a min. 10%+ or more in our experience to deliver on time or earlier and impress your customers! +MORE

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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BEFORE! Predictive Analytics

ACT Operations Research

1) Predict demand down to store and SKU level 2) Predict promotional campaign affect in the store, transportation and warehouse operations 3) Buy optimal quantities 4) Manage the risk associated with stock outs vs promotional campaigns and waste 5) considers assortment constraints and category efficiency 6) simulate store queuing for capacity analysis purposes and cost reduction purposes.  REVENUE, SALES & PROMOTION Revenue management and price optimization is a core-activity in any market oriented company operating in different industries (Retails, Fast Fashion, Chain Store, Car Rentals, Web Business, etc.). The goal of our suite is to provide, to the revenue managers, advanced analytics, using a unique combination and integration of predictive, optimization and simulation models. While the analytics tools are complex the results are always presented in an intuitive way. The core products included in the Revenue, Sale, Price & Promotion (RSP&P) suite are: Dynamic Price Optimizer (DPO), the multi-paradigm predictive paltform - Before! Predictive Analytics with Before! Sales Campaign -, the customers and market profiling analytics (CMP), the promotion optimization and what-if analysis platform - Before! Promo.  Before! Sales Campaign Before! Sales Campaign software addresses the needs of industries where the products and the merchandise assortments, have a fast renewal  dynamics, even during the same season, like the case of fashion and  fast-fashion channels, electronics or several web-business  Before! Promo Before!Promo, is a complete multi-paradigm analytical tool by ACTOR, developed for scaling enterprise companies. In the current competitive scenario the consumers pay high attention to the promotions, on the other hand promotions exposed retailers and vendors to higher risks in terms of image, in case of stock-out or costs in case of over-stock. When products are fresh-food or fast fashion for example, the risks become even higher.  Before! Predictive Analytics  Before! Predictive Analytics or simply Before!, is a complete multi-paradigm demand forecasting platform by ACTOR, developed for scaling enterprise companies. Before! provides you the capability to forecast the demand while gaining control of the related organization processes such as; planning, procurement, inventory optimization, store replenishments, etc..  Dynamic Price Optimization  Dynamic Price Optimization (DPO) is a capacity and revenue management software based on sophisticated analytical algorithms. It permits users to optimize the prices of products, assets and commodities over the time based on the expected demand, the competitor’s prices and other key-information like, for example, price elasticity.   +MORE

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CART Weekly Report 7/18/19

CART, Advancing Retail

MORE STORE CLOSINGS COMING: AN ESTIMATED 12,000 SHOPS COULD CLOSE BY THE END OF 2019 | USA Today Gary’s Take: A recent report from Coresight Research states that 2019 store closings are already ahead of last year by 20%; they estimate store closures could reach 12,000 by the end of the year. UBS Securities estimate that 75,000 stores could close by 2026 if ecomm sales rise to 25% of retail from current level of 16%. The supermarket channel has largely escaped any significant closings thus far but I do not expect this to continue as online grocery continues to grow and disruption continues sweeping the industry. As happened in the mid 1990s when Walmart entered grocery, triggering a wave of consolidation as bigger players sought to scale up to compete, independent and smaller regional retailers are going to take the brunt of the hit as they can’t keep up with tech innovation and investment. Smaller retailers must quickly find a way to truly differentiate themselves if they have a hope of surviving. The alternative is either going out of business or becoming a glorified convenience store as primary grocery sales are rolled up by the bigger players. PERSONALIZATION MATTERS: HERE ARE 5 GREAT EXAMPLES | Smart Design World Gary’s Take: Personalization in retail is rapidly becoming a customer expectation and a need-to-have by retailers. Like other terms that become ‘hot’, personalization is the latest overused buzzword. The scary part is that many retailers are not experts in this space and can fall prey to 'personalization’ capabilities that are really not. I would suggest that retailers should really be focusing on providing contextual relevancy that goes beyond pure personalization and focuses on providing meaningful messaging (recipes, savings, new product intro, etc.) to each customer. And, like some of the examples in this article, state of the art is realtime relevancy. This is very challenging to do and is dependent on deep integration between digital touchpoints and a relevancy engine that processes in realtime. FLORIDA’S DMV IS SELLING DRIVERS’ PERSONAL INFORMATION TO BILL COLLECTORS AND DATA BROKERS | Fast Company Gary’s Take: Data privacy? Really? A recent investigation by ABC affiliate has just found that Florida’s DMV has been selling license data to bill collectors and data brokers. This while governments - from state to federal - are increasingly inserting themselves into the ongoing privacy debate. Data privacy is an issue that continues to percolate, boiling over periodically as malfeasance by Facebook or assorted app providers comes to light. I do believe that privacy is going to become an increasingly important issue that is going to threaten digital advertising and marketing initiatives. Retailers would be well served to really focus on driving comprehensive digital engagement with their shoppers ASAP to build their repository of first-party data for the future.  WHAT MAKES GREAT RETAIL LEADERS | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Having a CEO that exemplifies what the company stands for and puts themselves on the line for significant positive change is key to culture. And culture is the key to everything (what it’s like to work there, why everyone is there and what new ideas come up/are embraced, etc). Supporting those same traits amongst the team is a success recipe that transcends any strategy, technology or trend. WHO OWNS CUSTOMER SERVICE IN AN AGE OF CO-BRANDING | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: The responsibility for customer service comes down to the person standing in front of the customer (or on the phone with them). It’s definitely a growing issue with all the co-branding and partnerships and ultimately retailers need to ensure great customer service, no matter what agreements are in place behind the scenes. The co-branding can only be as great as the service and customer experience they can provide. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK:  FROM THE INNOVATION GAP TO THE KNOWLEDGE GAP by Gary Hawkins, CEO, CART I have often written about the growing innovation gap - the divide between the exponential growth of new tech fueled capabilities and the much slower deployment of new solutions in brick & mortar retail. This growing innovation gap is a major challenge to traditional retailers…READ MORE>> HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS FOOD CITY - July 25, 2019  WEIS MARKETS - August 8, 2019  WAKEFERN - August 21, 2019 IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTORS - September 5, 2019 CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight Minding the GAPS - CGA Strategic Conference 2019 - Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, September 29-October 1, 2019 Applications to present at CGA are due August 1, 2019 GMDC Self-Care Summit - October 3 thru 7, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN X/Specs 2019 - October 15 thru 17, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando  Store Design in the Age of “I” - Wednesday, 11:30am-12:15pm SPECS Show 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week: Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.  ~Vincent Van Gogh +MORE

From the Innovation Gap to the Knowledge Gap

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

I have often written about the growing innovation gap - the divide between the exponential growth of new tech fueled capabilities and the much slower deployment of new solutions in brick & mortar retail. This growing innovation gap is a major challenge to traditional retailers. A number of solution providers are working hard to help retailers close that gap, leveraging the cloud, AI, machine learning, and other tech to bring advanced capabilities to regional and even smaller independent retailers. The problem is that while retailers can avail themselves of new solutions, they are sometimes lacking the resources, knowledge, and skill sets to make use of these new capabilities. We are seeing this in many different areas. From sophisticated AI powered forecasting solutions that are able to ingest store-level events that impact product movement to cutting edge marketing personalization systems that challenge retailers to think differently about how they go to market. The challenges we see are four-fold. First, retailers lacking resources skilled in data analytics needed to take advantage of the explosion of big data. Second, retailers lacking the discipline to modify operations or data gathering needed to power new capabilities. And three, retail executives being challenged to think outside the box, and envision doing business differently. The fourth challenge is retailers not understanding the how tech-fueled innovation is growing exponentially. I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from traditional supermarket retailers that they have withstood the initial rush to online shopping. The problem is that we’re just getting started, massive disruption is coming fast across all areas of the supply chain, driven by automation, the ability to promote to each individual customer more effectively than mass promotion, and far more.  There is no easy answer to these challenges. It is one thing to have access to new innovative capabilities and quite another to have a company culture that embraces innovation and new ways of doing things. It is this issue that is perhaps the most important in looking ahead to who will win and lose in future retail battles. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 7/11/19

