Workforce management

There is No Positive Customer Experience without Retail Execution

Brad Lawless, Sales Engineer, Movista

While every day brings a new article on the death of brick-and-mortar retail at the hands of its e-commerce children, rather than perish, smart retailers are evolving their approach to store operations and customer service.  In a year when online Holiday sales rose by 19% in 2018 vs the previous year, no one will argue the popularity of online retail. Even so, reasons beyond sheer necessity continue to drive shoppers into physical stores. According to KPMG, “The top reason consumers prefer to shop in-store versus online is to see, feel and experience the product in person.” Additionally, Millennials highly value instant gratification. While they shop online more frequently than older generations, they are twice as likely to visit a store to get their product right away.  A study in complexity, many retail stores exist in an always-on, 24/7 world where market forces continually increase pressure on store managers to do more with fewer people, all while enhancing their customers’ in-store experience. When experience and instant gratification become primary drivers for store visits, a simple thing like an out-of-stock or difficult-to-find product could ruin a trip and keep that shopper from ever returning. Conversely, a store that executes on retail fundamentals (stocked shelves; clean, easily navigated aisles; and knowledgeable, friendly store associates) helps to ensure that every store visit ends satisfactorily, and hopefully exceptionally. A Day in the Life of a Mass Market Retail Store  Despite all the talk of reinventing retail, the fundamentals of the in-store experience really haven’t changed that much in the last 50 years. Products go on shelves and special displays. Customers pick up the products and pay for them at the register. Unfortunately, the systems behind many of those fundamentals haven’t changed either. And even when they have, some advanced store systems exist in shiny technological silos where work happens but the data resulting from that work doesn’t flow easily to other areas of the store. Let’s look at a typical retail workday for a store associate. We’ll call her Tina. Tina clocks in using the store’s timekeeping and scheduling system. She likely used a separate application to view the video and answer questions for her mandatory training. Twenty minutes in and she has already used two separate systems. On the store floor, a number of other systems and processes come into play based on the projects she needs to complete that day. When checking inventory, Tina uses a handheld scanner connected to a standalone inventory application. When communicating out-of-stocks, Tina files a ticket with her store manager or the supply chain group. In the worst-case scenario, she’ll send that ticket via email to the appropriate people. The best-case scenario likely involves another standalone ticketing application. When Tina resets her modular and builds displays, she references planograms and instructions that her manager printed from an email. Tina logs any cleaning she does on a paper checklist located somewhere in her department (or hanging on the back of the bathroom door). We call this “death by disconnected systems”, and it exists in more companies and stores than it should in 2019. Born to drive retail execution, Movista has built a full-featured workforce management platform that specifically addresses the pains and opportunities faced by retailers, their suppliers and 3rd-party service providers. We save retail service teams from that slow death by replacing or integrating up to eight different systems into ONE mobile-first platform.  We know retail. Our founders cut their teeth working with and leading retail field service teams. They spent years orchestrating work in stores across the country and struggled to aggregate the data from that work into meaningful reports, or even confirm the work happened. They lived the pain and went on to create software to solve the problem. A Day in the Life - Redux Let’s revisit Tina’s work day, this time on the Movista platform. Upon arriving in-store, she pulls out her smart device (Tina’s store employs a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy) and clocks-in on the ONE by Movista app to start her day. The app validates her location using enhanced GPS, and she’s ready to work.  She immediately sees a list of projects to complete for the day, the first of which is the training video. She watches the video and answers all required test questions on her device. The integration Movista provides also makes all of Tina’s other tasks easier and more efficient. Inventory Counts - She validates inventory levels using the integrated Item Manager module. Out-of-Stocks - When she encounters out-of-stocks or items with low quantities on-shelf, Tina simply orders more product straight from the app. She can also check on-hand amounts to find product that may be in the back room. Mod Resets - Modular reset projects start with a planogram map or instructional video embedded directly in the project tasks and directions. As she works, Tina answers questions about the product placement and signage. When she’s done, she takes a photo of the modular. Instantly uploaded to the cloud, that photo becomes part of the real-time dashboard reporting used by the corporate merchandising team to monitor implementation timelines.  Daily Tasks - Repetitive, daily tasks such as cleaning bathrooms appear in the system as recurring projects, giving Tina the ability to log that work at any time and giving her manager the ability to monitor her store operating efficiency at a single glance. Keeping the shelves stocked and bathrooms clean may be the most direct way a workforce management solution impacts retail, but it’s not necessarily the most valuable. In an era when “only 27% of consumers feel retailers provide a consistent customer experience across channels [while] 51% of retailers believe they succeed in this area” freeing up your employees to address customer needs and questions could drive tremendous value to your bottom line.  According to CMO.com, “When consumers engage with store associates who are passionate about the products they are selling, it makes all the difference to brand perception...Grocery stores build reputations for sustainability by employing people who can talk knowledgeably about the subject… The in-store experience gives retailers the chance to express their vision, values, and points of view.” When you minimize the amount of time reps and store associates spend on admin tasks and speed up their time to complete projects, you create space for them to guide shoppers on their journey through the store and to become the representatives you want and need for your company. +MORE

