Toys, Kids & Baby

The Amazon Doctrine and the Innovation Arms Race

Gary Hawkins, CART on Winsight Grocery Business

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has long understood the value of being out in front as technology innovation fundamentally alters the rules of competition. While other companies have long based competitive strategy on technology, what’s different is this point in time: We are at the inflection point on the exponential growth curve of computer processing power where noticeable change happens at an ever-increasing pace. Amazon is leveraging its innovation leadership position harnessed together with its vast resources to overwhelm the traditional grocery industry, relegating many retailers to the proverbial corner convenience store. Sound familiar? It should. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan, in what was to become known as the Reagan Doctrine, leveraged the powerful U.S. economy with the country’s burgeoning military innovation to launch an arms race with the Soviet Union. The result, as we all know, led to the collapse of the USSR and the end of the cold war. Last year’s acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon triggered a grocery innovation arms race, throwing traditional retailers into a war few were prepared for. How bad is it? As Recode recently reported, Amazon spent nearly $23 billion on innovation research and development last year (2017), up 41% from the year before—more than any other U.S. company, That’s more than Microsoft, Intel, Facebook and even Apple spent on R&D. To put that in perspective for the grocery industry, a report from the IHL Groupstates: “Amazon’s 2016 R&D spending was more than the top 20 retailers (excluding Walmart) technology spending combined … and about 75%-85% of the top retailers’ IT budgets is spent on simply maintaining and upgrading existing systems. As such, retailers are completely outgunned when it comes to spending on IT.” And yet more evidence of the Amazon doctrine in action: The battle for voice-based commerce is already over—long before most retail executives knew the battle had even started. According to USA Today, “Purchases made through devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo are projected to leap from $2 billion today to $40 billion by 2022.” Here’s the kicker: “Amazon is forecast to have 70% of the voice-enabled speaker market this year (2018), per Tech Crunch. By 2020, it’s projected that there will be 128 million Alexa devices installed.” Amazon is aggressively expanding the Alexa platform, weaving it into everyday life, through partnerships with auto manufactures, home appliance makers, and even Microsoft to bring Alexa into the workplace. Amazon's Formidable Lead But innovation spending is not the entire challenge. No matter how much a retailer may spend on innovation today, it cannot overcome the lead Amazon has built. Patent filing activity provides a view into the overwhelming power of the Amazon doctrine. Amazon received 1,963 patents in 2017 and holds more patents than any other retailer in the industry (7,096). By comparison, Walmart, perhaps the most serious traditional retail competitor, holds only 349 patents. It may already be too late for a good number of traditional supermarket operators. The innovation arms race has gone nuclear as Kroger partners with Ocado to build automated fulfillment centers and Nuvo to use automated self-driving vehicles to deliver orders. Beyond digital disciples such as Kroger and Walmart, few retail companies have the wherewithal to invest so heavily in new innovation in an effort to keep pace with Amazon, the deity of digital. Innovation spending aside, many multibillion-dollar regional retailers are what I think of as digitally discombobulated. Many of these companies are trying to do the right thing, investing in e-commerce, putting the customer at the center of their business strategy and launching new digital services. But too often these retailers end up with overlapping capabilities, expensive or impossible system integrations, digital silos, and fractured user experiences. The very nature of competition has fundamentally changed and many industry executives do not yet get it. How important is user experience? Very. My wife and I regularly order restaurant meals delivered to our home. Living in southern California, we have our choice of delivery services; DoorDash, Grubhub, Eat24, Delish, Uber Eats, and many more. Yet for all those choices, Amazon Restaurants has won nearly all our business because of a seemingly simple thing: I can track the delivery driver in real-time through the app, knowing—literally to the minute—when dinner will be at our door. What should frighten retailers the most is that this battle is just getting started. As innovation accelerates, it is driving convergence between historically disparate capabilities and even industries. Companies such as Label Insight are using AI to deconstruct the typical package nutrition information into dozens or even hundreds of granular data points. Separately, health industry innovators are using cutting-edge data science to understand the individual person’s unique, granular nutritional requirements based on gender, weight, age and specific health conditions. At the same time, Apple is reported to be working on noninvasive real-time monitoring of an individual’s glucose levels. A well-known university is able to ascertain a person’s vitamin levels from a teardrop. And then there’s ScriptSave, with its long history of innovation in the pharmacy space, knitting together disparate capabilities to transform and personalize the health and wellness space. Think of it as a virtual dietitian helping guide the shopper to beneficial products across the store, ultimately driving recommendations off real-time health monitoring. And then embedding this capability at the intersection of food and healthcare.  What's the Next Move for Retailers? What are retailers to do? Is there any way to compete? Here are a few thoughts: Think integrated platforms not point solutions. This is especially important when considering customer-facing digital capabilities. Avoid disparate solutions powering up a splintered experience; one AI “brain” should be driving personalized, relevant engagement across every channel and touchpoint. Don’t build tech internally. Unless you are Kroger or Walmart, don’t think about building IT solutions internally; technology is moving too fast and has become too specialized. Instead, leverage advanced cloud-based solutions that provide a “technology putty”—leading edge capabilities molded to your brand and operations. Move faster. If there is one thing that I think endangers traditional retailers more than anything else it is the slow pace at which they are moving. There is no place for five-year plans; the game will be long over by then. Remember, you are now in a world of exponential growth of innovation—speed counts. So, is all lost for traditional retailers? Is the dominance of Amazon and the digital disciples a foregone conclusion? No, but retail executives must understand that shopper expectations now rule, that tech-based innovation is the new battleground, and that tomorrow will no longer resemble today. To view original article: Winsight Grocery Business +MORE

