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GU Trade

GU Trade

Enabling execution visibility at each Point of Sale   GU Trade is an outstanding multi-platform app to help you maximize the effectiveness of your team on the ground. It provides you with the essential information for a successful and smart decision-making process. We have a dedicated team, fully involved in updating and improving the app. In this way, our customers are always at the forefront in a dynamic market in continuous development. GU Trade has a Solution for every Challenge +MORE

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Data Driven Marketing

MAIL PROSPECTS LLC

Our Top Selling Mailing Lists are: ​ a) Technology Users Mailing List b) Healthcare Mailing List c) Industry Mailing List d) C Level Executives Mailing List e) International Mailing List +MORE

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Data Driven Solutions

Optin Contacts Inc.

If you are looking for developing highly productive outcomes and improve your business prospects, then B2B Email Database from Optin Contacts is all that you need. A customized Email list helps in connecting with users of your products and services. A B2B Users mailing list has all the qualities that marketers look for, in developing a productive relationship along with better outcomes. The Database from Optin Contacts is very reliable in terms of Generating Higher ROI. Optin Contacts has is a huge B2B Email Database and we have a dedicated team just for the verification of the Emails. We are trusted by hundreds of global business persons for effectively boosting sales numbers and business revenue. +MORE

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Leveraging Shopper Insights From Chaos to Action - Three steps to help retailers make sense of the chaos of new data and capabilities

Gary Hawkins, Advancing Retail on Winsight Grocery Business

Multidimensional shopper data is the new primordial ooze giving rise to powerful insights leading to increased retail performance. Novel technologies are providing new data on shopper behavior every day, inside and outside the store. So how do retailers, already overwhelmed by innovation, bring order to this chaos of data and develop actionable learning? There are three steps to successfully gaining and leveraging shopper insights. The journey begins with simply gaining an awareness of all the sources of data, both old and new, that are available today. As e-commerce and digital engagement grow in importance, an understanding of shoppers’ digital behavior has become a cost of entry. The physical store is fast becoming digitized as video and other sensors provide views to true shopper behavior in the store in the form of shopping path, time in store, dwell time, department, aisle, category conversion rates and more. In addition, anonymous facial recognition technology provides age, gender, ethnicity and even sentiment (happy, sad, angry, frustrated, etc.) of shoppers throughout the store visit.  Third-party data from companies such as Experian or Acxiom can be used to supplement traditional customer purchase data, providing share-of-wallet measures and hundreds, if not thousands, of additional attributes that can be appended to shoppers’ profiles. Lastly, expanded product attributes provided by companies such as Label Insight power insights to lifestyles and preferences gleaned from the products shoppers purchase. Next is bringing order to the chaos. While the most powerful shopper insights are driven by cross-pollinating data from different sources, all too often data is siloed or held in different departments, thereby creating barriers. To address this challenge, retailers should appoint a dedicated “shopper insights czar,” for which one executive would have responsibility for bringing together in one place all related shopper data available and thus create one source of truth. Increasingly, data from a growing number of sources can be attributed to the individual shopper. Retailers often think of shopper attributes as being driven by purchases—things like spending or brand loyalty scores or discount propensity. But department, aisle and category conversion rates can also be stored as attributes for the shopper. Digital behavior provides yet more attributes: digital channels used, website pages viewed, mobile app behavior, social media use and more.  These attributes—and we’re talking about dozens, hundreds and even thousands of attributes updated and appended to each shopper’s profile—are the materiel in today’s stealth battle for shopper share of wallet waged in the digital world. The third step is taking action. Stakeholders across the retail organization can work with the shopper insights czar—who is also charged with sifting through the data to uncover new insights that can provide competitive advantage—to bring disparate data to bear on specific initiatives for improved performance. Here are several examples of shopper insights as discovered and used by actual retailers: One retailer noticed a strong correlation between increased aisle conversion and the promotion of specific cereal brands; whenever one of three cereal brands was promoted (irrespective of price) on the front page of the weekly flyer aisle, traffic increased significantly. And when aisle traffic increased, sales of adjacent products increased more than 7%. Imagine doing ad planning by factoring in the impact of promoted items on aisle and category conversion rates. Another retailer looked at sales of rotisserie chicken and prepared foods by hour, day and customer segment. Jumping out of the data was a new understanding of when the retailer’s most valuable customers were shopping and purchasing prepared foods. Using those new insights, the retailer was better able to schedule resources and plan production, ensuring a high level of service and shopping experience for the retailer’s best shoppers. A leading Canadian retailer leveraged insights from the customer data gathered through its loyalty program to improve the effectiveness of advertising. Through customer surveys and focus group research, the company discovered clear correlations between its most valuable customers and specific media publications and radio stations and redirected its ad spend to those vehicles as it sought to attract more "best customers." In the human world, shopper insights remain as much art as science. Yes, retailers can follow an insight “blueprint” developed by other companies and gain some benefit, but bigger gains can come from retail execs who are able to blend a knowledge of retail, psychology of shoppers and comfort with data into discovering new insights. As data continues to grow exponentially, and with it the accompanying growth of attributes tied to the specific shopper, the ability of a human to sort through the complexity to take meaningful action becomes increasingly difficult. New AI-powered solutions though are tailor-made for this world, automatically surfacing correlations and insights not apparent to a human being. Coborn’s provides its shoppers weekly emails recommending sale items and digital coupons specific to each shopper driven by several hundred data attributes derived from the customer’s purchase data, product search online, the shopping list on the app, and far more. This level of personalization is only possible using latest technology AI engines. The good news: There are a growing number of new AI-powered capabilities being brought to market designed to help retailers sift through and understand new insights from data. The challenge: Too many retailers, including multibillion-dollar-a-year companies, aren’t ready, lacking the clean, curated and accurate data needed to power these systems. To learn more about shopper insights, join the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) team along with Dennis Host, VP of Marketing for Coborn’s, and Nathaniel Jones, director of customer engagement for Niemann Foods, for the upcoming webinar Shopper Insights: From Chaos to Order, slated for  June 28 at 2 p.m. EST To view original article:  Winsight Grocery Business   +MORE

