Store operations

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

Lan Nguyen, Marketing Manager, Bossa Nova Robotics

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

Robots for Retailers

Bossa Nova Robotics

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

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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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PAR SureCheck

PAR

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Food borne illness puts your customers and your business at risk. While most restaurant and grocery chains have Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) programs, many are ineffective and time-consuming. PAR SureCheck combines a PDA-based mobile application, cloud-based enterprise server and a fully integrated temperature measuring device (TMD) for managing HACCP and inspection programs for retail and food service organizations. SureCheck checklist-based logging automates the monitoring of quality risk factors while dramatically lowering the potential for human error. +MORE

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Intelligent Checklist For Quality and Safety in the Supermarket

CART

Meticulous compliance with temperature control and monitoring practices is a fundamental necessity for food service providers in order to assure product quality and safety. As both hot and cold menu offerings continue to expand in the supermarket environment, this activity grows more complicated, placing a greater burden upon operators to maintain excellence. Many observe that existing paper-based recordkeeping processes are no longer adequate for the modern grocer. With these issues in mind, two retailers collaborated on in-store deployments of a food safety and intelligent checklist platform beginning in summer 2013. The activity was focused on deli and prepared foods departments located at one store of a regional supermarket chain and a single-store independent grocer. The platform (PAR EverServ® SureCheck®) uses digital temperature testing devices linked wirelessly to a cloud-based server application. Among multiple benefits of this arrangement, the platform helps food service associates to better manage temperature monitoring activities in a timely manner, while faithfully capturing an activity log that may be monitored to prove compliance. Results to date indicate improvement on several key performance dimensions compared with previously existing paper-based record keeping methods. +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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GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck is mobile form and execution management software that enables team leaders to improve workforce operations. Organizations can assign tasks, analyze real-time reporting, and drive action to accomplish critical goals and objectives. +MORE

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Beekeeper

Beekeeper Ltd.

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

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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

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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The One Technology Every Grocerant Needs to Know

Tebo Store Fixtures

Digital signage isn’t just a pretty display, it is a tool to boost sales, customer experience and more; The use of digital signage in your grocerant deli will inform and persuade customers. The use of eye-catching imagery and content will drive sales, allow you to cross promote within your store, and excite your guests. Every day more and more grocery store delis are adopting the use of digital signage and seeing the benefit from this increasingly affordable technology. In the Deli environment, this is not only a resource for customers but is a great resource to engage your employees as well. It brings your daily menu to life with promotions and specials.  Not only does this increase dwell time, it will also help your customers get to know your brand better than static boards leaving lasting impressions. The Benefits of Using Digital Signage: Remotely update menu boards with no ongoing printing or labor costs Offer service to non-English speakers Boost sales 8-22% by simply placing the screen in your deli space Reduce perceived wait time Cross promote within store Employee engagement The Deli grocerant has many challenges that digital menu boards can help solve, but the key to success is to have a clear objective for your digital menu boards. Asking yourself how to correlate to your customer base, store branding, and employee involvement are the steps necessary for a successful relationship with digital signage. Regardless of the size of your grocery stores (multiple or single locations) with the use of digital signage, it will increase the effectiveness of communication in the work environment. A little-known fact is having engaged employees there is a positive correlation to above average productivity. With a raise in productivity leads to more sales and customers walking through your doors. Bringing digital signage to your space is a great start for positive growth of your grocerant deli. +MORE

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

Alex Goodwin, Aila Technologies

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

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

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

PivotalView

Pivotal Tools

The Information Every Grocer Needs…on Your Smartphone PivotalView from Pivotal Tools is a mobile business intelligence tool designed specifically for grocers.  PivotalView provides store and department managers Actionable Insights and performance information right on their smartphones empowering them to deliver better results! PivotalView Empowers your Merchants to Deliver Greater Sales! Unlike traditional grocer tools, like paper movement or sales reports, PivotalView delivers Actionable Insights that are: Easy to get, Easy to understand, and Easy to evaluate Merchants using PivotalView deliver higher sales growth, less shrink and have better job satisfaction.   Designed first as a mobile tool, PivotalView delivers Actionable Insights wherever members of your team find themselves.  It’s always in their pocket! Results are available first thing in the morning, generally by 5:00 a.m..  With the color-coded scorecard feature, each merchant knows where they exceeded target and where the opportunities are.   Now with PivotalView your team knows their results before they get on the sales floor.  Unlike traditional grocer tools, they don't run reports, they "drill down" to understand why...right on their smartphone.  With a click they can view their department results, another click categories and another individual items. Merchants using PivotalView know if the Ad is working or that endcap is delivering expected lift without ever going into the office and printing out a report.  They get to the sales floor or a vendor meeting with the information they need to build on success and address opportunities.  That's an Empowered Merchant! Why consider PivotalView to Empower your Merchants?   Empowered Merchants use PivotalView every day to deliver faster sales growth, higher customer counts, and bigger baskets.  Here’s what Empowered Merchants are saying about PivotalView: “I’m using this to track two different packaging strategies on single serve cake offerings in the two stores I’m responsible for. “  -Tammy - Bakery Manager “If sales are in the red, it motivates me to do more selling and merchandising.”  - Joel - Department Manager “I love that in an Independent store, I can pull up sales data on a vendor and see the same sales data at one of my other stores to see if it is feasible for me to carry the product.  Love this app!! - Michelle – Store Manager “I'm competitive and this tool makes me even more competitive  - Carole – Deli Manager With PivotalView it's Easy! PivotalView is designed by Grocers for Grocers.  That means, it's easy to use.   Implemented by experts, PivotalView is easy to deploy, as a simple Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, with no investment up front.  It's easy to afford. +MORE

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Interactive Kiosk

Aila Technologies, Inc.