SmartAisle

SmartAisle

SmartAisle℠ is the world’s first Voice-powered retail shopping assistant. It is an innovative new technology platform designed specifically to revolutionize the customer experience in brick & mortar retail stores. Through a combination of an intuitive Voice interface, connected LED lights affixed to the shelf and a powerful artificial intelligence engine working behind the scenes, it provides expert product recommendations, education and support to shoppers at the all-important point of decision. +MORE

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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

Would You Like to Delight and Inform Your Online Shoppers

John Hoyne, SYNQY Corporation

Last week, SYNQY was named as a finalist in CART’s Virtual Pitch Event. We’re among an impressive few chosen from hundreds of applications. So, who are we and what does SYNQY do for retailers? SYNQY provides a managed service for retailers to bring online shoppers rich content from manufacturers. We do that at the point of sale, which is the critical piece. To do this, we match manufacturer-branded content to the products on the retailer’s site and then pay the retailer a revenue share. If we think about what shoppers want, they’re looking for basic product information, but also rich product content. That can take the form of videos, product comparisons, as well as promotional content like new products, innovations, and in grocery, recipes and the upcoming SmartLabel content. Delivering all of this at the exact time that consumers are making buying decisions is key. It’s also very important to provide that content to the consumers on the retailer’s website because more and more consumers are going to leave and find it somewhere else – and maybe never come back. But there are numerous challenges in providing content on the retailer site, one of which is that the content typically resides with the brand and not with the retailer. In addition, the content is always changing. As a result, it’s almost impossible to keep it up-to-date.  So, what if you could crowdsource from manufacturers the content customers are looking for? And what if it wouldn’t cost you anything? And what if it would enhance the buying experience and increase product consideration and sales? And you got paid for it? Well, SYNQY can deliver on those promises. SYNQY delivers enhanced content to delight and inform the shopper. SYNQY has a proven track record in the retail space.  Tony Mercado, Marketing Development Manager, Car Electronics Sector at Kenwood said, “ The appeal of SYNQY is it allows us to give shoppers on our retailers’ websites a branded, rich media content experience that we can easily update to stay fresh and reflect our latest products and promotions.  It also keeps the shoppers on our retailer’s website, encouraging them to execute their buying decision with that retailer.” The key is that retailers deliver rich brand content at the point of sale and shoppers never leave the site.  The way this works is that the manufacturers upload their content into the SYNQY system and the retailer simply installs one line of code on their website. It takes about 10 minutes and it’s up and running. Last year, we ran a test of about 14 tier-1 CPG products and for those users who clicked on the SYNQY, we experienced a 65% increase in consideration and a 40% increase in purchases. Those are significant increases and SYNQY is definitely having a positive impact on sales.  We are working with clients in the grocery space, such as Albertsons, Safeway, Nestle, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Unilever, WhiteWave, VONS, Randalls, PepsiCo, and Pavilions – some of the leading CPG manufacturers and retailers. With our business model, we collect fees from the brands to post their content onto a retailer’s site and then we pay the retailer a revenue share from that fee. Seems like a no-brainer for retailers. SYQNY brings the retailer an enhanced shopping experience for consumers. We increase product consideration and sales and bring a new high-margin site-monetization capability. And we do all of this at low risk, with minimal effort, and at no cost to retailers. +MORE

