Scanners

Timing is everything and ‘your newest team member’ is right on time!

Lan Nguyen, Marketing Manager, Bossa Nova Robotics

With AI and data from your newest team member, retail work has never been easier. Bossa Nova, a leader in creating autonomous service robots for the global retail industry, tracks inventory plus store and shelf conditions in real-time. Its solution delivers data with speed and accuracy. By reducing inventory time, Bossa Nova is able to provide real-time data for stock levels with improved accuracy. So how does this translate to a financial gain for retailers? First, by automating mundane tasks, employees are happy and happy employees make a happier retail environment. You might wonder how many hours are spent on mundane tasks such as inventory audits.  There are 30,098 items in the average grocery store. A typical Target store has around 80,000 SKUs and a Walmart supercenter sells up to 120,000 items. It takes about 20 human hours to audit 10,000 products. Following this logic, an average grocery store would require over 60 hours per store,  160 hours per store for Target, and a whopping 240 hours auditing shelves at a Walmart Supercenter. It’s easy to see how grocery stores following the recommended minimum quarterly inventory schedule forfeit a high proportion of human working hours to this task. For those that audit monthly, the labor costs are even more tremendous.   Bossa Nova helps retailers automate these inventory audits and monitor shelf-conditions in parallel, scanning an 80 linear foot aisle in 90 seconds with 98% accuracy. Through automation, employee focus can be shifted to more action oriented, customer-centric tasks, while the Bossa Nova robot detects anomalies in shelf conditions, covering everything from addressing out of stock and misplaced items, to pricing, and more. This shift in employee focus to the customer directly translates to higher shopper satisfaction and increased loyalty. It is estimated that out of stocks cost retailers over $129 billion in lost sales in North America - a loss of -4% of revenue annually. (the cumulative worldwide cost of out-of-stocks for retailers has now reached over $984b) A study conducted by MIT Supply Chain Management Research determined that 78% of products that are not on the shelves (i.e out of stocks) are actually on-hand. Given this, a majority of out of stock issues can likely be resolved in-store. Inventory replenishment is critical to success, and those tasks need to occur at store level. Having the right products in the right place when consumers are looking for them (both online and in-store) allows sales to escalate and deliver a sales velocity that makes the most effective use of each square foot of space. Bossa Nova is committed to maximizing this efficiency by gathing  reliable, real-time data that delivers task oriented, actionable items. Efficient inventory control improves speed to shelf by alerting store-level associates of inventory on hand, as well as buying desks / suppliers of true OOS situations. Through computer vision implementation, retailers can accurately assess, and more importantly, address in-store conditions in real-time, across all locations. Real-time accuracy is not only important to retailers, but it is also important to your shoppers. By having accurate inventory, confidence thresholds for item availability can be increased for both in-store and online shopper inventory inquiries. In fact, 81% of shoppers do research online before visiting a physical store for what they want to buy, yet only 27% of retail sites provide store level inventory. When the robot “wheels” into your stores, you will be saving intensive labor hours and improving your store conditions with unmatched accuracy. Bossa Nova has the credibility and experience to help retail operations realize the return on investment and successfully integrate with existing platforms and systems. There are two popular sayings that really affect your bottom line: “Timing is everything”, and “Time is money”, and in business, money really is everything. While many technology companies are still working to surmount the bell learning curve of applied technology, Bossa Nova is equipped with extensive retail experience and has been trusted by operations and IT professions to successfully integrate and lead this huge step in retail automation. With accurate inventory management, you can increase your revenue potential and more accurately can forecast the future. +MORE

Robots for Retailers

Bossa Nova Robotics

It is estimated that out-of-stocks account for -4% loss in revenue, not to mention the possible long-term effects of losing loyal shoppers. Great shelving conditions can lead to great shopping experiences. Bossa Nova is the leading developer of robots designed to provide real-time inventory data for the global retail industry. Our retail service robot autonomously tracks inventory and the true state of in-store conditions to seamlessly deliver actionable tasks benefiting retailers through efficiencies and accuracy.   Ensure implementation and maximize operational efficiencies by relying on the retail experience and expertise of Bossa Nova. Our trusted team makes it work for all retailers - helping them turn real-time data into actionable tasks and insights.  Real-Time, Accurate Inventory Data Product Availablity with Efficient/Actionable/Timely Replenishment Real-time Corrective Actions to Remedy Merchandising, Pricing and Promotion Compliance  +MORE

Connect

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

Connect

CART Weekly Report 6/13/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Retail’s BIG DATA Challenge… and Opportunity

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 6/6/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

A New Worldview

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/30/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program Opportunities