Kroger and Ocado: Grocery eCommerce is Maturing Fast

Gary Hawkins, CART

The grocery eCommerce space is maturing fast as Kroger’s investment in Ocado and agreement to exclusively license the company’s tech for automated eComm order fulfillment and delivery for the U.S. market shows. Kroger is placing a significant bet on the future with this deal as it seeks to keep up with Amazon and pull ahead of Walmart in online grocery. As I wrote in eCommerce 2.0 Comes of Age, a growing number of retailers are realizing that their first generation online shopping services leave much to be desired and are investing in new capabilities that provide a seamless shopping experience for customers across all channels and devices, separating the shopping experience from the operations of order fulfillment. Kroger’s deal to license Ocado’s fulfillment capabilities enables Kroger to do just what I’m calling out: Focus on a seamless shopping experience and then hand off the orders to an efficient fulfillment operation. eCommerce 1.0 solutions that retailers have deployed to date are vertically integrated, one solution that provides shopping along with order management and fulfillment capabilities. This approach creates digital ‘silos’, the antithesis of the seamless and cohesive shopping experience that today’s customers are demanding. While it will take Kroger a couple years to build automated fulfillment distribution centers - the retailer has already scouted initial locations around the country - it positions Kroger to transform online grocery shopping and threatens relationships with third-party services like Instacart. Kroger is going all-in on eComm and will certainly deploy its own home delivery service as online sales grow. I believe Kroger, like many other retailers, is using Instacart or other third-party services as simply an interim solution as the market grows and technology enables new approaches. The Kroger-Ocado deal is the latest salvo in the innovation arms race and makes clear that only the largest retailers have the resources to play this game. It will be interesting to see how Walmart responds to this deal and if they seek to acquire similar fulfillment capabilities or will focus on building their own.  +MORE

IT Retail Inc

IT Retail Inc.