CART, Advancing Retail

NOT ALL CUSTOMERS ARE EQUAL IN RETAIL | Forbes Gary’s Take: Customers are not equal in retail. This is not heresy but fact. We discovered this firsthand 25 years ago when we launched one of the early loyalty programs in supermarket retail and began capturing customer identified purchase data. It quickly became obvious that a relative handful of shoppers generates a large portion of annual sales and even more of gross profit. At the same time, a majority of shoppers are shopping very infrequently and spending  little. And yet a vast majority of retailers continue to ignore these economics. Some retailers, those who understand the data, skew value in different ways towards their more loyal, valuable customers. Kroger has been doing this for years with a few other retailers finally catching on in recent times. As my friend Brian Woolf was fond of saying "Treat all your customers equally (with great service) but reward them differently". Retailers who fail to understand customer behavior and economics are increasingly disadvantaged in today's marketplace. NOT EVEN WALMART HAS ENOUGH CASH AVAILABLE TO COMPETE WITH AMAZON’S ECOMMERCE FULFILLMENT EMPIRE, REPORT SAYS | Business Insider Gary’s Take: So if Walmart is pressured to keep up with investments required to compete with Amazon where does that leave other retailers? Walmart is being pressured from not having enough eCommerce fulfillment centers, costs related to acquiring and growing digital-first brands, and funding eCommerce related operational losses. A recent report from Recode states that Walmart's eCommerce related losses are pushing past $1 billion. Two key call-outs from this: First is that if Walmart is having trouble funding eComm related losses, it does not bode well for other national, regional, and independent retailers. Amazon's greater margins are funding infrastructure growth and new services as the innovation arms race is grows fiercer. The second issue is that Walmart is facing a brewing cultural war inside the company as traditional brick & mortar merchants resist the massive investments in digital. This cultural divide is something that many retailers will be wrestling with, if they are not already, and presents yet more challenges for traditional retailers as they navigate the future. SPURRED BY AMAZON, SUPERMARKETS TRY SWAPPING CASHIERS FOR CAMERAS | WSJ Gary’s Take: We are seeing many retailers pursuing 'Amazon Go' like shopping technology that would eliminate traditional cashiers. The computer vision tech powering up these competitors to Amazon is still early-on but moving fast as young companies seek to scale the tech for traditional supermarkets. As I discussed in my recent book, Retail in the Age of 'I', the industry is rapidly approaching a crossroads. One path leading to this kind of automated, yet barren and sterile, shopping experience offered by automation. The other path puts technology in service to retailers, enabling them to recreate at scale the personalized relationships in the old corner store while increasing service levels as certain functions are automated. Tech is moving increasingly fast and retailers must grapple with the implications of new capabilities, both the good and the not so good. Those retailers that have a clear vision of who they are can use new tech to update and solidify their market position. WILL MEATLESS MEAT, CBD AND COLD BREW COFFEE HELP FOOD RETAILERS TO DIFFERENTIATE? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Attempting to differentiate with a few products is looking in the wrong direction. Many of these will just become more standard items on the majority of retail shelves. Consumers are looking for full experiences, with new products and services consistent with that experience. It’s around the full experience that retailers can innovate, differentiate and compete. Just look at the Best Buy turn around — did they have the latest products on the shelf? Sure. But that’s not why they started winning. NRF STUDY SAYS CUSTOMERS DIG RETAIL TECH | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: There is a nice convergence of consumers becoming more tech savvy and technology getting easier to use. With all the new tech available, it’s easy as retailers to think that it’s the technology that’ll provide the next big wave of growth. But we can’t lose sight of why we’re here as an industry: to meet the needs of human beings. And what motivates human beings is new, positive and engaging experiences with the world around us. All these technologies are not a goal. They are only a means to creating those meaningful human experiences. LOCATION BASED MARKETING IS SPREADING BEYOND SMARTPHONES | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: I think there’s a better question to ask, which is: what consumer experiences can be enhanced with any of these technologies? Approaching our business from a “technology first” standpoint is a mistake. Technology is not the end goal. It is only there to support/enhance great consumer experiences. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: GENERATING MORE REVENUE FOR YOUR SUPERMARKET IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK by Eli Langer, CEO, Harvesting Media HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS BOSTON IMMERSION EVENT:  DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION - July 16 thru 19, 2019  FOOD CITY - July 25, 2019  WEIS MARKETS - August 8, 2019  WAKEFERN - August 21, 2019 IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTORS - September 5, 2019 CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight Minding the GAPS - CGA Strategic Conference 2019 - Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, September 29-October 1, 2019  Applications to present at CGA are due August 1, 2019 GMDC Self-Care Summit - October 3 thru 7, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN X/Specs 2019 - October 15 thru 17, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando  Store Design in the Age of “I” - Wednesday, 11:30am-12:15pm SPECS Show 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week: Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. ~ William Pollard +MORE

CART Weekly Report 6/13/19

CART, Advancing Retail

SURVEY: PROFESSIONALS EAGER AND READY TO DEPLOY 5G | ZDNet Gary’s Take: The rollout of 5G over the next several years will be transformative, especially for retailers. The speed of 5G is mind-blowing: A two hour movie download took 26 hours using 3G tech, 6 minutes with 4G, and will take only 3.6 seconds with 5G. Beyond speed, 5G offers much more bandwidth, enabling billions (trillions?) of IoT devices to stream data from everywhere - are retailers ready for the realtime store? And, for those regional retailers located in rural parts of the U.S. who think their customer base has not yet embraced the digital age - 5G will finally bring high-speed connectivity to all areas as it is much cheaper to deploy than cable. 5G will do nothing but increase shopper expectations of having everything they want available in moments. But is retail ready to deliver?  MARY MEEKER’S MOST IMPORTANT TRENDS ON THE INTERNET | Vox.com Gary’s Take: Mary Meeker, the "Queen of the Internet", is out with this year's deck calling out the most important internet and digital trends. Her report is always fascinating to review, but long at 300+ pages. Here are a few highlights as pertains to retail: eComm is now 15% of all retail sales and growth continues to outpace brick & mortar. Internet ad spending in the U.S. is up 22%; 62% of digital ad is programmatic. Customer acquisition costs are going up - in some cases it surpasses customer revenue! Targeted advertising is under threat from GDPR and other data privacy regulations. Americans now spend 6.3 hours a day with digital media and it continues to grow. Lastly, healthcare is becoming more digital - lots of implications here, especially for the food industry.  WORD OF MOUTH REMAINS VITAL FOR LOYALTY IN DIGITAL AGE | Streetfight Gary’s Take: Interesting that word-of-mouth is as - perhaps even more - important in the digital age in securing new customers. With deep experience in retail loyalty, I would suggest that recognition is the most powerful way to build loyalty that in turn powers positive word-of-mouth. In years of working with prominent retailers in markets around the world I inevitably found that recognizing customers, especially a retailer's most valuable customers, transcended cultures. There are countless ways to provide that recognition - everything from a simple handwritten thank-you note to special offers to the store manager greeting the shopper in-store. One of my favorites occurred years ago when I helped M&M Meat Shops of Canada build their loyalty program. On Valentine's Day we had each store owner hand deliver a bouquet of roses to their top 10 customers. Talk about positive word-of-mouth! FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: RETAIL’S BIG DATA CHALLENGE...AND OPPORTUNITY by Gary Hawkins, CEO CART HAPPENINGS: 2019 GMDC GENERAL MERCHANDISE MARKETING CONFERENCE, Gaylord Rockies Resort, Denver, CO - June 13-17, 2019 DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event - Hosted July 17 & 18th, 2019 Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week:  Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. ~ George Bernard Shaw +MORE

Retail’s BIG DATA Challenge… and Opportunity

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

Data has long powered modern retail, helping Walmart become a master of supply chain logistics and fueling Kroger’s customer-centric strategy. Artificial intelligence and the cloud are fueling explosive growth in retail big data - and transforming customer marketing. And as the retail industry moves online and customer digital engagement is the battlefield, the quality and quantity of data will determine the winners and losers.  This new world requires - more than ever - data discipline. And this is an area that is particularly challenging to smaller retailers and even some regional chains. Data discipline will make or break retail success from this day onward. Here are just a few examples of issues I’ve encountered in talking with retailers: One retailer still had super abbreviated product descriptions that were used years ago with the old (much narrower) receipts. Product descriptions coming from the retailer’s item file are used to power online shopping - abbreviated descriptions just won’t do it for eCommerce as customers won’t understand what the product is.  Another retailer’s item file lacked any kind of product categorization on nearly 50% of the products carried. Many retailers lack even somewhat accurate product graphics. Retailers with these issues cannot realistically install any kind of marketing personalization capabilities that rely upon product categorization. And yet another well known regional retailer had many products at store-level that were not represented in item files at the headquarters office; i.e. the merchandisers and buyers at the corporate office did not know what products were in the store. This situation is simply frightening; how can a retailer do effective promotion planning, demand forecasting, let alone any kind of optimization, when HQ doesn’t know what products are in each store? Data quality issues like these come back to haunt retailers when they look to deploy new capabilities like online shopping, promotion optimization, or marketing personalization - capabilities that are rapidly becoming a cost of entry to compete. And these are issues with what should be basic levels of data required to operate.  Leading retailers are leveraging fast growing data attributes attached to each individual shopper and each product.  Customer identified transaction data is just the beginning as solution providers like Birdzi calculate and maintain hundreds of data attributes for each individual shopper, from brand loyalty scores to discount propensity, and from product purchase frequency to category spending indexes. Add to this third party data from companies like Experian or Acxiom that provide dozens or even hundreds more data points. Category tags, package sizes, and pricing form the core of product based attributes. Label Insight is using AI and machine learning to deconstruct the handful of nutrition attributes on a package to encompass, dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of additional attributes for any given product. Deep nutritional data attributed to individual products is quickly growing in importance as food is increasingly linked to a shopper’s health condition. The velocity of data is growing as various solutions use realtime shopper location - both inside and outside the store - to provide contextual information. An understanding of the shopper’s intent is provided by a realtime view to what products have just been added to the shopping list, what digital coupons have been clipped, and what products have been searched for.  Cloud based solutions enable regional and smaller retailers to access cutting edge marketing personalization solutions driven by advanced data science to power relevancy across every digital engagement with each individual shopper. The cloud also brings sophisticated pricing, promotion, and product assortment optimization capabilities to retailers cost effectively. But the efficacy of these solutions is directly dependent on the quality and quantity of data feeding them.  Retailers embarking on data driven strategies would be well served to first assess the quality of their core data (product descriptions, categorization, pricing, product cost, vendor codes, and more). Retailers with loyalty programs should examine how clean and up to date their customer contact data is along with how customer loyalty IDs roll up to households (this area is particularly vexing as retailers often just distribute cards). Building on a now-solid base, consider bringing in third-party data to permit scoring share-of-wallet by customer household in addition to other attributes that can improve targeting and personalization. More than ever before, retail success is driven by data. For retailers that understand the power of data - and especially customer and product data attributes - marketing nirvana awaits. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 6/6/19

