Software

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

Lan Nguyen, Marketing Manager, Bossa Nova Robotics

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

fract™

Fract

We provide actionable prescriptive geospatial intelligence to businesses and help them make all the right choices based on their data.  Fract is inspired by fractals – countless geometric figures that have the exact same characteristics as the whole. Fractals can be found everywhere in nature – snowflakes, clouds and even our own hearts – and are used to describe various complex, recurring natural events like crystal growth and galaxy formation. We predict and help businesses to maximize their potential based on the tiny patterns found inside the data. We believe in continuous data analysis and uncovering patterns to make use of the infinite amounts of data that increases every single hour, of every single day. +MORE

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Robots for Retailers

Bossa Nova Robotics

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

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Darius™ for Retail

Darius Technologies

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

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End-To-End eGrocery Solution

Self-Point

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

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App Store for Retail

Sparkle CS Ltd

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

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Balance Innovations Suite of Solutions

Balance Innovations

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Balance Innovations offers the only retail software platform that connects all points of your currency operations,  lowering the cost of accepting cash and increasing efficiency at all levels of the organization. It provides multi‐ layer security and effortless integration of all your devices and systems to give you an immediate, complete view  of your entire enterprise.  This comprehensive visibility enables you to understand what’s happening across your entire organization without tapping into multiple systems or reports. It puts all the information you need right in front of you –  customized to thresholds you choose – so you can be proactive in addressing issues before they become problems.   +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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BEFORE! Predictive Analytics

ACT Operations Research

1) Predict demand down to store and SKU level 2) Predict promotional campaign affect in the store, transportation and warehouse operations 3) Buy optimal quantities 4) Manage the risk associated with stock outs vs promotional campaigns and waste 5) considers assortment constraints and category efficiency 6) simulate store queuing for capacity analysis purposes and cost reduction purposes.  REVENUE, SALES & PROMOTION Revenue management and price optimization is a core-activity in any market oriented company operating in different industries (Retails, Fast Fashion, Chain Store, Car Rentals, Web Business, etc.). The goal of our suite is to provide, to the revenue managers, advanced analytics, using a unique combination and integration of predictive, optimization and simulation models. While the analytics tools are complex the results are always presented in an intuitive way. The core products included in the Revenue, Sale, Price & Promotion (RSP&P) suite are: Dynamic Price Optimizer (DPO), the multi-paradigm predictive paltform - Before! Predictive Analytics with Before! Sales Campaign -, the customers and market profiling analytics (CMP), the promotion optimization and what-if analysis platform - Before! Promo.  Before! Sales Campaign Before! Sales Campaign software addresses the needs of industries where the products and the merchandise assortments, have a fast renewal  dynamics, even during the same season, like the case of fashion and  fast-fashion channels, electronics or several web-business  Before! Promo Before!Promo, is a complete multi-paradigm analytical tool by ACTOR, developed for scaling enterprise companies. In the current competitive scenario the consumers pay high attention to the promotions, on the other hand promotions exposed retailers and vendors to higher risks in terms of image, in case of stock-out or costs in case of over-stock. When products are fresh-food or fast fashion for example, the risks become even higher.  Before! Predictive Analytics  Before! Predictive Analytics or simply Before!, is a complete multi-paradigm demand forecasting platform by ACTOR, developed for scaling enterprise companies. Before! provides you the capability to forecast the demand while gaining control of the related organization processes such as; planning, procurement, inventory optimization, store replenishments, etc..  Dynamic Price Optimization  Dynamic Price Optimization (DPO) is a capacity and revenue management software based on sophisticated analytical algorithms. It permits users to optimize the prices of products, assets and commodities over the time based on the expected demand, the competitor’s prices and other key-information like, for example, price elasticity.   +MORE

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Tastry aims to shape the alcohol and food industries with the launch of new wine & food pairing platform

Katerina Axelsson, CEO , Tastry

Tastry, an AI company that uses flavor chemistry and machine learning to recommend products based on an individual’s palate and preferences, announced today the launch of their food and recipe pairing platform. Although food and wine pairing isn’t a new concept, Tastry has identified drivers for a change in this sector both for the consumer and for food and CPG manufacturers.  Their current wine recommendation platform has a proven 45% increase in consumer satisfaction and an average 3-5% lift in category sales for participating retailers.  Tastry’s data can help manufacturers predict and develop delicious, memorable foods targeted for an individual as well as cut R&D costs and predict emerging wine and food trends per shopper both regionally and beyond. Their new food pairing and recipe platform will offer recommendations based on what bottle of wine is being purchased, the dish being served, and even the occasion for a gathering. “We are excited about the launch of our new platform and the robust recommendations it will provide for customers, ” said Katerina Axelsson, CEO of Tastry.  “We believe that this new platform will allow consumers, CPG developers, and retailers to have a very personalized and informative experience as we continue to grow and increase our market presence.” Tastry has plans in the near future to release a recommender in the cannabis sector and will be issuing details shortly. To receive this information upon release, email Starr@tastry.com About Tastry: An AI company based in San Luis Obispo, California. Their patented technology has the ability to evaluate consumer taste preferences to sensory-based products using analytical chemistry, machine learning, and AI. Tastry has accurately taught a computer how to taste. The technology serves retailers by providing science-based suggestions for product development, inventory purchase, and direct-to-consumer recommendation. +MORE

