Proximity

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

Discovering the Holy Grail of Retail: Online-Offline Convergence

Sena Zorlu, Instapio

Over the past years, retailers have been investing into digital transformation, creating online stores and making their brick and mortar locations smarter. On the startup side, there has been a massive growth of retail technology companies in multiple areas to improve operations, cut costs and bring in more customers. There’s no Magical Solution Today there are multiple solutions that claim online and offline convergence. These are mainly: Data Management Platforms that will tie online and mobile identities to retailer’s offline data (CRM, POS, Loyalty) to provide historical view. Mobile Attribution and Retargeting platforms that will understand when mobile users are in your stores and retarget them with timely and relevant information. iBeacons that will help you communicate with your app users in granular proximity. Guest WiFi that requires social login or email that can be tied to your CRM. It is very confusing for retailers to understand what solution to invest in when the common value proposition is the same: we will bring you the holy grail; we will connect online with offline. However, the main problem with all these technologies is that they are lab technologies. They work perfectly in controlled environments where every condition is met. Well if all your customers download your mobile application and they turn on their bluetooth and they open the application and they stand next to this sensor than the technology works. Retailers are promised an amazing connected world where they have full control of their customers yet when these solutions are installed, the results don’t come near what was promised. This is why there are so many POC’s but so little mass deployments of technologies. Retailers need to understand that today, technologies that promise to connect them to customers are still in preliminary stages of growth. This is because there are pre-conditions for these technologies to work and consumers rarely act the way we aspire them to.  The costs and efforts associated with having every customer download and not delete a mobile application are astronomical. Even when you bear the costs, app store discoverability is really difficult and consumers are app tired, looking for a reason to delete an app. When a technology is not adopted by the masses, your results will be skewed because of the small usage base. Any A/B testing or campaign on a small sample size will lead for wrong strategy. Another blocker with mobile technologies is the device manufacturers themselves. Mobile based technologies use sensors and features within the mobile phone which puts the retail industry at the mercy of the manufacturers. So when a manufacturer decides to turn off location collection from mobile applications, your investment into mobile attribution may sink overnight. Which retail technologies will win? To be able to understand what is going on in the store environment, retailers need better data generation than what exists today. In order to take real time responsive action the way ecommerce sites can do, retailers need access to real time, contextual data that can speak with existing systems they have. Mobile apps do not fill the void of collecting this data. Meaningful information can only be collected with sensory technologies that will passively collect data from a large sample. The first result of this trend has been in-store analytics. In-store analytics has presented a better picture of what is going on in the store and help understand the funnel that leads to purchases. The next wave of technology is to improve what we can do with this sensory data. Historical analytics is nice to have but will not magically save retailers. The next wave of retail technology will come as software layer that sits on top of sensory information and will affect all operations from merchandising, real time campaigns, personalization, staffing and everything else. So what can retailers do today? One thing we know for sure is that consumer behavior is rapidly changing and brick and mortar retailers must adapt to the changes demanded by customers. Retailers must be educating themselves with new technologies and changing consumer behavior. Big box stores have built lab environments to test new technologies, the easiest thing smaller retailers can do is to dedicate one store, preferably near their headquarters as their lab environment. They can be open to testing new technologies rapidly and choose best startups that can act with a real store rather than doing a fancy presentation or a demo. Retailers need to be in the conversation of emerging technologies. There are many technology startups like us who are working for the core problems that retailers are facing today. Whatever the retailer’s size may be, a lot of startups will be open to testing and working with them to solve specific industry problems. Small and medium sized retailers can become more innovative by becoming part of the solution. Building internal teams, dedicating test stores, working intimately with startups, having leadership teams advise retail tech startups are just some of the things retailers can start with that won’t require significant budgets. What we are working on At Instapio, we have been working on unifying different identities customers have to paint a clear picture of what is happening in the store and bring aggregated insight to help retailers. Our goal from the first day was to bring the automagical aspects of online to the physical world. It’s a big challenge and there is no one shot solution to create it. It requires collecting and merging of data from multiple assets, unifying different identities, making all the data talk in the same language and delivering it to the retailer in a format that can be used. This is why we are building an ecosystem around bringing all this sensory information together and make it available to talk to management systems in real time. We are working closely with the Advancing Retail platform, very excited to learn and help solve brick and mortar business challenges. +MORE

Automation and Personalization of the Retail Store

Instapio Inc.