CART, Advancing Retail

WHY MARKETERS STILL STRUGGLE WITH ONE TO ONE PERSONALIZATION | StreetFight Gary’s Take: Retailers who commit to personalization and bring that commitment to life by devoting resources and budget are finding success as measured by increases in spending, shopping visits, and retention. But far too many retailers simply pay lip service to personalization, believing that putting a name on a mass email qualifies, or filtering the mass weekly ad to the shopper based on historical purchasing is the epitome of retail marketing personalization. True adherents understand that the ‘personalized ad’ becoming popular today provides little value to the shopper beyond helping guide them more efficiently to sale products they may be interested in. Much more powerful is providing meaningful savings on products relevant to each customer, not just those products vendors decide to promote. Beyond disruptive marketing economics, retailers need to develop data discipline as it is the fuel for the future. ‘SIGN IN WITH APPLE’ PROTECTS YOU IN WAYS GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK DON’T | Wired Gary’s Take: Apple’s announcement that it is giving users more control over their data is just the latest salvo in the data privacy debate. The EU’s GDPR regulations, brought into effect about a year ago, are already heavily influencing data privacy initiatives around the world. All this points to a growing challenge for marketers in the time ahead as consumers begin to push back on how their data is monetized and used without the user’s awareness. Marketers that rely on 2nd and 3rd party data to drive their digital marketing efforts should start considering how they will operate in a world of data constraint. Retailers in particular should ramp up efforts to gather 1st party data on their shoppers, in good part by focusing on driving digital engagement as fast and as comprehensively as they can. And yes, this means formulating a value proposition - often based on delivering personalized, relevant, meaningful value - to each individual shopper. WALMART’S CHECKOUT PILOT PUTS SHOPPERS IN THE FAST LANE | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: People respond to how the world occurs around them. And a small change like this could produce strong results — helping people understand the value in more physical terms (a special place to checkout). There will be some period of overlap with most of these technologies. Self-checkout still most often works in tandem with traditional checkout. As technology improves we’ll see some stores bet on some of these new technologies alone. We’ll be telling our kids there used to be a time you had to wait in line to “check out” of a store. EXPERIENCE IS OVERRATED, HIRE TALENT | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Eagerness to learn new things, add value and ability to embrace (or even better, create) change are top in my book. 100% agree that most retail positions can be trained much easier than attitudes. When the people are aligned on values, vision and purpose (not just printed on a sign, but actually aligned as people) anything is possible. DISCOVER THE POWERFUL FINANCIAL IMPACT OF THE “HALO EFFECT” Grocery retailers can take a new and more profitable approach to promotional planning by embracing the “Halo Effect”. Learn how to uncover the powerful connections between products in Daisy Intelligence’s new eBook. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: A NEW WORLD VIEW by Gary Hawkins, CEO, CART HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING ON-SITE INNOVATION DAYS - Specifically looking for the following solutions to apply to present: Food City - July 15, 2019: Marketing & eCommerce - Health & Wellness Tech - In-Store Automation (Apply by June 10, 2019) MOBILE SHOPPING CONNECT - JUNE 10-12, 2019 in San Diego, CA THE MILLENNIAL ALLIANCE, DIGITAL RETAIL TRANSFORMATION - JUNE 11-12, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event - Hosted July 17 & 18th, 2019 Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. +MORE

A New Worldview

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

I want to challenge the way you believe the world works. And then suggest to you a new perspective. The place to start is understanding that our worldview is constrained by the knowledge available to us. We know what we know; for example, I know how to ride a bike. Then there are things that we know we don’t know; I know that I don’t know how to speak Russian. But then there are the things we don’t know that we don’t know. The faster things change, the less reliable our predictions of the future are because the very things that can cause massive disruption may not even have been invented yet. We don’t know what we don’t know. This is the dangerous place retail executives find themselves: Not knowing what they don’t know. Not knowing what disruption lurks around the next corner. Retailers, like everyone, are working from a certain knowledge set that by default limits their understanding of what is possible. And yet to compete successfully, let alone survive, retail executives must throw some light on the vast abyss to bring some of what they don’t know they don’t know into the light. Said another way, retailers must adopt a new worldview. Today, we as human beings are already in transition. We know the world is changing even if we don’t know why. Exponential Growth: Tomorrow Will No Longer Resemble Today We are at the knee of the exponential growth curve of computer processing power and from this day forward change will be increasingly noticeable and increasingly fast. While most are familiar with the definition of exponential growth, far fewer people truly understand the power and implications of this reality. We as human beings are wired to think linearly. Today is much like yesterday and we have lived our lives expecting that tomorrow will be much like today. Except that is no longer true, and this will become increasingly apparent. Physicist Albert Bartlett is blunt in his assessment: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” Today is the slowest pace of change you will experience in your lifetime. Learn more about the Age of ‘i’ in Gary’s new book, RETAIL IN THE AGE OF ‘i’: A New World View for the Retail Industry now available on Amazon. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 5/30/19

CART, Advancing Retail

ONLINE ADS CAN BE TARGETED BASED ON YOUR EMOTIONS | Vox Gary’s Take: Targeting ads using the shopper's emotional state appears to be the next step in contextual relevancy. The New York Times is using machine learning and surveys to understand the link between different types of stories and the reader's emotions, offering advertisers up to 18 different emotional states they can target. The NYT is not the only company seeking to understand emotions as recent articles call out that Amazon is working on using voice and potentially other means to understand the user's emotions. Advertisers are in search of increasing efficiency and efficacy while consumers are in search of contextual relevance. While these two 'goals' seem in alignment, I think there will come a growing pushback from consumers as more people understand they are being monetized... and not sharing in the proceeds beyond whatever offers or promotions are extended to them. ROBOT IN AISLE 3: RETAIL TURNS MORE AND MORE TO MACHINES | The Boston Globe Gary’s Take: Beyond the innovation gap, retailers need to be increasingly focused on the growing productivity gap driven by automation and new capabilities. Ahold is deploying $35,000 robots across 500 stores to monitor floor conditions (goal to avoid slips & falls) and the robots can easily be tasked with monitoring shelf conditions for out of stocks and pricing errors. Ahold is only one of a number of large retailers increasingly using automation in distribution centers and at store level to reduce costs and increase sales. To date, this is primarily a game for the largest retailers who are able to afford the cap-ex and significant investment. Automation is coming to food prep, and a number of other areas - all of which constitute a growing threat to regional and smaller retailers unable to move fast enough and leverage this technology. Interesting times lie ahead for retailers of all sizes! ARE RETAIL HQs AND STORES SUFFERING A COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Technology won't solve it. This is a cultural issue, technology is secondary. Simplifying communications, automating more and setting expectations is key. But there also has to be a relatedness between the HQ and the store level. If HQ doesn't understand what it's like inside their stores and how to run them, they're disconnected from where their business is actually happening. ARE APPLE’S CLASSES GETTING IN THE WAY? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: I don't see a conflict here -- they are different sides of the same coin and they reinforce each other. To separate learning would separate the Apple stores from a major component of what makes them special, some of the community aspects. Separately, there's always opportunity around new formats and learning what else might work (or work better) as retailers. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM OPPORTUNITIES by Gary Hawkins, CEO CART HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING ON-SITE INNOVATION DAYS - Specifically looking for solutions in these areas to present: Wakefern - June 29, 2019: In-store Engagement - Digital Marketing - Data and Personalization Tools (Apply by May 25, 2019) Food City - July 15, 2019: Marketing & eCommerce - Health & Wellness Tech - In-Store Automation (Apply by June 10, 2019) DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event - Hosted July 17 & 18th, 2019 Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda MOBILE SHOPPING CONNECT - JUNE 10-12, 2019 in San Diego, CA OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. +MORE

Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program Opportunities

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

The Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program is a unique offering for both qualifying retailers and providers of exciting, new capabilities. The program is targeted at larger regional and national retailers and is designed to help these retailers manage innovation as a process, not a series of one-off solution deployments. As the pace of change continues to increase, retailers are growing more and more challenged to keep pace with new capabilities coming into the market. For retailers, the program provides retailers a true partner in the innovation process. The Retail Tomorrow team works with the retailer’s executive team to identify two or three areas of focus driven by opportunities or challenges. The team then sifts through the thousands of solutions in their database while in parallel reaching out across the industry and the tech world to identify any new appropriate solutions. The Retail Tomorrow group then filters through the appropriate solutions, curating the list to a dozen or a dozen and a half solution providers that are then given the chance to meet with the retail executive team for a day on-site at the retailer’s HQ. These days are built around education and networking, helping the retailer understand the latest technologies. For solution providers, these events provide an unparalleled opportunity to get in front a major retailer’s executive teams to present their capabilities and to begin building relationships. The Retail Tomorrow team works with the chosen solution providers to review your materials and coach you, all with a goal of helping you deliver a powerful presentation. Each accepted solution provider has an opportunity to present to the retail executive team, time for questions, answers, and discussion, along with networking during breaks. A ‘win’ for the solution providers is helping the retailer understand the technology, the benefits, and what’s involved with deploying, and then the retailer deciding to pilot the solution. The Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program is a powerful answer for retailers challenged to keep pace with a fast changing world and provides a proven benefit to retailers and solution providers alike. +MORE

Solution Providers need Tailored Approach

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

Solution providers are drawn to the massive grocery industry because of its size and scale. But successfully selling into that massive retail industry requires an understanding of how the industry is structured as different sectors require a different approach. According to FMI, there are an estimated 37,000 supermarkets in the U.S.. Here is how we commonly think about the retail vertical: National Retailers: Companies like Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, and other retailers with national presence. Super Regional Retailers: Companies like Publix and Ahold that have an estimated 1,000 stores and are geographically concentrated (like Publix in the Southeast, Ahold Delhaize on the east coast). Mid-Market Regional Retailers: Retailers with an estimated 25-500 stores. There are many of these retail companies across the country, nearly all of them are privately owned. Independent Retailers: Retailers with fewer than 25 stores, many of them 1-5 store operators. This group represents thousands of stores across the country. One of the first things solution providers should do is determine which sector of the supermarket industry they want to focus their sales & marketing efforts on; each type of retailer has different needs. That sector focus then helps determine your sales and marketing approach. While every young tech company might love to sell into Walmart or Kroger, realistically that is a really tough thing to do early on. Better is to start with a smaller retailer, prove out your solution capability and the benefits to the retailer and/or shopper, and then have a story along with associated data supporting your claimed benefits. +MORE

Innovation for Retailers

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

Nearly everyone understands the innovation imperative today. The challenge is that retailers, regardless of size, have limited resources to devote to discovering, understanding, piloting, and deploying, new capabilities. Solution providers seeking to sell new innovative capabilities to retailers would do well to keep the issue of resource constraints top of mine when approaching retailers. Retail success requires incredible operational execution and retail executives spend nearly all their time focused on the day to day operations of their business.  From a sales perspective, solutions want to really think through the benefits of what your solution provides AND be prepared to clearly communicate what’s involved from the retailer’s perspective to test and deploy your capability. Be very clear on what’s required from the retailer, both initially to set things up, and then ongoing to keep your solution performing well. Work with the retailer to understand each requirement and where and when it happens on some kind of project timeline so the retailer clearly understands what is expected of them to be successful. Depending on what capabilities you are proposing, talk with the retailer about requirements at the retailer’s headquarters level and store-level as appropriate. Help the retailer understand how to operationalize your solution. Does the retailer need to train their people? Does the retailer need associates with new skill sets to use your solution? These are vitally important questions to ask and discuss as part of the sales process. It is only with clear understanding and expectations that any new innovation has an opportunity to succeed. +MORE