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

Alex Goodwin, Aila Technologies

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

You Snooze, You Lose. The Time for Grocery Innovation is Now

John Hoyne, Synqy Corporation

Some grocers today are still reluctant to really commit to the online grocery experience. But if you read the headlines, you know that Amazon and Walmart are poised to gain unprecedented online grocery market share. “2017 may be the year for supermarket digital experience,” “Wal-Mart Takes Another Step Forward With Chinese E-Commerce Giant JD.com,” and “AmazonFresh drops to $14.99 per month for Prime members” are what we’re reading these days and it’s clear that online grocery is a hot and evolving market. Online grocery shopping needs to be more than just a shopping cart. That’s a start, but not a way to win. Grocers should consider the omni-channel way people want to shop and build a flexible approach to meet those needs. For example, how do grocers use content to help information-hungry millennials reading nutrition labels to look for GMO- or allergen-free products in-store or online? What about impulse buys? How are those opportunities fostered in ecommerce? Bringing relevant and persuasive content to online grocery shoppers is not just important, but imperative over time. So the options of “wait and see” or having a simple online shopping cart really aren’t options at all. Bringing branded content from manufacturers to online grocery shoppers, along with more nutritional data, and perhaps recipes or suggested products, are all ways to engage shoppers, provide better and cross-merchandising, and grow each shopping cart. This requires that grocers embrace ecommerce and make it a better consumer experience, as opposed to just an online experience. Consumers are savvier today and demand more of online retail; they are now doing the same in grocery. And with more options like AmazonFresh, Walmart and others now participating in the online grocery market, shoppers aren’t limited to local stores. If grocery chains snooze, they’ll lose for sure. +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

Turn "Pesky Donation Requests" Into a Customer Loyalty Goldmine

Drew Honeycutt, Planet Fundraiser

In a 2017 study put out by Cone Communications, research shows that 90% of customers are more loyal to, trusting of, and have a more positive image of a company that supports a charitable cause. It’s not a PR headache, it’s a massive (and largely untapped) opportunity for businesses willing to invest in their communities. Not only that, but it’s increasingly important for retailers to be able to understand how marketing spends can be correlated with in-store purchases.  Community engagement and charitable giving now closely parallel an effective customer loyalty strategy. That’s why it’s vital for businesses to start turning those “pesky donation requests” into tools to attract and retain customers. The donation request problem Donation requests are difficult to manage, at scale, for three primary reasons: 1. )  A burden on store owners and managers Store owners, managers, and employees are often asked the same question, “Will your business make a donation to our school or non-profit?” And it’s not just once or twice a week. Some of the retailers that we work with at Planet Fundraiser claim to field something like 15-20 requests per week, per location. Not to mention the requests that come in at a regional or corporate level. It’s an administrative burden for store managers and employees. When you have to say, “No,” it’s a missed opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level. Think about it - when a customer is taking time out of their day to track down a manager or decision-maker and ask for help, that’s when your business can provide tangible, personal value. Most businesses would love to have this sort of customer engagement and feedback, but the lack of a process deters a deepened relationship. These are the types of customers that you want coming back to your grocery store or restaurant - they’re committed to their community and they frequent your business. Simply having a process in place could make all the difference. 2.) Tracking, Admin, and Analytics It’s understandable to see why store owners and managers might choose to focus on other aspects of their business that more clearly affect your bottom line. The trouble is that charitable giving can be a significant driver of customer loyalty, which directly affects your bottom line. If your business lacks insights about its charitable giving, you might be missing out on the bigger customer loyalty marketing picture. Many times, businesses have a system in place, but the burden falls on a single person like a store manager or regional marketing manager who lacks a solution or the time to properly analyze its effectiveness. Tasking out an entire community engagement system to a single person, who might not have an analytical background, isn’t exactly a process. What’s more, most charitable giving that’s done by businesses isn’t tracked as thoroughly as it could be. For many businesses, it’s not worth the investment to look into what was paid out and to which community groups. This has a negative effect on reporting and all you’re left with is a line item at the end of the year. 3.) Online to Offline (O2O) Marketing Return on investment from marketing and advertising efforts has always been difficult to measure, regardless of medium. For traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, it’s particularly hard to understand how marketing dollars spent on advertising build customer loyalty. The same is true of promoting the good that your business is doing in the community - you might have some ways to promote your partnership with local community groups, but it’s hard to measure the impact and tell the story.  All your efforts should answer the question: How will this affect our relationship with our customers and drive sales? Charitable giving is the hook The silver lining: Charitable giving will distinguish your brand. The traditional way to handle donation requests doesn’t work for businesses or charitable groups. Nobody likes asking for money. Businesses hate saying ‘No’ to customers. However, while donation requests might seem pesky and a chore for your staff to handle, they’re actually the solution. There are also new tools that take the hard work out of handling donation requests. For example, we at Planet Fundraiser have created a software as a service solution that provides businesses with a way to easily track and manage their charitable giving.  Here’s how businesses like Piggly Wiggly, Chick-fil-A, and New Balance use Planet Fundraiser to maximize their charitable giving dollars and create loyal customers: Customers shop and redeem charitable giving donations - When a customer shops at your store, they submit a picture of their receipt and we handle the hard stuff We handle the admin work and distribute payments to schools, nonprofits, and other community-based groups Store owners and managers view analytics and get insights into their charitable giving A charitable giving promotion allows your business the flexibility to give as your customers shop, establishing a direct correlation to sales. New and returning patrons begin to choose your store(s) over the competitor because you’re investing in something that hits home. Translation - now you have a message that resonates, on repeat.  It’s an incredible way for you to meet your customers where they are, create a distinct competitive advantage, and increase basket sizes.  What other businesses are saying Planet Fundraiser works with thousands of businesses that are implementing our solutions into their stores and demonstrating their commitment to their communities: “We love how Planet Fundraiser gives us a performance-based way to support local schools and charities while allowing our customers to choose which cause they support.” - Andy Virciglio (Piggly Wiggly Operator) / Birmingham, AL “Planet Fundraiser has been a game changer in the way we support and develop community relationships. It’s made my job easier and allowed us to host better fundraising events and drive more traffic to our store.” - Blake Smith (Marketing Director) / Chick-fil-A (Gardendale & Fultondale, AL +MORE