Instapio allows chain retailers to gain control of their business and automate customer experience standards. By using Instapio, retailers create seamless and intuitive locations that are responsive to the presence and habits of their customers.  The solution will operate as a decision making engine for each store and across the chain to measure millions of data points in real time, make decisions based on business priorities and optimize operations. Imagine a super store manager that oversees the everyday operations of all stores. +MORE

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Darius™ for Retail

Darius Technologies

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

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LISNR Smart Tones

LISNR

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

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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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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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​SmartAisle and The Rise of Voice-Powered Retail

Ethan Goodman, Co-Founder, SmartAisle

There are three converging retailer pain points and dynamics that have created a compelling and important market opportunity:  First, there’s an historic labor shortage in the US – for the first time ever, there are more job openings than people to fill them, and this is undoubtedly impacting retailers’ ability to put high quality workers on the floor to interact with shoppers.  Second, The “Amazon Effect” is putting intense pressure on brick & mortar retailers to deliver a user experience that meets or exceeds that of E-Commerce – for example, better personalization – or risk losing trips and sales to Amazon and other pure plays.  And third, shoppers are indicating that they are increasingly open to engaging with voice-based virtual assistants in the in-store environment in favor of summoning a human sales associates – 52%, in fact, according to a recent report from AdWeek. So, we created an innovative new solution to help retailers address these challenges head-on. Meet SmartAisle, the world’s first voice-powered in-store shopping assistant.  SmartAisle brings the power and simplicity of voice technology to brick & mortar retail stores in a completely unique and ground-breaking way.  Specifically, it is a patent-pending technology platform that combines an intuitive voice interface, connected LED lights embedded on the shelf and a powerful artificial intelligence engine on the back-end to help shoppers with product selection and education at the First Moment of Truth.  It’s incredibly easy for shoppers to use:  First, shoppers see a call-to-action on at-shelf signage with a prompt for what to say to initiate the voice assistant – for example, “Alexa, open SmartAisle.”   Next, they answer a series of simple questions audibly about their product selection criteria – for example, in whiskey, their desired type (bourbon, rye or scotch) and a target price range (like, under $50).  And finally, our algorithm selects up to 3 recommended products; reads out the product names, descriptions and other relevant information (like ratings & reviews); and lights their position on the shelf for easy identification.   Beyond providing an undeniably cool & novel experience to shoppers, the value our platform can deliver to retailers, as I insinuated at the beginning, is significant. SmartAisle can do everything from enhance at-shelf navigation, selection and education to help close the sale; to capture and report incredibly valuable data about shoppers’ at-shelf behaviors and interactions, and allow retailers to optimize their staffing decisions – not necessarily replace human associates, but rather augment their capabilities and allow them to focus on other key tasks And we think SmartAisle does these things better than any available competitive options today, bet it:   Store associates, who in most cases have limited product knowledge, and whom shoppers sometimes avoid because they’re seeking discretion or don’t want to be “sold.”  Be it traditional at-shelf signage, which can only deliver static content and can’t capture shopper engagement data.  Or be it mobile apps, websites or bots, which require shoppers to have necessary hardware, software or browsers, and a reliable internet connection, and whose screen-based experiences can create barriers to speed.  At this point I’m sure you have all sorts of questions. Here’s my best effort to address the ones most frequently asked by clients and prospects alike:  Do I have to use Amazon Alexa as the underlying AI platform? No. SmartAisleSM is platform-agnostic, and can be built using other comparable AI like Google Assistant.  Has it been executed in a live store environment? Yes. We successfully ran a 2-month test with a boutique wine & spirts store in New York City, and just signed a contract for a 5-store test with a national liquor store retailer on the West Coast (set to launch this December).  How does it perform? Very well. During our 2-month test, SmartAisleSM drove a 20% YOY category lift for our client, and shoppers told us it provided an experience that was “noticeably better”, “easier to use” and “more entertaining” than normal.   Does it only work for Alcohol/Beverage? No. SmartAisleSM is perfect for any retailer aiming to elevate the in-store shopping experience, particularly those in heavy-assortment, high-consideration and/or premium-priced categories like Beauty/Cosmetics, Electronics, Fresh & packaged Grocery, Health & Wellness, Home Hardware, Pet Care and Fashion/Apparel.   How complex is it to execute? Not very. A typical engagement takes 3 months to launch from contract signature to go-live, we handle the installation and all needed maintenance, and the only infrastructure requirement of clients is accessible power. How is it priced? For the time being, pricing is still determined on a case by case basis. But we’re planning to implement a standard per store, per month model in the coming months.   Our vision is to be the world’s biggest, best and most indispensable network of digital in-store shopping assistants – installed in tens of thousands of stores, serving tens of millions of shoppers, and generating millions of dollars in incremental sales for our clients – and we hope you’ll join us on that journey. For more information, visit www.smartaisle.io or email help@smartaisle.io. +MORE

