Mobile apps

The Shaky but Awesome Future of Retail

Shekar Raman, Birdzi

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

Whatever the Question, A.I. is the Answer Because Nobody Likes Calling Customer Service

Susan Galer , Forbes SAP voice

Bejoy Narayana, CEO of BoodsKapper, develops AI applications that can cut down customer problem resolution time by a factor of 10. Give us your superstar customer service representative, and we’ll provide an AI application that replicates their behavior, reducing problem resolution time from 10 minutes to one. This is what I heard and saw from Bejoy Narayana, CEO of BoodsKapper at the recent SAP Financial Services Innovation Summit held at the SAP Leonardo Center in New York. The Texas-based startup develops AI applications on the SAP Cloud Platform designed to not only ferret out what customers want quickly, but also communicate in their preferred medium – using any texting app or moving to a telephone conversation.   “No one likes calling customer service, and we believe that experience can be much better by training the software to behave like the ideal customer service representative, getting to the point quickly to provide a solution for busy people,” said Narayana. “Modeling the actions of a company’s best customer agent, we can train the AI engine to be up and running in weeks just as you would a new employee. This can cut down interaction times by a factor of ten.” Creating a Human-Like Dialogue…Read the rest of this article by Susan Galer on Forbes SAP voice Posted on the CART blog with permission from Bejoy Narayana, CEO BoodsKapper +MORE

ScriptSave® WellRx

Medical Security Card Company LLC.

Discount Rx Card & Prescription Price Comparison Cost and inconvenience are the biggest reasons people don't take their prescribed medicines. ScriptSave WellRx wants to remedy that and help people enjoy better health. Start saving on your family's prescription medicines! Search for savings on prescription medicines and compare prices at pharmacies near you. With the ScriptSave® WellRx mobile app, you can find the prescription medicines your family needs at the savings you love. ScriptSave WellRx is the trusted resource that makes prescription medicines more affordable and easier to manage because ScriptSave WellRx cares about helping people stay healthy. ScriptSave WellRx is free to join. And, we're accepted nationwide at more than 62,000 pharmacies. It's easy to start saving on prescription medicines for your entire household – even pets! Simply download the ScriptSave WellRx prescription discount app to your iPhone or Android Phone, enter a drug name, and compare prices. You can open the app any time, anywhere to search for the best discount at pharmacies near you. Simply show your printed or digital prescription discount card when you go to pick up your prescription and enjoy the best possible deals on your medications. +MORE

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Grocery is Going Digital. The Time is Now.

CART

Online grocery sales are growing fast. A recent report released by FMI and The Nielsen Company states that 23% of U.S. households purchased groceries online in 2016, up from 19% in 2014, and representing an estimated 4.3% of U.S. consumer retail food and beverage spending. The report goes on to state that as many as 70% of U.S. consumers will be buying groceries online by 2025, spending more than $100 billion, an estimated 20% of consumer food and beverage spending.1 Grocery is going digital far faster than many predicted and the time is now for traditional retailers to stake their claim. +MORE

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BoodsKapper Retail bot

Boodskapper

This is our service for the retail industry and is primarily delivered through Facebook Messenger.  Consumers are able to send a picture of an item and ask if the retailer carries the item. The software is able to look up a retailer's catalog and answer the question.  Two-minute simulation here best explains the solution: http://www.boodskapper.com/#!retail/jjvu4 In this simulation, retailer has no prior record of the customer. Customer starts an organic conversation from Messenger, just as people do in life. BoodsKapper assists the customer to locate an article at the store. The customer picks up the conversation thread several months after the purchase and enquires about a variant of the item purchased. An organic conversation ensues and a purchase is made.is Deep reporting:   We would argue that information gold for the retailer are the conversations that your customers had with you through various channels. Our AI algorithms automatically find the meaning of the written text and use that to make the conversational response. As the meaning of conversations is analyzed and documented in real time, it is possible for us to enhance traditional reporting with this information. +MORE

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Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery for eCommerce

ReadyCart.co

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

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My Cloud Grocer Solution Guide

CART

My Cloud Grocer provides a retailer-branded online shopping solution to supermarket retailers. The online shopping site is responsive (will display properly on desktop, smartphone, and tablet screens) and features fast load times and payment functionality using token technology surpassing PCI compliance. My Cloud Grocer provides the retailer with support for picking, managing, and delivering orders. The company’s retail clients have experienced increased overall sales, due to reduced scatter... +MORE