Profectus USA

Profectus Group US

Profectus is an international technology and services company that provides leading technologies for rebate and deal management, contract compliance and accounts payable audits. The niche technology is designed to create transaction certainty and help businesses make better decisions. The Profectus USA team supports many industry verticals including grocery and foodservice wholesalers, grocery and clothing retailers, financial institutions, mining and many more. Our technology provides a road map for your success! RDM (Rebate & Deal management)  The Rebate Management system is designed for retailers, wholesalers and large organisations and delivers best practice rebate and deal management, resulting in better returns for business.​ The Rebate Management system is a secure web-based system that stores unlimited rebate and deal agreements.​ The Rebate Management system guarantees accurate rebate calculation, journal creation and claiming.​ Clients and their suppliers value the transparency of a shared web system where there is clarity on all of the details related to rebates.​ In addition, the Rebate Management system creates insights and opportunities to generate increased revenue.​  CCS (Contract Compliance Software)  The Contract Compliance (CC) system enables a full compliance framework to identify overcharges or over payments prior or post payment. It ensures contract terms originally negotiated for indirect/ GNFR (Goods Not For Resale) expenses or key contracts actually occur.​ The CC system is a secure web-based and centralized contract management system providing secure visibility of all critical contract terms.​ The CC system automates the detailed cost checking of invoices; supplier queries workflow and transaction approval process with the click of a button.​ In addition, CC creates insights and opportunities to reduce spend and improve contract terms.  Merchandise / Terms Audits  Every merchandise, sales, AP transaction and trading term agreement is audited for accuracy. The Merchandise Audits provide a detailed review of your rebate and deal agreements against claims and transaction data to identify under-claimed rebate and deal income.  Accounts Payable Audits  Every AP transaction is audited for accuracy by Profectus technologies and the audit team. The Accounts Payable audit will identify and recover duplicate and over payments, GST processing errors and aged vendor statement credits.  Contract Compliance Audits  Contract Compliance audits identify all rate errors and service type errors within invoices. Contract Compliance Audits enable clients to have full compliance framework to check invoices at line item level against agreed contract terms to identify overcharges or over payments prior or post payment. +MORE