Pseudo Customer Centricity: Fool’s Gold

Gary Hawkins on Winsight Grocery Business, CART

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

The Top Five Ways Retailers Benefit from Industry Trade Shows

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

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

NGA Show 2019: The Epicenter of Grocery Industry Innovation

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Technology's Profound Impact on the Supermarket Industry

Peter Larkin, President & CEO, National Grocers Association

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

The CART Virtual Pitch Event / Spring 2018

Gary Hawkins, CART

Hundreds of participants joined a distinguished panel of retailers and wholesalers on May 15th, 2018, as they stepped together into the Innovation Gap with Sterling Hawkins, Head of Venture and Innovation at CART and David Ciancio, Global Customer Strategist for dunnhumby, for the Spring Retail Innovation Pitch Event 2018.  The first-ever live webcast retail innovation pitch event, held in partnership with Winsight Grocery Business and with support from ShoptoCook and Curbside, consisted of four ten-minute pitches from udelv, BeeHex, Brain Corp and Popspots. The chosen pitch companies were selected from over 250 applicants and represent the leading edge of innovation coming into the retail industry. "Emerging technology isn’t just a possibility to consider,” said Sterling Hawkins, "it’s become a necessity as the pace of change increases exponentially in tandem with the dramatic power shift from industry-driven decisions to savvy consumers who want to be reached how, when and where they want to engage. Emerging technologies are advancing at a rate that’s almost incomprehensible. When we combine the linear trajectory that most of retail is on with what’s technologically possible, it opens up a gap, The Innovation Gap." Key retail decision-makers understand the value of working in The Innovation Gap. Importantly, it isn’t just what’s technologically possible, it has to be economically viable. “Wholesale partners and panelists make the whole thing real,” said Sterling. “It’s in this space where we get to look at the business to understand not only what we can do differently but what we can actually do better, grounded in the reality of retail operations.” Dave Ciancio reinforced the importance of stepping into the Innovation Gap, explaining how even a seasoned, entrepreneurial global company like dunnhumby, with innovation part of it’s core DNA, now looks externally to keep on top of change to best serve their clients’ more than 800 million households around the world in a 1:1 personalized conversation. Adriel Lubarsky, Director of Business Development at udelv kicked off the pitches, and appropriately set the stage when he shared, “the future is going to be remarkable!”  udelv, announced as the CART Virtual Pitch Event / Spring 2018 winner, epitomizes the exponential change in the industry. The founders’ determined strategy to bring udelv’s self-driving delivery vehicle to market years before self-driving vehicles were expected to be on public roads places them squarely in position to shape the future of autonomous delivery with technology that actually works much like a human brain to crunch data and make decisions. Large enough to handle significant loads and capable of launching in any state, udelv is currently working in multiple industries with vehicles co-designed to meet and exceed delivery expectations, even mastering the cold-chain.  As an example, udelv is delivering groceries to Draeger's customers in California with customized, honeycomb insulated compartments ensuring fresh foods stay fresh and consistently cold. They’ve even moved beyond using a mobile app with their text-to-open technology. As eCommerce explodes, the future is certainly bright for the winner of the Pitch Event. Finalist Popspots is focused on cost-effectively solving the $26 billion dollar problem of out-of stocks for retailers using in-store technology and artificial intelligence. Popspot plays in the checkout aisles with a combination of smart racks and mini-computer screens so retailers can quickly be notified of out-of-stocks and work to recoup lost sales and generate a strong ROI. Cost-effective, and with weekly reports, centralized oversight and potential to share best practices between store locations, this solution is already making great strides in the industry. The CART Virtual Pitch Event / Spring 2018 finalist BeeHex was originally funded by NASA and maintains a strong commitment to R&D with solid funding and numerous awards. While the company’s 3D printing solution can be implemented in production facilities or in-store, BeeHex feels the ideal spot is in the bakery department, freeing team members to focus on customers, and letting the machines do