General Merchandise

Transportation Optimization - a silver bullet to solve "last mile delivery?"

Ted Matwijec, Managing Director, ACT Operations Research – Raleigh, NC.

Learn how knowing your constraints and customer demands feeds sophisticated algorithms to provide optimal routing and balance delivery vs costs   Lately I have been seeing more and more of those brand-new Amazon Prime - Mercedes panel trucks making deliveries around my neighborhood.   Also, I have even seen the USPS delivering packages on Sunday (contracted by Amazon I am sure).  What’s going on Sunday deliveries? On demand delivery with time windows specified by a customer is becoming the consumer norm.  Remember the delivery or service call by your cable TV/Internet provider saying my service guy will be there between 8 am and noon then shows up at 11:50am.  Met their promise, but ruined your whole morning wasted sitting around! Let me assure you that customer service problem can be solved and you don’t need the resources of Amazon, UPS or Fed Ex. Amazon is clearly moving into the supply chain delivery markets much to the chagrin of FED EX and UPS to take back their “last mile” deliveries of their goods and solve this problem for the customer.    The question is how can they make the most expensive part of delivery – the “last or golden mile” to a customer profitable? From our experience in these markets, simply put, Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS and other large transportation companies have the best and brightest staff of Math, Statistical Phds that constantly hone their algorithms to minimize costs and maximize the service requirements.   When profit is measured in pennies in a transportation system – (that’s why you see the UPS guys running from each delivery back to their trucks) – the solution cannot be a spreadsheet or database or even year 2000 optimization technology. It is not rocket science, well maybe sort of, but rather advanced mathematics (think Calculus) applied to route planning optimization and fleet capacity analysis.  These transportation algorithms (remember the traveling salesman problem) have generically been around for decades, however now they are totally customized, enhanced and improved enough to cover the most minutia of system requirements – by many software companies.  I read that UPS has put 10’s of millions of dollars in R&D over the years into their algorithms to update and improve optimize their KPIs – as an example! So, why now is the “last delivery mile” more complex and expensive than ever?   The short answer, the customer is demanding it and will go other places if your company cannot provide it!   We all know how poor delivery can be written up in YELP or GOOGLE about your business – a big problem in the social media world for your marketing department.   (eg. – delivered food late for a kid’s birthday party) The good news for any retail or grocery store fleet manager is that to solve the “last mile delivery” the technology today is much less expensive and available for all size of fleets and route planners The long answer is the complexity of the business rules, constraints and requirements to execute this service.   First some examples…of customer/supplier requirement I am seeing today in our markets of retail and grocery applications - Customers: Wants confirmation of a tighter availability of their grocery delivery – eg. In the next 30 minutes Desire communications via a mobile app, email or text to the customer – about the updated arrival time. Want a positive experience to tell their friends how good their deliveries are! – We all want that on demand! Grocery/Retail Stores with their own fleets, or outsourced via 3PLs - Wants a confirmation signature the groceries have been delivered and that information is sent back to the IT system in real time, with SKU information, for example – for replenishment purposes. Wants real time updates from their drivers about location, traffic and estimated delivery window to communicate back to the customer. Wants to be able to reschedule a driver in real time for a new pickup at the store/warehouse or pick-up a returned item. So, the lengthy transportation distances between warehouses to stores is a natural issue solved by logistics teams for inventory replenishment.  Now add that complex delivery network and inventory now required “on demand” from a store location or back in the warehouse for a customer that wants it delivered this afternoon – and you get to see why the “last mile” delivery starts to become complex and expensive!  From a labor, IT system connection, communication systems, loading, unloading, time window point of view, the human brain cannot possibly manage all the variables in your network – to balance cost vs services. Lot’s of moving business costs involved to serve the customer. So, from my 30  + years in the Operations Research field, I can strongly recommend an updated math model is appropriate for route planning and optimization and is the potential strategic “silver bullet” you are looking for – to support you competing in your markets!  Of-course it is not the whole answer, you have to execute a plan, change some processes and manage the fleet – the cultural processes. Question, when was the last time you asked for your route planning algorithms to be updated in your home grown business system,  TMS or ERP system, meanwhile your points of service network has changed a lot just in the last 5 years! I have seen the market share winners in the tight margin grocery or retail store business realize that the supply chain strategy to optimize delivery to their clients from source through the delivery point is accomplished by using transportation optimization.   Managing constraints like labor, fuel costs, traffic conditions, time window, texts and emails to meet that short time window and the “last mile” requires serious modeling/computational power and IT changes. The good news is that this technology is more readily available, less expensive from providers, easier to use for your staff, and has proven real cost savings – to meet or exceed your customers expectations. How much did your optimization algorithms cut your cost in your delivery system last year? Find the hidden value in your delivery system today, using math optimization, your savings should be a min. 10%+ or more in our experience to deliver on time or earlier and impress your customers! +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

