Web services & support

3 Ways Shopping Has Changed and How Grocers Can Adapt

Shawn Tuckett, VP of Sales and Client Service, Webstop

With your employees, your customers, and your bottom line all demanding your attention, innovation may not always be on the top of the priority list. Sure, there’s no doubt you are strategizing how to best meet the needs of your shoppers, from operations to customer service, but here’s the elephant in the room that you may not be addressing: The industry is changing and your competition is already adapting, are you keeping up? Here are 3 ways shopping habits have changed, how the industry is innovating, and steps you can take to adapt to emerging trends. #1: PLANS HAVE CHANGED Can you name a more iconic combination than shopping and the shopping list? Whether it is a scribble on a scrap paper or a fully categorized list of essentials, for decades “the list” has been the primary tool of your shoppers and getting on that list has been pivotal to lasting success. In an increasingly digital age, the traditional list is changing. Yes, shoppers are still using physical lists, but today’s consumer is much more likely to have a smartphone on them than a pen and paper. One study found that the typical cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day with heavy users exceeding 5,400 touches. Even without reading the statistics there’s no doubt you are seeing it across your stores – Moms scrolling Facebook in the cereal aisle, millennials snapchatting a selfie in front of the live lobster tank, dads nervously sending photos to moms to make sure they are supposed to get baking powder and not baking soda. How would it change your bottom line if even just a fraction of those touches included accessing your digital shopping list? That way you don’t need to hope you get ON the list, you can BE the list. #2: THE MARKET HAS CHANGED The emergence of home delivery, store pickup, mobile pay and checkout-free experiences have all affected the expectations of consumers in the market. With competition and options increasing and attention spans decreasing, it is more important than ever to create ways to anticipate your shoppers’ needs. It may come as a surprise to you, but the next generation of customers still wants to know that their local corner grocer cares about them. Posting a weekly ad PDF to your website is no longer going to cut it in this ever-changing world. Connecting with shoppers in today’s age may not look how it did 30 years ago but don’t be fooled, digital connections are an absolute necessity in today’s competitive environment. #3: TIMES HAVE CHANGED Life seems to be moving faster than ever and if you’re feeling like there’s too much “to-do” at the end of your business day, you can guarantee your shoppers are feeling the same. Face it, the “regularly scheduled shopping trip” is not how younger generations shop. Now, consumers are squeezing in quick trips in tight windows – on their commute home, in between other errands, always on the way to or from the next obligation. Millennial moms are already actively trending towards using beacon-enabled shopping apps providing important reminders to take care of the grocery shopping when they leave the house, drive by a set destination, or during a set time of day. And that’s just the straightforward use of beacons. Your competitors may have even tagged your stores’ physical locations so that they can message your shoppers every time they drive by your store in hopes of luring them away and into their store instead. Sound over the top, it’s not, it’s what is happening now. CONCLUSION In order to be the location of choice for current and future shopping needs, you have to be ready, available, and accessible whenever and wherever shoppers are. Do your digital marketing features measure up to the other retailers your shoppers have access to? If not, what is holding you back from upgrading your digital suite? Change is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be scary. Webstop has helped over 3,000 stores upgrade their digital features to compete for today’s shoppers. How can we help you gain more shoppers? +MORE

Are you Leaving Profits in the Basket? 10 Secrets to Increase Basket Size Week After Week