Retail MARKET is the first cloud-based POS designed specifically for the grocery industry. With its powerful employee tracking, sales analysis, and store management tools, Retail MARKET is the product of choice for the 1-5 lane grocer. Gain access to all the grocery hardware, pricing tools, and EBT/WIC capabilities offered by enterprise systems at a fraction of the cost. Give yourself the ability to check sales, adjust prices, and receive products right from your phone!   +MORE

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E-Commerce 2.0 Comes of Age -- Why retailers’ first-generation e-commerce initiatives are no longer enough

Gary Hawkins on Winsight Grocery Business, CART

Primed by studies projecting 20% of industry sales moving online within the next few years and triggered by Amazon’s aggressive moves to grow its online grocery business—especially its acquisition of Whole Foods—supermarket retailers have rushed into e-commerce. Nearly all retailers have rolled out vertically integrated online shopping solutions that provide a digital storefront, order management and order-picking and -fulfillment capabilities. But online shopping solutions have become commoditized, offering little meaningful difference in the shopping experience or fulfillment operations. This first-generation approach to online grocery shopping—let’s call it e-commerce 1.0—has created siloed digital customer experiences, reinforced by the other disparate digital efforts deployed by retailers. This siloed digital experience is the antithesis of what shoppers today are demanding. Even worse, retailers using third-party services that completely disassociate the shopper from the retailer’s physical stores and digital presence.  While some retailers see using a third-party service as a way to move fast, the retailer is in reality walking away from the customer base they have spent years building in their brick-and-mortar stores.  Tech-enabled shoppers are tough taskmasters and retailers’ first-generation e-commerce initiatives are no longer enough, especially for digital-native younger shoppers who have grown up in an Amazon world where product search and discovery are an inherent part of a seamless digital experience across devices and channels. Seizing the opportunity provided by comprehensive digital customer engagement means taking a different view of e-commerce. This next generation—let’s call it e-commerce 2.0—separates the digital customer experience from the operations of managing and fulfilling orders. E-commerce 2.0 provides the shopper a seamless user experience designed to foster product discoverability while giving the shopper options as to when and how they actually get their products (shop themselves, click-and-collect or home delivery). Safeway and Kroger each provide examples of a splintered user experience. On the primary Safeway website, a shopper can browse the weekly ad only, there is no access to a store level product catalog to aid in finding products of interest. To do that, the shopper has to click over to the online shopping site. The mobile experience is worse. A search of the app store finds the usual Safeway shopping app, an online shopping app, a pharmacy app, and a rush delivery app powered by Instacart. Not exactly a seamless user experience. Kroger, while being one of the best digital marketers in the U.S. supermarket industry, is encountering growing pains. A customer can browse a store-level product catalog that features a few filters such as gluten-free, organic or low-fat, and can select items to put on their shopping list for Kroger’s click-and-collect service or to shop later themselves. But if the shopper wants home delivery, he is directed to another site with a different look and feel that’s powered by Instacart. If the shopper wants nutritional guidance, she is sent to Kroger’s new OptUp app, where she can see a product’s overall nutrition score—but that’s not available through the website, only through the separate OptUp app.     An e-commerce 2.0 user experience is very different. The shopper is able to flag favorite products, receiving a notification whenever they go on sale or a coupon is available. The shopper can browse the entire store-level product catalog using powerful search and filter tools to quickly find products of interest. Expanded nutritional information is available along with sustainability info. The shopper can self-identify specific health conditions that are used to drive recommendation of beneficial products powered by leading edge nutrition science. The entire experience is contextually relevant with personalized search and relevant recommendations to aid in product discovery. Lastly, placing desired items on the shopping list, the shopper can make the decision to shop for themselves or to send the list to the store for click-and-collect or home delivery.  The e-commerce 2.0 retailer separates the all-important customer user experience from the operations of order fulfillment. The e-commerce 2.0 retailer owns the entire digital customer experience, retaining valuable customer relationships while being able to provide new services such as organizing the customer’s list by aisle for their favorite store or real-time product and recipe suggestions when the shopper is in the store. So why should retailers focus on deploying the next-generation 2.0 digital marketing ecosystem when they’re still rolling out first-generation solutions? Three reasons: Food retailers everywhere are competing with Amazon and other sophisticated digital marketers and a seamless, comprehensive, relevant user experience is now a shopper expectation. It's not a nice-to-have, but a must-have today. Shopping online is only one digital activity and the vast majority of grocery retail sales continue to happen in the store; retailers should be focused on driving digital engagement with all their shoppers. Compelling digital engagement built on a personalized user experience is shown to drive a 5% lift or more in customer spending along with increases in trips and retention. I can already hear retail executives griping, “I’m still rolling out our first-generation online shopping capabilities and now you’re telling me that we need something different?” Digital transformation is not a single event but an ongoing process. Retailers are no longer in charge of innovation—shoppers are. And shoppers are rapidly adopting new technologies and growing accustomed to new experiences provided by digital deities such as Amazon, which means traditional retailers must adapt to a world driven by increasingly fast innovation. To view this article on Winsight Grocery Business +MORE