Discovering the Holy Grail of Retail: Online-Offline Convergence

Sena Zorlu, Instapio

Over the past years, retailers have been investing into digital transformation, creating online stores and making their brick and mortar locations smarter. On the startup side, there has been a massive growth of retail technology companies in multiple areas to improve operations, cut costs and bring in more customers. There’s no Magical Solution Today there are multiple solutions that claim online and offline convergence. These are mainly: Data Management Platforms that will tie online and mobile identities to retailer’s offline data (CRM, POS, Loyalty) to provide historical view. Mobile Attribution and Retargeting platforms that will understand when mobile users are in your stores and retarget them with timely and relevant information. iBeacons that will help you communicate with your app users in granular proximity. Guest WiFi that requires social login or email that can be tied to your CRM. It is very confusing for retailers to understand what solution to invest in when the common value proposition is the same: we will bring you the holy grail; we will connect online with offline. However, the main problem with all these technologies is that they are lab technologies. They work perfectly in controlled environments where every condition is met. Well if all your customers download your mobile application and they turn on their bluetooth and they open the application and they stand next to this sensor than the technology works. Retailers are promised an amazing connected world where they have full control of their customers yet when these solutions are installed, the results don’t come near what was promised. This is why there are so many POC’s but so little mass deployments of technologies. Retailers need to understand that today, technologies that promise to connect them to customers are still in preliminary stages of growth. This is because there are pre-conditions for these technologies to work and consumers rarely act the way we aspire them to.  The costs and efforts associated with having every customer download and not delete a mobile application are astronomical. Even when you bear the costs, app store discoverability is really difficult and consumers are app tired, looking for a reason to delete an app. When a technology is not adopted by the masses, your results will be skewed because of the small usage base. Any A/B testing or campaign on a small sample size will lead for wrong strategy. Another blocker with mobile technologies is the device manufacturers themselves. Mobile based technologies use sensors and features within the mobile phone which puts the retail industry at the mercy of the manufacturers. So when a manufacturer decides to turn off location collection from mobile applications, your investment into mobile attribution may sink overnight. Which retail technologies will win? To be able to understand what is going on in the store environment, retailers need better data generation than what exists today. In order to take real time responsive action the way ecommerce sites can do, retailers need access to real time, contextual data that can speak with existing systems they have. Mobile apps do not fill the void of collecting this data. Meaningful information can only be collected with sensory technologies that will passively collect data from a large sample. The first result of this trend has been in-store analytics. In-store analytics has presented a better picture of what is going on in the store and help understand the funnel that leads to purchases. The next wave of technology is to improve what we can do with this sensory data. Historical analytics is nice to have but will not magically save retailers. The next wave of retail technology will come as software layer that sits on top of sensory information and will affect all operations from merchandising, real time campaigns, personalization, staffing and everything else. So what can retailers do today? One thing we know for sure is that consumer behavior is rapidly changing and brick and mortar retailers must adapt to the changes demanded by customers. Retailers must be educating themselves with new technologies and changing consumer behavior. Big box stores have built lab environments to test new technologies, the easiest thing smaller retailers can do is to dedicate one store, preferably near their headquarters as their lab environment. They can be open to testing new technologies rapidly and choose best startups that can act with a real store rather than doing a fancy presentation or a demo. Retailers need to be in the conversation of emerging technologies. There are many technology startups like us who are working for the core problems that retailers are facing today. Whatever the retailer’s size may be, a lot of startups will be open to testing and working with them to solve specific industry problems. Small and medium sized retailers can become more innovative by becoming part of the solution. Building internal teams, dedicating test stores, working intimately with startups, having leadership teams advise retail tech startups are just some of the things retailers can start with that won’t require significant budgets. What we are working on At Instapio, we have been working on unifying different identities customers have to paint a clear picture of what is happening in the store and bring aggregated insight to help retailers. Our goal from the first day was to bring the automagical aspects of online to the physical world. It’s a big challenge and there is no one shot solution to create it. It requires collecting and merging of data from multiple assets, unifying different identities, making all the data talk in the same language and delivering it to the retailer in a format that can be used. This is why we are building an ecosystem around bringing all this sensory information together and make it available to talk to management systems in real time. We are working closely with the Advancing Retail platform, very excited to learn and help solve brick and mortar business challenges. +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

AI Powered Promotion Optimization

CART

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is tailor-made for high SKU count, high transaction frequency supermarket retail. The insight and recommendations that A.I. provides can help retailers drive significant top line sales gains without increased promotional cost. In the high- volume, low-margin supermarket industry, where even slight improvements can deliver considerable increases to bottom line profitability A.I.-powered promotion optimization is nothing short of transformative. +MORE

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Grab and Go Automated Commerce

Accel Robotics

We are building a ‘Grab and Go’ vision-based automated shopping system. Think about this like an Amazon Go solution for everyone else. +MORE

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Grocery is Going Digital. The Time is Now.

CART

Online grocery sales are growing fast. A recent report released by FMI and The Nielsen Company states that 23% of U.S. households purchased groceries online in 2016, up from 19% in 2014, and representing an estimated 4.3% of U.S. consumer retail food and beverage spending. The report goes on to state that as many as 70% of U.S. consumers will be buying groceries online by 2025, spending more than $100 billion, an estimated 20% of consumer food and beverage spending.1 Grocery is going digital far faster than many predicted and the time is now for traditional retailers to stake their claim. +MORE

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Automation and Personalization of the Retail Store

Instapio Inc.