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Darius™ for Retail

Darius Technologies

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

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End-To-End eGrocery Solution

Self-Point

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Self-Point provides the very best online grocery experience: Order picking is seamlessly integrated with your existing point of sale (POS) solution. It’s as if you scanned the item at the checkout counter! Custom branded online grocery e-commerce site with pictures of each item and updated pricing directly from your current POS solution. Tablet app and mobile app for instant picking and scanning of groceries. Customers can order across all platforms including the website, mobile app and tablet. Custom branded marketing package to promote your new online grocery store. Detailed analytics of storewide sales and individual customer trends. +MORE

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LISNR Smart Tones

LISNR

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

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App Store for Retail

Sparkle CS Ltd

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

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Easy To Implement Loyalty

CART

Success in supermarket retailing is more and more influenced by a retailer’s ability to strategically use analytics and insights derived from shopper-identified transaction data. Targeted promotions can provide a much higher and effective return on investment than traditional mass promotion. These trends have transformed the industry, powering Kroger’s 46 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth and similar efforts underway at other leading retailers. While few can debate the power of shopper intelligence, the independent sector of the industry has been largely left behind, challenged by lack of cost-effective solutions, requisite technology integration, and lack of resources related to best using the data once gained. AppCard is a fast growing company that provides an easy-to-implement solution targeted at independent retailers. +MORE

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Freshop

Freshop

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Freshop provides a friendly, powerful shopping destination that will make your customers happy and loyal. Online commerce sales are increasing every year and consumers are more and more comfortable ordering produce and other perishables online. To compete grocery stores must become destinations and Freshop makes your digital presence a strong destination to complement your in-store experience. Our team has worked with some of the top minds in grocery and we have layered those experiences with our unsurpassed knowledge and skills in the digital world. Web, social, search, commerce and analytics are what we live and breathe. Freshop is easy to use on any device. Web visitors can explore all of your products and services and quickly plan their meals and shopping. Your mobile customers will have the full power of the system with streamlined experiences to exceed their expectations, driving more business to your stores.   +MORE

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Personalized Shopper Engagement Suite

Birdzi Inc.

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

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Digital Foodie

Digital Foodie Ltd.

Digital Foodie Ondemand provides a fully customizable SaaS platform for digital grocery. The platform is used by major retailers and brands, operating currently in North America, Europe and Asia. For consumers, Foodie provides apps that empowers people to shop online, consume smarter and eat better. Foodie delivers highly personalized food and product recommendations that make everyday shopping easy and fun. For retailers, the platform provides all the tools needed to run modern digital operations including click and collect service and home deliveries. Digital Foodie Ondemand platform is currently available on web, iPad, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. Digital Foodie is venture-backed by US based e-commerce growth fund, Blackdragon Capital, and part of their EnterWorks Holding group portfolio. Today they employ grocery industry experts and technology specialists in two different continents and several locations. Foodie’s award-winning recommendation technology ensures truly personalized omnichannel experience for consumers, increasing loyalty and sales. The service enables consumers to create and share shopping lists, make click & collect and home delivery orders and plan their weekly menus with “one click to cart” –recipes.  Foodie’s fulfillment tools are designed for real-time order management and they enable cost efficient picking and delivery processes. For back office Digital Foodie provides all the administrative tools needed for creating and managing store content and for monitoring, measuring and optimizing service performance. Foodie’s platform scales from independent store owners to very large enterprises.   +MORE

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GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck has created a simple, uniform way to collect, structure, and share retail intelligence. Through our mobile app, teams can streamline field data collection and make better decisions. GoSpotCheck's web and mobile apps automate the structuring and reporting of field data, enabling companies to make better decisions faster. Say goodbye to inconsistent spreadsheets, emails, and documents from your field team and say hello to unified reporting. Customize a mission through GoSpotCheck's web app and release it to your field team. Team members collect information via the GoSpotCheck mobile app and report it back in real time. +MORE

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Mobile Checkout

FutureProof Retail

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

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Beekeeper

Beekeeper Ltd.