WAFC 2018: EDUCATION, LEADERSHIP & PARTNERING IN ACTION AT THEIR 97TH ANNUAL CONVENTION

Gary Hawkins, CART

So we’re at the WAFC (Western Association of Food Chains) annual convention this week in San Antonio. This is the first WAFC event I’ve attended and its a great meeting and definitely has a different vibe than other industry events. Unlike other conferences, the WAFC, in synergistic partnership with the Illuminators, is focused primarily on education and networking, there is no exhibition floor for vendors, etc. The vast majority of attendees are the retailers and wholesalers in the western states along with many CPG and brand vendors. Very few other vendors or solution providers. There was a presentation each day made by a team coming out of the USC Marshall education program. And the students, young executives drawn from across retailers and retail operations, were really impressive!  The first team, Waste to Wealth, focused on the issue of food waste, and had lots of data points backing up the pervasiveness of the issue and the opportunity for retailers to address it. The team suggested the industry develop a digital marketplace where retailers could identify products going out of code or fresh foods past their peak, markdown the products, and notify shoppers of the availability of the food.  The next team, Healthness Partners, focused on something I’ve written about before - health and wellness and the need for retail to get serious about playing a more significant role in addressing the significant chronic health issues in our country. The team called out the enormous costs related to chronic disease, not only for society but also for retail businesses and brand manufacturers. The team suggested the development of an ecosystem involving food retailers and the healthcare industry where shoppers are rewarded for purchasing foods beneficial to their conditions. For more information on how the food and healthcare industries are converging around personalized wellness check out The Convergence of Food and Health. A common theme running through discussions at the convention is all the change happening across the supply chain. I think every executive I spoke with commented on the amount of change occurring and wondering what’s coming next. Given this interest, and given that WAFC’s mission is education, I was somewhat surprised there wasn’t more of a focus on the impact and what’s happening with regard to technology. As I often write about, while nearly every retail executive gets that there is great change happening, few understand what’s driving it all and fewer still understand the implications of ever-increasing innovation.  We came away very impressed with the WAFC organization, the Illuminators and the convention as a whole and look forward to attending future events! +MORE