the work. The BeeHex 3D Dessert Decorating tool cleanly and efficiently decorates baked goods with pre-filled, disposable pouches of frosting. Capable of reducing production time on simple or complex decorating projects, BeeHex generates a quick ROI and is ready to embrace making a decorator's ideas reality. Envisioning the future, the BeeHex mission ultimately is to personalize food to the individual customer. BrainCorp is developing intelligent self-driving technology for commercial equipment and is being initially implemented with robotic floor cleaners. Their dual mode robotic floor scrubbers can work manually or autonomously and only need a single training session to learn the route around the store. These intelligent robots provide reliable cleaning, improve employee safety and maximize efficiency and productivity with in-depth reporting. Their  inter-navigation software is the company's “secret sauce’ and their capability of maneuvering in real-life situations makes them safe to use around customers. ————————————————— Join CART and Winsight Grocery Business for the Fall 2018 Retail Innovation Pitch Webcast on Wednesday, October 10th! +MORE

Solving Out-of-Stocks for Retail Grocery

Donald Oelke, Popspots, COO

The grocery industry struggles to manage out-of-stocks and planogram compliance. Popspots is using in-store hardware with AI to solve this $26 billion problem. Since its inception, the retail industry has struggled to manage out-of-stocks and planogram compliance. This problem is especially pronounced in grocery, where high customer throughput and tight margins make it difficult to dedicate resources to product management. It’s estimated that this lack of oversight costs retailers over $26 billion a year in the US alone. There are dozens of companies trying to address the out-of-stock problem, but their solutions are either too expensive or impractical. At Popspots, we’ve made it our mission to provide these services at an economical price point, and we’re starting at the checkout. Checkout aisle sales may seem insignificant, but the checkout is the only department that every customer passes through, with yearly spend topping $6.5 billion in the US. The products at checkout also have, on average, 52% higher margins than other grocery products. US grocers lose an estimated  $400 million per year in the checkout aisles due to out-of-stocks alone. Our flagship product, the Popspot device, is an internet enabled smart-display that sits on top of each checkstand merchandiser. Every device has embedded sensors and processors that allow us to prevent out-of-stocks, ensure planogram compliance, and reduce dated products. Here’s how our product works: Our devices take pictures of the checkstand planograms Those images are processed by AI algorithms on our server Out-of-stock or planogram issues are compiled into a report and sent to the store manager Our system follows up automatically to confirm that the issues are resolved We also give retailers access to an online dashboard that they use to monitor their stores, track improvement over time, and identify top and bottom performers. The grocers that are adopting Popspots are seeing incredible results. The improvement in out-of-stocks is almost immediate, and for every 10% reduction in out-of-stocks, we’ve seen sales increase by 3%. For one grocer with a 19% out-of-stock rate, we reduced the number of issues by 50% in the first month alone! When we first introduce our product to retailers,they often ask why they need this technology. “The store managers can already see the checkout aisle,” the retailers say, “so why do we need a system that tells us something they can already see?” In short, they can’t. Store managers and employees are constantly bombarded with other tasks, and almost never have the attention necessary to individually examine each planogram. And even if they did, the overhead cost of such a practice would be cost-prohibitive. Popspots is able to provide this service economically by using artificial intelligence to drastically improve identification times and reduce employee involvement. Although we’re starting in the checkout aisle, we designed our technology so that it can analyze images of any product in the store. This capability allows us to expand our system to the rest of store over time and address the $26 billion lost every year in grocery. Popspots launched last fall and we’re already in hundreds of stores across the country. We serve big and small grocers alike, and over the next six months we’ll be serving hundreds more. Retailers have confronted this age-old problem for too long, and we’re thrilled to be leading the charge towards a technology-driven solution. If you’re interested in learning more about Popspots, please reach out to me directly at donald@getpopspots.com. I look forward to hearing from you +MORE