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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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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Movista

Movista

Field Management Solutions That Drive Retail Excellence Our solution is optimized for the retail industry and is used by many retailers, manufacturers, and third party laborers for their reset, retail, install, and sales teams. They use this field execution and management solution for sending tasks, tracking mileage, certifying best practice execution, automating the payroll process and much more.  From Vision to Action: You Have a Front Row Seat  Map View See all your reps/stores on the map in real-time. mPlans Visualize project completion in the field. Accountability Validate all aspects of your projects in customizable views. +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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3 Types of Retail Execution Data: What They Are, and Why They Matter

Mat Brogie, Part of founding team and CEO of Repsly, Inc.

In today’s fiercely competitive market, retailers are taxed with the responsibility of making sure their in-store presence gives them an edge over their e-commerce counterparts. Effective retail execution is absolutely essential to keeping store sales afloat, seeing as over half of purchase decisions are made within brick-and-mortar walls. High-performing organizations incorporate three distinct data types into their retail execution strategy to keep store sales high and competitors at bay. Here we’ll discuss what those data types are, and how retailers and suppliers converge to best utilize them. Activity Data Activity data refers to the measure of outputs from brand representatives or store personnel. This encompassses metrics such as “visit frequency” or “number of shelf resets completed.”  These metrics have the power to reveal how team members are spending their time in-store. For example, retailers can rest assured that brand representatives are upholding their commitments by monitoring how often they visit the store and how much time is spent there. This data also proves useful in devising better schedules for employees based on how and when they interact with brand reps. Managers from either party (retailer or supplier) can more easily identify top performers by comparing activity data to sales lifts. What’s more, transparency around this data promotes accountability for whichever party is responsible for various retail execution tasks.  Activity data sets the stage for what’s going on within the confines of a store, but it can’t paint the whole picture. The real value comes from analyzing it against observational and sales data.  Observational Data Observational data includes qualitative data points that tell the story of what’s actually happening inside the store. Examples of this data type include notes on brand presence, photos of the shelf, or information on merchandising activities. This data tells the story of what’s actually happening at the store level, and has several practical uses. Some include: Sharing photos to prove compliance with a display or promotion Monitoring photos and other data points pertaining to shelf presence in order to flag stockouts more quickly and keep track of damages that might become returns Brands building trust with a retailer by sharing competitive intelligence from other stores through photos and questionnaires (i.e. “What does the inside of their store look like?”, “Who is shopping in it?”, etc.) Recording information about foot traffic and customer sentiment during a promotion or demo event  Observational data is able to reveal key insights about in-store presence at a very granular level of detail. However it becomes even more powerful when used in conjunction with sales data. Sales Data Sales data is simply the sales generated over a specified time period. Perhaps the most straightforward of the three data types, it’s still extremely telling. What’s interesting to retailers is how the other two data types (observational and activity) are able to push the needle on sales. Both retailers and brand suppliers can benefit from comparing historical sales data to improve forecasting, especially around the holiday season. When combined with activity and observational data, sales data reveals whether or not a promotion is effective or if a display is being properly set up. Similarly, steady sales followed by a steep drop-off could signify a stockout or the consumer switching to a competitor. Taking a look at sales and observational data can also convey where cross-merchandising is present to help retailers and brands make decisions about where else to stock complimentary SKUs. A close analysis of sales data can uncover a cannibalization that’s hurting other SKUs in a set. Conversely, brands can showcase which SKUs or promotions are the biggest sales drivers for retailers.  Putting It All Together A sizable 25% of in-store sales are lost to poor retail execution. When used either separately or in conjunction, three types of retail execution data are a retailer’s secret weapon to winning over consumers. Forward-thinking organizations understand this reality, and apply the three types of data as part of a virtuous cycle of insights, planning, and action at retail. +MORE

CART'S INNOVATION PROGRAM

Gary Hawkins, CEO , Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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

