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

Susan Galer , Forbes SAP voice

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

Grocery is Going Digital. The Time is Now.

CART

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

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BoodsKapper Retail bot

Boodskapper

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

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Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery for eCommerce

ReadyCart.co

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

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Darius™ for Retail

Darius Technologies

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

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Shopper Media Network

PlaceWise Media

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With the rapid rise of digital and mobile technologies, the shift of power to consumers has forever changed how advertisers, retailers and brands get their messages across. Bringing them all together through its proprietary digital platform is the charge of PlaceWise Media, one of the largest shopper media networks in the U.S. PlaceWise’s shopper media network includes more than 1,400 grocery retailers and nearly 700 shopping and lifestyle centers, with more than 10 million total monthly visitors. Through its unique, first-party data, PlaceWise can extend beyond its network in real time to reach millions of other relevant shoppers. The company also provides digital marketing services to hundreds of malls and lifestyle centers across North America.  Shopper access; shopper insight; real time. PlaceWise Media’s network allows brands to offer shoppers engaging content and special offers along the path to purchase, delivering on its promise to them to reach “Just who you want. Right when they are ready®”. +MORE

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Freshop

Freshop

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

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Mobile Checkout

FutureProof Retail

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

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GrocerKey

GrocerKey

GrocerKey is a white label end-to-end technology solution for grocery stores. Included is a branded web site featuring an online store. GrocerKey has created a faster and more desirable ordering process than any other e-commerce grocery platform on the market. The GrocerKey admin allows you to update store settings in real time, stay on top of your stores performance with real time analytics, and prepare your store for pickup, scheduled delivery, and on-demand delivery. The GrocerKey back-end operations app provides your staff with the tools they need to run an efficient and successful operation. +MORE

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CART Weekly Report 6/13/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Retail’s BIG DATA Challenge… and Opportunity

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 6/6/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

A New Worldview

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/30/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program Opportunities

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

Solution Providers need Tailored Approach

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

Innovation for Retailers

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

It’s all in the Pricing for Solution Providers

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/23/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

It's All About Relationships

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/16/19

CART , Advancing Retail

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

CART Weekly Report 5/17/19

CART , Advancing Retail

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

Understanding the Age of ‘i’

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 5/9/19

CART, ADVANCING RETAIL

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

Reclaiming Retail’s Customer Heritage

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

CART Weekly Report 4/25/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

CART Weekly Report 4/11/19

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Grow Revenues Using These Digital Strategies

Yehudis Milchtein, Senior Account Manager, Harvesting Media

Digitally savvy businesses are becoming the norm in the retail world. More and more companies are taking advantage of the untold benefits of digital marketing- there’s no way to argue with the results. Nowadays, taking control of your online presence is key to staying ahead and keeping up with your competition. There are a plethora of platforms to choose from, each optimal for running different types of campaigns or being used for a variety of purposes. Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business and other platforms are all opportunities for developing relationships with shoppers in your area. The potential for launching campaigns that make a real impact on your business has grown tremendously over the past few years. Any and every message you want your customers to see - whether it's coupons, discounts, events, or new products - becomes manageable. Customers want to hear from you and stay up to date with the latest store happenings. What can you do to make that a reality? Google My Business: Your Business can't afford to ignore Google. From the immediate benefits like ranking higher in search results to increasing trust with potential customers, claiming and updating your Google My Business profile is integral to establishing a digital presence. Show customers and potential shoppers that you’re serious about their satisfaction and that you value their feedback by monitoring and responding to reviews. For nearly 9 in 10 consumers, an online review is as important as a personal recommendation. 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business. Not sure how to get started? Speak to the team at Harvesting Media about how to claim your Google My Business page, respond to reviews, receive weekly reports and more. Facebook: As the #1 social media platform used by businesses, Facebook is an exceptional place to engage and interact with current and potential customers. Instantly share updates with thousands of people and encourage new shoppers to visit by implementing targeted coupon campaigns. Opening a Facebook page takes 5 minutes, and posting on update a week is an excellent start. Having a Facebook page also gives your customers a platform to leave reviews, recommendations, and reach out via Messenger with questions about your products. Ready to enhance your Facebook page and increase revenues with tracked results? Give us a call or send us an email , we’d love to talk. Instagram: Developing a personal relationship with customers and making your business more relatable has never been simpler. Set up your Instagram account and share gorgeous photos with the click of a button. Grow your Instagram account by partnering with influencers or running contests that encourage fans to follow and share your content. Excite potential shoppers by utilizing the visual aspect of Instagram- share stories with hacks, tips, and more on your page. Looking for content that captures the most popular and beloved aspects of your business? Want to lean on a capable team that does this for you? Reach out to our graphics team today. Weekly Newsletter: Getting into your customers’ inbox on a weekly basis is an extremely effective way to stay relevant and encourage customers to shop at your store again. Emails have the highest coupon conversion rates and you could use that to your advantage as you collect info from customers in-store and on social media. Use forms in-store or online to gather email addresses quickly and efficiently. Want to discuss coupon campaigns that increase basket sizes? That’s our bread and butter. Properly marketing your store can feel a tad bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Begin with the basics by creating and consistently updating your digital channels. Once you start establishing your digital presence, partner with us to discover new channels and methods that can be implemented. Supermarkets are regularly leaning on outside help to facilitate their marketing, while the retailer does what it does best: running a supermarket. Partnering with a team of people whose job it is to manage the digital marketing component for a retailer is what more and more independents are doing. And it makes sense. Don’t guess your way through campaigns; rely on our proven methods to increase your revenues. Ready to talk? Reach out today and learn what you could be doing to multiply your sales. Let’s grow. +MORE