Popspots

Popspots

Popspots is modernizing the retail checkout with AI-powered technology that helps brands and retailers drive awareness, engagement, and conversion -- directly at the point of purchase. Popspots’ smart checkout displays combine video advertising with a product management platform to better capture the mind and wallet share of U.S. consumers who spend 98% of their grocery dollars in physical stores. With actionable reports and access to both current and historical performance, brands and retailers can make data-driven decisions that deliver immediate, impactful value. +MORE

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SmartAisle

SmartAisle

SmartAisle℠ is the world’s first Voice-powered retail shopping assistant. It is an innovative new technology platform designed specifically to revolutionize the customer experience in brick & mortar retail stores. Through a combination of an intuitive Voice interface, connected LED lights affixed to the shelf and a powerful artificial intelligence engine working behind the scenes, it provides expert product recommendations, education and support to shoppers at the all-important point of decision. +MORE

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Would You Like to Delight and Inform Your Online Shoppers

John Hoyne, SYNQY Corporation

Last week, SYNQY was named as a finalist in CART’s Virtual Pitch Event. We’re among an impressive few chosen from hundreds of applications. So, who are we and what does SYNQY do for retailers? SYNQY provides a managed service for retailers to bring online shoppers rich content from manufacturers. We do that at the point of sale, which is the critical piece. To do this, we match manufacturer-branded content to the products on the retailer’s site and then pay the retailer a revenue share. If we think about what shoppers want, they’re looking for basic product information, but also rich product content. That can take the form of videos, product comparisons, as well as promotional content like new products, innovations, and in grocery, recipes and the upcoming SmartLabel content. Delivering all of this at the exact time that consumers are making buying decisions is key. It’s also very important to provide that content to the consumers on the retailer’s website because more and more consumers are going to leave and find it somewhere else – and maybe never come back. But there are numerous challenges in providing content on the retailer site, one of which is that the content typically resides with the brand and not with the retailer. In addition, the content is always changing. As a result, it’s almost impossible to keep it up-to-date.  So, what if you could crowdsource from manufacturers the content customers are looking for? And what if it wouldn’t cost you anything? And what if it would enhance the buying experience and increase product consideration and sales? And you got paid for it? Well, SYNQY can deliver on those promises. SYNQY delivers enhanced content to delight and inform the shopper. SYNQY has a proven track record in the retail space.  Tony Mercado, Marketing Development Manager, Car Electronics Sector at Kenwood said, “ The appeal of SYNQY is it allows us to give shoppers on our retailers’ websites a branded, rich media content experience that we can easily update to stay fresh and reflect our latest products and promotions.  It also keeps the shoppers on our retailer’s website, encouraging them to execute their buying decision with that retailer.” The key is that retailers deliver rich brand content at the point of sale and shoppers never leave the site.  The way this works is that the manufacturers upload their content into the SYNQY system and the retailer simply installs one line of code on their website. It takes about 10 minutes and it’s up and running. Last year, we ran a test of about 14 tier-1 CPG products and for those users who clicked on the SYNQY, we experienced a 65% increase in consideration and a 40% increase in purchases. Those are significant increases and SYNQY is definitely having a positive impact on sales.  We are working with clients in the grocery space, such as Albertsons, Safeway, Nestle, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Unilever, WhiteWave, VONS, Randalls, PepsiCo, and Pavilions – some of the leading CPG manufacturers and retailers. With our business model, we collect fees from the brands to post their content onto a retailer’s site and then we pay the retailer a revenue share from that fee. Seems like a no-brainer for retailers. SYQNY brings the retailer an enhanced shopping experience for consumers. We increase product consideration and sales and bring a new high-margin site-monetization capability. And we do all of this at low risk, with minimal effort, and at no cost to retailers. +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