Five Predictions for Retail Transformation in 2019

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

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

Pseudo Customer Centricity: Fool’s Gold

Gary Hawkins on Winsight Grocery Business, CART

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

The Top Five Ways Retailers Benefit from Industry Trade Shows

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

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

NGA Show 2019: The Epicenter of Grocery Industry Innovation

CART, Advancing Retail

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

Technology's Profound Impact on the Supermarket Industry

Peter Larkin, President & CEO, National Grocers Association

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

Foot traffic analytics: Your grocery innovation priority

Joanna Rutter, Marketing Specialist, Dor Technologies

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

Pace of Innovation -- Shattering the Status Quo

Gary Hawkins, CART

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

Dor

Dor Technologies

The tool you need to thrive in an evolving retail landscape. Meet Dor, a wireless, thermal-sensing people counter and analytics dashboard that helps you save money on staffing, maximize your marketing return and make proactive decisions about external events that impact your store.  Sleek Hardware: Sensor and hub Gather accurate foot traffic data without violating customer privacy or enduring installation nightmares. Smart Software: Dashboard and API Visualize your data to optimize marketing efforts and save on labor costs.  +MORE

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Mobile Ordering

SuperValu

Information at your fingertips: View item descriptions, pack, size, cost, deals, order history and more! Easy to use: Browse the catalog, create orders, adjust pricing, print and order shelf tags and more...all from your movile device! Mimum Requirements: iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5th Generation, iOS v8 or later, Compatible with App Watch. +MORE

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Management Software Solutions

Intel Corporation

Real-time management of content across digital consumer touchpoints, empowering digital signage with audience detection and analytics. In today’s ultra-competitive retail landscape, delivering valuable customer experiences is everything. And when making the kind of relevant customer connections that drive action on the sales floor, timing is everything. That’s why digital signage has evolved into such a powerful consumer touchpoint. From digital posters and interactive kiosks, to intelligent vending machines and point-of-sale devices, retailers can deliver more targeted, engaging brand experiences, and capture critical sales opportunities when and where they matter most. And with the retail marketplace being driven more and more by technology, Intel®-based solutions provide the flexibility, manageability, and security needed to engage customers at every touchpoint.   +MORE

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OOS Alert

GlobalWorx

Finally, a practical and effective solution to the most pervasive drain on sales, shopper experience and profits in fast-moving consumer goods retailing — store Out-of-Stocks. With OOS Alert from GlobalWorx, success-oriented retailers have a great opportunity to enhance in-stock position, shopper experience and associated sales and profit results. OOS Alert supports superior shelf practice with reliable detection and streamlined vendor communications. The benefit is a sales increase of 2-3 percentage points. OOS Alert is specifically designed to connect the retailer’s vital OOS information with its supplier ecosystem. The objective is to deliver notifications directly to suppliers in the field that are accurate, timely (daily), and actionable (by retailer, by store, by item). Our premise is simple – suppliers covet this information and will use it to improve their in-stock positions thereby benefiting the retailer, the consumer and themselves. Service at no cost to the retailer; clear benefit for the vendors.  +MORE

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AO: LaunchPad

Accucode, Inc.

Ever since tablets hit the market, retailers have been looking for ways to implement these devices into their daily operations. But, as with every “too good to be true” solution, these tablets haven’t always proven to be ideal for rugged retail environments – until now. AO:LaunchPad ensures that you will have a working, supported and managed device in the hands of your employees every single day! Tablets from leading brands like Apple and Samsung can be customized into solutions for mobile field workers and retailers. With one service program provided for all hardware, we make it easy for you to manage your entire pool of devices. Prior to deployment, we ensure each tablet is synced and pre-populated with your information so you can start using them upon arrival. We can even add barcode scanning, payment processing and more to make your tablet a valuable retail solution. +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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Natural Insight

Natural Insight

Supporting 65,000 skilled retail professionals in more than 110,000 locations globally, Natural Insight is a leading provider of cloud-based workforce management software for merchandisers, product companies, event marketers and retailers. Natural Insight is privately held and headquartered in Sterling, VA with offices in Toronto and Birmingham, England.  +MORE

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Repsly

Repsly, Inc.