It’s all in the Pricing for Solution Providers

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

The massive retail industry represents an immense market for solution providers; that’s part of why so much innovation is flooding into retail. And while the flood of innovative capabilities available to retailers continues to grow, many solution providers - especially younger companies - make doing business with them more challenging than it needs to be by having confusing and complex pricing models. We’ve seen nearly every revenue (pricing) model there is possible, from different technologies to different market strategies. We’ve seen some succeed and others fail. Here are a few thoughts from that experience… Free: Some solutions seek to deploy their capabilities in retail stores but look to make their revenue from other sources. This could include, for example, a kiosk solution that provides offers (coupons) from brand manufacturers. The revenue model is based on brands paying, and getting the kiosk into the store (in this example) helps get more customers involved. The problem with the ‘free’ model is that retailers pay no attention to it - they have no skin in the game - and the solution will frequently wind up in the back corner, if not the back room. So while ‘free’ may sound attractive in certain cases, there is often a downside. Gain Sharing: We’ve seen some solution providers seek to get a percentage of sales or increase in margin that their solution creates for retailers. Historically, retailers severely dislike this model. Retail is too complex and dynamic, the retailer having no sure way to know that whatever revenue or margin gain is realized is attributable to a specific solution. So beware of the revenue share approach. License: This is the most straightforward approach for software solutions today; a straightforward license model. This can be tiered based on retailer size (# stores or annual revenue) or can be tied to a per-store license model. We suggest you avoid a license model that is tied to the number of users or ‘seats’, that approach has proven very unpopular. There are many variants on these and other pricing models, too many to get into here. The key message we want to convey is this: Keep you pricing model as simple and straightforward as possible and draw a direct connection between the cost to the retailer and the value your solution can create for them. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 5/23/19

CART, Advancing Retail

WHY FOOD COULD BE THE BEST MEDICINE OF ALL | Time Gary’s Take: Food is absolutely the new medicine as a growing number of consumers rebel against the ever-exploding costs of healthcare and prescription drugs, and lose faith in the traditional medical profession. Consumers are increasingly looking elsewhere - their local supermarket? - for ways to improve their wellbeing. Over two thousand years ago Hippocrates called out “Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food”. Today, we are seeing AI and big data converging to transform the information available to the shopper to help guide the individual to foods actually beneficial to their wellbeing. Cutting edge nutrition science applied to nutritionally sensitive chronic health conditions, combined with expanded product nutrition data and sophisticated personalization engines, is poised to transform health & wellness and, more so, the greater food industry.   NEVER MIND THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE. WE'RE STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE POST-RECESSION STORM | Winsight Grocery Business Gary’s Take: The Great Recession (2007-2009) was a decade ago - a lifetime in terms of the changes in consumer behavior technology has wrought and in how retailers go to market. Rather than pining for 'pre-recession' shopper behavior, retailers would be far better served to focus on the reality of today and the demands of tomorrow. Consumers today are different and shop differently than ever before in history, in large part because of technology enabling new ways to discover and learn about products and services and new ways to procure them. With so many retailers unprepared to do battle with Amazon, and ill-prepared to compete with the innovation being pursued by Walmart and Kroger, there is no time to focus on the past. Far too many retailers lack the data and capabilities needed to provide contextual relevancy to their shoppers and are slow to pursue automation that is driving a growing productivity gap. Time thinking about the 'good old days' may feel nice but won't deliver tomorrow's success. WHY DOES LOYALTY PROGRAM ROI REMAIN SO MURKY | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Anything that stays the same too long becomes stagnant, and that’s exactly what happens with a lot of loyalty programs. They can become expected, boring and less impactful over time if they’re not continually kept alive and exciting.The right metrics (basket sizes, lifetime value, customer profitability) give us an opportunity to see what’s really going on, but also to see and create new value for our customers. KROGER LAUNCHES ACCELERATOR FUND | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: I like how this gives Kroger more insight and participation in the brand world. They have the data and insight they need from the most important place: the point of purchase. As a startup brand, it’s a relationship that’d be hard to turn down, but might cause conflict selling into other retailers. The relationship between retailers and brands is already complex and this adds another piece to the puzzle.  WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET TRANSPARENT | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: It’s always best to tell the truth in the long run. Although I don’t know how Rothy’s was so close to the launch before realizing quality was an issue, growing pains are natural. Consumers are ready, willing and understanding of things that don’t go as planned as long as we’re open and honest (and have a plan to make it better). FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: IT'S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS by Gary Hawkins, CEO CART HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING ON-SITE INNOVATION DAYS - Specifically looking for the following solutions to apply to present: Wakefern - June 29, 2019: In-store Engagement - Digital Marketing - Data and Personalization Tools (Apply by May 25, 2019) Food City - July 15, 2019 TEDx CHULA VISTA - How Leaders Innovate - May 25, 2019 at Southwestern College  CART Co-Founder, Sterling Hawkins will be speaking on How Leaders Innovate  EVENT DETAILS>> PURCHASE TICKET>> DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event - Hosted July 17 & 18th, 2019 Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. +MORE

It's All About Relationships

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

My family’s store started as a summer farmstand by my great-grandmother in 1934. I can remember as a kid getting up early on Saturday mornings to go to the regional market with my father, looking to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for sale that day, supplementing what we grew on our farm. My favorite part was swinging by a local bakery to pick up donuts and baked goods to sell. Nothing like a donut still warm from the fryer, just dripping with glaze. What I also remember is how my grandfather seemed to know everyone. He knew Alice, and that she shopped on Wednesdays and loved fresh, local strawberries still warm from the field. He knew Ben, and that he liked his strip steaks cut extra thick. And even Mrs. Johnson and her dog Buck, a massive great dane, who loved getting a bone as a special treat from our meat department. I remember we shopped for Mrs. Gardner, delivering her groceries on our way home. And this was years before home delivery was a thing! That was personalized retail. The customer was the most important part of the business. And that was the constant refrain over the ensuing years. ‘The customer is the most important part of our business’ is the pablum I, and many others in the industry, was raised on. Except something happened between then and now. Stores became bigger and busier. Product assortment exploded. Competition developed from every quarter. And food became available anywhere and everywhere. As the industry grew larger we began to lose focus on the customer. How we made money - or at least how we thought we made money - began to shift. Merchandising — deciding what products to put on the shelves and which products to promote  —became an exalted position in our organizations. The increasing focus on products grew hand in hand with a growing focus on obtaining marketing funds from brand manufacturers. One could easily make the case that it was because of marketing funds that products grew to take center stage. Today, many major retailers would not be profitable were it not for those subsidies that support sale prices to the shopper, help offset advertising costs, bolster category margins, and enrich the bottom line.  In a very real sense, brand marketing funds have insidiously shifted retailer focus away from the customer to a dependency on products. Retail became product-driven.   But let’s step back for a moment from retail to examine what’s happening in the world around us. As we saw earlier, 3D printing and augmented and virtual reality are transforming the world of mass produced goods. This signals a move from the industrial revolution to a world of customized products and services. The birth of the internet and the world wide web set the stage for the digitization of commerce, removing the personalization penalty for marketers who had to pay a high price for marketing differentiation in the physical world. In short, technology has fundamentally changed the world of one (product or service) to many (consumers) to a world of many (customized, personalized products or services) to one (shopper). Beyond the world wide web, perhaps no technology has fostered consumer expectation of relevancy more than the smartphone. Mobile has brought with it a fast-growing expectation of contextual relevancy, the shopper knowing that merchants have access to technologies providing realtime location in a store or mall. Between the mobile browser and the countless apps available today, each of us has access to the world from the device in our hand, and increasingly that world is tailored to each of us individually. And that brings us back to retail.  In the midst of this Age of ‘i’, the retail industry remains largely on the sidelines. Weekly ads, printed and distributed with the newspaper, filled with mass promotions, are simply out of sync with what our customers want today. Sure, some industry marketing vehicles have gone digital, but a digital version of the mass ad is spam and syndicated coupons are only relevant if I go searching for them.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  We as retailers can reclaim our customer heritage. We can use new technologies and capabilities to recreate those personal relationships of yesterday and become truly relevant to each of our individual customers today. And that’s what Retail in the Age of ‘i’ is all about. It is about fulfilling the destiny of retail by regaining a focus on the customer. It is about building relationships with each and every one of our individual customers. And it is about returning products to their rightful role in service to each of our customers.  An excerpt from Retail in the Age of ‘I’. Available on Amazon.com   +MORE