Beekeeper is the cross-device communication tool for teams. Easily reach everyone in your company. Measure the impact of your communication, understand your employees with our smart analytics and take the right actions. Improve performance by increasing the engagement of your teams. Automated communication flows help you to simplify and speed up your internal communication. +MORE

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Locai Solutions

Locai Solutions Inc

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

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Customer Touchpoints and the Human Experience

Gary Hawkins, CART

I was visiting someone in the hospital the other day and, looking about the room, noticed an Amazon Echo installed on the wall opposite the hospital bed. There was a sign under the device telling patients that they could ask Alexa to call their nurse or make other requests. In speaking with the nurse I learned that Amazon is working with the hospital in a pilot to test the application of Alexa in the hospital environment. Beyond the hospital, Amazon is pushing Alexa into the hospitality industry where a growing number of hotels are putting the digital assistant in rooms so guests can request services just by asking. While this alone is fascinating, and illustrates just how far and how fast voice-based technology is moving, it really opens up a larger discussion on customer touchpoints. Retailers today have a fast growing number of ways to connect with a shopper, inside and outside the store. And, more than ever before, retailers need to be mindful of the human experience they are providing across those myriad touchpoints because in today’s digital world, user experience is everything. Consider the myriad ways a retailer can touch a shopper: In the digital world that includes the website, mobile, email, text, social media, and more. A Deloitte study calls out that “more than 60% of customers interact through multiple channels and irrespective of time, place, device, or medium, they expect consistency.” In the store, retailers can engage using kiosks, mobile, and the POS. We can’t forget about print, including the weekly ad and direct mail, along with television, radio, and other mass channels. And of course, just like in the hospital, voice will soon be everywhere. A good exercise for retail marketers to go through is to create an inventory of all the touchpoints they currently use, and then alongside that create a list of other touchpoints that could be deployed or used. Once the list of existing touchpoints is created, work to understand which shoppers are using each and why. For example, do high-value shoppers regularly use your mobile app? Do more convenience shoppers gravitate to your website?  Don’t forget about your associates; oftentimes they are the only interaction the shopper has with your business. The Wall Street Journal had an article recently about how airlines are arming their flight attendants with extensive data on their flyers to facilitate service on board. As a very frequent flyer I have experienced this firsthand, the attendant addressing me by name and asking if I would like my usual drink. Retailers have untapped potential to arm in-store associates with product and customer intelligence via smartphones to help them provide better service. One of the largest challenges traditional retailers face is having disparate capabilities and an inability to provide the seamless digital experience across devices and touchpoints that today’s shoppers are expecting… and demanding. Another Deloitte study (Customer Ambitions Delivered) states “research shows 89% of market leaders expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience - a number that has jumped from 36% four years ago. As more companies realize the benefits of engaging with their customers along every touchpoint, customers are growing accustomed to top-of-the-line experiences. Modern customers expect a tailored experience— one with flexible purchasing options, painless technology integrations, and ample opportunities to provide feedback if they receive stellar or sub-par products or services.” Retailers can then extend the inventory of touchpoints exercise, thinking through the ‘mission’ of each touchpoint and its role in growing (retailer brand) awareness, shopper acquisition, growth, and retention. Core to this is making every interaction across each touchpoint contextually relevant to the shopper. Again, the human experience is critically important. Every customer engagement at every touchpoint provides an opportunity to learn more about the shopper and, for digital touchpoints, provide a more personalized experience. To do this requires identifying the shopper as quickly and easily as possible so that you respond with relevant offers and information. Increasingly we are seeing digital displays and signage in the store incorporate cameras and other sensors able to provide additional analytics and insights to customer behavior. Best practices: Create and maintain a list of customer touchpoints used. Consider grouping the touchpoints such as digital, print, in-store, etc. to better understand your capabilities Create a ‘mission’ for each touchpoint which forces you to think through how it can be used to support shopper acquisition, growth, and retention Work to create a platform infrastructure that ‘feeds’ each touchpoint to create the seamless - and relevant - experience shoppers want Use every touchpoint and customer engagement to learn; improving the relevancy of the engagement and learning to make the touchpoint more valuable Any digital touchpoints should be fed by realtime intelligence reflecting the latest interactions the shopper has had with you _____________________________ To learn more join the CART team along with Kate Favrow, Corporate Marketing Manager for AWG, and Roger Marin, CIO of Draeger’s, for the upcoming Customer Touchpoints webinar on Tuesday, July 24, at 2pm Eastern. View article on Winsight Grocery Business here   +MORE