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Wonder Rewards

Wonder Rewards

Wonder Rewards is a global provider of end-to-end digital customer loyalty and engagement solutions that drive incremental sales, serve up a better understanding of customer shopping behavior and actionable insights, and personalize the shopping experience. We offer an Alliance Loyalty Marketing Platform with millions of shoppers engaged in the "spend", "earn", "redeem" transactional cycle, with greater redemption value and spending power, than any other rewards program. Add value, not lower price, to transaction: NO Startup Costs, NO Recurring Fees 100% digital, proven technology.  No cards. No keytags Integrate online and offline sales Best CRM Analytics that drive and increase sales Strengthen the relationships with customers  POS Integration – Plug-in application, compatible with any POS                              (Eliminate Integration Costs) Intelligence-Based Marketing Wonder Rewards analytics is based on Salesforce.com Marketing Cloud, providing data-driven insights that guide business decisions and optimize marketing campaigns.  Supercharge your customer acquisition, retention, upsell and cross-sell strategies.  Gain a deep understanding of your customers and build stronger relationships with analytics that are automated, smart and predictive. +MORE

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Planet Fundraiser

Planet Fundraiser

Planet Fundraiser is a philanthropy management platform that streamlines community giving for businesses of all sizes. With the Planet Fundraiser app, our merchant partners give back a percentage of their customers’ purchases to local schools or nonprofits of the customer’s choice - deepening the relationship with their community and their customers. Joining the Planet Fundraiser network opens up merchant partners to an expanded customer base of our charitably minded customers, creating the opportunity to increase revenue while supporting your community. How It Works Customers shop at participating businesses Snap a picture of their receipt A % of their purchase is given to a cause of their choice!  +MORE

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IBM Watson

IBM

Welcome to the era of cognitive business From Watson apps to full-scale solutions, IBM's cognitive technologies understand, reason and learn. Watson products and APIs can understand all forms of data to reveal business-critical insights, and bring the power of cognitive computing to your organization.  Watson APIs  Use Watson language, conversation, speech, vision and data insight APIs to add cognitive functionality to your application or service.  Watson Discovery Rapidly build a cognitive search and content analytics engine. Watson Discovery helps developers quickly ingest data to find hidden patterns and answers, enabling better decisions across teams.  Watson Conversation Quickly build, test and deploy bots or virtual agents across mobile devices, messaging platforms, or even on a physical robot to create natural conversations between your apps and users.  Watson Virtual Agent Quickly configure virtual agents with company information, using pre-built content and engage customers in a conversational, personalized manner, on any channel.  Watson Knowledge Studio Teach Watson to discover meaningful insights in unstructured text without writing any code. +MORE

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Interactive Kiosk

Aila Technologies, Inc.

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

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SYNQY Brand Engagement Platform

SYNQY Corporation

SYNQY uses cloud-based technology to transform manufacturers’ brand experiences across their reseller networks. We combine a network of intelligent touch points called SYNQYs (pronounced sync-ee) with a SaaS Brand Engagement Platform that makes it easy to create and manage these SYNQYs. SYNQY’s patent-pending matchmaking technology dynamically associates high impact, manufacturer-provided content with their corresponding products – without the need for custom coding by the retailer. With a single line of code inserted through a retailer's tag management platform, SYNQY solutions automatically identifies which products get rich-media, persuasive content and adds that content next to the correct product at the point of sale. As a result, retailers can roll out the solution in minutes and shoppers will have access to the information they are seeking to make better product purchase decisions. We have proven evidence this works in both low-involvement purchases such as grocery and high involvement products such as generators, stereo equipment and even semiconductors.  SYNQY can be used on dynamically-driven ecommerce retail sites. It can also be used across dealer networks, blogger sites, factory-direct retail sites and public relations.  The SYNQY Brand Engagement Platform is the underlying technology that allows SYNQY to run many retailer/application-specific offerings.  SYNQY has launched SYNQY | PROMOTE, which is an application that delivers rich media promotional content onto loyalty/coupon pages, product listings, product detail pages and independent dealer networks.  SYNQY recently launched SYNQY | SMARTLABEL retailer solution that automatically identifies which products have associated SmartLabel content and adds that content next to the correct product at the point of sale. As a result, retailers can roll out the solution in minutes and shoppers will have access to 350 product attributes, including GMO information and allergens on thousands of products. +MORE

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Smart.Market

Smart Market

Smart.Market is an innovative marketing tool; using Patent Pending technology to deliver cost effective, highly customized offers to each household within a user defined Custom Trade Zone. Our platform, enables advertisers to message their shoppers via print and digital methods, with or without an installed loyalty program. Clients can also use their existing customer data to upsell and influence increased purchases based on a combination of relevant and highly personalized offers that are tailored to EACH household...THEN Smart.Market provides detailed response analytics to show the performance of each messaging campaign. Further, advertisers finally have a real time mapping tool that shows them their shoppers, and most importantly, how many other shoppers in the market look just like them. The process is simple, powerful, and delivers results.  +MORE