CART Weekly Report 5/16/19

CART , Advancing Retail

HOW TARGET USES ITS STARTUP ACCELERATORS TO STRENGTHEN ITS IN-HOUSE CAPABILITIES | Digiday Gary’s Take: Target’s accelerator program is a way for the retailer to support new innovation that can (hopefully) ultimately help the company. But this type of approach only works for the largest retailers that can devote significant resources. An alternative approach is provided by Retail Tomorrow’s Headquarters Events program, an innovation program specially curated for the specific retailer. Designed for regional and national retailers, the program identifies areas of interest from the retailer, then draws upon thousands of new innovative solutions to filter and curate those most appropriate. The team also includes ‘black swans’, new game-changing capabilities that the retailer should have on their radar. The selected solutions are brought together for a day on-site at the retailer’s HQ for a day focused around learning. This is the most effective way we see in the market today for retailers to gain intelligent awareness to new innovation. DRONES IN AISLE 5? GROCERY STORES ARE BECOMING UNUSUAL HOTBEDS OF INNOVATION | Denver Post Gary’s Take: Supermarkets have indeed become hotbeds of innovation, as we see from the regular stories coming out about new technologies being deployed by big retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon. While these stories get all the coverage, it makes you wonder what’s happening across the regional and independent retail sectors… are these mid-size and smaller retailers experimenting with and deploying new capabilities? Many smaller retailers have already decided they can’t or don’t want to keep up with ever faster innovation. Yet at the same time I know many regional and independent retailers are doing some exciting things. I would love to hear from regional and independent retailers that are pursuing innovative capabilities! I think it is important for all of us to maintain a diverse industry - a mix of all size retailers - as we go forward. Innovation can be a costly game and anything we can do to promote and publicize impactful innovation by smaller retailers can only help tech companies and solution providers understand the opportunity at all levels of retail. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE (FILL IN THE BLANK) CATEGORY? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: There’s something to be gained here from the perspective. “What strategies should we follow” is different than “how can we best serve our customers.” When an organization starts to ask more questions like the latter, the more positive results follow. If we turn our stores into commodities (by being all tactics and strategies to maximize return) customers will treat us that way too. There is of course a place for all the tactics, but they’re most effective secondary to a culture that’s really about serving the human beings that shop with them. WHY IS AMAZON PAYING EMPLOYEES TO QUIT THEIR JOBS? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: There are no rules in this game (only some laws). This is a great way to transform the delivery market and empower their people. 100% agree that Amazon only stands to gain to make sure that everyone that steps into this program wins.  FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: UNDERSTANDING THE AGE OF ‘i’ by Gary Hawkins, CEO CART HAPPENINGS: TEDx CHULA VISTA - How Leaders Innovate - May 25, 2019 at Southwestern College  CART Co-Founder, Sterling Hawkins will be speaking on How Leaders Innovate  EVENT DETAILS>> PURCHASE TICKET>> DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event - Hosted July 17 & 18th, 2019 Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas  Preliminary Agenda Speakers INFLUENTIALS: TOP MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN RETAIL 2019 | RIS News CART COMMUNITY - GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS. Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content​ LEARN MORE >> VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART GET THE CART WEEKLY REPORT DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX. SIGN UP HERE. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 5/17/19

CART , Advancing Retail

HOW TARGET USES ITS STARTUP ACCELERATORS TO STRENGTHEN ITS IN-HOUSE CAPABILITIES | Digiday Gary’s Take: Target’s accelerator program is a way for the retailer to support new innovation that can (hopefully) ultimately help the company. But this type of approach only works for the largest retailers that can devote significant resources. An alternative approach is provided by Retail Tomorrow’s Headquarters Events program, an innovation program specially curated for the specific retailer. Designed for regional and national retailers, the program identifies areas of interest from the retailer, then draws upon thousands of new innovative solutions to filter and curate those most appropriate. The team also includes ‘black swans’, new game-changing capabilities that the retailer should have on their radar. The selected solutions are brought together for a day on-site at the retailer’s HQ for a day focused around learning. This is the most effective way we see in the market today for retailers to gain intelligent awareness to new innovation. DRONES IN AISLE 5? GROCERY STORES ARE BECOMING UNUSUAL HOTBEDS OF INNOVATION | Denver Post Gary’s Take: Supermarkets have indeed become hotbeds of innovation, as we see from the regular stories coming out about new technologies being deployed by big retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon. While these stories get all the coverage, it makes you wonder what’s happening across the regional and independent retail sectors… are these mid-size and smaller retailers experimenting with and deploying new capabilities? Many smaller retailers have already decided they can’t or don’t want to keep up with ever faster innovation. Yet at the same time I know many regional and independent retailers are doing some exciting things. I would love to hear from regional and independent retailers that are pursuing innovative capabilities! I think it is important for all of us to maintain a diverse industry - a mix of all size retailers - as we go forward. Innovation can be a costly game and anything we can do to promote and publicize impactful innovation by smaller retailers can only help tech companies and solution providers understand the opportunity at all levels of retail. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE FILL IN THE BLANK CATEGORY? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: There’s something to be gained here from the perspective. “What strategies should we follow” is different than “how can we best serve our customers.” When an organization starts to ask more questions like the latter, the more positive results follow. If we turn our stores into commodities (by being all tactics and strategies to maximize return) customers will treat us that way too. There is of course a place for all the tactics, but they’re most effective secondary to a culture that’s really about serving the human beings that shop with them. WHY IS AMAZON PAYING EMPLOYEES TO QUIT THEIR JOBS? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: There are no rules in this game (only some laws). This is a great way to transform the delivery market and empower their people. 100% agree that Amazon only stands to gain to make sure that everyone that steps into this program wins. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: UNDERSTANDING THE AGE OF ‘i’ by Gary Hawkins, CEO CART HAPPENINGS: TEDx CHULA VISTA - May 25, 2019 at Southwestern College  CART Co-Founder, Sterling Hawkins will be speaking on How Leaders Innovate  EVENT DETAILS>> PURCHASE TICKET>> DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event - Hosted July 17 & 18th, 2019 Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers INFLUENTIALS: TOP MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN RETAIL 2019 | RIS News   CART COMMUNITY - GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS. Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. +MORE

Understanding the Age of ‘i’

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

Look about and you see that the world is becoming increasingly tailored to you, your interests, and your needs. We have come to take for granted the personalization and relevancy in the digital world, no longer thinking about our customized news feeds. We give no thought to the complexity of systems and algorithms driving the process of sorting through nearly 600 million products sold by Amazon, or the thousands of movies available on Netflix. The work behind the scenes provides us with relevant recommendations. We simply see the suggestions put in front of us and, more often than not, make a purchase. AI Drives Customization The recent growth of artificial intelligence is powering yet more customization in the digital world. It is AI powering the voice-enabled digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. Amazon is intent on making Alexa ubiquitous in our lives, available not just in our homes but in our cars, offices, libraries, and even hospitals. The digital world is ours for the asking, any time, any place.  Forgot something for the dinner party tonight? Just ask Alexa to order it while you’re driving to work. And Alexa is getting smarter. Amazon recently received a patent tied to Alexa’s ability to recognize a user’s physical and emotional states and respond to how you’re feeling. Alexa can now tell if you’re suffering from a cold and suggest ordering chicken soup from Whole Foods to be delivered in the next couple hours. If you want to shop by voice, you’re not limited to Amazon; Kroger recently joined Walmart, Walgreens, and other retailers providing consumers the ability to use Google Assistant to place online orders simply by speaking. Growing numbers of retail merchants are integrating to the predominant digital assistants, those provided by Amazon, Google, and Apple. It is AI-powered voice recognition that is enabling a new world of services. Woebot is your virtual therapist available 24x7 through your smartphone. No need for a couch, no meds, and no dredging up childhood memories. Have a problem? Feeling sad or depressed? Just ask Woebot. And if exercising is better than going to a therapist, Vi is at your service. Vi is your virtual personal trainer, accessing your workout data from your smartwatch, smartphone, and IoT-enabled equipment in the gym to provide realtime guidance — run faster! lift more! — communicated to you through your wireless headset. Increasingly, the personalization found in the digital domain is manifesting in our physical world. 3D printing technology is helping drive this as shoes and clothing are created to our own individual specifications. Similar technology is being used to ‘print’ body parts and even organs. Nike’s Configurator enables shoppers to customize their shoes, selecting colors and even materials. BareMinerals Made-2-Fit’s app leverages the iPhone’s camera and processing power to enable a user to scan their skin and get a custom makeup foundation delivered to their home with their name on the bottle, backed by a 100% Shade Match Guarantee.   And when the makeup is delivered to your home, you’ll know it as you lie on the beach, receiving a notification on your phone. Opening the app, you can see and communicate with the driver through your smart doorbell. Voice-powered digital assistants connected to IoT devices enable you to customize your home to your desires simply by asking. While driving home you can ask Alexa to turn on the lights, warm the oven, and put some music on to greet you upon arrival. A growing number of smart appliances are connected to Amazon’s automated replenishment service so you no longer have to be bothered to remember to reorder laundry detergent; your smart home can take care of that for you. Kroger is working to make the brick and mortar store personalized to you. The company is deploying a new digital shelf display; one of its features will be lighting up relevant products for you as you walk down the aisle. Kroger is not only calling out relevant products as you shop but also personalizing the price to entice you to buy. Online shoppers are increasingly able to tailor the delivery of products. You can have products delivered to your home, your office, the trunk of your car, available for pickup at the store on your way home, and more. You can reserve clothing online and find it waiting for you in the store’s fitting room when you arrive. With Amazon’s Key service you can even have the delivery person put your groceries in the refrigerator at home while you’re at work. The world is increasingly your way. And what is perhaps the ultimate in personalization, medicine and healthcare are rapidly becoming tailored to the individual, using the person’s genome and other bio-markers. The use of technology to gather realtime health data from wearables, combined with a person’s genomic blueprint, can help doctors assess an individual’s disease susceptibility and develop personalized treatment plans. This movement is already underway. The Isala Hospital in the Netherlands is using 3D food printing to customize meals to ensure that each person receives the nutrition needed to get them better faster. Retailers Slow to Adapt So we have a world increasingly customized to each individual, not only in the digital world, but increasingly in the physical world. And yet much of the retail industry goes to market and operates largely as it did fifty years ago with weekly ads filled with mass promotion, the same products, services, and prices for all.  At the core of this tumult is technology-fueled innovation. Retail executives are used to brick and mortar competitors of all types, from low cost, limited assortment stores like Aldi, Save-A-Lot, and Family Dollar, to more highbrow operators like Wegmans and Whole Foods. What retail executives are not accustomed to is competing with some of the world’s largest and most powerful technology companies and a plethora of nimble, young startups gunning to transform a lethargic industry. This is an entirely new playing field where disruption is the new normal. Retail executives are poorly prepared for this new world, accustomed to a slow-moving industry and a time when retailers dictated industry change and innovation. Today, retail companies are adrift in a world of increasingly fast change across the supply chain as consumers rapidly adopt new technologies and new competitors spring forth at a bewildering pace. Too many retailers are dealing with the symptoms of innovation rather than addressing the underlying forces. And this approach is dangerous, leading executives to make short-term tactical decisions without benefit of understanding the larger battle being waged. Consumed with the nuts and bolts tactical execution required to simply stay alive in such an intense, high volume, low margin business, retail leaders are challenged to step back and understand the vast forces at work.  And yet they must. Welcome to the Age of ‘i’.  An excerpt from Retail in the Age of ‘I’. Available on Amazon.com +MORE