You Snooze, You Lose. The Time for Grocery Innovation is Now

John Hoyne, Synqy Corporation

Some grocers today are still reluctant to really commit to the online grocery experience. But if you read the headlines, you know that Amazon and Walmart are poised to gain unprecedented online grocery market share. “2017 may be the year for supermarket digital experience,” “Wal-Mart Takes Another Step Forward With Chinese E-Commerce Giant JD.com,” and “AmazonFresh drops to $14.99 per month for Prime members” are what we’re reading these days and it’s clear that online grocery is a hot and evolving market. Online grocery shopping needs to be more than just a shopping cart. That’s a start, but not a way to win. Grocers should consider the omni-channel way people want to shop and build a flexible approach to meet those needs. For example, how do grocers use content to help information-hungry millennials reading nutrition labels to look for GMO- or allergen-free products in-store or online? What about impulse buys? How are those opportunities fostered in ecommerce? Bringing relevant and persuasive content to online grocery shoppers is not just important, but imperative over time. So the options of “wait and see” or having a simple online shopping cart really aren’t options at all. Bringing branded content from manufacturers to online grocery shoppers, along with more nutritional data, and perhaps recipes or suggested products, are all ways to engage shoppers, provide better and cross-merchandising, and grow each shopping cart. This requires that grocers embrace ecommerce and make it a better consumer experience, as opposed to just an online experience. Consumers are savvier today and demand more of online retail; they are now doing the same in grocery. And with more options like AmazonFresh, Walmart and others now participating in the online grocery market, shoppers aren’t limited to local stores. If grocery chains snooze, they’ll lose for sure. +MORE

Pace of Innovation -- Shattering the Status Quo

Gary Hawkins, CART

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

Stepping into the Gap at the NGA Show 2018

Gary Hawkins, CART

Wow! The NGA Show 2018 was non-stop excitement from our opening presentation on Sunday afternoon to the Innovation lounge to the last moments on the exhibit floor.  It was powerfully exciting to see independent retailers embrace new innovation - an estimated 250 retailers attending the Industry Innovation session that CART delivered on Sunday afternoon. Independent retailers were taken on a journey into the innovation gap - the growing gap between traditional retailer deployment of new capabilities and the exponential growth of tech-fueled innovation. CART coordinated a pitch event as part of our Industry Innovation session on Sunday afternoon where four exciting young companies showcased indoor farms, eCommerce delivery capabilities using an automated delivery vehicle, in-store shopper analytics, and awesome augmented reality to capture and engage shoppers. And that was just the beginning! Four sponsors providing innovative solutions anchored the Innovation Lounge: Birdzi’s comprehensive digital customer engagement platform, ScriptSave’s Personalized Wellness program, Daisy Intelligence’s AI powered promotion optimization, and Rosie’s eCommerce solution. Each company provided an educational tech talk on Monday and Tuesday of the show to help retailers understand the power of leveraging technology to drive business success. The innovation flowed into the exhibit floor with great displays from over a dozen companies in the CART Pavilion helping attract just non-stop traffic as retailers visited the CART pavilion to learn, engage, and build relationships with key innovative solution providers that can help grow store sales and engage customers. The 2018 NGA Show was the most exciting and powerful CART event yet and planning has already started for the 2019 Show that’s going to be held in San Diego. Make sure its on your calendar! +MORE

Imagine Having What Every Grocer Need to Know...In Your Pocket!