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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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Ant Hill Retail Product Consulting

Ant Hill Retail Product Consulting

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Ant Hill currently owns and operates the largest and most up-to-date retail buyer database in the world.  Ant Hill Retail Product Consulting specializes in rapidly growing a newer retail product or line to the United States or international market place.  With nearly 100 retail brands built, we have the expertise to guide you through the retail world. +MORE

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Retail Strategy Experts U. S. & Canada

Better Sales & Brand Management Group

PLANNING Planning for a market in the U.S. or Canada—regional or national—requires a methodical approach. Multiple elements come into play, from product to packaging, pricing and promotion. The right partners are crucial and a roll-out plan that is fiscally responsible is essential STRATEGY The key to success is a sound go-to-market strategy. We work with you to define your goals, priorities and expectations. We then recommend the best course of action based on resources and opportunities. All retail placements are backed with consumer marketing strategies to deliver sales results. BRAND MANAGEMENT Understanding the distribution and retail landscape while implementing proven brand management techniques only comes with years of hands-on experience and the right partners. We eliminate the learning curve and costly mistakes by providing a comprehensive service. Positioning – brand strategy and pricing Analysis – to decide on best distribution model Territory Management – Regional / National US and Canada Distribution Channels – set up and manage Broker Networks – set up and manage Corporate Accounts – set up and manage Sales Support – set up and manage sales teams/demos Reporting – setting goals and monthly reporting PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Brand Concepts  We Help brands clarify & Define: A unique brand vision Positioning in the current marketplace Key Messages through ingredient stories Demographic of target audiences Formulation Development Custom formulations are developed specifically to fit the brands marketing concepts and target the desired demographic. We always keep a critical eye on budgeting and timelines throughout the process, providing frequent tracking reports of the project for your review. Specialized Formulation Development Services Include: Natural & Organic Formulations  Sophisticated, efficacious, and original formulas for the personal care industry Full Stability and compatibility testing services Wide range of ingredient claim information USDA Organic and Eco-cert Certified Cosmetic Ingredients Proprietary natural fragrances for unique, custom formulations Internationally compliant formulations Packaging Development We bring innovation and experience to cosmetic product packaging and design, key components  to the success of your brand. Our knowledgeable, experienced professional team can assist in coordinating all aspects of the development and sourcing process, creating a seamless collaboration between packaging design, formulation and functionality.  We have a strong global network of packaging suppliers, which enables us to help brands source the packaging of their choice. If we are unable to find the exact packaging to meet the needs of the brand, we develop customized packaging solutions. Strategic Planning for Timelines and Product Launches When taking the brand/product rom development to market, we develop a strategic plan, budget and timeline to achieve your goal launch date.   REGULATORY SERVICES Whether you are looking for assistance in becoming compliant in the United States and or Canada, Better Sales & Brand Managment Group can help. United States OTC Regulatory Compliance FDA Compliance Ingredient List Quantitative qualitative Prop 65 compliance Claims Review Dossiers Cosmetic Product Safety Assessments (EC) 1223/2009 Annex I, Part A and Part B EU Regulatory Compliance 1223/2009 EU Regulation Packaging Labeling: Claims & Compliance - Domestic & International INCI (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) Ingredient Labeling Claims Substantiation - Review packaging verbiage for compliance Canada Cosmetic Registration Natural Health Product  Drug Identification Number LOGISTICS We are specialists in logistics, calculating every detail to provide customized service to our clients with a reliable consistent relationship. Skilled in U.S. and Canadian Order Fulfillment Services, working with our partners servicing all classes of trade we are able to deliver seamless operational expertise. Fulfillment Pick and Pack Light Assembly Mailing services Cross Docking Same Day Shipping Inventory Management  Web tracking EDI set up and Management Order Processing Accounts Receivable/Payable Returned goods processing    Warehousing  We can organize central warehousing, establishing a base of business in the US and or Canada and provide state of the art facilities for all of our clients warehousing needs  +MORE

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Warehouse Automation

IAM Robotics

IAM Robotics Has Built the World’s First Mobile, Autonomous Piece Picking Robot Mobile Picking Robot: Introducing Swift, an autonomous robot that navigates your warehouse aisles to pick products or retrieve goods. Online grocery shopping is poised to take off. Automation is making it cost effective for grocers, and morme importantly, consumers are finally ready to adopt online grocery shopping on a larger scale. Grocery items have a high percentage of SKUs that can be easily picked by our robots. Race past your competition and delight your community of e-grocery shoppers with IAM Robotics solutions. +MORE