Instapio allows chain retailers to gain control of their business and automate customer experience standards. By using Instapio, retailers create seamless and intuitive locations that are responsive to the presence and habits of their customers.  The solution will operate as a decision making engine for each store and across the chain to measure millions of data points in real time, make decisions based on business priorities and optimize operations. Imagine a super store manager that oversees the everyday operations of all stores. +MORE

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DART Displays

DART Displays

DART Displays offers a way to transform the in-store shopping experience to one that is digital and dynamic, with reporting and analytics that lead to big insights about what moves your shopper to purchase.     By leveraging DART Displays structures (both permanent and flexible) you can and will create a best in class approach for enhancing the brand experience in-store.  +MORE

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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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Artificial Intelligence Product, Price & Assortment Optimization

Daisy Intelligence Corporation

Use the power of A.I. to make the optimal choices clear. Measuring grocery and retail data is a highly complex and tedious task. The changing and dynamic relationships between your products and customers in addition to the effects of pricing and promotions make understanding and leveraging all this data humanly impossible. Daisy does what humans can’t. Using our focused artificial intelligence (A.I.) and proprietary mathematic solutions Daisy turns impossible big data problems into actionable decisions. We analyze very large quantities of our clients’ transaction and operational data in order to provide weekly promotional, price, and forecasting recommendations which our clients can use to grow total sales basket size, improve margins, and delight customers. Daisy provides more than tools and dashboards, instead Daisy provides you with actionable insights that are proven to help you make more profitable decisions and compete in the new world of retail. Daisy turns your underleveraged data into your most profitable asset and source of competitive advantage.  Why Daisy? Outputs are specific, actionable recommendations to core merchandising decisions – not charts or tools A.I. is self-learning and adaptive -perfect for the dynamic world of retail Outputs are optimized to bottom-line/top line performance No hardware/software to install – up and running in 30-60 days Without a doubt, Daisy has driven a meaningful lift in basket size and trips without any additional margin cost – Scott Little, CFO Earth Fare Read the case study with Earth Fare here to find out more! http://www.advancingretail.org/resources/AI-Powered-Promotion-Optimization +MORE

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Robots for Retailers

Bossa Nova Robotics

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

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Darius™ for Retail

Darius Technologies

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

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LISNR

LISNR

LISNR powers transactions and connects the global customer journey with the most advanced Ultrasonic Data Platform. LISNR’s technology addresses the growing need for simple communication between myriad devices. Based on that idea, LISNR created proprietary software for encoding data into inaudible “tones”, which were then transmitted and received using standard speakers and microphones. +MORE

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App Store for Retail

Sparkle CS Ltd

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

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Balance Innovations Suite of Solutions

Balance Innovations

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

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Mobile Checkout

FutureProof Retail

The Mobile Checkout retail platform digitizes brick and mortar stores, bringing the convenience and personalization of eCommerce to physical retailers and their customers. Mobile Checkout Eliminates the Lines Mobile Checkout is a brandable iOS and Android app, a better system than self-checkout for the complete shopping experience from scan to payment. Private White-label Retailers deepen the customer relationship and own the install by deploying the platform as their own-brand staff and shopper apps. Scan Products Customers scan and bag while shopping. Mobile Payment Pay securely with credit card or mobile wallet directly through the app. Skip the Line Customers never wait in line to check out. Customize to your needs Expand the system with functionality like loyalty programs or counter service mobile ordering.     +MORE

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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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BEFORE! Predictive Analytics

ACT Operations Research

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

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Innovation is for Distribution too

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Advancing Retail

Retail industry conversation about innovation inevitably focuses on the brick & mortar store, eCommerce, or consumer-facing technologies. Meanwhile, the staid distribution center is undergoing its own transformation.  I can remember when voice-guided picking was the new thing and how space-age it seemed to have order pickers being directed by the computer behind the headset each person wore. Today, that kind of technology has become boring when we see the robotics and automation that is sweeping across distribution centers. There are case-picking robots, piece-picking robots, robots that bring merchandise to humans, and even completely automated distribution centers. Drone technology has warehouses too, with different solution providers tackling slotting errors, out-of-stocks, and other operational issues.  Some wholesalers and distributors are even acting as outsourced eCommerce fulfillment centers for their retail customers, orders being passed from the retailer’s online ordering site to the distribution center for fulfillment to the customer’s home.  And while maybe not as sexy as robotics, the latest AI and machine learning powered optimization technologies are providing significant value to distribution centers as nearly everything can be optimized, from slotting layout to order picking, in-bound product deliveries to out-bound deliveries, and even the delivery routes. AI and machine learning tech is tailor made for demand forecasting and inventory optimization as the distribution center level. The CART team is seeing all this and more as we coordinate Innovation Program events for larger, self-distributing retailers and for significant wholesalers and distributors across different product lines and categories.  If you’re a self-distributing retailer or a dedicated wholesaler / distributor give CART a call to learn about what’s new. And if you’re a solution provider relevant to distribution, check in with us to learn about the Innovation Program events we’ve got coming up.  +MORE