Bradley A. Zenger, Pivotal Tools

Independent Grocers are experiencing significant competition from sophisticated, technology-empowered competitors.  Chain retailers, highly targeted brick and mortar formats, as well as on-line grocery retailers are competing effectively for shoppers and shopping trips historically bound for Independent Grocers.  Independent Grocers, with their preferred locations, experienced teams, and long established customer relationships have inherent advantages.  However, they must respond effectively to gain market share as the market evolves. Successful Independent Grocers are leveraging their inherent strengths by empowering their most valuable asset, their team.  New business intelligence tools, purpose built for Independent Grocers, can empower teams to deliver amazing results. Pivotal Tools was formed to provide tools to Independent Grocers to help them compete more effectively in this increasingly competitive environment. PivotalView, from Pivotal Tools, is the emerging leader in this new category of tools.  Prior to PivotalView, the common Business Intelligence tools used by grocers included back office systems and category analysis tools. These tools, accessible only through a desktop computer, typically present lots of data frequently in printed, static reports.  Such reports are often difficult to understand and are not responsive to the demanding needs of fast moving, experienced merchants; merchants who are not analysts.  These merchants don’t need data; they need Actionable Insights delivered by tools that are available wherever and whenever merchants need them.   Actionable Insights, like those provided by PivotalView, are not presented in static reports.  Actionable Insights is engaging, interactive, information generated through advanced analytics techniques, delivered in a way that is easy to understand, easy to implement and easy to evaluate.  Actionable Insights deliver real results.  For owners PivotalView is a solution that is extremely affordable, can be deployed easily and quickly without an IT team or traditional hardware or software resources.  PivotalView allows merchants to really understand their business, respond to changing customer trends and ultimately deliver better results for customers.  Teams using PivotalView start with key business metrics, like sales, customer count, and basket size delivered automatically to their smartphone or other mobile device (or desktop computers) every morning by 5:30 a.m.  These business metrics are color coded, based on the retailer’s own targets; so that department managers, store managers, buyers, category managers as well as executives can easily prioritize efforts.  With PivotalView if a department is underperforming, its indicators are red!  Easy.  You can then “drill down” to see which sub-departments or items are driving the underperformance.  If categories are implemented, you can easily look at sales, customer count and even basket by category and then drill down to see which items are driving performance within those categories.   If you want to evaluate a particular item or group of items; maybe items on ad, placed an endcap, or on a TPR, or some other promotion; there’s an easy search feature, using either the description or the UPC/PLU.  It’s easy to find any item in the store.  Then with just a click you can see a trend chart to quickly evaluate the effectiveness of any promotional effort for that item.  Drill down to the item detail and you’ll see average selling price as well as item movement.  Want to see a movement report for a department, category, a group of items, just one click – all on your smartphone.   For multiple store chains, PivotalView allows members of each store team to easily see how their department, category, or item is performing compared to other stores in the chain.  Making this information easily available unleashes healthy competition, highlights best practices, and can even identify store voids or out of stock situations.  For chains with more centralized planning, there’s the ability to see chain level roll-ups of department and categories allowing easy identification of the stores with the best performing departments or categories within the chain.  PivotalView has been deployed in independent grocery chains up and down the West Coast for nearly 3 years and has proven that Empowered Merchants, using  PivotalView, deliver outstanding results.  Here are a few examples: Deli Manager:  Carol is the Deli manager for a store in a multi-store chain.  While she quickly acknowledges that she’s not a “technology person”, she has embraced PivotalView quickly and uses it with great impact. Carol’s results (for the last year):  Deli department sales up 6.9% vs. store sales growth of 1.9%.  Basket size growth of 5.2%. Successful introduction of several new items and quick termination of items that didn’t work for her customers. Carol’s Quote:  “I’m competitive and this tool makes me even more competitive.” Carol’s PivotalView Usage Profile:  Carol is a daily user, always before arriving at the store.  She aggressively uses PivotalView to monitor top selling items and track the performance of new items.  She also compares the performance of items in her department to other deli departments in the chain to leverage best practices and identify store voids.   The Wine Steward: Joel is a first time wine steward for a single store Independent Grocer. Joel’s results (for the last year):  Wine Department Sales: up 14% (store sales growth:  4.5%).   7% increase in customer count  - compared to 1.6% customer growth for the store.   7% increase in wine basket size compared to store basket growth of 2.8% Joel’s Quote:  “I am obsessed with Pivotal Tools. I look at it in the early morning hours. I like seeing my daily, weekly, monthly sales. If sales are in the red, it motivates me to do more selling and merchandising.” Joel’s PivotalView Usage Profile:  Daily usage, often including days off, always before arriving at the store, also used throughout the day in the store.  Joel recently integrated a category structure which, when used with PivotalView, provides more effective visibility for assortment and promotion monitoring. The Grocery Manager:  Larry is the Grocery Manager at a single store that is part of an Independent Grocery chain.   Larry’s results: Frozen sales up 6.8%  Frozen Basket size growth of 3.6%  Increased customer count of 3.1% Larry’s PivotalView Usage Profile:  Larry is a daily user, always before arriving at the store.  He uses PivotalView to aggressively pursue assortment optimization, through tracking top items and slow moving items.  He performs extensive comparison to other stores in the chain to feed his competitive spirit and ensure that he’s the top performer in the chain. Technology developments in cloud based computing, analytics techniques and smartphones now make it possible to provide team members of Independent Grocers easy access to highly relevant information, including at the item level, right on their smartphone.  Deployment of tools like PivotalView unlock the competitive nature of grocers, resulting in better performance, without additional investments in supervisory personnel, merchandisers, reports, or audits.  Actionable Insights available all the time through mobile devices, means merchants, such as department or store managers, spend more time in their departments with customers and less time in the office running reports; leading to higher levels of ownership and accountability.   For store managers and executives, PivotalView allows them to stay in touch with their stores, wherever they are, and engage with their teams, either celebrating victories or problem-solving challenges.  Using mobile devices coupled with cloud based analytics and automation virtually eliminates the support burden on IT personnel or POS coordinators, while delivering a huge cost advantage to owners. In summary, there’s never been a better time for Independent Grocers to leverage new business intelligence tools, like PivotalView from Pivotal Tools, to empower their teams to drive more shopper trips and sales in an increasingly competitive market. +MORE