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

Solution Providers need Tailored Approach

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

Innovation for Retailers

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

It’s all in the Pricing for Solution Providers

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/23/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

It's All About Relationships

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/16/19

CART , Advancing Retail

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

CART Weekly Report 5/17/19

CART , Advancing Retail

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

Understanding the Age of ‘i’

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/9/19

CART, ADVANCING RETAIL

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

Reclaiming Retail’s Customer Heritage

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 4/25/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

CART'S INNOVATION PROGRAM

Gary Hawkins, CEO , Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

Why Your Grocery Store Needs the Latest Scanning Technology

POSRG

For independently owned grocery stores to stay competitive with nation-wide retailers like Costco and Wal-Mart, having the latest point of sale (POS) hardware is essential for both customer and employee experience. While there is no replacement for knowledgeable, friendly cashiers, the checkout line is the nexus of the grocery store experience. A bogged down point of sale severely limits an independent retailer’s ability to effectively manage long queues, ultimately sacrificing their business to larger chains. Outdated and inefficient scanners at the POS means longer lines, frustrated customers and abandoned purchases. A POS upgrade can be a simple yet effective solution to many of the challenges faced by independently owned grocery stores today. Staying on the Forefront of POS Technology  A modern retail management system can narrow the gap between independent grocers and larger chain supermarkets. People often prefer the feel of a locally owned and operated grocery store to that of a larger chain, but in order to retain a loyal customer base, maintaining high quality equipment that serves the needs of the customer is a must. It is imperative for independent retailers to be on the forefront of technological POS advancements to stay competitive amongst the nationwide conglomerates. Smartphone use is constantly increasing as it integrates itself into virtually every aspect of the modern world, retail included. Being able to easily accept mobile coupons, pay via phone, scan items without concern for damaged barcodes, and weigh items quickly and accurately to reduce shrink are all elements that a store should consider when assessing their current stations and maximizing checkout efficiency.  Effective Mobile Couponing As mobile couponing becomes more widespread, it is important to implement equipment that can actually process electronic discounts. If you can’t accept a mobile coupon, customers may end up buying those products elsewhere, lowering your profits and decreasing the likelihood of the customer returning.  And while some POS systems do accept these coupons, a customer usually must either hand the phone to the cashier to scan, or the cashier must use a handheld scanner (relying on steady hands from both parties) to input the coupon code. Unfortunately, there is always the unwanted possibility of a dropped phone in this exchange, causing the grocer to be held liable for damages to the customer’s phone.  Customer Side Scanners State-of-the-Art checkout scanners now include customer side scanners for both ease of use and liability concerns. If the customer is able to use their phone to enter their loyalty information or coupons, scan an impulse buy at the counter, or even—eventually—make mobile payments, the cashier can focus on improving your store’s efficiency while the customer is supplied with an effortless way of entering information or discounts.  Versatility in Scanning Speeds up the Process  New scanning equipment also uses better quality laser scanning, with both vertical and horizontal scanning windows and omni-directional symbol orientation, helping to improve overall scanning speed. Many of these units can read barcodes even when they’re under plastic wrap, damaged or worn, faded, or poorly printed. Older scanning units can have scratches on their glass platters, increasing the time it takes to move items through the checkout line. Newer models use glass that is scratch resistant, limiting lost time and helping items ring up smoothly. Although lines may be long, with modern POS equipment discouraged customers may be surprised by the short wait times, therefore increasing customer satisfaction.  Maintenance Made Easy POS maintenance can also be an issue for independent supermarkets. With the advancements of technology, checkout lanes and their hardware are not immune to obsolescence. As equipment ages, it can become more difficult to service, taking longer and costing more in both labor and downtime. And while upgrading your store’s POS can cause concern—you might worry that it would be too costly or time-consuming, or even call for altering the structure of the checkout counter—products are now available that can reduce the total cost of ownership, lowering the time needed for servicing and overall power consumption. They’re easy to install, use a minimal number of parts, and have no moving pieces, thereby providing fewer failure points. Also, the housing of newer systems is often secured without screws, increasing accessibility for technicians and lowering checkout downtime.   What to Expect From Reputable Service Providers As a Point of Sale IT solutions and service provider, POS Remarketing Group is committed to helping your store manage every need at any phase of your equipment life cycle—from preventative maintenance and onsite repair to custom configurations made to order from our partnered, reputable brands. To stay competitive with nation-wide retailers and supermarkets, your equipment makes a difference to both customer and employee experience.  As experts in POS servicing and maintenance, POSRG can make these possibilities a reality, helping you acquire and implement a new checkout system that that will keep you competing with larger retailers. Upgrading your POS hardware is one of the easiest and most rewarding means to boost profits, reputation, and customer satisfaction.  Contacting Us If you’re interested in our services, we can be reached at www.posrg.com. We are confident that we can help with any POS or IT issue and provide valuable solutions. We will be present at this year’s National Grocers Association Show, occupying Booth 1015, where we’ll be showcasing the Zebra MP7000, a top of the line checkout scanner with some of the technology and features mentioned in this article. The details of our exhibition can be found here. Stop by and say hello, and we’ll be happy to show you our knowledge and expertise firsthand. +MORE