Repsly is a retail execution software that empowers CPG teams to achieve peak performance in the field. Repsly’s powerful manager’s dashboard equips teams with the data they need to uncover opportunities at retail, and the tools they need to deploy their team to take the right action in the store. Repsly’s best-in-class mobile app empowers retail execution specialists to have the biggest possible impact on sales, while equipping reps with the customizable data collection tools they need to report real-time insights from the field. Repsly is the only retail execution solution to centralize brands’ sales, field activity, and in-store data, connecting store-level activities with their impact on sales. More than 1,000 field teams in over 80 countries drive execution and sales in the field with Repsly. +MORE

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SMR7

Sync International

SMR7 is a fully hosted cloud solution for retailers, manufacturers and MSO / field marketing agencies. SMR7 makes configuring in-store activities, surveys easy to capture data with our iOS / iPhone data capture & Android data capture Apps. SMR7 enables real time reports and alerts, Where all results are available within a gorgeous interactive live dashboard reports that can be simply designed within our report design wizard that are visible online and in our native iOS iPad reporting app Delta Dash. +MORE

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Branch App

Branch App

A single app, configurable to solve your labor and staffing challenges Whether it's scaling labor in real-time or attracting employees with flexible benefits, Branch has a module to optimize your workforce. INSTANT PAY  Branch Pay provides real-time earnings technology that gives your hourly employees instant access to their earned wages, helping to alleviate stress, increase engagement and ultimately decrease employee turnover.  SHIFT FLEXIBILITY Share labor across locations - Scale labor up and down in real-time to meet demand by sharing across nearby locations and automating staffing decisions. EMPLOYEE SELF SERVICE Shift work made easy - Empower hourly employees with mobile access to their work schedle and the abiltiy to sap shifts, track earnings and more. COMMUNICATION  Connect your entire organization - Engage hourly employees through a synamic solution that includes customer channels, activity feeds and channels AUTO SELF SCHEDULING  Demand-driven scheduling powered by A.I. - Branch's AI Scheduler uses machine learning to generate a forecast analyzing various demand inputs, and matches it with your labor across your hourly workforce for efficent and compliant shceules +MORE

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DecisionMines

DecisionMines

DecisionMinesTM: A Decision Making Solution Backed by a Predictive Analytics Platform DecisionMinesTM is a scientific, data-driven digital decision platform that leverages machine learning and predictive analytics to help organizations uncover the value hidden beneath massive layers of data. It empowers business leaders to make data-driven decisions by synthesizing the Art of Judgment and the Science of Data. Data science forms the core of DecisionMinesTM, which facilitates the transformative journey of decision makers. The data-driven framework takes them from description of issues in hindsight to objective diagnoses, progressing through enhanced incidence prediction and prescription of preemptive solutions, eventually leading to a state of continual self-learning and real-time actions.  Workforce Management Leverage data for effective workforce optimization; achieve a 360º balance between performance enhancement and cost-efficient operations.  Customer Management Leverage data to foresee customer needs and offer delightful experiences; forge long-lasting relationships.  Marketing Solutions Leverage data to effectively manage marketing campaigns, ensure campaign profitability, and improve customer relationships.  Retail Leverage data to promote greater sales and consumer satisfaction by understanding consumer behavior  Wealth Management Leverage data to ensure long-term wealth sustenance; effectively manage your customers’ financial needs.  Risk Management Leverage data to tackle the known and unknown risks; bridge the gap between strategic outlook and financial gains.   +MORE

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Weploy

Weploy

Pre-Qualified, Vetted, Police Checked Staff, On Demand - The simplest and fastest on-demand staffing platform How does it work? You post a job Our platform matches your request to our Weployees The first available Weployee accepts, and arrives at your office You rate your Weployee, and we facilitate payment  Who can I hire on Weploy? Right now, you can hire Weployees in the following industries. But we’re expanding our Weployee skills base daily, so get in touch below if you need staff in a different industry. Customer Service General Admin Data Entry Business Support +MORE

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Premier Technologies

Premier Technologies Pty Ltd

VOICE, EMAIL, SMS, CHATWHATEVER IT TAKES TO SERVE CUSTOMERS Premier Contact Point delivers a full featured cloud contact centre suite - including Outbound, Inbound and Blended traffic - that lets your customers choose how they want to deal with you.  BECOME A PAYMENTSINDUSTRY LEADER TODAY Premier’s White Label payment gateway will quickly position you as the preferred provider of omni-channel payment services.  GREAT TECHNOLOGYACCESSIBLE TO YOUR BUSINESS Premier offers industry-leading cloud contact centre, secure payments, transactions or receivables solutions that let you focus on your core activities. +MORE