Turn "Pesky Donation Requests" Into a Customer Loyalty Goldmine

Drew Honeycutt, Planet Fundraiser

In a 2017 study put out by Cone Communications, research shows that 90% of customers are more loyal to, trusting of, and have a more positive image of a company that supports a charitable cause. It’s not a PR headache, it’s a massive (and largely untapped) opportunity for businesses willing to invest in their communities. Not only that, but it’s increasingly important for retailers to be able to understand how marketing spends can be correlated with in-store purchases.  Community engagement and charitable giving now closely parallel an effective customer loyalty strategy. That’s why it’s vital for businesses to start turning those “pesky donation requests” into tools to attract and retain customers. The donation request problem Donation requests are difficult to manage, at scale, for three primary reasons: 1. )  A burden on store owners and managers Store owners, managers, and employees are often asked the same question, “Will your business make a donation to our school or non-profit?” And it’s not just once or twice a week. Some of the retailers that we work with at Planet Fundraiser claim to field something like 15-20 requests per week, per location. Not to mention the requests that come in at a regional or corporate level. It’s an administrative burden for store managers and employees. When you have to say, “No,” it’s a missed opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level. Think about it - when a customer is taking time out of their day to track down a manager or decision-maker and ask for help, that’s when your business can provide tangible, personal value. Most businesses would love to have this sort of customer engagement and feedback, but the lack of a process deters a deepened relationship. These are the types of customers that you want coming back to your grocery store or restaurant - they’re committed to their community and they frequent your business. Simply having a process in place could make all the difference. 2.) Tracking, Admin, and Analytics It’s understandable to see why store owners and managers might choose to focus on other aspects of their business that more clearly affect your bottom line. The trouble is that charitable giving can be a significant driver of customer loyalty, which directly affects your bottom line. If your business lacks insights about its charitable giving, you might be missing out on the bigger customer loyalty marketing picture. Many times, businesses have a system in place, but the burden falls on a single person like a store manager or regional marketing manager who lacks a solution or the time to properly analyze its effectiveness. Tasking out an entire community engagement system to a single person, who might not have an analytical background, isn’t exactly a process. What’s more, most charitable giving that’s done by businesses isn’t tracked as thoroughly as it could be. For many businesses, it’s not worth the investment to look into what was paid out and to which community groups. This has a negative effect on reporting and all you’re left with is a line item at the end of the year. 3.) Online to Offline (O2O) Marketing Return on investment from marketing and advertising efforts has always been difficult to measure, regardless of medium. For traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, it’s particularly hard to understand how marketing dollars spent on advertising build customer loyalty. The same is true of promoting the good that your business is doing in the community - you might have some ways to promote your partnership with local community groups, but it’s hard to measure the impact and tell the story.  All your efforts should answer the question: How will this affect our relationship with our customers and drive sales? Charitable giving is the hook The silver lining: Charitable giving will distinguish your brand. The traditional way to handle donation requests doesn’t work for businesses or charitable groups. Nobody likes asking for money. Businesses hate saying ‘No’ to customers. However, while donation requests might seem pesky and a chore for your staff to handle, they’re actually the solution. There are also new tools that take the hard work out of handling donation requests. For example, we at Planet Fundraiser have created a software as a service solution that provides businesses with a way to easily track and manage their charitable giving.  Here’s how businesses like Piggly Wiggly, Chick-fil-A, and New Balance use Planet Fundraiser to maximize their charitable giving dollars and create loyal customers: Customers shop and redeem charitable giving donations - When a customer shops at your store, they submit a picture of their receipt and we handle the hard stuff We handle the admin work and distribute payments to schools, nonprofits, and other community-based groups Store owners and managers view analytics and get insights into their charitable giving A charitable giving promotion allows your business the flexibility to give as your customers shop, establishing a direct correlation to sales. New and returning patrons begin to choose your store(s) over the competitor because you’re investing in something that hits home. Translation - now you have a message that resonates, on repeat.  It’s an incredible way for you to meet your customers where they are, create a distinct competitive advantage, and increase basket sizes.  What other businesses are saying Planet Fundraiser works with thousands of businesses that are implementing our solutions into their stores and demonstrating their commitment to their communities: “We love how Planet Fundraiser gives us a performance-based way to support local schools and charities while allowing our customers to choose which cause they support.” - Andy Virciglio (Piggly Wiggly Operator) / Birmingham, AL “Planet Fundraiser has been a game changer in the way we support and develop community relationships. It’s made my job easier and allowed us to host better fundraising events and drive more traffic to our store.” - Blake Smith (Marketing Director) / Chick-fil-A (Gardendale & Fultondale, AL +MORE