CART Weekly Report 8/8/19

CART, Advancing Retail

STORE BRANDS CUT INTO BIG FOOD | Wall Street Journal Gary’s Take: Big retailers are focusing on promoting private label brands and growth is coming at the expense of the big packaged goods brands that have ruled the supply chain for years. Aside from the differentiation private label can provide, the approach yields far higher gross margins for the retailer and can help build customer loyalty. As I explain in my latest book, Retail in the Age of ‘i’, sophisticated retailers are growing private label and using the added gross margin to help fund strong marketing personalization efforts, growing digital engagement and customer share-of-wallet. MARTY THE GROCERY STORE ROBOT AND A GLIMPSE INTO OUR HELL-ISH FUTURE | Mashable Gary’s Take: Not all customers view robots in the aisle as a good thing. As the writer calls out, how can the retailer invest $35,000 per robot when they are dealing with employees striking for higher pay? Retailers need to carefully message what these machines are being used for and create a powerful value proposition to the customer. Included in that messaging should be assurances around how the retailer is approaching automation and the impact on jobs. It’s still very early days for in-store automation but we are already seeing some of the potential challenges. CONNECTING THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY FROM ONLINE TO OFFLINE | StreetWise Gary’s Take: As the world becomes increasingly digital, marketers are working hard to connect online and offline shopping behavior and better understand the impact of digital advertising on sales in the brick & mortar store. CPG COMPANIES SPENDING MORE TO USE LESS PACKAGING | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Responding to consumer wants and needs is always a smart strategy. Although, it's important to understand those needs fully and the tradeoffs consumers are willing to make around things like sustainability vs. price. Great packaging speaks for itself, but it's even more powerful when yielded by a culture that's authentically committed to doing good.  WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: RETAILERS: HOW DO YOU EVALUATE NEW INNOVATIVE SOLUTION PROVIDERS | Gary Hawkins SOLUTION PROVIDERS: WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU SOLVING? | Gary Hawkins HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS WAKEFERN - August 21, 2019 IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTORS - September 5, 2019 CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 THE DISINTERMEDIATION CHALLENGE In this new Retail Tomorrow podcast, recorded at GMDC’s annual GM conference in Denver, the focus was on the ways in which startups are working to disintermediate traditional retailers … how retailers can turn these innovations to their own advantage … why cultural resistance within companies can be the ultimate enemy of progress … and even brainstorm about a business model that could’ve made Toys R Us relevant again. You can listen to the Retail Tomorrow podcast here, or on iTunes or GooglePlay. The Retail Tomorrow podcast series is a production of GMDC, the Global Market Development Center. Featuring : • Patrick Fore, CEO and co-founder of Fleat. • Sterling Hawkins, co-founder of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART). The host: Kevin Coupe, MorningNewsBeat’s “ContentGuy.” Pictured, left to right: Patrick Fore, Kevin Coupe, Sterling Hawkins E-Commerce in the Age of ‘i’ [Webinar Recap] Retail expert Gary Hawkins reveals how Amazon sellers must leverage new innovations and customer centricity to provide personalized shopping experiences. By Natalie Taylor August 7, 2019 OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ usingInvite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight MINDING THE GAPS - CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, September 29-October 1, 2019 GMDC SELF-CARE SUMMIT - October 3 thru 7, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN X/SPECS 2019 - October 15 thru 17, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando  Store Design in the Age of “I” - Wednesday, 11:30am-12:15pm THE RETAIL REVOLUTION at PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR RETAIL LEADERSHIP - Portland, Oregon - October 24, 2019 12:30-5:00pm SPECS SHOW 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. ~Ben Franklin +MORE

Meet Abbie, our new Head of Innovation Programming

CART, Advancing Retail

We are excited to announce that CART is growing. Abbie Weiss is coming on board as Head of Innovation Programming for CART! Being at the epicenter of retail innovation for some years now, we realize that innovation is not just about technology. New capabilities are simply a tool; what’s important is that organizations have a culture of innovation to support trying and implementing new ways of operating and going to market. And that’s where Abbie comes in. Abbie has extensive training and experience in empowering leadership and she’s focusing her incredible energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge on what it takes to make organizations successful with innovation. Abbie will be working closely with Sterling and the CART team on on developing executive education dedicated to creating and fostering a culture of innovation within their organizations. In addition, programs are being developed to extend this culture of what’s possible throughout the enterprise, helping everyone across the company to understand the possibilities in innovation.  Abbie is also bringing her impressive leadership and presentation skills to help solution providers improve how they tell their story to the retail industry, helping guide presentations and the sales process. We are excited to have Abbie join the CART team and bring her world-class knowledge, experience, and energy to companies we work with. Welcome Abbie! +MORE

Retailers: How do you evaluate new innovative solution providers?

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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. +MORE

What Problem are you Solving?

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

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. For these solution providers, be they established firms or young innovators, many of them are challenged to effectively communicate their value proposition. Too often technology providers want to immediately launch into features and functions and why their technology is special. What prospective retailers want to hear though is what problem you are going to solve for them or what opportunity do you help open up. And retailers are busy people, they don’t want to sit through an hour long presentation about how cool your technology is before they figure out what you can do for them.  Go look at your sales deck, the presentation you typically use. If you’re not communicating within the first three slides how you are going to help the retailer you are at risk of losing them. If it’s an initial meeting, keep your deck short - ideally no more than ten or so slides and then, if possible, do a demo of your capability.  Its also important to speak the retailer’s language. If you have good knowledge of the retail industry and how retail works, then great; that knowledge will come through quickly and give the retailer confidence you know what you’re talking about. If you are not familiar with retail, yet you think your solution has potential for retailers, be up front when you have a meeting. Tell the retailer you’re meeting with that you don’t know a lot about their business but you believe you have something they may be interested in. Experienced retailers can detect within the first few minutes if you know what you’re talking about or not. Lastly, it’s always a good practice to visit the retailer’s stores and familiarize yourself with their operations and digital presence before you sit down for a meeting. Retailers appreciate solution providers who take the time to gain some understanding of the retailer’s operations. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 8/1/19