Personalization and Relevancy Can Be a Game Changer for Independents

David Kiehle, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Smart.Market

Independent grocers are increasingly aware of the impact of industry disruption. These retailers are facing a new landscape marked by emerging technologies, quickly changing consumer behaviors, and a wide range of traditional and nontraditional competitors building scale through acquisitions and organic growth. This new environment creates challenges across the independents’ business, and a case in point is in marketing. Independents and their wholesalers are often lacking in resources and expertise. They typically don’t have big marketing budgets. Many don’t operate loyalty marketing programs. Most are without the teams of data analysts more typical of bigger chains. Some are still tied to weekly circulars that deliver the same offers across an entire market to an eroding base of newspaper subscribers. How can independent retailers compete in this new environment with effective marketing resources and strategies? Independents are expert at being relevant for their individual customer bases. However, increasingly they need to be on-target not just for their market as a whole, but for each household and each customer in that market. This requires a more sophisticated personalized approach to coupons and other offers, supported by technology. Independents often don’t know the best ways to get started down that path. There are numerous methods to embracing personalized marketing, some effective, some not so effective. These employ a range of platforms, from digital to print. Independents need to ensure that a personalization strategy is really personal. That means it needs to be targeted to individual households and customers, rather than being merely a segmentation approach that addresses large groups of shoppers. One of the most effective and cost-efficient personalization strategies is leveraging direct mail, a seemingly mature form of retail marketing, that can be transformed through data-driven personalization techniques to drive profits and traffic. Recent research from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) shows personalized direct mail campaigns can increase ROI from three to 10 times compared to traditional strategies. Ironically, personalizing direct mail often results in a hybrid approach between print and digital. It’s actually digitally-driven print marketing. This approach leverages the best of print and digital through a state-of-the-art process called personalized variable direct mail. It not only outperforms traditional campaigns, but consistently outpaces online digital efforts as well. The result can be a game changer for independent grocers. Here are five ways this kind of personalization can transform marketing for independents. 1-Accelerate Response Rates: Personalized variable direct mail can deliver double-digit response rates consistently, which is markedly higher than traditional direct mail. 2-Capture Performance Analytics: A personalized data-driven program should be able to provide back-end analytics to measure scores of events across a marketing calendar. Ideally a retailer should be able to leverage a database to match consumer purchasing habits back to the individual household level for each store location. This enables the retailer to learn more about its current customers by location and identify others that have similar characteristics and behaviors. 3-Blunt Competitor Strategies: Personalized variable direct mail can be effective in battling a range of competitors, from big chains to hard discounters. Making use of this strategy can help to neutralize new market entries by competitors while at the same time rewarding valued repeat shoppers. 4-Redefine Trade Areas: This personalized approach helps to establish and grow a primary trade area. It’s common to achieve material increases in unique shoppers with each campaign. 5-Engage with Customers: The point of a personalized program is to connect directly with individual customers and households to boost basket sizes. It’s also geared to supporting new customer acquisition by understanding the similarities your core shoppers have with those who are not currently your customers. Marketing pieces can be customized for a wide range of demographics and other attributes to boost performance. This strategy can be particularly effective in gaining the loyalty of millennial shoppers, who are famously resistant to brand loyalty. +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

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