The Innovation Imperative: Register for the CART Retail Innovation Pitch Event

Center for Advancing Retail and Technology, CART

The supermarket industry is increasingly driven by innovation - one has to look no further than Amazon’s impact as a catalyst to the industry moving online, new services, and capabilities. Self-shopping, in-home and in-car delivery, voice-based commerce, and more are all areas of innovation that are transforming the industry. One of the major challenges traditional retailers of any size have is simply trying to be aware of what new innovation is coming into the industry. To put this in perspective: Walmart recently created a new subsidiary called Store No. 8 to focus on discovering and investing in new key technologies like AI and automation. The Store No. 8 team reviews around 750 new solutions each year. The CART team is currently reviewing an estimated 1,200 new solutions each year - about 100 per month. That’s the pace tech-fueled innovation is moving at and every day that goes on the innovation gap is growing larger. One way CART is helping traditional retailers learn about powerful new capabilities is through the twice a year Pitch Event. This year we’re doing something new, opening up the pitch event as a live webcast to members of the industry to participate. Held this year in partnership with Winsight Grocery Business and sponsored by dunnhumby, the CART Retail Innovation Pitch Event will be held Tuesday, May 15, at 2pm Eastern.  CART has sorted through the hundreds of applicants to the pitch event to focus in on a handful of compelling and powerful new capabilities for retailers. This is a great way for all members of the industry - retailers, wholesalers, and brand manufacturers - to learn about new capabilities coming into the industry and have an opportunity to hear directly from these innovators as they pitch their solutions. Supermarket retailers now find themselves on a new playing field, competing with some of the world’s leading technology companies and having to respond to fast consumer adoption of new technologies. The CART Retail Innovation Pitch Webcast is the way to efficiently gain insight to what’s coming. We look forward to having you join us for this special industry event! +MORE

The Convergence of Food and Health

Gary Hawkins, CART

Food represents an estimated $5 trillion a year industry in the United States. Nearly everywhere we look in the physical world — and increasingly online — food is available, including over 37,000 supermarkets, approximately 1 million restaurants, 150,000 convenience stores, and more. You can grab a soda and snack as you explore Home Depot’s cavernous stores, deliberate office supplies in Staples, or search for clothes at Nordstroms. Food has never been more available. While food has become pervasive, the healthcare in the United States has become the most expensive in the world. The U.S. healthcare industry is projected to be a $5 trillion a year industry by 2023, representing nearly 20% of the country’s GDP. The Milliman Research Report 2017 states that annual medical costs for a family of four are $26,944. Healthcare costs do nothing but increase - as anyone can attest. Our health is inextricably tied to the food we eat as study after study has shown. Tracing the history of processed, carb-rich and sugar-laden foods in the U.S. we see a clear correlation with the growth of obesity and chronic disease. The connection between food and health was clear over two thousand years ago as Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, proclaimed “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” And yet, though they touch each person daily, these two massive, pervasive, and intertwined industries are largely disconnected at the individual consumer. I often use the example of the person who goes to the doctor and is diagnosed with diabetes, given a prescription, and told to exercise and eat better. That same person returns home to find a mailer from her local supermarket with specials on soda, chips, and ice cream. Sadly, that story reflects the reality of food marketing