CART, Advancing Retail

IT’S A WRAP! THE INNOVATION PROGRAM AT KVAT FOOD CITY! WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU SOLVING? YOUR COMPANY HAS A VISION: WHY CAN’T EVERYONE SEE IT? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take:  A vision alone is not enough. And trying to come up with the right words won’t do it either. It’s the leadership that puts themselves on the line for significant positive change that makes the difference. JFK put himself on the line by making that declaration and people rallied behind him. Without leadership stepping out for the benefit of their team and their customers, anything else is empty. STAPLES CREATES CONTENT TO REPOSITION AND DIFFERENTIATE ITS BRAND | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: I think the power in this approach is the community and human-centric connection it potentially creates. Anyone can sell office products, but it’s not everyone that’s connected to understanding their customers work life and their experience of work at a deeper level. Of course, the details here will really matter, but at a high-level, Staples is right on. ARE STORE ROBOTS CUTE, CREEPY - OR NEARLY USELESS | RetailWire Sterling's Take:  I give credit to Giant Foods for trying out something new (especially a robot!), but I’m not quite sure what the value is, the measurable ROI. Unless this becomes an effective platform to manage out of stocks, planogram compliance, etc., it’s an awfully expensive way to make sure aisles are clear of “hazards.”  Robots are best doing simple, repeatable tasks where there’s a real need. Walmart deploying robotic floor cleaners is a perfect example. I think we’d probably all agree that robots will be increasingly included in our lives, it’s just a matter of having them start in manageable and sensible places to match their costs with current capabilities. HAPPENINGS: ASK THE AMAZON EXPERTS - E-COMMERCE IN THE AGE OF ‘I’” THE ROLE OF PERSONALIZATION AND TECHNOLOGY FOR ONLINE BUSINESSES with Gary Hawkins and Natalie Taylor Content Marketing Writer, Feedvisor  UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS WAKEFERN - August 21, 2019 IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTORS - September 5, 2019 CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 INNOVATION CULTURE with Sterling Hawkins and John Golden CSMO at Pipeliner CRM and Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. THE FUTURE IS NOW – IGNITE: ECOMMERCE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Tuesday, August 6th, 2019, 9:00am – 5:00pm, Chicago OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ usingInvite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight Minding the GAPS - CGA Strategic Conference 2019 - Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, September 29-October 1, 2019 Applications to present at CGA are due - TODAY - August 1, 2019 GMDC Self-Care Summit - October 3 thru 7, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN X/Specs 2019 - October 15 thru 17, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando  Store Design in the Age of “I” - Wednesday, 11:30am-12:15pm SPECS Show 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week: It always seems impossible until it’s done. ~ Nelson Mandela +MORE

CART Weekly Report 7/25/19

CART , Advancing Retail

We are excited to announce that CART is growing. Join us as we welcome, Abbie Weiss, Head of Innovation Programming for CART! DISCOMFORT IS NECESSARY FOR INNOVATION | TedX What is the core element of innovation? Sterling Hawkins explores discomfort, a key ingredient of innovation. Through weaving personal, and business story framed through reflecting back to  MacGyver, ’80’s tv show, Sterling connects us to the complexity of innovation through discomfort.  MY COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEF, ER, ROBOT | Wall Street Journal Gary’s Take: Robotics and automation is coming to food preparation at an increasing pace. We're seeing machines for grilling burgers, machines for making salads, sushi automation, and even making dosa. Aside from the obvious increase in efficiency and consistency, automation in food prep opens the door to efficient customization - increasingly important as growing numbers of consumers have food allergies, diet and lifestyle preferences, and food requirements driven by health conditions. We are already seeing a convergence of the massive healthcare and food industries as big data, cutting edge nutrition science, and expanded food product information all come together focused on improving the wellbeing of the individual. Food preparation automation is only going to help speed this convergence. FROM 'BUY WHAT WE HAVE' TO THE 'CONNECTED CUSTOMER' | Wall Street Journal CART’s Take: Great article that calls out the ability retailers have to engage with the customer at all times, anywhere and everywhere, and to be contextually relevant, providing meaningful value to the customer rather than just offering and promoting mass products as was done in the past. MOBILE IS ALWAYS LOCAL: THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF ONLINE-TO-OFFLINE COMMERCE | Street Fight Magazine CART’s Take:  Mobile allows retailers to respond in real-time to the customer based on time and place. To be contextually relevant and support local businesses. WALMART SHAKES THINGS UP, FURTHER INTEGRATING ONLINE AND PHYSICAL STORE TEAMS | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: These kinds of things should start to be routine. It’s not rocket science that consumers want one experience across all the touchpoints and our organizations can be geared to serve that. And at the same time, things like merchandising stores is a unique function to stores themselves and that necessitates a little more focus. I think Walmart is setting a new norm. HAPPENINGS: ASK THE AMAZON EXPERTS - ECOMMERCE IN THE AGE OF ‘I’” THE ROLE OF PERSONALIZATION AND TECHNOLOGY FOR ONLINE BUSINESSES with Gary Hawkins and Natalie Taylor Content Marketing Writer, Feedvisor - Archived from Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019 11 a.m. PT  |  2 p.m. ET  |  7 p.m. UK UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS FOOD CITY - July 25, 2019  WEIS MARKETS - August 8, 2019  WAKEFERN - August 21, 2019 IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTORS - September 5, 2019 CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 INNOVATION CULTURE with Sterling Hawkins and John Golden CSMO at Pipeliner CRM and Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World's Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. THE FUTURE IS NOW -- IGNITE: ECOMMERCE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Tuesday, August 6th, 2019, 9:00am – 5:00pm, Chicago OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ usingInvite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight Minding the GAPS - CGA Strategic Conference 2019 - Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, September 29-October 1, 2019 Applications to present at CGA are due August 1, 2019 GMDC Self-Care Summit - October 3 thru 7, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN X/Specs 2019 - October 15 thru 17, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando  Store Design in the Age of “I” - Wednesday, 11:30am-12:15pm SPECS Show 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week: A leader is someone who demonstrates what's possible. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 7/18/19