Making Online Grocery Easy and Affordable for Every Grocer

Josh Ray, ShopHero

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

Us vs Amazon

Chris Cialone, Cloud Union

Amazon has forever changed the landscape of retail. Good for them. Bezos and his team identified, and then met, consumer needs; invested in innovation; positioned themselves as low price operators; and fearlessly adopted new concepts. Now it is your time. As independent grocers, you know better than anyone else what it is like to go up against the big boys. And you haven’t survived this long by trying to become just like them, you have survived by playing to your strengths. As the world has changed and as your customers’ shopping behavior changed, you’ve kept pace – you’ve remodeled and updated your stores, you’ve introduced new products and eliminated others, you’ve gone digital with your circulars and emailed out weekly specials. Now it’s time to bring your loyalty program into the new reality. And it’s your loyalty program that provides you with an extremely valuable asset against the competitive threat poised by Amazon. Why is your loyalty program important? Because adding value to the shopping experience, instead of lower price is the way the independents win. And launching or switching to the next generation of loyalty programs, just as you occasionally remodel your stores, is necessary to keep pace with changes in your current and future customer’s needs and wants. Be 100% digital. Physical loyalty cards and keytags are expensive and out-dated.  Be mobile-first. Your customers live on their mobile phones, be there with them. Be global. Bring your local products to a global audience. Be part of a coalition. Amazon is one place to shop that is comprised of hundreds of merchants and millions of products and services. Be part of a larger coalition allowing your customers to earn and redeem rewards at many places. Be in the home. Take advantage voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant services from companies like Amazon, Google and Apple. Imagine asking: “Hey Alexa, what is my store’s rewards points total?” or “Hey Google Assist, can I earn points when I buy items in the produce department?” or “What aisle are Q-tips in?” Be part of Cloud Union. It’s how you get all this done. Independent grocers, equipped with the innovative new rewards program, can now compete on a whole new level, and at very little cost. +MORE