Dan Dashevsky, My Cloud Grocer

Independent supermarkets that offer products both in-store and online have an online basket size averaging between $120 and $184, based on the recent Brick Meets Click study. This compares favorably to Amazon Fresh at $84; Instacart, $98; Fresh Direct, $105; and Peapod, $147, as reported by 1010data. Out of 19 independent banners participated in the BMC study, Breadberry supermarket in Brooklyn, New York, had an online basket size of $184, the largest reported. Many of MCG’s clients have similar or even larger basket sizes than Breadberry’s. These 10 secrets have enabled our clients to achieve such outstanding results.   1.     Speed matters. Website visitors tend to care more about speed than about the bells and whistles we might be tempted to add to our websites. Google did an interesting experiment with regard to load times, asking web surfers if they would rather see 10 or 30 search results at a time. The users agreed that 30 results per page sounded like a good idea. Google then implemented this on some of their results pages. The shock came when traffic to pages that displayed 30 results dropped an astounding 20%. Google then tested the loading time difference between the 10- and 30-result pages. They found that this was just half of a second. So page loading time has been shown to be a crucial factor in user retention. It is also becoming a more important factor in search engine rankings. 2.     Product photography. The images on a site are another important factor. High-definition, mouthwatering pictures make a big difference when it comes to food shopping. Many website owners opt for the easy solution, and only display product images they can easily obtain from publicly available databases such as Kweeki and Item Master. These databases do not include all products, however, and image quality is often poor and inconsistent. The time and effort invested in high quality product photography to ensure that every product carried in the store is online and has a beautiful image pays good long-term dividends. 3.     Less is more. Instead of cluttering pages with as much product info as possible, keep it simple. Make the product image and a brief description the center of attention. Then you can add to the page some relevant and popular products to help customers remember to buy products that they may otherwise forget. 4.     “Shop by recipe.” Customers are looking for creative ideas to keep their meals fun. With a Shop by Recipes feature, they can find a recipe, click, and send ingredients to their shopping cart. The more interesting it is to browse your online store, the more your customers will buy from you. 5.     “My favorites.” Customers complete their shopping list much faster when they start with a pre-populated list of the products they normally buy. Once they are done with the basics, they have time to browse for more products, adding to the total basket size. 6.     Digital circulars. Everyone loves savings, and the more the better. Having plenty of items on weekly specials not only increases your in-store traffic but also increases your online basket size. Your printed flyer can only fit a limited number of items before it begins to look like a flea market and becomes impossible to read. Online, there is no limit to how many items you can display on special. Customers simply flip to the next page and keep on adding savings to their shopping cart. 7.     Quick re-order. By giving customers the ability to quickly send all the items from their previous order directly to their shopping cart, you’re simplifying their life and minimizing the possibility that they may forget an item or two. 8.     Keep it fresh. Let’s face it, shopping for groceries is not a recreational activity, but if you keep on introducing new products, it becomes more interesting, and this too will be reflected in your basket size. 9.     Accurate order fulfillment. Customers who are using your online order service are doing so for convenience, They want to save time for other priorities. If you fulfill their order quickly, and most important, accurately, you will see many more orders and higher order amounts now that they have trust in your service. Many MCG clients see increase in online basket size with customers who are placing their third and fourth orders. Once they develop the trust in your service, they will reward you with loyalty and larger basket sizes. 10. Good customer service. As in brick and mortar stores, good customer service is the key to success. This is what differentiates you from your competitors. Be ready to replace the not-so-fresh strawberries that a personal shopper put into a customer’s bag by mistake. Customers will buy more online from you if they are confident that if something is not satisfactory you will take good care of them. +MORE

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

Susan Galer , Forbes SAP voice

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

BoodsKapper Retail bot

Boodskapper

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

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My Cloud Grocer Solution Guide

CART

My Cloud Grocer provides a retailer-branded online shopping solution to supermarket retailers. The online shopping site is responsive (will display properly on desktop, smartphone, and tablet screens) and features fast load times and payment functionality using token technology surpassing PCI compliance. My Cloud Grocer provides the retailer with support for picking, managing, and delivering orders. The company’s retail clients have experienced increased overall sales, due to reduced scatter... +MORE

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End-To-End eGrocery Solution

Self-Point

(1)

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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Managed Online Grocery Solution

My Cloud Grocer

(5)

We launch and manage e-commerce websites for supermarkets. Our clients win the fiercely competitive omni-channel battle for customers.   You enjoy all the benefits of a fully managed, branded, fully integrated proprietary website. And you retain ownership of your customers. We leverage a state-of-the-art enterprise platform for efficiency, and then as developers we customize to meet the unique needs of our individual clients.  We don't stop at launch. We optimize on an ongoing basis to provide your shoppers with the ultimate online experience. That's why our clients get online sales at a rate far higher than current market trends, and without retail cannibalization. It's fast, highly secure and surprisingly affordable. If you're ready to launch an advanced e-commerce website or optimize your current e-commerce website, then let's talk.  +MORE