today. And here’s the result of that disconnect: 60% of Americans have a chronic health condition; 42% of people have two or more chronic diseases. The Mayo Clinic reports that 70% of Americans take a prescription drug and more than half take two drugs. The average lifespan for a person living in America has declined for two years in a row. Healthcare costs outstrip inflation every year. Estimates of lost productivity in the U.S. due to chronic disease are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The lost quality of life is immeasurable. Food and healthcare are broken and must be fixed. I would argue that we as an industry bear a responsibility to provide information to our customers to help them make more informed purchasing decisions and guide them to products beneficial to their health. We are seeing a convergence of food and healthcare that is accelerating as recent events show. Amazon is aggressively moving into the grocery business amid rampant speculation that the company will make a move into the pharmacy business. CVS seeking to acquire Aetna in a massive merger, driven in large part as a response to Amazon’s moves. Google is helping move healthcare data to the cloud, organizing and opening it up to advanced analytics and insights and API access. That API access conceivably makes it far easier to begin connecting healthcare data with food purchasing data. Walmart reported to be readying to acquire Humana, the massive managed care organization. All these activities point to impending disruption in healthcare and - as called out in numerous articles about Amazon and Walmart’s moves - the ability to connect food purchasing with health data. Supermarket retailers have long realized the importance of health & wellness programs. Many retailers have placed dietitians in their stores as a resource for customers to assist with label reading, meal planning, and to answer questions. Many of the same retailers have also implemented shelf-signage programs like the recently announced Guiding Stars program at Ahold; products throughout the store labelled with a star rating that provides guidance to customers as to the nutritional value offered. While helpful, programs like Guiding Stars are being superseded by efforts making use of the vast data attribution possible today from companies like Label Insights. Label Insights uses AI and machine learning to deconstruct the brief nutritional summary found on packaged foods to identify hundreds and even thousands of specific, granular nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, found in our food products. This massive increase in available data is powering more evolved programs like that from Raley’s. Raley’s uses the extensive data attributes to identify products as helpful for specific health conditions, identifying items at the shelf and in their online shopping service. But even this effort is being supplanted by a more personalized approach. ScriptSave, which offers programs and services in more than 60,000 pharmacies across the U.S., is leveraging knowledge of prescription data (via a HIPAA compliant process) to accurately infer a health condition for the participating shopper; in addition shoppers participating in Script Save’s WedllRx  program can self-identify health concerns and preferences.  Using the nutritional requirements related to specific health conditions, ScriptSave is able to filter the 40,000 products across the typical supermarket, identifying those products that are beneficial to the individual shopper, making those recommendations available via the WellRx app and through the participating retailers’ digital channels. Already moving to pilot at a well known regional retailer, discussions are underway at major retailers across the country as this kind of intelligent guidance connects the dots between the food industry and healthcare, ultimately leading to improved wellbeing for tens of millions of consumers.  ScriptSave’s Personalized Wellness initiative is a prime example of the convergence between the worlds of healthcare and food being made available by technology.   +MORE