Mobile App Pain Points

John Kangas, CEO, FwdMbl Solutions

Your current in-house system works great within your four walls.  The pain starts when you walk out that door and it can give you a full-on business migraine by the end of the day. We can ease the pain by targeting these five major sources when your workforce hits the road. Breakdowns in Communication When an Account Manager, Sales Rep, Delivery Driver, or Customer directly needs information, they need it NOW!  It should not require phone calls, strings of emails to and from the office or multiple warehouse locations to find product, invoice information, aging or account information, upcoming orders, etc. It’s frustrating and time consuming for everyone involved.  You should not require an Internet connection to give this to your customer when you are standing in front of them. FwdMbl Solutions gives Account Managers, Sales Reps, Delivery Drivers all this information right at their fingertips. It is available without the need for Wi-Fi or a cell signal and can be printed, emailed or faxed right there. There’s no need to track down items or pricing, looking up inventory and pricing is immediate. Pricing Errors Let’s face it, pricing can be complicated. If updates in pricing don’t make it to the ones that are selling in the field you can lose money. If incorrect information is given it can turn into an embarrassing situation.  Pricing can be different per customer given contracted pricing or discounts. Sales may be given leeway to adjust pricing on the fly within reason.  There are many scenarios as there are companies.  Pricing needs to be up-to-date and correct each and every time FwdMbl Solutions handles all pricing scenarios. All pricing updates can be real-time saving you money and confusion. Workflow Issues The system you are using doesn’t match your workflow.  You need to hunt for your tasks and weed through things you don’t use.  You are jumping from one item to another just to complete these tasks.  This takes precious time and leads to frustration. FwdMbl Solutions gives you role-based programming.  It gives you only your work for the day and one task seamlessly flows to the next. It’s so efficient, before you know it, your day is complete with time to spare! Internet Connection/Equipment Problems I see it almost every day while going to the grocery store, convenience store or my favorite restaurant.  Account Managers, Sales People, and Delivery Drivers trying to connect to Wi-Fi, or get any Internet connection.  Once they do, connection is slow and they have wait for webpages to display on their screen.  When it does finally appear, the information is hard to read or cannot be given to the customer. Printers disconnect or jam. Old devices just giving up the ghost. FwdMbl Solutions’ Apps are native apps that work connected or disconnected. They are not merely a webpage you are trying to display on your phone.  We use our unique technology to make sure your employees are never waiting for the information they need.  Once the information is pinpointed it can be printed, emailed or faxed to give immediate access to your customer. Training is Difficult FwdMbl Solutions’ Apps are robust, yet simple and elegant.  The screens are not busy or hard to read.  The workflow is intuitive and training is a breeze. The PAIN IS REAL!  When your software is in your employees’ hands and doesn’t work disconnected, has missing or inaccurate customer or order information, has printer or scanner malfunctions, or is cumbersome to use it is a recipe for unhappy employees and unhappy customers. At FwdMbl Solutions we can enhance your customer experience and improve employee satisfaction with our Mobile Apps and Portals.  We do this by connecting to your existing systems, so there is no need to change everything you do, only what they see.  We interface to your backend ERP, POS or other systems and display your information in a Mobile App or Portal that is fast and truly mobile. It is easy to use and best of all, it runs on the mobile phone you already own. Don’t own a phone? You can use an affordable Android device from our hardware partners. +MORE

Five Predictions for Retail Transformation in 2019

Gary Hawkins, CEO , Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART)