NRF 2018: Tech-Fueled Innovation in Retail -- The Future is Here

CART

Thoughts on NRF 2018… So I just returned from a jam-packed three days at the NRF Show in New York city. I’ve attended NRF for a number of years now and was struck by how big and how busy the show was this year. The attendance on Sunday and Tuesday was strong but the number of people at the show and on the exhibit floors on Monday was just mind-blowing. It may have been the busiest single day that I’ve seen. Many international retailers were there along with the usual extensive array of retailers across many verticals from the US. My feeling is that a growing number of retailers understand the importance of innovation to their businesses and that is a key driver for the activity at the show. Some years there is a common thread that seems to run across many of the exhibitors. This year that ‘link’ was artificial intelligence - everyone was talking about AI and how it was part of their solutions. While some of this is real, AI has quickly become the latest buzzword and is already overused. AI is no longer (nor was it ever) it’s own thing but rather AI technology is being incorporated into a fast growing number of solutions and applications, powering more effective capabilities. Robots were out in force with several robotics companies represented. Marketing personalization was well represented along with many other areas. The main exhibit floor is packed each year with the big established solution providers like Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, NCR, Toshiba, and many others. The NRF Show gets more interesting on the lower level exhibit floor where smaller (sometimes younger) companies are exhibiting and that’s where you can find more innovation. And then there was Retail 20/20 where young innovative solutions were showcased. This area drew a lot of attention. I think more than anything the NRF Show this year represented the diversity of tech-fueled innovation that is coming into the retail industry and the challenge for retailers to try and keep up with new innovation. Here are a few of the cool technologies CART tweeted about: Inventory Scan Complete!  #NAVii Optimizing your inventory with #Robotics  Discover consistent accurate & never-before-seen insights of your inventory   Fellow Robotics  How cool is this? It’s magical @perchexperience physically-aware displays sense when shoppers approach, touch and pick up products and responds with dynamic media  Perch Interactive @kroger #EDGE #Smart Shelf interacts w/shoppers using Kroger mobile app & can detect their location in the aisles, offer tailored promotions based on purchasing habits & highlight items on their #grocery lists as they pass by Edge - Edgewater Wireless Exciting news! Facebook and RetailNext Collaborate to Provide Greater Insight into Store Shoppers  RetailNext It’s really cool how @Integem_Inc Holographic #AugmentedReality system intelligently recognizes people and body movements, then immerses them into a virtual world in real-time. Integem Inc. @LocusRobotics innovative autonomous mobile robots make it easy to optimize your warehouse operation, respond to #ecommerce volume growth & seasonal peaks while giving you control over your labor costs Locus Robotics See @RenttheRunway’s Senior Director of Engineering demo how RTR uses Aila’s Interactive Kiosk to streamline in-store operations and create better customer experiences via @AilaTech Aila Technologies @Mike_Mack CEO & Fract co-founder @NRFBigShow Enhance #CustomerExperience with @fractInc Fract is winner of CART’s May 2017 #PitchEvent Fract helps #Businesses increase market share of their locations with a geospatial #AI platform fract™  @BNRobotics drives autonomously through aisles doing “basic stuff” -like taking care of tedious shelf-auditing tasks- allowing employees to focus on more important things Bossa Nova Robotics +MORE