​SmartAisle and The Rise of Voice-Powered Retail

Ethan Goodman, Co-Founder, SmartAisle

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

Pseudo Customer Centricity: Fool’s Gold

Gary Hawkins on Winsight Grocery Business, CART

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

The Top Five Ways Retailers Benefit from Industry Trade Shows

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

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

NGA Show 2019: The Epicenter of Grocery Industry Innovation

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Technology's Profound Impact on the Supermarket Industry

Peter Larkin, President & CEO, National Grocers Association

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

Caper

Caper Labs Inc.

AI Powered Retail -Checkout made easy. Just toss it in, and leave. With our next generation smart self-checkout cart, powered by deep learning & computer vision, items are instantly detected as they enter the cart. Customers can just toss the items in & leave the store.  Scan Scan the item as you add merchandise into the shopping cart. No app download required.  Pay Once you're done shopping, directly pay on the cart with your credit card.  Scan Scan the item as you add merchandise into the shopping cart. No app download required. Bag & Go Directly bag your items, skip the cashiers and be on your way! +MORE

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Singularized Product Recommendations

Tastry, Inc.

Tastry is a multidisciplinary innovator in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Analytical Chemistry which leverages hybridized Expert and Content-based Machine Learning and Flavor Chemistry to provide Multi-Criteria Recommender Systems. …we like to say we “Taught a computer how to taste”. +MORE

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Real-Time Insights: Amazon Prime at Whole Foods

Gary Hawkins, CART

Its been a year since Amazon acquired Whole Foods, triggering a grocery industry innovation war and a stampede online. While there has been increasing activity since then the actual impact of Amazon’s entry into brick & mortar retail has been unknown… until now. The integration of Amazon’s Prime loyalty program to Whole Foods has accelerated changing shopping behavior and a recent study by Sense360 brings to light powerful insights as to just what’s going on. And traditional supermarket retailers have good reason to be concerned. With an estimated 80 million Prime members in the U.S. and an estimated 20 million of them shopping at Whole Foods, the potential impact Amazon can have through this integration is massive.  Here are the top 5 insights shared by CART and the Sense360 research team in the recent webinar: 1) Amazon’s integration of its Prime loyalty program at Whole Foods is designed to create an everyday benefit for Prime Members, and it appears to be working. From the behavioral data gathered by Sense360, Amazon shoppers are 27% more likely to visit Whole Foods than non-Amazon shoppers. Both Whole Foods shoppers and Amazon shoppers appreciate value with both groups indicating Value for Money and Good Everyday Prices are motivators.  2) Through the Prime integration at Whole Foods, Amazon is creating a powerful self-reinforcing value proposition - a flywheel - that is driving business. By offering new discounts and savings at Whole Foods only for Prime members, Amazon is acquiring new Prime users who in turn not only continue to shop at Whole Foods but are drawn into Amazon’s greater ecosystem. At the same time, Amazon is attracting a growing number of existing Prime members into the Whole Foods stores because of the new savings. This creates a powerful competitive advantage that other retailers are challenged to address. 3) The impact of this strategy is driving significant lift in traffic for Whole Foods, especially from Amazon Prime members. According to the Sense360 research, 90% of Prime members who participated in Whole Foods deals planned to take advantage of them again on future shopping trips. Research data also showed that Whole Foods increased its conversion rate; the percentage of all grocery shoppers that visited Whole Foods grew from 4.8% to 5.8% 4) Amazon’s strategy is impacting almost every retailer - and the pain has just begun. The impact of Prime at Whole Foods is still early and yet it is already helping Whole Foods gain share of customer and share of market. Factor in Amazon taking Whole Foods’ private label products online, making shelf-stable products available to any shopper across the U.S., and the opportunity for growth explodes. Amazon is now a direct competitor to every retailer and, increasingly, to well known consumer product goods manufacturers. 5) By extending Prime into Whole Foods, Amazon is now collecting shopper-identified grocery purchase data. Put together with the 20 years worth of data collected across Amazon’s platform, Amazon most likely has the largest trove of shopper data of any company in the U.S. Data-decisioning is at the heart of how Amazon operates and retailers attempting to compete without rich shopper data are increasingly disadvantaged.  Amazon is well known for personalizing each interaction with online shoppers, presenting products it believes you are interested in from past browsing, searches, and purchases. It is only a matter of time until this personalization begins to make its way into Whole Foods’ marketing now that Amazon is gathering shopper-identified transaction data via the Prime integration. And Amazon will not stop at just marketing relevancy; they will focus on what I think of as strategic personalization, tailoring the information, products, and even pricing, to the individual shopper with a goal of maximizing spending, shopping frequency, and retention over time. Very few retailers have the data and systems capabilities to go to market this way; Kroger is perhaps the most attuned to this approach, having focused on precision targeted, personalized promotions for the past decade. But Amazon’s entry onto the grocery field of battle will give Kroger a fight as both companies look to leverage shopper data. By integrating its Prime loyalty program into Whole Foods, Amazon has fundamentally changed grocery competition. And the battle is just getting started. The webcast, including all the Sense360 research and data, can be viewed at Real-Time Insights about Amazon Prime at Whole Foods  To view the original article which appeared on Winsight Grocery Business, click here. +MORE