The Need to Act on Customer Intelligence

Jim Dippold and Jean-Marc Sallenave, Customer Management Partners

Back in the day, shopkeepers interacted with customers day in and day out, creating personal connections that allowed them to better meet their needs, and kept them coming back. They may not have used these words, but retailers were very good at “building loyalty” and “maximizing share of wallet”! As stores grew in size and corporate chains took over, the personal customer connection was lost. Big brand advertising took over. From that point on, retailers were essentially set up to drive brand sales, and more recently, category sales. In so doing, they stopped being very good at building loyalty and driving share of wallet from their customers. Today, this is a problem. Since the turn of the century, new technology has been putting more and more decision-making power in the hands of customers. Weekly circulars used to be the only major source of competitive pricing information. This is changing quickly. We have seen an explosion of online and mobile tools to make shopping more convenient, unlock savings or simply to make more informed decisions before and during shopping trips. And digital-enabled shopping still has a lot of room left to grow. At the same time, the role of brands is changing. Brand loyalty may not be dead, but the big brands certainly enjoy less of a “free ride” than they used to. Millenial and younger shoppers are just one discount, one review or one “Like” away from defecting to a competitor. They’re looking for different brands with different attributes than the older generations. They browse and shop all the time, on every possible device, but tend to buy only what is necessary, at a discount if possible. In grocery, these trends are fundamentally changing how business needs to be run. There is an increasing need for retailers to gather and act on customer intelligence, just as customers themselves have increasing access to retailer intelligence, competitive offerings and prices. No longer can we make generalizations about the “average customer” because quite simply, the “average customer” doesn’t exist! Flooding the airwaves with mass marketing, or the marketplace with “something for everyone”, is no longer the key to success. In short, the era of category management is ceding to the era of customer management. What is Customer Management? We define customer management as “the choice to organize, lead and manage the business from a foundation of customers”. Customer management doesn’t begin with technology. It begins, first, with the strategic choice to organize, lead and manage the business from a foundation of customers as business assets. A key assumption of customer management is that the retailer’s long-term performance is ultimately driven by customer sales, not product sales. While category management primarily seeks to sell individual categories to as many customers as possible, customer management seeks instead to sell as many categories (and services) as possible to selected customers over time. The difference isn’t just academic, it impacts every facet of how the business makes decisions and organizes itself. Customer management is a holistic business approach that seeks to create value for customers that translates into value for the retailer. A key feature of the process is that it is reciprocal. To quote Hallberg: “If there's no benefit to the customer, there can be no benefit to the company.” It is an approach that looks at customers as two sides of a coin: the customer’s value to the retailer, and the retailer’s ability to profitably deliver value to the customer. All B2C businesses, including retailers, claim to be “customer-centric” and care about their customers. This is not the same as practicing customer management as an organizing principle for the business. Customer management is more than a belief about putting customers first, rather it is a tangible set of business practices aimed at identifying, attracting and keeping profitable customers. These practices operationalize the translation of customer insights into marketing, merchandising, supply and service actions that are tailored to different customers and customer groups. Customer management challenges basic notions that retailers have lived by for decades. For instance, it requires the retailer to own and proactively manage the customer relationship. This is different from the traditional manufacturer-led model in which the manufacturer owned the customer funds and therefore determined their best use. Today, retailers can no longer afford to be a playground for manufacturers. Retailers: Move Quickly or be Left Behind There is plenty of evidence suggesting that traditional supermarkets are having trouble adapting. Only 47% of shoppers claimed a supermarket as their “primary store” in 2017, as compared to 67% in 2005. Over the same period, the average number of weekly shopping trips to the grocery store declined from 2.2 to 1.5 (source: FMI). In a world where customers have more choices, loyalty is never acquired; it has to be earned and reinforced continuously. Today, retailers have the ability – with the right analytics, technology and business practices - to recreate something akin to the personalized experience of visiting the local market 100 years ago. And yet, they maintain the product and brand-focused management systems of old. To compete and grow over the long term, the customer, and not the product, should be at the core of everything the retailer does – including basic decisions like what items to carry, how to price them and how to promote them. The 2018 Customer-Centric Retail Study CART, Customer Management Partners and Winsight Grocery Business are conducting a study aimed at understanding what retailers are doing (and not doing) to become more customer centric, and assisting individuals and organizations improve their customer-centric retailing efforts. If you are part of a retail organization, you are eligible to take our survey. Upon completion, you’ll have the opportunity to request a personalized report benchmarking your organization’s customer-centric business practices to those of your industry peers. SURVEY +MORE

The Food-Health Convergence

Gary Hawkins, CART

Supermarket retailers have long realized the importance of health & wellness programs. Many retailers have placed dietitians in their stores as a resource for customers to assist with label reading, meal planning, and answering questions. Many of the same retailers have also implemented shelf-signage programs like the recently announced Guiding Stars program at Ahold; products throughout the store labelled with a star rating that provides guidance to customers as to the nutritional value offered. While helpful, programs like Guiding Stars are being superseded by efforts making use of the vast data attribution possible today from companies like Label Insight. Label Insight uses AI and machine learning to deconstruct the brief nutritional summary found on packaged foods to identify hundreds and even thousands of specific, granular nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and other chemicals found in our food products. This massive increase in available data is powering more evolved programs like that from Raley’s. Raley’s uses the extensive data attributes to identify products as helpful for specific health conditions, identifying items at the shelf and in their online shopping service. But even this effort is being supplanted by yet more extensive knowledge, data, and information. ScriptSave, which offers programs and services in more than 60,000 pharmacies across the U.S., is leveraging knowledge of prescriptions to accurately infer health conditions along with shoppers self-identifying health concerns, and in turn understanding specific nutritional requirements related to dozens of health conditions.  ScriptSave’s Personalized Wellness initiative is a prime example of the convergence between the worlds of healthcare and food being made available by technology. Using the nutritional requirements related to specific health conditions, ScriptSave is able to filter the 40,000 products across the typical supermarket, identifying those that are beneficial to the individual shopper, making those recommendations available via available digital channels. +MORE