CART, Advancing Retail

MORE STORE CLOSINGS COMING: AN ESTIMATED 12,000 SHOPS COULD CLOSE BY THE END OF 2019 | USA Today Gary’s Take: A recent report from Coresight Research states that 2019 store closings are already ahead of last year by 20%; they estimate store closures could reach 12,000 by the end of the year. UBS Securities estimate that 75,000 stores could close by 2026 if ecomm sales rise to 25% of retail from current level of 16%. The supermarket channel has largely escaped any significant closings thus far but I do not expect this to continue as online grocery continues to grow and disruption continues sweeping the industry. As happened in the mid 1990s when Walmart entered grocery, triggering a wave of consolidation as bigger players sought to scale up to compete, independent and smaller regional retailers are going to take the brunt of the hit as they can’t keep up with tech innovation and investment. Smaller retailers must quickly find a way to truly differentiate themselves if they have a hope of surviving. The alternative is either going out of business or becoming a glorified convenience store as primary grocery sales are rolled up by the bigger players. PERSONALIZATION MATTERS: HERE ARE 5 GREAT EXAMPLES | Smart Design World Gary’s Take: Personalization in retail is rapidly becoming a customer expectation and a need-to-have by retailers. Like other terms that become ‘hot’, personalization is the latest overused buzzword. The scary part is that many retailers are not experts in this space and can fall prey to 'personalization’ capabilities that are really not. I would suggest that retailers should really be focusing on providing contextual relevancy that goes beyond pure personalization and focuses on providing meaningful messaging (recipes, savings, new product intro, etc.) to each customer. And, like some of the examples in this article, state of the art is realtime relevancy. This is very challenging to do and is dependent on deep integration between digital touchpoints and a relevancy engine that processes in realtime. FLORIDA’S DMV IS SELLING DRIVERS’ PERSONAL INFORMATION TO BILL COLLECTORS AND DATA BROKERS | Fast Company Gary’s Take: Data privacy? Really? A recent investigation by ABC affiliate has just found that Florida’s DMV has been selling license data to bill collectors and data brokers. This while governments - from state to federal - are increasingly inserting themselves into the ongoing privacy debate. Data privacy is an issue that continues to percolate, boiling over periodically as malfeasance by Facebook or assorted app providers comes to light. I do believe that privacy is going to become an increasingly important issue that is going to threaten digital advertising and marketing initiatives. Retailers would be well served to really focus on driving comprehensive digital engagement with their shoppers ASAP to build their repository of first-party data for the future.  WHAT MAKES GREAT RETAIL LEADERS | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Having a CEO that exemplifies what the company stands for and puts themselves on the line for significant positive change is key to culture. And culture is the key to everything (what it’s like to work there, why everyone is there and what new ideas come up/are embraced, etc). Supporting those same traits amongst the team is a success recipe that transcends any strategy, technology or trend. WHO OWNS CUSTOMER SERVICE IN AN AGE OF CO-BRANDING | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: The responsibility for customer service comes down to the person standing in front of the customer (or on the phone with them). It’s definitely a growing issue with all the co-branding and partnerships and ultimately retailers need to ensure great customer service, no matter what agreements are in place behind the scenes. The co-branding can only be as great as the service and customer experience they can provide. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK:  FROM THE INNOVATION GAP TO THE KNOWLEDGE GAP by Gary Hawkins, CEO, CART I have often written about the growing innovation gap - the divide between the exponential growth of new tech fueled capabilities and the much slower deployment of new solutions in brick & mortar retail. This growing innovation gap is a major challenge to traditional retailers…READ MORE>> HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS FOOD CITY - July 25, 2019  WEIS MARKETS - August 8, 2019  WAKEFERN - August 21, 2019 IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTORS - September 5, 2019 CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight Minding the GAPS - CGA Strategic Conference 2019 - Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, September 29-October 1, 2019 Applications to present at CGA are due August 1, 2019 GMDC Self-Care Summit - October 3 thru 7, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN X/Specs 2019 - October 15 thru 17, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando  Store Design in the Age of “I” - Wednesday, 11:30am-12:15pm SPECS Show 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week: Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.  ~Vincent Van Gogh +MORE