Solving Out-of-Stocks for Retail Grocery

Donald Oelke, Popspots, COO

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

Popspots

Popspots

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

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SmartAisle

SmartAisle

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

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Foot traffic analytics: Your grocery innovation priority

Joanna Rutter, Marketing Specialist, Dor Technologies

Historically, grocery has trended toward traditional solutions to its previously predictable challenges, relying on data like sales trends and weather predictions to meet demand. However, the retail world is changing rapidly — and grocery hasn’t been able to fully catch up. Business as usual is impossible when new, digital-first players enter the space, shrinking store footprints and amplifying customer experience expectations.  While new players flood in, grocery has been “immune” to industry advancements in e-commerce, writes Shira Ovide in Bloomberg Gadfly, and investing in new technology that streamlines in-store operations to deliver on those new expectations has been a challenge for grocers. Perhaps one of the most surprising areas missing from a traditional grocery’s innovation list: Streamlining the checkout experience. Checked out at checkout Express lanes and self-checkout hasn’t revolutionized our purchasing experience as much as promised: The New York Times wrote that Americans still spend roughly 37 billion hours each year waiting in line. Though there are methods like Little’s law for predicting how many customers will be in-store at a given time, it’s hard to take action on that without robust, accurate data on customer traffic in the first place. That lack of intel hits retailers and their customers right in the most frustrating area of the store: Checkout, where “seemingly innocuous things can rub a waiting customer the wrong way,” wrote Perry Kuklin of Lavi Industries in Retail Customer Experience. “Slow or chatting cashiers irritated nearly 70 percent of customers while 49 percent were annoyed at seeing closed checkout lines when a store is busy.” Lavi Industries also found that a third of customers abandon checkout lines longer than five minutes and begin to get frustrated at the two and a half minute mark. With such a thin margin between a customer’s happiness and frustration, grocers need Knowing traffic trends for your store gives you one more data layer to prevent understaffed, long checkout lines that anger and deter customers. How can foot traffic analytics help? Brick and mortar retailers traditionally rely on sales data to help identify trends and predict customer behavior, but this data only shows one piece of the overall health of their business. What sales data doesn’t show is how many visitors came to your store and, more importantly, how many left without making a purchase, especially due to checkout wait times. According to McKinsey findings, “revenue is a sensible criterion for scheduling, but it’s an insufficient one because customers’ buying patterns (average basket size, average purchase price per item, and so on) can vary by hour and by day.” Foot traffic analytics can help you further identify those variables: “Monitor your queues in real time: Use a footfall analytics system to keep tabs on exactly how many people are in line now, how many service agents are available to help, and how long the wait time is and will be soon. With this data at your fingertips you can proactively manage waiting lines, open new lines as needed, direct customers to open lines, and head off problems before they get out of hand.” (Lavi Industries) Foot traffic data gives retailers the tools they need to optimize their staffing — according to a UNC study, retailers are over- or under-staffed 86 percent of the time — measure their marketing effectiveness, and quantify their conversion rate. Foot traffic is a vital layer of information that can illuminate critical insights into sales trends that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Dor can help you get started with footfall tracking in your store as soon as this week. Dor easily installs in minutes and begins counting customers right away. Integrate foot traffic data from Dor into your existing business intelligence solutions using Dor’s API, and access store traffic trends from any device, anytime, anywhere. Learn more about how Dor can help you optimize your in-store operations. +MORE

Pace of Innovation -- Shattering the Status Quo

Gary Hawkins, CART

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

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

CART

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

Stepping into the Gap at the NGA Show 2018

Gary Hawkins, CART

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

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

Bradley A. Zenger, Pivotal Tools

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

Making Online Grocery Easy and Affordable for Every Grocer

Josh Ray, ShopHero

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

Us vs Amazon

Chris Cialone, Cloud Union

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

Profitable Delivery with FwdMbl Solutions

John Kangas, FwdMbl Solutions, LLC

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

FwdMbl

FwdMbl Solutions, LLC

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

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