INTERACTIVE KIOSK With scanning technology that’s second-to-none and customization that caters to any retail environment, Aila’s Interactive Kiosk is the industry standard for tablet kiosk solutions. ADDITIONAL FEATURES TrueScan™ Technology: The industry's best integrated image-capturing solution Wi-Fi Transparent: No matter where you place it in your store, the Interactive Kiosk is designed to maximize signal transmission Compatible: Designed for seamless compatibility with Apple's suite of iPad devices +MORE

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Store Management Suite

LOC Software

Store Management Suite (SMS) is a complete set of applications, supporting single to multi-store chain environments. SMS is a client-based retail solution providing a seamless, integrated software suite that manages point of sale, back office, corporate office, warehouse and all aspects within the retail enterprise. The suite contains modules that are typically outsourced, including bank integration, customer loyalty, labor management, mobility, pay-at-the-pump, digital signage, and more. +MORE

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Taskle

Pinpoint Software, Inc.

Taskle is a software application for internal store audits and in-store task management. Convert pen and paper checklists into our mobile platform that gives you the insights on store performance. Use our suite of reports to help you identify growth opportunities and validate performance at the company, location, and task or initiative levels. As your key initiatives change, Taskle can be easily customized to help you drive your business goals and objectives through to success. +MORE

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StoreMAX Problem Store Studies

SIRS (Strategic Intel Research Serv)

SIRS provides problem store identification, evaluation, and action planning using consumer research.  We identify how your stores are performing versus their potential in total, by department, and among different demographic and lifestyle target groups.  We measure customer satisfaction and identify improvements consumers want in your stores.  We identify which types of shoppers you are attracting, which types you are missing, and why.  We determine what sales your stores can reasonably expect to attain.  We evaluate what areas of concentration will yield the greatest sales payoff.  We generate customer spotting maps which identify where you are underperfoming.  Through our Opportunity Store Group Analysis process, we are able to identify "low hanging fruit" by targeting stores groups by lifestyle, greatest opportunity for increased sales, prototype stores, least successful stores, etc. +MORE

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Digital Signage Solutions

Tebo Store Fixtures

Tebo Store Fixtures, after years of listening to America’s Independent Grocer, have developed a Digital Menu Board System designed to drive sales at a very affordable price. Once installed, your marketing team can control screens in single and multiple stores from a central point, and store personnel can make on the fly changes from any web enabled device. The complete system includes one commercial grade LG screen (49", 55" or 65"), PingHD signage player, 3 year warranty, two 1 hour training classes, and 24/7 technical support.  +MORE

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AO: LifeCycle

Accucode, Inc.

In order to get the greatest benefit from investing in your people, facilities, and equipment, you need tools that maximize their efficiency. AO: LifeCycle is a solution designed to help manage your ecosystem by offering a full range of hardware management and maintenance support for your business. Through a centralized depot center and an online service portal, Accucode can manage all of your devices throughout their product lifecycle, providing retailers with optimal performance and productivity. +MORE

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Performance Insights and Management

IBM

Ensure all parts of your organization are working toward shared financial goals and business objectives. Begin with an enterprise-wide financial planning system to help define metrics for each functional area that are tied to corporate goals and which allow what-if modeling of different business decisions. Then establish performance measurement and reporting processes so you can continuously monitor execution against plan and quickly identify the cause of any performance issues. Finally, use advanced analytics to anticipate performance gaps or changes in market demand so you can respond quickly. The benefits of these tools and processses include greater transparency across functions; improved organizational accountability, and increased profits. +MORE

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PCMS Store Systems

PCMS

PCMS has developed the VISION Twenty One Portfolio of software solutions for retail in response to the needs of our clients. With retail in mind at every stage of its development, the VISION Twenty One Portfolio can provide end-to-end solutions for retail. Combining POS, loss prevention, back office, and managed services, PCMS offers a one stop shop for retail. +MORE

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Fixed Cost Reduction

SIB

SIB offers to audit our clients’ vendor invoices in areas like telecom, waste removal, and utilities on a contingency basis. We look for historical billing errors and contract compliance, and we work their existing vendors to negotiate better terms and service levels. +MORE

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Retail Management Solutions

Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor retail management solutions are inspired by thousands of retail businesses, and is designed to meet the evolving merchandise and service expectations of today’s connected, cross-channel shopper. Epicor POS software provides innovative and powerful solutions that meet the business requirements of the most demanding retail environments, with rapid return on investment, low cost of ownership, and a single point of accountability. +MORE

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