Reporting from RevTech's Tech Trends in Grocery Event

Gary Hawkins, CART

This past week I had the pleasure of joining Dave Mathew’s RevTech accelerator at their first Tech Trends in Grocery event in Dallas. Designed to bring investors together with retail executives and innovative solutions, the event featured several keynote presentations along with a pitch from some fascinating young companies. I helped get the day started by speaking about tech-fueled innovation in supermarket retail, calling out the growing innovation gap arising from the exponential growth of technology versus the more linear-growth of retail adoption of new capabilities. While acknowledging new innovation like robotics and voice-based commerce that we all read about, I focused more deeply on two areas: How retail competition has moved from mass marketing to a stealth battle over the individual customer’s share of wallet, a battle fought using personalized promotions. The other area I spoke about was the growing convergence of the food and healthcare industries.  Other presentations that day included BottleFly, a fascinating startup using extensive data science to power up wine recommendations. Accel Robotics presented their solution for automating customer service in the store using customer-facing robots. And Shekar Raman, CEO of Birdzi, spoke about Birdzi’s digital marketing platform that uses AI driven personalization across every digital touch point to grow customer sales. Congratulations to Dave and the RevTech team for organizing the first of what we hope will be many future events dedicated to innovation in supermarket retail! +MORE

Online Shopping vs. Digital Customer Engagement

Gary Hawkins, CART

The digital and physical worlds of retail are quickly melding as new digital marketing platforms power new services to shoppers inside and outside the store. And online shopping is only one small piece of fast growing digital customer engagement. Far too often we are seeing retailers mistakenly view digital engagement through the lens of online shopping only, forgetting that a vast majority of sales continue to take place in the brick & mortar store. A case of the digital tail wagging the dog. Retailers are digitally engaged with all online shoppers but not all digitally engaged shoppers are buying online. This distinction becomes important when you consider a recent Deloitte study stating that in 2016 over 50% of all supermarket sales were influenced by digital technologies somewhere along the path to purchase, up from 33% in 2015. This broader digital engagement is what retailers should be focused on as it represents the leading edge in today’s battle for shoppers. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is only going to escalate the importance of comprehensive digital engagement across the entire shopping experience.  Successful digital customer engagement is built on a foundation of relevancy and personalization, and requires a tight, seamless, and realtime integration between all the pieces; the retailer’s website, mobile app, email, eCommerce, social media, and more. Too often retailers believe that by putting an online shopping solution in place it will address broader digital customer engagement but this is just not the case. There are very strong eCommerce solutions available for grocery retailers today that do an excellent job of providing rich graphics, smooth user experience, and - most important - managing the order picking process to maximize efficiency. These solutions though are not sophisticated personalization engines able to strategically grow customer share of wallet and support every digital channel. Online solutions typically do not provide in-store services like enabling the customer to organize their shopping list by aisle for the store they just walked in, or providing realtime location-triggered messaging to the shopper in-store, or a plethora of other digitally enabled services. Too many retailers are taking a very shortsighted view of their digital initiatives and this is readily apparent when looking at mobile apps. We see two common mistakes. The first is relying on an online shopping solution provider for the retailer’s mobile app. While the online shopping app may be good for online shopping, it probably is not delivering a full range of customer services and contextual relevancy for the 95% plus of shoppers continuing to shop in the store. The other mistake is retailers having multiple apps. Look in the Apple app store for Safeway and you’ll find the usual Safeway grocery app (weekly ad, shopping list, etc.). But you’ll also find a Safeway Pharmacy app, and a Safeway Delivers app necessary for online shopping. What customer is going to use multiple apps to do business with you? Supermarket retailers not understanding that competition has changed, that their competition now includes some of the world’s most advanced technology companies like Amazon and Google, and that comprehensive digital engagement is defining the battle are going to quickly be in trouble. Digital engagement - not just online shopping or digital marketing but providing services that make shopping easier for customers - requires new skill sets comfortable with the nuances digital user experience.  So retailers, please don’t let the tail wag the dog. Yes you need to have eCommerce capabilities in place but you should to be focused on digital engagement with all your customers. +MORE

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