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Grocery Websites & Digital Marketing Solutions

Webstop

Multi-Retailer Website System: Independent retailers need a website that engages consumers, saving time and money.  The problem is that until now, only chains could afford web features that consumers value.  With few other options, many independents have a low cost website with little ongoing value for digitally active consumers.    Wholesalers now have the opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art website at an affordable price to hundreds of retailers via Webstop's Multi-Retailer Website system.  Independents can gain the advanced interactive features that consumers love at great economies of scale.  Each store or retailer can have their own complete, full featured website, branded and personalized for their consumers.    The features include fully interactive digital circulars, interactive shopping lists, over 5,000 integrated recipes, store locatore with Google Maps integration, integrated email campaigns with pre-built layouts, custom web pages built by each store and a full-featured mobile website. Mobile App Integrated with Retailer Website: Webstop's Mobile App offering provides retailers of any size an affordable mobile solution to compete effectively for consumer marketing success.  The Mobile App includes advanced interactive weekly ads, thousands of recipes, personalized shopping lists, store locator with Google Maps integration, integration with personal digital coupons and more.  Custom retailer content can be included via easy, low cost, web-based integration. The app is provided for the latest iPhone and Android smartphones.  With Single Login features, the Mobile App allows consumers to login with the same id they use for the retailer's website.  Data is synched automatically with the consumer's web-based shopping list, for ease of use and flexibility. Fully customized services are available for advanced integration with third parties via API technology, such as paperless coupon integrators, RX refills, targeted content and more. Paperless Coupon - Advanced Integration: In addition to providing a set of coupon gallery pages, Webstop dynamically integrates coupons on the highest traffic web and mobile pages.  With our Single Login features, consumers don't have to sign-up separately for coupons, weekly ad preferences, email newsletter opt-in. When consumers clip a coupon, it's not only added to their card or online account, it's also inserted in their shopping list, organized by department and included with all other list selections.  The list is printable and included in the retailer's mobile app automatically. Coupons are dynamically presented next to the weekly ad items on sale today at the consumer's preferred store, and recipes include coupons that save money on the ingredients list for savings and convenience. This results in two significant benefits - the easiest consumer experience in accessing coupon savings plus an additional 15 - 20% higher level of coupon clipping compared to the majority of retailers using other services.  +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