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Theatro

Theatro

We’ve created the world’s first voice-controlled enterprise wearable designed for the hourly employee. From our 1.5oz wearable computer to our suite of communication and productivity applications, every part of Theatro’s solution was made to help hourly employees do more, better. SaaS Solution Buy the service, not the hardware. Hardware is not immortal. Even with perfect use—no bumps, no drops, no dives into shallow water—daily wear and tear will eventually break a device down. Knowing that you’ll have to replace employee devices drives up the cost of introducing new technology, and can make it difficult to justify ROI.  At Theatro, we provide software as a service (SaaS) in a per-employee subscription format. This means that you subscribe to our service, and that’s it. We provide the devices and cover the wearable costs. If a wearable breaks, we fix it. If you decide to end service, it’s as simple as canceling your subscription—no hardware costs to cover. No software maintenance or daily upkeep required Scalable solution that can support millions of users World-class security at every level of the operation Simple to manage Elimination of technology risk and hardware purchasing costs—you buy the service, not the hardware  Enterprise Wearable Small, but mighty. Smaller than a credit card and weighing just 1.5oz, the Theatro Communicator was designed with hourly employees in mind. Its simple, voice-controlled interface takes employees’ attention off their device and back to what they’re doing. With a single device, they can call for backup, check inventory, locate a manager, and simply communicate with a team member—enabling them to do more, better. 6-8 hour battery life Voice-controlled interface Discreet—clips easily onto belt loop or collar Wi-Fi enabled  Communication Application Communicate in the store and across the enterprise. By connecting store and regional management, hourly employees, and corporate resources, Theatro eliminates the challenges associated with outdated communication technology. Employees can have one-to-one conversations, share expertise and product information, support one another, and guide new teammates without having to stop what they’re doing.  No more disruptive overhead paging. No more distracting broadcasts on two-way radios (that end up being “tuned out” most of the time, anyway). No more walking to find who you need, when you need them. Just open, effortless communication.  One to One One to Group Broadcasts HQ to store Voice messages/EarBox Announcements Morning Huddle  EarBox, Content Distribution Manager, and Manger's Application Connecting everyone, regardless of shift. Most hourly employees don’t have a company email or voicemail, and hourly labor laws make it difficult to make sure they get the information they need if they’re off the clock.  Enter Theatro’s EarBox, Content Distribution Manager, and Manager’s Application. EarBox Think of the EarBox like voicemail. Each employee using Theatro has their own EarBox, accessible through a simple voice command while they’re in-store. With it, hourly employees can receive voice messages directly from fellow store employees, headquarters, and district and regional management without having to rely on the store manager to distribute the information. With the EarBox, hourly employees can receive personal messages (“A customer came at closing yesterday to tell me what a great job you did, John! Thanks for being a valuable part of our team!”), messages from team members (“John, please help Jane in shoes when you’re finished with the customer.”), and corporate announcements (“We’re recalling all of Brand X’s products due to a manufacturing error. Please remove from inventory and prepare for an increase in returns.”). When they’re busy with a customer, messages to employees will automatically go to their EarBox and notify them of the receipt of a new message and who it’s from. Content Distribution Manager With our Content Distribution Manager, headquarters personnel can communicate directly to the ear of store employees, ensuring vital information is communicated across the enterprise. Whether it’s new product information, executive announcements, motivational messages, recalls, or more—you send it, they receive it. You can even schedule the information so that it goes out at a certain time each day or week. After it goes out, you’ll get a report on who heard it, and when. Manager's Application Our Manager’s Application is a smartphone application providing managers on the go with access to Theatro’s in-store capabilities. You can talk privately with individual employees, leave messages, update employees on important information, and provide direction while outside the store.  Indoor Location Application  Find them when you need them. Nobody likes to wait—and when it comes to customer service, just a minute can mean the difference between a sale and a bad review on social media. To reduce wait times—for both customers and employees—Theatro provides an Indoor Location Application that enables employees and store managers to quickly find each other on the floor. Better yet, the person they’re looking for doesn’t even have to respond. Theatro will tell whoever’s looking where they are, if they’re with a customer, and if they’re available to help—reducing customer wait time and ensuring adequate associate coverage in high-value locations.  Analytics Application  Maximize store performance. With today’s solutions, it’s difficult to identify top performers and understand why they’re doing well. In many cases, employee recognition is limited to those the manager can see in the moment—in other words, just being in the right place at the right time.  With Theatro, you’re given unprecedented insights into what your employees do, how they work as a team, and what makes them successful. Our Employee Analytics application measures social interaction data to understand what’s impacting productivity and who the top performers are. It then performs predictive analytics, enabling you to create a streamlined repeatable model that maximizes productivity. +MORE

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ThinkIN for Industry 4.0

ThinkINside

SMART FACTORY REAL-TIME MANAGEMENT ThinkIN for Industry4.0 is an advanced IoT/Big Data solution for the Smart Factory. ThinkIN uses IoT technologies to monitor in real-time and with high accuracy the position of workforce and industrial assets in the environment. Such raw data is processed in the cloud to extract actionable knowledge on the execution of industrial processes and to optimise the factory efficiency. +MORE

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