From the Innovation Gap to the Knowledge Gap

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

I have often written about the growing innovation gap - the divide between the exponential growth of new tech fueled capabilities and the much slower deployment of new solutions in brick & mortar retail. This growing innovation gap is a major challenge to traditional retailers. A number of solution providers are working hard to help retailers close that gap, leveraging the cloud, AI, machine learning, and other tech to bring advanced capabilities to regional and even smaller independent retailers. The problem is that while retailers can avail themselves of new solutions, they are sometimes lacking the resources, knowledge, and skill sets to make use of these new capabilities. We are seeing this in many different areas. From sophisticated AI powered forecasting solutions that are able to ingest store-level events that impact product movement to cutting edge marketing personalization systems that challenge retailers to think differently about how they go to market. The challenges we see are four-fold. First, retailers lacking resources skilled in data analytics needed to take advantage of the explosion of big data. Second, retailers lacking the discipline to modify operations or data gathering needed to power new capabilities. And three, retail executives being challenged to think outside the box, and envision doing business differently. The fourth challenge is retailers not understanding the how tech-fueled innovation is growing exponentially. I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from traditional supermarket retailers that they have withstood the initial rush to online shopping. The problem is that we’re just getting started, massive disruption is coming fast across all areas of the supply chain, driven by automation, the ability to promote to each individual customer more effectively than mass promotion, and far more.  There is no easy answer to these challenges. It is one thing to have access to new innovative capabilities and quite another to have a company culture that embraces innovation and new ways of doing things. It is this issue that is perhaps the most important in looking ahead to who will win and lose in future retail battles. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 7/11/19

CART, Advancing Retail

NOT ALL CUSTOMERS ARE EQUAL IN RETAIL | Forbes Gary’s Take: Customers are not equal in retail. This is not heresy but fact. We discovered this firsthand 25 years ago when we launched one of the early loyalty programs in supermarket retail and began capturing customer identified purchase data. It quickly became obvious that a relative handful of shoppers generates a large portion of annual sales and even more of gross profit. At the same time, a majority of shoppers are shopping very infrequently and spending  little. And yet a vast majority of retailers continue to ignore these economics. Some retailers, those who understand the data, skew value in different ways towards their more loyal, valuable customers. Kroger has been doing this for years with a few other retailers finally catching on in recent times. As my friend Brian Woolf was fond of saying "Treat all your customers equally (with great service) but reward them differently". Retailers who fail to understand customer behavior and economics are increasingly disadvantaged in today's marketplace. NOT EVEN WALMART HAS ENOUGH CASH AVAILABLE TO COMPETE WITH AMAZON’S ECOMMERCE FULFILLMENT EMPIRE, REPORT SAYS | Business Insider Gary’s Take: So if Walmart is pressured to keep up with investments required to compete with Amazon where does that leave other retailers? Walmart is being pressured from not having enough eCommerce fulfillment centers, costs related to acquiring and growing digital-first brands, and funding eCommerce related operational losses. A recent report from Recode states that Walmart's eCommerce related losses are pushing past $1 billion. Two key call-outs from this: First is that if Walmart is having trouble funding eComm related losses, it does not bode well for other national, regional, and independent retailers. Amazon's greater margins are funding infrastructure growth and new services as the innovation arms race is grows fiercer. The second issue is that Walmart is facing a brewing cultural war inside the company as traditional brick & mortar merchants resist the massive investments in digital. This cultural divide is something that many retailers will be wrestling with, if they are not already, and presents yet more challenges for traditional retailers as they navigate the future. SPURRED BY AMAZON, SUPERMARKETS TRY SWAPPING CASHIERS FOR CAMERAS | WSJ Gary’s Take: We are seeing many retailers pursuing 'Amazon Go' like shopping technology that would eliminate traditional cashiers. The computer vision tech powering up these competitors to Amazon is still early-on but moving fast as young companies seek to scale the tech for traditional supermarkets. As I discussed in my recent book, Retail in the Age of 'I', the industry is rapidly approaching a crossroads. One path leading to this kind of automated, yet barren and sterile, shopping experience offered by automation. The other path puts technology in service to retailers, enabling them to recreate at scale the personalized relationships in the old corner store while increasing service levels as certain functions are automated. Tech is moving increasingly fast and retailers must grapple with the implications of new capabilities, both the good and the not so good. Those retailers that have a clear vision of who they are can use new tech to update and solidify their market position. WILL MEATLESS MEAT, CBD AND COLD BREW COFFEE HELP FOOD RETAILERS TO DIFFERENTIATE? | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: Attempting to differentiate with a few products is looking in the wrong direction. Many of these will just become more standard items on the majority of retail shelves. Consumers are looking for full experiences, with new products and services consistent with that experience. It’s around the full experience that retailers can innovate, differentiate and compete. Just look at the Best Buy turn around — did they have the latest products on the shelf? Sure. But that’s not why they started winning. NRF STUDY SAYS CUSTOMERS DIG RETAIL TECH | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: There is a nice convergence of consumers becoming more tech savvy and technology getting easier to use. With all the new tech available, it’s easy as retailers to think that it’s the technology that’ll provide the next big wave of growth. But we can’t lose sight of why we’re here as an industry: to meet the needs of human beings. And what motivates human beings is new, positive and engaging experiences with the world around us. All these technologies are not a goal. They are only a means to creating those meaningful human experiences. LOCATION BASED MARKETING IS SPREADING BEYOND SMARTPHONES | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: I think there’s a better question to ask, which is: what consumer experiences can be enhanced with any of these technologies? Approaching our business from a “technology first” standpoint is a mistake. Technology is not the end goal. It is only there to support/enhance great consumer experiences. FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: GENERATING MORE REVENUE FOR YOUR SUPERMARKET IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK by Eli Langer, CEO, Harvesting Media HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS BOSTON IMMERSION EVENT:  DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION - July 16 thru 19, 2019  FOOD CITY - July 25, 2019  WEIS MARKETS - August 8, 2019  WAKEFERN - August 21, 2019 IMPERIAL DISTRIBUTORS - September 5, 2019 CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight Minding the GAPS - CGA Strategic Conference 2019 - Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, September 29-October 1, 2019  Applications to present at CGA are due August 1, 2019 GMDC Self-Care Summit - October 3 thru 7, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN X/Specs 2019 - October 15 thru 17, 2019 at the Waldorf Astoria, Orlando  Store Design in the Age of “I” - Wednesday, 11:30am-12:15pm SPECS Show 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week: Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. ~ William Pollard +MORE