Customer Touchpoints and the Human Experience

Gary Hawkins, CART

I was visiting someone in the hospital the other day and, looking about the room, noticed an Amazon Echo installed on the wall opposite the hospital bed. There was a sign under the device telling patients that they could ask Alexa to call their nurse or make other requests. In speaking with the nurse I learned that Amazon is working with the hospital in a pilot to test the application of Alexa in the hospital environment. Beyond the hospital, Amazon is pushing Alexa into the hospitality industry where a growing number of hotels are putting the digital assistant in rooms so guests can request services just by asking. While this alone is fascinating, and illustrates just how far and how fast voice-based technology is moving, it really opens up a larger discussion on customer touchpoints. Retailers today have a fast growing number of ways to connect with a shopper, inside and outside the store. And, more than ever before, retailers need to be mindful of the human experience they are providing across those myriad touchpoints because in today’s digital world, user experience is everything. Consider the myriad ways a retailer can touch a shopper: In the digital world that includes the website, mobile, email, text, social media, and more. A Deloitte study calls out that “more than 60% of customers interact through multiple channels and irrespective of time, place, device, or medium, they expect consistency.” In the store, retailers can engage using kiosks, mobile, and the POS. We can’t forget about print, including the weekly ad and direct mail, along with television, radio, and other mass channels. And of course, just like in the hospital, voice will soon be everywhere. A good exercise for retail marketers to go through is to create an inventory of all the touchpoints they currently use, and then alongside that create a list of other touchpoints that could be deployed or used. Once the list of existing touchpoints is created, work to understand which shoppers are using each and why. For example, do high-value shoppers regularly use your mobile app? Do more convenience shoppers gravitate to your website?  Don’t forget about your associates; oftentimes they are the only interaction the shopper has with your business. The Wall Street Journal had an article recently about how airlines are arming their flight attendants with extensive data on their flyers to facilitate service on board. As a very frequent flyer I have experienced this firsthand, the attendant addressing me by name and asking if I would like my usual drink. Retailers have untapped potential to arm in-store associates with product and customer intelligence via smartphones to help them provide better service. One of the largest challenges traditional retailers face is having disparate capabilities and an inability to provide the seamless digital experience across devices and touchpoints that today’s shoppers are expecting… and demanding. Another Deloitte study (Customer Ambitions Delivered) states “research shows 89% of market leaders expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience - a number that has jumped from 36% four years ago. As more companies realize the benefits of engaging with their customers along every touchpoint, customers are growing accustomed to top-of-the-line experiences. Modern customers expect a tailored experience— one with flexible purchasing options, painless technology integrations, and ample opportunities to provide feedback if they receive stellar or sub-par products or services.” Retailers can then extend the inventory of touchpoints exercise, thinking through the ‘mission’ of each touchpoint and its role in growing (retailer brand) awareness, shopper acquisition, growth, and retention. Core to this is making every interaction across each touchpoint contextually relevant to the shopper. Again, the human experience is critically important. Every customer engagement at every touchpoint provides an opportunity to learn more about the shopper and, for digital touchpoints, provide a more personalized experience. To do this requires identifying the shopper as quickly and easily as possible so that you respond with relevant offers and information. Increasingly we are seeing digital displays and signage in the store incorporate cameras and other sensors able to provide additional analytics and insights to customer behavior. Best practices: Create and maintain a list of customer touchpoints used. Consider grouping the touchpoints such as digital, print, in-store, etc. to better understand your capabilities Create a ‘mission’ for each touchpoint which forces you to think through how it can be used to support shopper acquisition, growth, and retention Work to create a platform infrastructure that ‘feeds’ each touchpoint to create the seamless - and relevant - experience shoppers want Use every touchpoint and customer engagement to learn; improving the relevancy of the engagement and learning to make the touchpoint more valuable Any digital touchpoints should be fed by realtime intelligence reflecting the latest interactions the shopper has had with you _____________________________ To learn more join the CART team along with Kate Favrow, Corporate Marketing Manager for AWG, and Roger Marin, CIO of Draeger’s, for the upcoming Customer Touchpoints webinar on Tuesday, July 24, at 2pm Eastern. View article on Winsight Grocery Business here   +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

Cloud Union

Cloud Union Rewards

The Rewards Platform that has millions of shoppers engaged in the "spend", "earn", "redeem" and "re-spend" transactional cycle Add value, not lower price, to transaction: 100% digital with proven technology.  No cards. No keytags Integrate online and offline sales Drive actionable insights Strengthen the relationships with customers  The only loyalty program that pays YOU Intelligence-Based Marketing Cloud Union analytics provide data-driven insights that guide business decisions and optimize marketing campaigns.  Supercharge your customer acquisition, retention, upsell and cross-sell strategies.  Gain a deep understanding of your customers and build a stronger relationships with analytics that are automated, smart and predictive. +MORE

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Web Payments

PayPal

PayPal Express Checkout - Add PayPal to your existing web checkout - Sell to customers who are more likely to pay with PayPal - Access to new customers who prefer PayPal PayPal Payments Standard - Accept credit cards and PayPal on your website - No set-up or termination fees - Easy to get started PayPal Payments Pro - Accept credit cards, PayPal Credit, and PayPal - Fully customizable with easy cart integration and APIs - Phone-based credit card payments and online invoicing +MORE

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Real-Time Shopper Marketing Platform