Profitable Delivery with FwdMbl Solutions

John Kangas, FwdMbl Solutions, LLC

Whether an Independent Grocer or a Wholesaler successful product delivery is a key part of a successful bottom line. FwdMbl Solutions (pronounced Forward Mobile) provides Proof of Delivery and Picking software options that are configurable, role based and give insight into the process.  Our delivery software manages and provides answers to 5 W’s of delivery. What needs to be delivered? Who needs to pick, stage, and deliver? When do I need to pick and deliver? Where do I need to pick and deliver? Why was this picked or delivered? Insight and options coupled with an experienced software provider gives you the best delivery solution. INDEPENDENT GROCER Once customers place an order for delivery or curb side pickup, our software guides employees thru the picking, staging and delivery process. Picking is the process of employee going down the aisles of your store and gathering product needed to fill the order. Staging is the process of bagging and boxing the picked products and preparing them for delivery.  Delivery is the process of getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Picking App Order information is transferred from your POS or eCommerce Website provider to our server. Our software reads in this information and lays out a picking plan. Picking plans can be configured for your location but generally group orders within a delivery window, batch up like products, and lay out an efficient walking path thru the store.  Our solution allows picking plans for a single picker, multiple pickers, runners, department pickers, and any amount of orders at the same time. Delivery App After picking and staging is complete, orders move to the Delivery App.  Orders are assigned to a Curb Side or Home Delivery route. The Delivery App tells users when to deliver the order, where to deliver the order, and how to deliver the order. The Delivery App lists the orders, any substitutions that were made to the order, and any special instruction provided by the consumer.  The Delivery App allows for collection of a Signature, GPS Tracking, and emails delivery confirmation of the order. Complication & Exception Handling We also handle the exceptions and complications that arise in the delivery process. Complications could be, the customer is not home to accept delivery, customer calls and wonders when the order is coming, or a customer refuses some or all of the product when the delivery person is attempting delivery. The Delivery App allows the driver to contact the customer by phone or text, allows managers and service staff in the store to view delivery status to answer questions, and allows refused product to be recorded and returned to the store. Having a way to handle exceptions and a way to quickly see into the process is key to building a profitable process. Customer Awareness Our solutions are open and offer a robust API allowing us to integrate with anything and everything. We can integrate or create a Chatbot that allows customers to lookup delivery information from Facebook Messenger on your store’s Facebook page.  This same level of integration allows us to add commands to Alexa and Google Home devices as well as integrating with your current website allowing customers to see delivery status. WHOLESALERS & DISTRIBUTORS Optimized Delivery Orders and Route Information is passed to our software from Routing Software or an Enterprise Resource Planning solution. The Delivery information provides our software with information about when the route needs to start, the stops to make, estimated time of arrival at each stop, and what is to be delivered or picked up. The Delivery App guides the driver thru a verification process and captures a signature to complete the stop.   Delivery App The Delivery App is configured by route, truck type and operational requirements setup by the company. Users start their day by opening the Delivery App and viewing route information. Route information identifies the truck and trailer to take, what warehouse to be at to start the route, and how long the route is going to take. Stop location details include contact information, ETA, and mapping options. Stop item details can be a list of items to be delivered at the stop.  Stop pallet information is a list of pallets and license plates that need to delivered to the stop. The Delivery App contains pallet verification process used by drivers to scan pallets to verify deliver. Stop returnable information track pallets and other returnable shipping materials exchanged between the wholesaler and the customer. The Delivery App allows driver to record left and picked up quantities of returnable items. The Delivery App captures GPS position, signature and received by name of the person accepting the order for the customer. Delivery notifications are sent to the customer and to the company letting everyone know the status of the delivery. Complication & Exception Handling Our Proof of Delivery solution understands that not everything goes as expected. We handle refused product, returned product, and can give drivers more information about customers if the company decides they need it. We provide insight into ETA versus Actual Delivery times, timeline and duration reporting, and customer service reporting. Having a way to handle exceptions and a way to quickly see into the process is key to building a profitable process.​​ +MORE

FwdMbl

FwdMbl Solutions, LLC

Account Management  Designed to give account managers, sales, and management teams instant access to customer information. View invoices, statements, aging, notes and much more for a customer account.  Order Management  Designed to give sales teams the ability to maintain orders. Designed to be an add-on to the Account Management Solution. Orders, Product Requests, Quotes, Credit & Returns and more transactions. Proof of Delivery  Designed to give delivery teams, management teams and customers instant access to route and stop data. Manage stop, customer, warehouse, item, ETA, order, and signature information. Management  Designed to be the Management Dashboard and Reporting hub for our solutions. Connects to other systems to bring all your data into one app. Inventory  Designed to manage Customer Inventory and Vendor Managed Inventory. List and count items in any type of location. Place replenishment orders and update ERP location information. Customer & B2B App  Designed for customers to view and manage their account. View orders, invoices, statements, aging, and make payments. Allow them to place orders or view their on-site inventory. Targeted marketing options. +MORE

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Cloud Union

Cloud Union Rewards

The Rewards Platform that has millions of shoppers engaged in the "spend", "earn", "redeem" and "re-spend" transactional cycle Add value, not lower price, to transaction: 100% digital with proven technology.  No cards. No keytags Integrate online and offline sales Drive actionable insights Strengthen the relationships with customers  The only loyalty program that pays YOU Intelligence-Based Marketing Cloud Union analytics provide data-driven insights that guide business decisions and optimize marketing campaigns.  Supercharge your customer acquisition, retention, upsell and cross-sell strategies.  Gain a deep understanding of your customers and build a stronger relationships with analytics that are automated, smart and predictive. +MORE

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