As we begin 2019, tomorrow is no longer going to resemble today. The pace of tech-fueled innovation continues to grow, bringing with it increasing change across the supply chain and greater impact on traditional retail operations and models. 2019 is going to be a year of even greater change. Here are five key areas to watch this year: Frictionless shopping: The Amazon Go store with its cashier-less shopping experience has gotten the industry’s attention and this year we will see a great deal of activity in this space. There are several tech companies working to bring similar capabilities to the retail industry along with cost-effectively scaling the technology to work in traditional supermarkets. I believe the proliferation of retailers’ mobile apps having some kind of self-shopping capability - the shopper scanning their products as they shop using their smartphone and then an expedited payment process - is an interim step to a completely frictionless shopping environment. The whole idea of the Amazon Go store is to make buying products as easy as possible; the shopper having to use their app to scan and pay makes it easier to buy but not as easy as just walking in, picking up what you want, and walking out. Automated fulfillment: Kroger’s partnership with Ocado to build and operate twenty automated grocery eComm fulfillment centers is on track. We are seeing several other retailers enter into agreements with Takeoff Technologies to build mini automated fulfillment centers that can sit in the backroom, automatically fulfilling high-velocity packaged goods ordered online. Walmart is working with a partner to build an automated fulfillment center that is designed to sit alongside their stores, fulfilling high-volume products. In 2019 we are going to see even more activity in this space as other retailers will be forced to follow these leaders as automation brings efficiency and lower fulfillment costs, opening up a productivity gap. We will be seeing other technology providers step into this space as the market expands. Automated delivery: Kroger’s partnership with Nuro to use automated, driverless delivery vehicles to deliver online orders to the shopper’s home is already in pilot. Udelv and other solutions will be gaining more interest as retailers begin to focus more attention on the final mile delivery. While many retailers have signed deals with Instacart or Shipt to handle actual delivery, we’re going to see growing interest in Uber and other services to handle deliveries and fast growing interest in automated solutions like Nuro and Udelv in search of cost efficiencies. Health & Wellness gets personal: The wearables market is growing fast as Apple’s Watch and similar devices provide even more functionality to monitor key health indicators in realtime. The explosion in health data coming from these wearables will become increasingly tied to food guidance, helping the individual understand what specific food products to purchase and consume based upon the individual’s health condition and realtime data. As an example, Dexcom recently released a device that provides realtime glucose monitoring for people with diabetes. The ability to use knowledge of an individual’s glucose levels at that specific time - for example, while they are standing in front of the shelf - will inform guidance to beneficial foods. This movement is already underway as the massive food and healthcare industries converge, driven by Amazon’s ownership of Whole Foods, PillPack, and other activity in healthcare. Kroger’s Opt-UP app enables the shopper to easily understand the quality of the foods they are buying and easily filter the store’s product selection based upon the shopper’s interests, needs, and preferences. Look for a lot more activity around this space in the coming year. Melding of digital and physical retail: While most industry activity has been focused around eCommerce and automation of fulfillment and delivery of orders, I believe we are going to see growing attention to the melding of digital and physical shopping. This encompasses bringing augmented reality into the store and shopping experience; we’ll also see growing activity in virtual reality shopping as VR tech gets better and cheaper. Digital signage will spread across the store and get smarter, not only using demographic info to present messaging relevant to the person standing in front of the screen, but engagement will be far more personalized. Kroger’s new shelf Edge system is moving in this direction, lighting up as a shopper moves down the aisle to call out relevant products. Obviously there are many more areas where technology is going to transform retail but these are five key areas to watch. Each of these fundamentally changes the game: Frictionless shopping and automating fulfillment and delivery remove significant costs and will put growing pressure on competing retailers as companies using these technologies scale deployments.  Personalization will move quickly, not just in marketing but in linking an Individual shopper’s health to her favorite store’s product assortment, guiding the shopper to products to improve her wellbeing.  Lastly, shopping is about to become far more interesting and truly immersive as technology really begins to impact the shopping experience, whether you are in the brick & mortar store or sitting at home. +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

Retail POS and IT Hardware and Service Solutions

POS Remarketing Group Inc.

POSRG provides innovative and tailor-made solutions and support throughout the complete life cycle of our customers’ POS & IT hardware. There are many ways POSRG can help your stores get the technology and services needed to run efficiently and effectively.  Whether it’s new hardware or repairs, or on-site services such as store wirings or installations, POSRG has been in business for 15 years helping retailers of all types with their retail IT solutions. IT Hardware solutions – New or refurbished to match existing environment – POS, Digital Signage, Surveillance, Networking, Telecom, etc. Retail IT Services – Store wiring, Site Surveys, IT and POS Installation, On-Site Repair, etc. Hardware Repair and Maintenance Programs – Flat rate or customized plans to prevent and minimize downtime in grows and dispensaries Managed Network Services – Cloud PBX, Managed Wi-Fi, SD-WAN, Cellular Failover, etc. IT Asset Disposition, E-Waste and Data Destruction – Certified, end of life solutions that provide piece of mind and limit liability +MORE