CART Weekly Report 5/9/19

CART, ADVANCING RETAIL

THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE HAS CLAIMED 6,000 STORES IN 2019 SO FAR, MORE THAN THE NUMBER THAT SHUT DOWN IN ALL OF 2018 | Business Insider Gary’s Take: Grocery retail has not yet been swept up in the Retail Apocalypse in a major way but I don't believe that is going to last. As eCommerce sales grow it is inevitable that grocery stores will close. But it is the disruption caused by Amazon, and increasingly by Walmart and Kroger, as they invest heavily in new innovation that is going to drive competing supermarket retailers out. Even large regional supermarket chains simply do not have the resources to bet on new innovative, disruptive capabilities that the largest players do. Regional retailers need to focus more limited resources on gaining awareness to new innovation, understanding what capabilities to focus on, and reimagining the shopping experience using new technologies to personalize each engagement to the individual customer and deliver exciting new services. RETAIL SUCCESS DEPENDS ON HOW YOU ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS | Winsight Grocery Business  Gary’s Take: There is a fundamental shift underway in retail away from mass marketing to focusing on each individual customer and providing meaningful savings on relevant products. This shift requires significant data and intelligence to help power that contextual relevancy. H&M WILL CEASE PRINTING IT’S CATALOG AFTER 39 YEARS | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: It’s the right move. Not just for sustainability reasons, but it gives H&M the chance to rethink processes to improve customer experience all around. It’s less about online/offline and more about curating the right content via the right channels that make sense to their customers. WILL A STRATEGY BUILT AROUND CHAING PEOPLE’S LIVES TRANSFORM LULULEMON’S BUSINESS? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: I’m not sure Lululemon has ever been playing purely a price-based game. They’re not worried about commodities. How else could a premium yoga brand grow selling $150 yoga pants during a recession? This seems like an extension of Chip Wilson’s culture and purpose driven mission. Their future relies on people buying into the vision and lifestyle, just like it always has. INFLUENTIALS: TOP MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN RETAIL 2019 | RIS News​ FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: RECLAIMING RETAIL'S CUSTOMER HERITAGE by Gary Hawkins, CEO CART HAPPENINGS: OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC  The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas   Preliminary Agenda Speakers CREATING ROI IN THE FUTURE OF AR/VR IN RETAIL: HOW RETAILERS ARE USING VR/AR TO ACHIEVE GROWTH, PROFITABILITY, AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GOALS  Questions? Contact Retail and eCommerce Committee Event Co-Chair,​ Sterling Hawkins DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event  Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda Get on the Inside - CART Community  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. +MORE

Reclaiming Retail’s Customer Heritage

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

Today will be the slowest pace of change in your lifetime. Consider that for a moment. The ubiquitous iPhone was introduced just a decade ago, and today we take the app store and all the capabilities we have in our hand for granted. It seems like only yesterday that robots were the realm of science fiction, yet today we find them roaming store aisles, autonomous pods delivering groceries, and automated warehouses fast becoming the norm. Even the production of food itself is being transformed as meat is grown in factories and greens are grown in trailers alongside the store. The fast moving consumer goods retail industry is in chaos and the shift online is only the tip of the iceberg as disruption sweeps across every part of the supply chain. And this disruption is only just getting started. Technologies are converging, triggering even greater growth in world-changing capabilities. And even industries are converging as new technologies, consumer interest, and economic forces come into play. Many retailers are being whipsawed by the shift online and the explosive growth of innovation, not knowing where to focus next. Amidst this chaos, some retailers are trying to do everything while others are overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. And all retailers are moving too slowly, often not understanding the underlying forces at work driving this new world. Five year plans, a staple of management, are obsolete before the save button is clicked as new capabilities, new competitors, and new consumer demands arise almost daily. To bring order to the chaos retailers need to focus on the one constant that is ever-present: The customer. We have entered the Age of ‘i’. This is a time of quickening innovation; expanding intelligence powered by artificial intelligence feeding off big data, and immersive experiences provided by augmented and virtual reality, with all of it increasingly focused on making the world all about each individual person. Retail in the Age of ‘i’ reclaims the industry’s heritage of customer focus growing from the days of the corner store. Today, retailers have the ability to leverage vast new technologies to once again focus on the individual customer, partnering with each customer as we journey forward. And beyond technology, retailers have an opportunity to inject humanness into a shopping experience that is at risk of becoming an automated, people-free process of replenishment. The retail industry is rapidly approaching a crossroads. One path is leading to an efficient, cost-effective, yet sterile, shopping environment ruled by automation. The other is positioning technology in service to customers, taking advantage of automation to redirect human associates to engage with shoppers in either the physical or virtual environments, and fostering the personal relationships between the merchant and the customer that were a part of life decades ago.   “Throughout history, human beings have inherently been social creatures. For millions of years we’ve genetically evolved to survive and thrive through the “togetherness” of social groups and gatherings. Today, modern communication and technology has forever changed the landscape of our human interaction, and as such, we often decline without this type of meaningful personal contact. Today’s highly individualistic, digitally remote, and material driven culture is now challenging all of this, as we turn to science to unlock the mysteries of human connection and wellness in a digitally connected world.” I believe there is business opportunity in doing the right thing for people and our communities. That people today, staring into their digital screens for hours at a time, interacting via Facebook or Twitter, and being drawn to every new shiny piece of tech, actually covet human connectedness. Retailers, especially food retailers, are in a unique position to deliver this powerful human experience given that people still need to eat daily and, as we’ll see later in the book, the growing connectedness between food and health and wellbeing. From a business perspective, every customer interaction, whether in the digital realm or the physical store, is vital to acquiring, growing, and retaining customers. Focusing on each individual customer forces retailers to think beyond generalizations - investing in a health and wellness program is good for my shoppers - to focus on leveraging technology to serve the individual; ‘how can I help Sasha improve her life by providing products and services contextually relevant to her?’. This involves not looking at Sasha as representative of a cohort, but - literally - building a relationship with Sasha as an individual.  Not only is the customer the only constant in today’s world of non-stop disruption, but customers are expecting, even demanding, that the world be made relevant to them. And why not? Consumers take for granted the personalization and relevancy in the digital world, and expect the same from brick & mortar retailers. An excerpt from Retail in the Age of ‘I’. Available on Amazon.com +MORE

CART Weekly Report 4/25/19

CART, Advancing Retail

AMERICA'S BIGGEST SUPERMARKET COMPANY STRUGGLES WITH ONLINE GROCERY UPHEAVAL | Wall Street Journal Gary’s Take: Two key things I would call out relative to this Kroger story by Heather Haddon from WSJ. The first is that while Kroger, like all other grocery retailers, is being challenged by the move online, has an asset few others do: Years of accurate customer purchase data. That data is the fuel for helping Kroger understand their customers and powering up more efficient customer growth and retention. While Kroger does a good job with personalization, they can always do better, especially leveraging the latest AI and machine learning approaches. The second call out: while Kroger is working to innovate at a growing pace, they are resource-challenged to deploy new tech like their digital shelf edge solution fast enough. If a Kroger with their resources is having a tough time, it makes you wonder about the future of the regional and independent retailers. HOW GROCERY RETAILERS CAN REINVENT THEIR LOYALTY PROGRAMS | Progressive Grocer  Gary’s Take: So this article on retailers reinventing their loyalty programs fails to understand what retail loyalty programs are all about… DATA. Sure, the value proposition is important - points, fuel rewards, 2-tier pricing, etc. - that’s what drives shopper enrollment and participation. But the author is suggesting that retailers can be successful by dropping traditional loyalty and concentrating on customer service and developing a unique niche like a Trader Joe. In a world of consumer expectation for personalization and contextual relevancy, customer data is not optional. Just having great service or a unique product niche is not enough. Its all about data - just ask Kroger, Amazon, and many others. Retailers without data will be increasingly challenged to remain relevant in the Age of ‘I’, as the world is increasingly tailored to each of us individually. WILL AMERICA’S LOVE FOR COUPONS EVER DIE? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: It’s worth looking at the whole experience not just the paper coupons; there’s a cycle of distribution and redemption that’s sometimes just easier with paper. Digital has a little work to do. I don’t think consumers “want” paper coupons — they just accept them as a known, simple experience. Separately, Valassis conducting a paper coupon survey is kind of like cigarette companies funding cigarette studies in the ’50s and early ’60s :). IS AI’s IMPACT ON DEMAND FORECASTING MORE HYPE THAN REALITY | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: AI will significantly transform most aspects of our lives. By 2045 (or so) a $1,000 USD processor will buy you the processing power equivalent to all human beings alive — about 9 billion people. It’s hard to fathom the kind of impact that’s going to have on our businesses or our lives; however, I imagine shoring up at 32% forecasting error will be positively impacted sooner than later. HOW TO FIX CORPORATE TECH STRATEGY | Innovation Excellence Sterling’s Take: There is no silver bullet to ensure a company commercializes its next great technology, product or service. Key disruption to current processes can significantly improve the odds because it’s about the people and about the culture. Ensuring connectedness, simplifying analysis, and increasing agility will help any company better invest its resources as it tries to invent the future. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK:  4 WAYS AUGMENTED REALITY IS REDEFINING THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE by Alexa Marino, Glance Creative HAPPENINGS COMMERCE IN THE CONSUMER AGE: HOW HUMANITY AND TECHNOLOGY COME TOGETHER TO CREATE A NEW VISION FOR RETAIL - Criteo Commerce Forum May 9, 2019  CREATING ROI IN THE FUTURE OF AR/VR IN RETAIL: HOW RETAILERS ARE USING VR/AR TO ACHIEVE GROWTH, PROFITABILITY, AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GOALS - May 14, 2019 Questions? Contact Retail and eCommerce Committee Event Co-Chair, Sterling Hawkins via email:sterling.hawkins@advancingretail.org DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event  Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda Get on the Inside - CART Community FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future.  VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE  CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here +MORE