CART Weekly Report 6/13/19

CART, Advancing Retail

SURVEY: PROFESSIONALS EAGER AND READY TO DEPLOY 5G | ZDNet Gary’s Take: The rollout of 5G over the next several years will be transformative, especially for retailers. The speed of 5G is mind-blowing: A two hour movie download took 26 hours using 3G tech, 6 minutes with 4G, and will take only 3.6 seconds with 5G. Beyond speed, 5G offers much more bandwidth, enabling billions (trillions?) of IoT devices to stream data from everywhere - are retailers ready for the realtime store? And, for those regional retailers located in rural parts of the U.S. who think their customer base has not yet embraced the digital age - 5G will finally bring high-speed connectivity to all areas as it is much cheaper to deploy than cable. 5G will do nothing but increase shopper expectations of having everything they want available in moments. But is retail ready to deliver?  MARY MEEKER’S MOST IMPORTANT TRENDS ON THE INTERNET | Vox.com Gary’s Take: Mary Meeker, the "Queen of the Internet", is out with this year's deck calling out the most important internet and digital trends. Her report is always fascinating to review, but long at 300+ pages. Here are a few highlights as pertains to retail: eComm is now 15% of all retail sales and growth continues to outpace brick & mortar. Internet ad spending in the U.S. is up 22%; 62% of digital ad is programmatic. Customer acquisition costs are going up - in some cases it surpasses customer revenue! Targeted advertising is under threat from GDPR and other data privacy regulations. Americans now spend 6.3 hours a day with digital media and it continues to grow. Lastly, healthcare is becoming more digital - lots of implications here, especially for the food industry.  WORD OF MOUTH REMAINS VITAL FOR LOYALTY IN DIGITAL AGE | Streetfight Gary’s Take: Interesting that word-of-mouth is as - perhaps even more - important in the digital age in securing new customers. With deep experience in retail loyalty, I would suggest that recognition is the most powerful way to build loyalty that in turn powers positive word-of-mouth. In years of working with prominent retailers in markets around the world I inevitably found that recognizing customers, especially a retailer's most valuable customers, transcended cultures. There are countless ways to provide that recognition - everything from a simple handwritten thank-you note to special offers to the store manager greeting the shopper in-store. One of my favorites occurred years ago when I helped M&M Meat Shops of Canada build their loyalty program. On Valentine's Day we had each store owner hand deliver a bouquet of roses to their top 10 customers. Talk about positive word-of-mouth! FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: RETAIL’S BIG DATA CHALLENGE...AND OPPORTUNITY by Gary Hawkins, CEO CART HAPPENINGS: 2019 GMDC GENERAL MERCHANDISE MARKETING CONFERENCE, Gaylord Rockies Resort, Denver, CO - June 13-17, 2019 DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP & THE SELFCARE REVOLUTION​, Boston Immersion Event - Hosted July 17 & 18th, 2019 Apply to present at Retail Tomorrow Labs: Boston - Applications due June 15th, 2019 Full Agenda OUTLOOK LEADERSHIP - August 11-14, 2019 in Asheville, NC The convenience industry’s premier, invitation-only event, that you cannot afford to miss. In a world of accelerating change, where we are going and how do we build our organizations to thrive there? Sterling Hawkins will take attendees on a retail journey. C-Store operators can register today at https://outlookleadership.com/ using Invite Code: power REFLEXIONS 2019: INTELLIGENT RETAIL - August 12-15, 2019 at Caesars Place in Las Vegas GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas Preliminary Agenda Speakers Apply for Emerging Technology Spotlight CART COMMUNITY. GET ON THE INSIDE. MEMBERSHIP HAS BENEFITS.  Become part of the epicenter of retail innovation exclusive network. The place where retail decision makers and solution providers come together to advance retail into the future. ✔️Blogs ✔️Newsletter ✔️Webinars ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>>Your growth engine into retail VIEW ALL SOLUTIONS HERE CONTACT US TELL ME HOW TO GET MY SOLUTION ADDED TO CART Get the CART Weekly Report delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. Quote of the Week:  Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. ~ George Bernard Shaw +MORE

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