SYNQY

Retailers:  Get Paid to Merchandise Better: Make money by allowing targeted, rich-media merchandising product experiences onto your online product pages. You will sell more products, create a better experience AND get paid for it. The more products you allow to merchandise better with SYNQY, the more money you will make. There is no fee for you, and no selling on your part. It’s just a cash machine that increases your sell through and also pays you below-the-line margin dollars. Enhance Customer Experience and Build Store Advocacy: Create advocates by helping customers through their shopping journey. Use interactive, persuasive content from vendors to improve the overall experience and engage customers in new and powerful ways. Reduce Cart Abandonment Rates: Cut your cart abandonment rates by as much as half by becoming the central source of product information for customers. Leverage your vendor’s compelling content to keep shoppers on your site instead of sending them away to get the answers they crave. Win the Show-Rooming War: Win all of the in-store mobile browsing that isn’t specifically about price comparisons by giving the shopper all the information they need to be comfortable buying the product in front of them – at the most critical moment in time. Increase Average Cart or Basket Size Through Cross-Merchandising: Improve the up-selling and cross-selling by allowing vendor-driven comparison content and other guided product recommendation technologies into the experience. Brands: Greater Brand Presence: Create a bigger and better brand experience within your retailers’ online stores.  Set your brand apart in a way that supports the shopper’s path to purchase and builds brand equity at the place it matters most. Directly at the point of sale.   Improved New Product Trial: Bundle shopper solutions and easily cross promote new products along with existing SKUs.  SYNQY makes it simple to dynamically prompt new product trial by serving up products in context. Helping shoppers to see what they need to create the confidence for purchase.   Achieves End-to-End Brand Consistency: Never lose control of your content and experience once it goes.  SYNQY makes brand managers happy while building trust and confidence with shoppers.  Keep everyone on-message – all the time. +MORE

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eCommerce and Home Delivery Solutions for Grocers

ShopHero

(2)

ShopHero provides online grocery and home delivery solutions for grocers. We're more than just another eCommerce company. We've built a digital customer engagement platform from the ground up that's easy to use for you and your shoppers, and works on all devices. Shopper habits are changing and it's more important than ever to keep up. In 2016, 5% of all grocery sales were online and industry experts are forecasting that number to reach 17% by 2023. Online grocery is no longer a nice to have feature, it's a must have for every successful supermarket. Stores that neglect this growing segment of customers are missing an opportunity to grab market share and risk losing customers to other online options.  We offer a true end-to-end platform that includes building and managing your online grocery site, fulfillment and delivery, and highly targeted marketing personalized for your customers. Using advanced data analytics and integration with your POS we promote your highest margin products to the customers who are most likely to purchase at just the right time. In addition, our platform learns your customer's habits and we're able to provide a unique digital commerce experience for each shopper. This leads to an average basket that is 3.5 times bigger than the average in-store purchase. Online grocery is here and your store can be online in less than two weeks. Contact us today, we'd love to learn about your goals and discuss ways we can help. +MORE

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iOS & Android app development

Appus Studio

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

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Social Marketing Management

SUPERVALU

Social Marketing Management  Like it or not, we are living a world that depends of the internet. Currently, 3 Billion people on earth have access to the internet and 2.1 Billion people are active on social media networks. With seventy-eight precent of the US adult population on, at least, 1 social media platform, it is safe to say that social media is an excellent way to reach consumers. The fascinating thing about social media marketing is that retailers are no longer the sole creator of content for their stores; user reviews, photos and comments have become more important to other consumers. Customers are deeply influenced by what other people write online about their shopping experiences.  Eighty-­five percent of shoppers say that they read online reviews for local businesses. Whether on a large review site, a social media platform or a niche site, people are talking about your store. It’s vital that your business listens in on this conversation so you can respond appropriately, when necessary. Supervalu wants to help you take full control of your social media presence, in order to reap the most benefits. +MORE