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Virt Walkthroughs for Retail

Virt

Virtual walkthroughs are a great tool to market your retail experience online and in VR, but creating VR content is a time-consuming and expensive process.  At Virt, we've figured out a way to create environments that feel 3D at the cost of 2D, by using 360-degree video rovers. We provide the full end-to-end service, scanning your space, hosting it in the cloud, and giving you a web-based Virt walkthrough player to embed directly in your existing website. +MORE

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Social and Mobile Referrals Platform

Everfave

Each of your customers have 100+ friends. Do you want them to be your customers as well? See how our social and mobile referrals platform can work for your business! +MORE

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SKIN semantic wall

umaskin

Imagine you walk by a wall and the wall starts to react on you, presenting you information based on your interests and allowing you, as individual or group, to communicate easily. The information contextually evolves based on your interest and interaction. The umaSKIN platform provides customers with a unique experience. The innovative approach of SKIN® is the combination of interactive and social media and multitouch installations into one highly adaptive and intelligent wall. The social web has shifted power to your customers, allowing them to express resonance. Retail: We want to help you to leverage this shift and use it actively to your advantage. Service, recommend, communicate Automatic mashup product database and social media   Personalize with RFID, NFC, Barcode   Leverage multi channel strategy   Sell ad space and content channels   Connect to loyalty and rewards systems   +MORE

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Point of Sale (POS) Solutions

PayPal

Use PayPal to accept credit and debit cards in-person, at the counter or on the go. Grow your business by accepting all major payment types, including mobile payments, using PayPal Here. The quick and easy way to accept in-person payments. Accept any form of payment with PayPal Here, the simple and easy way to accept credit and debit cards. So wherever your business goes, your sales can go too. PayPal Here is available on iOS®, AndroidTM and WindowsTM devices. Sign up is fast and easy – you’ll be accepting card payments in no time. PayPal provides an extensive range of tools for your business. From daily transactions to expanding your business, we can help you handle it all with ease. PayPal Debit Card: Access your PayPal balance and earn unlimited 1% cash back benefits. Web Payments: Accept e-commerce payments of all kinds, from any device. PayPal Online Invoicing: Get paid faster by generating professional invoices with ease. PayPal Working Capital: Fund your growing business in minutes. +MORE

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Mobile Payments

PayPal

Get paid anywhere. PayPal Here is the easiest way to accept any form of payment. Wherever your business goes, your sales can go too.  Clear, simple pricing: 2.7% per US card swipe. 3.5% + $0.15 to key in cards. 2.9% + $0.30 to invoice. 1% for cross-border transfers. Accept all payment types: Accept credit and debit cards instantly, or send an invoice to get paid later. You can send invoices online or even record cash and check transactions. Live customer support: Our knowledgeable team is here to help whenever you have a question, available on either your phone or via email. It’s your choice. No long-term commitment: Download the app, get set up quick, and pay as you sell. There are no monthly fees, setup fees, cancelation fees, or processing minimums. +MORE

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Online Invoicing

PayPal

Sending invoices has never been easier. We make it simple to send professional, customized invoices. Get paid fast via PayPal, credit and debit cards, or PayPal Credit, and manage everything in one place. Invoice fast. Get paid faster. PayPal makes it easy to send professional, personalized invoices to your customers. In one click customers can securely pay you via credit card, PayPal, and even apply for credit to be used instantly. They don’t need a PayPal account to pay you. Whichever method they choose, you receive your money usually in just minutes. Free to send invoices: With PayPal it’s free to send an invoice. You only pay a small fee when you receive an online payment. Track your payments: Whether you’re paid online or by check, you can track and manage everything in our invoice management center. Customized templates: Use your own logo, and customize the fields of your invoice to make it fit your business. Attach files: Keep all your paperwork in one place by attaching PDF documents and images to your invoice. +MORE

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Web Payments

PayPal

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

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Market Research

Shapiro+Raj

Bringing new ideas to market ahead of the competition takes a team of dedicated practitioners and a customized approach that’s built around your thorniest issues. It also takes research tools and analytical rigor that can hone in on insights in days – instead of weeks. It also means vetting those insights with consumers, by creating brand ideas, expressions, and experiences that speak your customers’ language. Leveraging tools that provide validation and volumetrics. And creating action plans that give you direct line-of-sight to revenue and profit impacts. Let us help you unearth powerful insights and inspire big ideas that can improve brand value and drive profitable business growth. +MORE