Connect

Upping the In-store Technology Game in Grocery: A Do-or-Die Proposition

Alex Goodwin, Aila Technologies

“The grocery business truly is at a digital tipping point, where every aspect of the shopper’s journey will soon be influenced by digital, and increasingly enabled by digital platforms.”                                                                                     — Chris Morley, President of U.S. CPG & Retail, Nielsen, January 2017 The summer of 2017 has seen retailers making moves to add new digital capabilities at a frenzied pace. Albertsons is revamping its e-commerce systems. Publix has declared that it will offer home delivery at all locations by 2020. Kroger is piloting “digital shelf-edge” technology that it hopes will enhance efficiencies in pricing and data collection. And that’s just to name a few. Spurred by Amazon’s surprise announcement that it would acquire Whole Foods in June, grocers and mass retailers in the food and beverage space have been racing to get a leg up on the competition by investing in technology that can capture data, create enhanced customer experiences, and activate new processes such as delivery and in-store online ordering. Amazon is a real threat to existing grocery chains, but it’s not the only one: Target is expanding its commitment to food and beverage, and the nation’s biggest retailer, Walmart, is “gaining [grocery] market share at an accelerating pace.”  With so much at stake in what amounts to a technology arms race, grocers must be strategic in the experiences they craft and the processes they enable. On the other hand, an overly cautious approach may also prove costly: as digital-first consumers are increasingly influenced by technologically sophisticated industry giants, retailers who fail to act decisively risk losing hardfought market share in this ultra-competitive industry. As the grocery world braces for increasing demands for e-commerce capabilities, grocers would be well served to consider enhancing those in tandem with their in-store digital offerings.  The Online Challenge To date, online ordering only accounts for roughly 3% of grocery sales in the US, according to the Shelby Report, although that number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. While the last-mile logistical hurdles continue to be problematic, the one big edge that e-commerce gives retailers comes in the realm of data collection.  Every digital transaction provides a wealth of sortable data about shopping habits such as purchase history and frequency. It also provides an array of opportunities for personalizing the interaction. For instance, digital platforms offer numerous options for delivering product recommendations based on past purchases or to pair with products already in the virtual shopping cart. In addition to creating a more pleasant shopping experience, these are proven ways to drive revenue: a recent Mckinsey report indicated that cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%. Similarly, Amazon admitted way back in 2006 that 35% of its revenues come from its cross-sales and upselling efforts. While simple apps can provide automated cross-selling capabilities online, grocers must find ways to bring these and other revenue-generating opportunities into their brick-and-mortar locations. A Seamless Buying Experience, Online and In-Store With 97% of the reported $600 billion in grocery transactions each year taking place in physical locations, it is imperative that grocers provide a seamless experience across all shopping channels. Brick-and-mortar stores must be able to deliver the same capabilities that customers are increasingly expecting when they order online — ever smoother and more efficient transactions, as well as product recommendations, loyalty rewards and discounts, and enhanced brand interactions.  The future of grocery will be built upon an in-store digital infrastructure made up of a series of connected devices capable of bringing the convenience and personalization of the digital world into the supermarket aisle. This infrastructure can solve discrete problems for consumers — wayfinding, detailed product information, line-busting, product recommendations, couponing, and more. At the same time, it will serve more broadly as a platform for innovation for retailers, to experiment with exciting new brand experiences and digital efficiencies.  The traditional, bulky, custom-built legacy hardware systems simply don’t have the versatility to keep up. Furthermore, in an industry in the midst of transformational changes, investing in expensive, single-purpose devices risks locking companies into operational workflows that might soon be obsolete. Instead, the infrastructure of the future will likely be built upon powerful consumer-oriented mobile devices. Today’s tablets and smartphones possess the features and functionality to enable solutions that solve current needs, such as in-store price checking kiosks, ordering stations, and POS systems, while also providing the hardware capabilities and flexibility to enable a nearly limitless array of future experiences and use cases.  Retail stores today must act as showroom, warehouse, and fulfillment center, providing both product and information wherever and however their customers need it. To enable this, retailers will be well suited to have the following components in place:  A digital infrastructure (from price checkers to point-of-sale terminals to associate handheld tools) that delivers a seamless digital experience throughout the store, while also tracking data for analysis and optimization of the customer experience, inventory management, store layout, product location, and more. Smart handheld devices that empower associates with full access to product information and customer needs, improving efficiency and productivity. In-store kiosks that offer a branded, user-friendly interface that will make the in-store experience as convenient as shopping online, maximizing next-gen technologies. These tools are available now, and the grocery tech race is already well underway. To maintain the status quo or move slowly is to sink into obsolescence. Bold, decisive action to infuse brick-and-mortar supermarkets with the best elements of the digital experience will be critical to surviving grocery’s ongoing transformation. +MORE

Pages