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Digital Presence Management

Yext

Location Manager: Today, people are on the go, on their smart phones, on social networks, constantly seeking up-to-the-second information to make local purchasing decisions. The velocity of technology keeps accelerating, and its scope expanding—which is why it's critical to be able to efficiently edit important location-based content across digital properties. With Yext Location Manager, you can seamlessly customize and update content for each and every one of your locations—whether you have 2 or 2,000—across all your digital channels. Social: The cloud. It's street level too. And so is social. Sharing is the heart of social media, so it figures that a great deal of what people share is their local activity. The reality is your brand is already in the ether: Across the globe, people are creating local profiles, checking in, and posting and commenting every day. Yext allows you to reclaim your brand in the social sphere—especially at the local level. Yext instantaneously syncs and updates invaluable content—like store hours, a new address, or an important status update—to whichever social networks your brand engages with. Pages: You want your website and your paid media to drive not just brand-level awareness, but foot traffic in your local stores. Bridge your marketing and your local presence with unique web pages and campaign landing pages for each of your locations—created without IT support. When customers visit your website, direct them to the most relevant of your locations based on where they are and what they want. The Yext Location Manager is completely integrated with listings and social, so managing all your digital locations at once is a breeze. And, since all pages from Yext are powered by cutting-edge technology and built-in SEO, you'll be up and running in no time. Listings: In today's competitive marketplace, when it comes to information, people expect nothing less than precision—but that can be elusive when information about your brand appears in so many discrete destinations. What if you could not only ensure that info is consistent and up-to-date, but also utilize every place your brand appears online—even places you don't own—to create new opportunities for marketing and customer engagement? With patented technology and real-time update architecture, Yext analyzes, identifies, and claims your existing business listings across our unique publisher network, so all of your content is locked, synced, enhanced, and updatable across every digital channel. Analytics: Access to proprietary metrics for Listings, Social and Pages - available only with Yext. Gain a holistic view of your business, your customers, and ripe opportunities via data. Isolate and break down select metrics to tap valuable patterns with the comprehensive toolset. With Yext, you can track, assess, and adjust for increased reach and impact. +MORE

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Acxiom Impact

Acxiom

Acxiom Impact combines the global scale of our Acxiom heritage with unmatched service and technology to deliver innovative solutions across email, mobile, social, websites, and display advertising. +MORE

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MyAcxiomPartner

Acxiom

MyAcxiomPartner is an easy-to-use site powered by Acxiom Corporation where businesses of any size may conveniently order marketing services that help them find new customers faster, save money, and improve direct marketing ROI. No commitment is required, and businesses pay only for the products and services used. +MORE

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Marketing Database Solutions

Acxiom

Acxiom enables marketers to centralize all data, both online and offline, into a central repository and make it actionable. The ability to collect and analyze information from all sources increases customer acquisition, retention and loyalty. A single database view provides tangible value when making strategic marketing and sales decisions. Using all of the information available across all channels and data sources results in greater customer insights and increased relevance of marketing offers. +MORE

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LiveRamp Connect

Acxiom

Onboard your data and unleash new possibilities. Data Onboarding with LiveRamp Connect brings your CRM, sales, and other customer data into the digital marketing applications and media platforms you use every day. When your data is activated for use in online marketing campaigns, so much more is possible. LiveRamp Connect anonymizes and then matches your anonymized CRM and purchase data to online devices and digital IDs through a secure, automated process that protects consumer privacy. Data segments are then distributed to your preferred marketing and media platforms for measurement, targeting, and anonymous reach, one-to-one marketing. +MORE

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GoGrab

GoGrab

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

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eCommerce Payment Processing

Vantiv

We offer merchant eCommerce solutions designed to help you simplify digital card acceptance and drive profitable, lasting customer relationships. +MORE

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eReceipts

inStream

PERSONALIZED TARGETED DIGITAL RECEIPT MARKETING. Getting the additional purchase is hard work – but inStream makes it easy with Interactive Digital Receipts. Add live links for personalized offers, data capture, loyalty signup, and drive to eCommerce, social media, and bricks & mortar. Digital Receipts can be enhanced with personalized, targeted offers and marketing based on the consumer's POS transaction. And best yet, inStream technology can connect to your existing loyalty program software to provide real-time transaction and customer data to super-charge your loyalty marketing success. +MORE

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Advanced Content Personalization Technology

LimeSpot Solutions Inc.

LimeSpot is an eCommerce Conversion AI that helps online stores increase their revenue by delivering a unique personalized experience across different channels. +MORE

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