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Cross-Platform Measurement

Rentrak Corporation

As more channels, devices and platforms appear, the way consumers watch TV has evolved. Advertising success no longer depends on wide audience exposure, but instead hinges on understanding consumers and effectively communicating with them using precise targeting and measurement. Rentrak knows that not all viewers are alike. Just because two viewers may fit the same demographic mold doesn’t necessarily mean they share the same interests, like the same products or enjoy the same movie and TV programming. Rentrak accounts for this increasingly complex marketplace with its unique ability to combine massive amounts of movie and TV measurement information with information about the products viewers buy, the cars they drive and the lifestyles they lead. TV Essentials: Providing television measurement from more than 37 million screens and approximately 17 million households across the country, Rentrak is the trusted source for networks, agencies and advertisers, delivering the most precise and reliable TV ratings all day, every day across the largest media landscape. StationView Essentials: Don't stop at sweeps. Rentrak is the industry's massive and passive currency providing TV measurement from tens of millions of screens across every local market all day, every day — giving stations the most reliable and precise information about the products viewers buy and the television content they watch. Custom Reports: Standard solutions don’t always meet complex needs. Rentrak’s services address a wide array of industry concerns, but what about questions that go beyond our Essentials suite of products? Rentrak’s Analytical Solutions team can provide customized answers that offer deep insights into a variety of client verticals. +MORE

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DecisionCloud

MarketShare

You want to see a complete picture of marketing effectiveness – online, offline, long-term, short-term – everything. You want to easily plan your approach, optimize budgets and test scenarios. You also want cross-channel attribution, predictive insight and scale – with fast course corrections and decision support. And the measurement insights you gain must help improve ROI and show marketing’s revenue contribution. MarketShare DecisionCloud has five applications for advanced marketing decision analytics: Strategy: Our Strategy application, for large companies, can optimize your marketing mix and dramatically improve your marketing effectiveness. This advanced analytics technology reveals what truly drives demand for your products and services – whether it’s your marketing, what competitors are doing, or the weather. And it lets you run different scenarios to answer the “what if?” questions that are critical to effective planning and budgeting. Action: Our Action application delivers cross-channel attribution “in the cloud” and at scale so you can see the real value of each interaction or “touch point” with customers during their purchase journey. Our technology delivers a complete, holistic view that includes digital (online), offline and other factors that influence purchase decisions. It allows you to optimize, course correct and integrate with your ad tech ecosystem. Price: Our Price application is sophisticated cloud-based software for dynamic (real time) pricing. It’s perfect for industries such as entertainment, travel, hospitality and others. Our patented technology devours mounds of complex data, at scale, to reveal what’s driving demand and the optimal price to charge for maximum profit. Price delivers instant and ongoing recommendations on how you can adjust prices and boost revenue. Benchmark: Benchmark is an easy-to-use, self-serve application that helps agencies and others evaluate media channel effectiveness. It leverages proprietary, industry-specific intelligence we’ve developed over many years of experience. These insights show how different media impact sales, and how you can optimize media plans based on target goals. You can tap Benchmark’s powerful recommendations via your browser or through an API. TV: MarketShare TV™ provides early insights into how different networks, campaigns and creatives are performing on a daily basis through measuring the impact of TV impressions on website visits. +MORE

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EnterWorks Enable

EnterWorks Acquisition, Inc.

Drive sales and margin growth with compelling, differentiated experiences through a single view of content with suppliers, partners, customers, and marketplaces. Product Information Management (PIM): Our product information management (PIM) employs a dynamic, flexible data modeling architecture Master Data Management (MDM): The MDM acts as the single source of the truth for data and content for supply and demand chains. Dynamic Data Modeling: Enable MDM manages data as XML entities to provide the full benefits of open, standards-based attribute management. The solution can model Workflow & Collaboration: Deploy a robust set of workflow management tools to enable, automate, and enforce best practices in data and content integration and flow across multiple sources, applications and enterprises Syndication & Publishing: Simultaneously and continually distribute and update enriched product information to multiple sales channels, systems and external partners Digital Asset Management: Easily store, categorize and manage unstructured and external content Globalization: Support multi-lingual, multi-country and multi-cultural content and automatically generate localized output files and publications Portals: Offer interactive, custom-branded Marketing, Sales, Dealer and Vendor Portals to for shared content development of syndication within and across enterprises Digital Channel Accelerators: Drive enterprise sales and branding throughout digital channels. Auditing & Reporting: Proactively manage content with product level audit trails and graphical reports. +MORE

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