Retailers: How do you evaluate new innovative solution providers?

Retailers: How do you evaluate new innovative solution providers?

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

Description

I see a lot of solutions that focus on the fast moving consumer goods retail sector - retail like supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, and discount stores. And when I say a lot I mean hundreds and even over a thousand solutions each year. And while many of these solution providers are challenged to effectively and efficiently communicate their value proposition, retailers can do more to help.

Technology providers love to talk about features and functions, about how what they have built uses the latest hot technologies, and so on. Retailers would be well served to help focus the presenter on:

1)  What problem is the solution provider solving for the retailer or what opportunity is being presented?

2)  Get the solution provider to clearly call out what resources are required from you the retailer to deploy the solution?

3) How is the solution provider pricing their capability? Can they provide you an ROI calculation? Is it based on real experience at other retailers?

4) Can the solution provider give you a referral from another retailer who has used their solution?

5) For very young companies and startups, explore their level of resources and funding. The last thing you need is to get excited about some new capability only to find the solution provider lacks the wherewithal to deploy all your stores.

Lastly, and you can do this early in your meeting, seek to understand if the solution provider knows your business. We encourage solutions to visit the retailer’s stores before any meeting to gain an understanding of how the stores operate, etc. Solution providers seeking to sell you something that fail to understand your business are sending a signal.


About the Author

Gary Hawkins is the founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) and leverages his unique knowledge and view to new technologies to shape the future of FMCG retail. He can be reached at gary.hawkins@advancingretail.org


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