Personalized Wellness

Gary Hawkins, CART

The massive food and healthcare industries in the United States are largely disconnected, though they touch nearly every consumer every day. Imagine the person who goes to the doctor and receives a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, given a prescription for Metformin, and told to exercise and watch their diet. Returning home, the same person finds a mailer from their local supermarket with special prices on soft drink, ice cream, and potato chips. This concerning scenario and similar others play out every day for millions of Americans.  The result of this institutional schizophrenia? Exploding healthcare costs and poor health conditions for millions of people. The Milliman Research Report 2017 states that annual medical costs for a family of four will be $26,944 this year. For the first time in over 20 years life expectancy in America has declined. The bottom line is that healthcare costs are no longer sustainable at the individual, business, or government level. Something must give. Technology is powering a new paradigm in which healthcare and food are merged together to improve the human condition: Personalized wellness. Personalized wellness bridges the chasm by leveraging nutrition science, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and consumer technology to guide each person to foods and products beneficial to their individual health condition and aligns food manufacturers, retailers, employers, and managed care organizations to a singular focus: Improving and maintaining the well being of the individual. It is only now that the data and the technologies are available to create the personalized wellness paradigm envisioned here. Deconstructing nutrition information to countless data attributes enables powerful linkage between health conditions and the hundreds of thousands of food products available across the United States. The ability to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to personalize, at a product level, food recommendations that are beneficial to each individual is only recently available. And what makes it all work is the ability to convey personalized food guidance to the individual via the smartphone in hand while in the store aisle. “Food is the area consumers really want to deal with the most,” states Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, health economist for Think Health. “Nobody really wants to take medicine. People would rather project-manage health through food as prescription. A recent meeting with a physician group highlighted the shortcomings of efforts to date as doctors explained patients forget nearly everything within 24 hours of leaving the office. Perhaps what is most powerful about the personalized wellness vision is that everyone across the food-healthcare supply chain benefits from improved outcomes and quality of life for the individual. Retailers gain stronger customer relationships as they come to be viewed as true partners in wellness and consumer goods brand manufacturers have a path to redemption from the processed foods abyss. Employers and managed care organizations who shoulder a substantial portion of healthcare cost finally have an ability to link improved eating to performance based measures, providing the foundation for meaningful incentives to encourage the sought-after healthy behavior.  The vision of a new model joining together the massive healthcare and food industries is powerful. The data and the technology needed to make personalized wellness a reality are available today. Participants across the food-health supply chain - managed care organizations, employers, providers, food manufacturers and retailers -  are already coalescing around the personalized wellness vision, bringing it to life and improving the human condition. +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

SYNQY Brand Engagement Platform

SYNQY Corporation

SYNQY uses cloud-based technology to transform manufacturers’ brand experiences across their reseller networks. We combine a network of intelligent touch points called SYNQYs (pronounced sync-ee) with a SaaS Brand Engagement Platform that makes it easy to create and manage these SYNQYs. SYNQY’s patent-pending matchmaking technology dynamically associates high impact, manufacturer-provided content with their corresponding products – without the need for custom coding by the retailer. With a single line of code inserted through a retailer's tag management platform, SYNQY solutions automatically identifies which products get rich-media, persuasive content and adds that content next to the correct product at the point of sale. As a result, retailers can roll out the solution in minutes and shoppers will have access to the information they are seeking to make better product purchase decisions. We have proven evidence this works in both low-involvement purchases such as grocery and high involvement products such as generators, stereo equipment and even semiconductors.  SYNQY can be used on dynamically-driven ecommerce retail sites. It can also be used across dealer networks, blogger sites, factory-direct retail sites and public relations.  The SYNQY Brand Engagement Platform is the underlying technology that allows SYNQY to run many retailer/application-specific offerings.  SYNQY has launched SYNQY | PROMOTE, which is an application that delivers rich media promotional content onto loyalty/coupon pages, product listings, product detail pages and independent dealer networks.  SYNQY recently launched SYNQY | SMARTLABEL retailer solution that automatically identifies which products have associated SmartLabel content and adds that content next to the correct product at the point of sale. As a result, retailers can roll out the solution in minutes and shoppers will have access to 350 product attributes, including GMO information and allergens on thousands of products. +MORE