CART Weekly Report 4/11/19

CART, Advancing Retail

SURVEY: GROCERY STORES NEED TO ‘ENTER THE MODERN AGE’ | Supermarket News Gary’s Take: Fascinating survey that finds 51% of shoppers believe if supermarkets don’t ‘enter the modern age’ people will find other ways to buy food. Consumers read about new innovation in shopping nearly every day in the news - from the Amazon Go store to automated delivery vehicles. It is no wonder that shoppers experience a disconnect between what they read about and experience with Amazon and their local grocery store. Many supermarket companies are trying to innovate but simply are challenged to move fast enough. As the pace of innovation grows exponentially, change is occurring at an increasing rate, and traditional retailers are having a tougher time keeping up. And yet, as the survey calls out, they must. WALMART AND GOOGLE FORGE VOICE ORDER ALLIANCE TO BATTLE AMAZON | ZDNet Gary’s Take: Voice based commerce is poised to grow fast with millions of Amazon Alexa devices already in homes and Google coming on fast, especially with its recently announced partnership with Walmart. Walmarts voice ordering system will work across more than one billion Walmart Assistant devices. Digital commerce continues to advance quickly while many supermarket retailers are still working to get online. The innovation gap continues to grow. 18 RETAILERS WITH THE BEST LOYALTY PROGRAMS | Business Insider Gary's Take: So here's a list of the top 18 retail loyalty programs as compiled by Business Insider... and there is not one supermarket retailer on the list. At a time when shoppers expect, even demand, marketing relevancy, supermarket retailers are missing in action. Customer identified purchase data provided by loyalty programs is the fuel for marketing personalization and yet 27 of the top 50 supermarket retailers lack loyalty and the resulting data. Yes, there's a path to personalization via eCommerce and other digital engagement, but it is a much slower path to meaningful levels and business impact. Supermarket retailers need to focus on digital customer engagement and utilize new innovative technologies to provide new services and experiences to their customers. Retail today is powered by data, customer data, and grocery retail needs to get moving.  SHOULD UNIFORM PRICING BE THE NORM FOR LARGE CHAINS? | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: As soon as we all pay the same for airline tickets and credit card interest rates we should look at generalized pricing. Different customers have different economic value and personalization customizes that. There are technological and operational kinks at some retailers that reduce benefits, but that doesn’t mean scrap the program. We should be looking at how to improve it or use technology differently. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK:  GROW REVENUES USING THESE DIGITAL STRATEGIES by Yehudis Milchtein, Senior Account Manager, Harvesting Media HAPPENINGS CREATING ROI IN THE FUTURE OF AR/VR IN RETAIL: HOW RETAILERS ARE USING VR/AR TO ACHIEVE GROWTH, PROFITABILITY, AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GOALS - May 14, 2019 - 2pm EST  Questions? Contact Retail and eCommerce Committee Event Co-Chair, Sterling Hawkins DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event  Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 SPRING 2019 RETAIL INNOVATION PITCH EVENT, hosted virtually on May 23, 2019 Get on the Inside - CART Community FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future.  VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE   HOW CART WORKS CONTACT US     TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART +MORE

CART Weekly Report 4/4/19

CART, Advancing Retail

MCDONALD’S ACQUISITION OF DYNAMIC YIELD TELLS US ABOUT DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION | ZDNet Gary’s Take: McDonalds is getting into the customization and recommendation game with its recent acquisition of Dynamic Yield. The idea is that McD’s will customize the menu in realtime based upon weather, time of day, food trends, and more. While a step in the right direction, where McD’s should be looking is personalizing the menu based on the individual customer in front of it at the drive through or at the self-ordering kiosk in store. Contextual relevancy is what’s called for in the Age of ‘I’ - it’s all about tailoring the experience to the individual customer.  WITH FACIAL RECOGNITION, SHOPLIFTING MAY GET YOU BANNED IN PLACES YOU’VE NEVER BEEN | CNET.COM Gary’s Take: The use of facial recognition is exploding, increasingly used by governments around the world, and also used by retailers. This article calls out the use of facial recognition for identifying shoplifters; once a shoplifter has been caught in one store, digital cameras across all the retailer’s stores can be watching for the same person. We are already seeing a growing use of the technology related to payment and there are more applications coming, especially around identifying customers (repeat shoppers, etc.). AMAZON CUTS MORE PRICES AT WHOLE FOODS | WSJ Gary's Take: I think the more interesting question is what happens at Whole Foods when Amazon goes stealth, unleashing its recommendation technology on the vast repository of (Prime) customer identified transaction data it is accumulating at WF and personalizing promotions and pricing to the individual customer? Kroger has leveraged personalization to great impact over the past decade. Amazon / Whole Foods is positioned to take the strategy far beyond what even Kroger is doing because Whole Foods is not reliant on brand manufacturer marketing funds like traditional retailers are. WHERE ARE GROCERS FAILING ON IN-STORE EXPERIENCE? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Getting in and out isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive with positive human contact or visually appealing displays. I do think that speed is a necessary condition for most stores and not every retailer needs to be a Wegmans. But there’s strong competition in some markets and coming soon to others that necessitates grocers take a step to compete.  WHICH DATA SOURCES SHOULD BE DRIVING PERSONALIZATION? | RetailWire  Sterling’s Take: Time-relative consumer feedback/requests really should be #1. How can you be more relevant than that? But I don’t think this is just about data sources. It’s about the quality of the personalization. Making two or three segments for offers is far different “personalization” than a more advanced AI that customizes offers and even prices for everyone. I’m with Nikki here that all of it is a value prop — if there’s enough perceived value, consumers will engage and respond. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK:  SMARTER, FASTER RETAILING WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, Guest blog by Ed Porter, VP – Customer Insights and Product Strategy Pristine Infotech HAPPENINGS CALL FOR PRESENTERS FOR VR/AR ASSOCIATION RETAIL & eCOMMERCE MAY WEBINAR DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 SPRING 2019 RETAIL INNOVATION PITCH EVENT, hosted virtually on May 23, 2019 Get on the Inside - CART Community FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future.  VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE   HOW CART WORKS CONTACT US     TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART +MORE

CART Weekly Report 3/28/19

CART, Advancing Retail

"PRESCRIBING" FRUITS AND VEGGIES WOULD SAVE $100 BILLION IN MEDICAL COSTS | Fast Company Gary's Take: The massive food and healthcare industries are converging, driven by healthcare costs, widespread chronic conditions, the growing understanding that food is medicine, and all enabled by technology. Read about iRetail comes to Healthcare in my latest book, Retail in the Age of 'I' available on Amazon. 50,000 WAREHOUSES TO USE 4 MILLION ROBOTS BY 2025, SAYS REPORT | Robotics and Automation News Gary's Take: Automation is exploding across distribution centers as more than 4 million robots are projected to be deployed in 50,000 warehouses by 2025. That's more than a 10x increase from the 4,000 warehouses using automation in 2018. The growth of eCommerce is driving more automation as companies are focused on efficiency and accuracy in order fulfillment. At the core of the rapid increase in robotics across the supply chain are growing capabilities enabled by AI. To stay competitive, retailers and wholesalers must look to the use of automation, both in existing distribution centers and new warehouses. This trend creates big opportunity for retailers to redirect resources into customer-facing roles to improve service and customer-focus. WILL RETAILERS BE READY WHEN AR ADOPTION TAKES HOLD? | RetailWire  Sterling's Take: AR or VR (or any technology) is not the answer. It should be the result of finding better ways to deliver more value to the consumer. As we’re able to create meaningful experiences that use AR/VR, something like 65% of shoppers expect it will change the way they shop, so they’re ready and willing to engage. ARE AMAZON'S PRIVATE LABELS FALLING SHORT OR JUST GETTING STARTED | RetailWire Sterling's Take: The key that Amazon has is that they've built into their culture the ability to learn, adjust and change. Even with limited success, I'm sure they're not only capturing all the data, but understanding exactly what is happening and why for their next iteration. Instead of worrying, other retailers and brands can focus their efforts on developing their people and their cultures to continually learn how to deliver increased value to the shopper. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: IT'S INDEPENDENT RETAILERS WHO ARE BETTER POISED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY, Guest blog by Chris Cialone, Director of U.S. Sales Operations, Wonder Rewards​ HAPPENINGS CALL FOR PRESENTERS FOR VR/AR ASSOCIATION RETAIL & eCOMMERCE MAY WEBINAR DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston Immersion Event on July 17-18 SPRING 2019 RETAIL INNOVATION PITCH EVENT, hosted virtually on May 23, 2019 ​Get on the Inside - CART Community FOR RETAILERS>>  FOR SOLUTIONS>> Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. +MORE

CART'S INNOVATION PROGRAM

Gary Hawkins, CEO , Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

CART’s Innovation Program, done in partnership with Retail Tomorrow, is a unique offering that works for retailers and solution providers alike. Designed for national and larger regional retailers, the CART team works with the retailer’s executive team to identify 2-3 specific areas of interest like automation, in-store experience, etc. With interests established, the team then goes to work identifying the leading solution providers in each area, filtering through and curating the most appropriate capabilities. That process often entails talking with each solution to ensure applicability and set expectations. Amongst the many factors we evaluate is making sure the size and scale of the retailer is aligned with the solution provider’s resources. Connecting a young solution to a massive retailer might sound exciting, but if the solution provider lacks the resources to pilot and then scale deployments it leads to frustration on all sides. Once the appropriate solution providers have been identified we all go on-site to the retailer’s HQ to spend a day with their executive team focused around education as each solution is given an opportunity to present to the group and talk about what they do. The format allows for Q&A along with opportunity to start building relationships as everyone networks over coffee breaks and lunch. From the solution provider’s perspective, the opportunity to get time with the senior exec team from prominent retailers is invaluable. Once a solution provider is selected to participate, the CART team will work with you to review your presentation materials to make sure you’re providing the most powerful and relevant message possible about your company and what you do. The CART team will provide some coaching for the presenters to make sure you deliver your message in the time allotted (these events are pretty tightly scripted to accomplish everything).  Expectations are clearly identified on all sides early in the process. From the retailer, CART is looking for executive level commitment and engagement with the process, the executive team’s commitment to spend the day with in the on-site meeting with all the solutions, and a commitment to seriously consider piloting appropriate solutions. From solution providers, CART is looking for new innovative capabilities to help the retailer address challenges they have or provide new capabilities that are beneficial to the retailer. This involves having a good understanding of retail and how retail works and helping educate everyone in the meeting as to the technologies involved. Retailers interested in learning more about the CART Innovation Program can get more information here Solutions interested in participating can learn more here +MORE