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Smart.Market

Smart Market

Smart.Market is an innovative marketing tool; using Patent Pending technology to deliver cost effective, highly customized offers to each household within a user defined Custom Trade Zone. Our platform, enables advertisers to message their shoppers via print and digital methods, with or without an installed loyalty program. Clients can also use their existing customer data to upsell and influence increased purchases based on a combination of relevant and highly personalized offers that are tailored to EACH household...THEN Smart.Market provides detailed response analytics to show the performance of each messaging campaign. Further, advertisers finally have a real time mapping tool that shows them their shoppers, and most importantly, how many other shoppers in the market look just like them. The process is simple, powerful, and delivers results.  +MORE

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Retail Content Management System

Notify Nearby Inc.

Billions of dollars are spent on advertising on social media, purchasing ad space, and narrowing in on a specific customer who will shop at your brand. All these efforts are to target and deliver content to shoppers who are interested in your product.  Our mobile app is a shopper’s only stop to see content that retailers post. They have opted into receiving that information and only see it when they are interested.  Shoppers highly value what their favorite brands offer. But, they only want to see and receive that information when it is relevant and valuable to them. Notify Nearby segments users by brand relevance, time of delivery, and the location where messages are delivered.  +MORE

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Pirc

Pirc

Pirc is reinventing one of the most important, if not the most important, pre-shop experiences for consumers of household/grocery goods – the weekly sales circular ($15B spend, 290B prints/yr). With 95% of all US commerce transactions occurring in-store, and the weekly circular driving a core % of those transactions, the circular has unbelievably received little to no real innovation – until now. While digital circulars are not new, Pirc is uniquely positioned to personalize and aggregate multi-store circulars and coupons, and ultimately create a Big Data brand engagement and promotion platform that scales. Today, Pirc delivers to consumers a weekly “Pircular”, or personalized circular, full of all the in-store weekly sales and coupons they actually want. At scale, we will have a database of consumers and their favorite brands which will give us a platform on which to build a more efficient, innovative marketing channel; also helping to displace the 70% of total marketing budget retailers spend on circulars today. We plan to monetize this service at scale primarily via an AdWords-type model, starting with native ad placements by brands and retailers. +MORE

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iOS & Android app development

Appus Studio

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

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GoGrab

GoGrab

GoGrab is an innovative shopping platform that connects local retailers, independent sellers, drivers, and shoppers. With GoGrab, anyone can easily create an on-demand or subscription based online store in minutes. GoGrab is becoming a preferred one-stop marketplace for users looking to shop everything online from a single place while also becoming an ideal solution for anyone looking to build a successful online business in minutes. GoGrab offers the most flexible pricing in the market. Our end to end platform for independent sellers and retailers offers features like POS integration (products and prices in real time), real-time excel inventory integration, loyalty programs, fulfillment backend apps, customer analytics, real-time order and driver tracker, promotions and much more.  Our goal is to simplify, innovate and disrupt the local shopping behavior of retailers, independent sellers, and shoppers. +MORE

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Ibotta

Ibotta, Inc.

Ibotta is a technology company that builds tools to empower consumers and simplify their daily lives. Instead of taking the same, tired old coupon format and just transitioning it onto a mobile device, Ibotta completely reimagined the way that consumers learn about and interact with their favorite brands. The result is a mobile experience that replaces couponing with a fun series of game-like interactions that give consumers what they actually want: personalized offers that can be redeemed in all the major retailers, and real cash rewards instead of credits or points. +MORE

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Kitchology

Kitchology

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

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