CART Weekly Report 3/21/19

CART, Advancing Retail

CART’S INNOVATION PROGRAM​ - CART’s Innovation Program, done in partnership with Retail Tomorrow, is a unique offering that works for retails and solution providers alike.​ STUDY: THE OMNICHANNEL FEATURES CUSTOMERS WANT MOST ARE... Gary's Take: This article highlights the importance of providing the seamless and cohesive shopping experience I talk about as so important in my latest book, Retail in the Age of 'I'. Too many retailers are challenged by capability silos arising from the different solutions they've cobbled together over the years. Digital demands contextual relevancy to the individual customer along with a seamless user experience. SHOPKO LIQUIDATION: BANKRUPTCY PLAN NOW CALLS FOR ALL STORES TO CLOSE BY SUMMER Gary's Take:  Shopko is the latest victim of the disruption sweeping supermarket retail as the industry moves online, marketing moves from mass to household to the individual customer, and Amazon continues its relentless march to growing share. Too many retailers don't yet understand that retail success today requires embracing a true customer-first perspective. Fast moving consumer goods retail is no longer about products - CPG products are commodities, increasingly available anywhere and everywhere. Retail success demands a customer focus; it's not about what products the brand or the retailer wants to promote. It is about what products each individual customer wants to buy. Welcome to Retail in the Age of 'I'. RETAIL IN THE AGE OF 'i'  Gary's Take: Retail in the Age of ‘i’, is not the next consecutive step in the product-to-customer continuum. Rather, Retail in the Age of ‘i’ represents a complete upending of the industry’s journey, beginning, not with products, but with the individual customer. The massive FMCG retail industry needs to seize control of it's destiny by disrupting itself, rather than attempting to respond to new outside competitors positioned to change the very business model the industry has operated on for decades.   SUGGESTED READING SHOPTALK 2019: WHAT'S NEXT FOR RETAIL | MR MAGAZINE STAFF INSTAGRAM COULD TURN PICS INTO CLICKS | WSJ  Shoppable ads offer a new avenue of growth for image-heavy internet platforms SHOPTALK 2019 QUICK HITS: 7 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE RETAIL TECH SHOW | TWICE - The customer journey is zigging and zagging throught retail   FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK:  SURVEY RESULTS - EXPIRED PRODUCTS HURT SALES, NOT JUST SHRINK Guest blog by Andrew Hoeft, CEO, Pinpoint Software, Inc.  In 2018, Pinpoint completed a market study surveying grocery shoppers on actions they take upon finding expired food items at a grocery store. This post will examine a particular finding from the survey. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting additional insights from the survey. If you want to read the survey in its entirety, download it here. LEARN MORE>>     HAPPENINGS CALL FOR PRESENTERS FOR VR/AR ASSOCIATION WEBINAR IN MAY We're looking for presenters for the next VR/AR Retail & eCommerce Webinar we are planning for May. Any great VR or AR tech you've heard of? Retailers or brands seeing great results with it? Message sterling.hawkins@advancingretail.org about joining. The retail industry is expected to spend $1B on VR/AR solutions in the next year   SAVE YOUR SPACE! Spring 2019 Retail Innovation Pitch Event, Hosted Virtually on May 23, 2019 This webcast is designed to act as an accelerator for the broader retail industry, especially important now that retail innovation is being increasingly driven from outside forces such as rapid adoption of consumer technology and new competitors like Amazon / Whole Foods and Google.  APPLY NOW Applications close Monday, March 25, 2019 ATTEND THE WEBCAST GET ON THE INSIDE. Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future.  CART Community Newsletter Innovation Programs Pitch Events  Accelerator Educational Content For Retailers and Wholesalers  For Solution Providers  +MORE

CART Weekly Report 3/14/19

CART, Advancing Retail

TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTORS ARE CAUSING INDEPENDENT SUPERMARKETS TO INNOVATE | RETAIL WIRE Gary's Take: Good discussion flowing from this article about the focus on technology at the recent NGA Show. I spoke to retailers wanting brand manufacturers to fund offers & promotions used in personalized marketing initiatives, not retailers expecting someone else to pay for the underlying technology. Retailers of all sizes - including independents - have an unprecedented opportunity to use cloud-based, affordable digital engagement capabilities to personalize each and every customer engagement, building relationships with their customers at scale. Retailers who make use of these capabilities AND who take responsibility for their marketing - not depending on brand marketing funds - can leapfrog larger competitors by providing meaningful savings on products relevant to each individual customer. Independents have long been short-changed by brand manufacturers when it comes to marketing funds, this is nothing new and is simply a fact of life. Independent operators simply have to be more creative and make their marketing spend work harder. It can be done. THE TRANSFORMATION OF RETAIL - 75 WAYS RETAIL WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT DECADE | THE ROBIN REPORT Gary's Take:  A big shout-out to Shoptalk 2019 for another great event! Shoptalk is at the cutting edge of retail industry transformation, bringing together thought-leaders and new innovative capabilities for powerful discussions and connections. RETAIL IN THE AGE OF 'i'  Gary's Take: The fast moving consumer goods retail industry is rapidly approaching a crossroads. One path leading to an efficient, but coldly barren, shopping experience ruled by automation. The otherputs technology in service to retailers, helping them reclaim their customer heritage. Retail in the Age of ‘i’ returns the individual customer to center-stage, supported by big data intelligence, deep systems integration, immersive shopping experiences, and constant innovation. Amidst the tumult and disruption, Retail in the Age of ‘i’ provides retailers a path forward by focusing on the one constant: The customer.    SUGGESTED READING 3 MYTHS ABOUT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE INDEPENDENT GROCERS SHOULD IGNORE | GARY SAARENVIRTA, DAISY INTELLIGENCE HERE'S THE OPPORTUNITY SHOPTALK IS MISSING | GARY HAWKINS  STORES SEE A FUTURE WITHOUT 'MAY I HELP YOU?' (THEY'LL ALREADY HAVE YOUR DATA) | SAPNA MAHESHWARI     FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK:  MEET YOUR POINT OF SALE SOLUTION: MODULAR NOW™ Guest blog by Amy Pulcini, Marketing Manager, Innovative Workspaces Innovative is pleased to have shown their Modular Now™ product line; a customizable mount solution for point of sale at The NGA show 2019. With various pole heights and mount styles, extension arms, and accessories; Modular Now ™ is the perfect solution for any point of sale environment. Expert engineering and a thoughtful production process means Modular Now™ is one of... LEARN MORE>>    HAPPENINGS Los Angeles Immersion Event - March 19-21  INFLUENCER MARKETING AND STORY-TELLING IN RETAIL  The fifth Retail Tomorrow Immersion will take us to LA and put you in the middle of the latest thinking in storytelling, “influencing” in its many forms, and how both are impacting retailers and brands. We’ll do a deep dive on this subject at Google and YouTube’s glittering new campus at the historic former Howard Hughes airfield.  Event details   SAVE YOUR SPACE! Spring 2019 Retail Innovation Pitch Event, Hosted Virtually on April 25, 2019 This webcast is designed to act as an accelerator for the broader retail industry, especially important now that retail innovation is being increasingly driven from outside forces such as rapid adoption of consumer technology and new competitors like Amazon / Whole Foods and Google.  APPLY NOW Applications close March 25, 2019 ATTEND THE WEBCAST GET ON THE INSIDE. Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future.  CART Community For Retailers and Wholesalers   For Solution Providers +MORE

Here's the Opportunity Shoptalk is Missing

Gary Hawkins, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

So Shoptalk 2019 is a wrap! Over eight thousand people from around the world in the retail industry converged on Las Vegas for an intense three days of workshops and learning as retailers and technology providers shared insights activities.  Many of the workshops and many of the technology exhibitors focused on eCommerce and the growing use of automation to enable operational cost efficiencies. I found it interesting though, that while retailers are focused on online shopping and robotics, they are missing a  major opportunity to bring humanness into the shopping experience. As I wrote about in my recent book, Retail in the Age of ‘i’, retail is approaching a crossroads: One path leading to an automated, efficient, people-free process of replenishment, the other path putting technology in service to people with retailers building relationships with customers at scale.  Nearly everything I heard and saw at Shoptalk focused on using technology to sell more products, either online or in the brick & mortar store. Selling products is what retail is all about - its how retailers and manufacturers keep score. But I would suggest the the time has come to flip that paradigm and view retail from a true customer-led perspective. That means keeping score by customers: Reporting how well the retailer acquires, grows, and retains customers.  I commend Shoptalk for reinventing the staid industry trade show, creating a sense of excitement and dynamism during the several days. And its good to hear from retail executives across different channels and gaining an understanding of what they are doing and what they are focused on - albeit with the understanding no significant retailer is going to go on stage and share trade secrets. Hearing from different technology companies is informative; retailers are challenged to know what capabilities are out there. The Shoptalk team is not standing still. They recently announced a new venture called Retail Club. The idea is to foster networking of retail industry executives at a local level. The first Retail Club meetings will start in New York City and then expand into other locales. I think there is one more ingredient Shoptalk can weave into its program as the show evolves, and that is some thought leadership. We hear a lot about what retailers and tech companies are doing today, yet not nearly enough about where leaders think retail is going. Here’s an idea: Maybe Shoptalk should organize a track or a workshop on what retail is going to be in five years and have retail and tech executives share their thoughts about what the future holds.  I will be so bold as to suggest that Shoptalk has a responsibility to the industry to provide a forum for thought-leadership. Yes, Shoptalk has done a truly great job evolving the trade show and helping bring together retailers, brand manufacturers, and technology companies that are transforming the industry. But enabling powerful networking and having executives share what they are doing today is no longer enough. Many retail executives are engulfed by transformation and disruption, and are focused on the next earnings call, leaving little time to create the future.  Just as the retail industry is transforming at an increasing pace, Shoptalk can continue to evolve and be the place to network, learn, and envision the future. +MORE

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