E-commerce

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

Autonomous Delivery Vehicles- Why They Matter, and How They Work

Adriel Lubarsky, Director of Business Development, udelv

Think of your supply chain. It probably looks something like this. Product gets shipped on a line-haul truck to a warehouse or storage facility Product gets delivered by box truck to retail location Product is purchased at the store (deliveries end) OR online, requiring one more delivery to get the product to the customer’s home While growing consumer demand means this supply chain must grow as well, delivery growth faces two major bottlenecks- the availability and the cost of drivers. As recently as 2017, the American Trucking Association reported a shortage of 45,000 drivers. This trend will continue as fewer young people seek work as drivers because of the high-risk and high-stress work of a full-time driver. Meanwhile, customers are ordering more, and delivery is gaining popularity. There are simply more deliveries than there are drivers to make them. Your business may feel this pain. While the entire supply chain feels the stress of driver shortages and autonomous vehicles will impact every leg of the journey, this post will focus on the last mile- delivering goods to the end customers. -Think about your delivery business. When did you start? The most prescient of you launched home delivery well before the dawn of the internet. Phone orders would come in, you’d load a van, and deliver the goods. This early experience likely helped delivery become a substantial part of your total sales volume. Boy, aren’t you happy you started early. Others of you are just beginning to experiment with delivery. Amazon’s recent purchase of Wholefoods made it clear that delivery is an enormous opportunity. And if you don’t go after it soon, you’ll fall behind. Whether your business was one of the first to do deliveries or is just getting into the market, know this:  e-commerce made up just 10% of all retail in 2017 and is expected to double in the next 5 years. That’s right. Imagine hiring and managing 2X as many drivers as you have now. Imagine the logistics of 2X as many orders. Imagine the costs of delivery- which seem high now- doubling by 2022. Imagine everything in your supply chain doubling- except for your bandwidth, and the price you can charge. It’s hard to imagine. And unless your business innovates in a major way, costs will grow, hiring will become ever-more-difficult, and you’ll miss the opportunity of delivery on a large scale.   To combat this disparity between growing demand for delivery and shrinking supply of drivers, autonomous vehicles are beginning to enter the supply chain.  These vehicles enable a safer, cleaner, and more efficient supply chain. Because they don’t get tired or distracted, autonomous vehicles can work longer hours and with fewer accidents. Because they don’t speed or brake hard, they use less gas and better maintain engines and brakes. And because they can be smaller and lighter than traditional vehicles, they can move goods faster and more effectively. With all these benefits, autonomous delivery vehicles have a lot to offer the typical supply chain- especially in the last mile, where drivers and gas make up almost 70% of the cost.  So all of this sounds pretty good. You read this article, and like the idea of a self-driving delivery van. You have a few meetings, look at some numbers, and are ready to purchase your first autonomous delivery vehicle. But how does an autonomous delivery actually work? -Since the driver isn’t there (obviously) to load, unload, and deliver goods, Merchants and Customers need to play a larger role in this process.  MERCHANT PROCESS A Merchant, as we define it at udelv, is anyone who will be loading the vehicle. This might be a grocery clerk, warehouse employee, or dedicated picker/packer. With udelv, it takes two steps. Share orders Load orders Share orders Since you can’t hand a piece of paper to a driver who punches an address into the GPS, you’ll need to share order information with the autonomous vehicle in advance. You can do that with any delivery management tool (like OnFleet). or an easy entry tool on the udelv website. Algorithms then do what was previously a manual task. They route and schedule the deliveries, and let your customers know what day and time they can expect their delivery. Most importantly, the times are in 15-minute windows, providing your customers amazing visibility and convenience (more on this later). Load orders All of your orders are input into the udelv Merchant app. When the vehicle arrives at your store or warehouse, or other loading location, you can open your app and see all your orders for the day.  Select an order, pick a compartment, and load it the order.  If you need to double check an order or fix something, you can go back and re-open any compartment. All of this takes less than 10 seconds/order. CUSTOMER PROCESS As a Customer, everything about autonomous deliveries needs to be as good or better than the current experience. Here, the focus is on convenience and easy access. Convenience With an autonomous vehicle, customers can track their order at every step in the process. Tracking provides peace-of-mind and greater trust in the Merchant and delivery process. Knowing the arrival time ensures that customers are available to receive the order. Standard 2-3 hour delivery windows force Customers to wait around impatiently and powerlessly. An autonomous vehicle’s precise tracking and 15-minute delivery windows means that Customers can schedule their days accordingly, transforming delivery from a chore into a pleasure. Easy Access Getting a delivery from the vehicle into the customer’s hands is all about empowering the customer. The first step is ensuring the Customer knows when and where the order will arrive, so they can be available. The second step is getting the customer to retrieve the order. Autonomous delivery companies can provide access to compartments through keypads, apps, text-to-open tools, and more. And once a customer removes their order, the vehicle continues to its next destination- safely and cheaply. Autonomous delivery vehicles promise to make deliveries cheaper for Merchants, more convenient for Customers, and more sustainable for the economy and the environment. To take advantage of the benefits, Merchants should start thinking about and testing autonomous deliveries today. Just like with innovations of the past, from e-commerce to mobile apps, the Merchants who take advantage of autonomy the earliest will see benefits the soonest. If you’re interested in learning more about piloting an autonomous delivery vehicle, visit udelv.com/FAQ or email sales@udelv.com +MORE

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

Dan Dashevsky, My Cloud Grocer

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

udelv

udelv

udelv is the first custom-made, public-road autonomous and electric delivery vehicle. udelv's vehicle will bring forth a dramatic decrease in the cost of local deliveries, add delivery window flexibility, and significantly reduce a city's carbon footprint. Clean and affordable deliveries mean reimagining city life, and revolutionizing business. +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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Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery for eCommerce

ReadyCart.co

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Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery Technology for retailer's eCommerce solution - laser focused around maximizing customer satisfaction and retailer profitability. ReadyCart Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery Technology Crowdsourced network build and eCommerce integration Retailer specific training collaboration and creation Network onboarding and ecosystem to handle training, scheduling, payment etc. Crowdsourced Picking&Delivery Technology  Picking&Delivery App Delivery Analytics Portal +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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Turnkey Online Shopping

CART

Supermarket operators are being pushed to put in place online shopping capabilities to maintain their revenues and market share as grocery shopping moves online at a fast-growing pace. Many industry studies are projecting that 10% to as much as 20% of sales may move online within the next five to eight years. Other studies show that grocery eCommerce sales are growing over 20% annually compared to the low growth, many times stagnant, sales in brick & mortar retail. GrocerKey is one of many... +MORE

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My Cloud Grocer Solution Guide

CART

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

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Award-winning eCommerce solution

My Cloud Grocer

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My Cloud Grocer is an award-winning eCommerce solution designed to help supermarkets thrive in a competitive digital world. Offering a robust, customizable virtual storefront, My Cloud Grocer’s top-rated white label platform powers and integrates the full shopping experience, from initial order to the customer’s door. Our clients see lower operational costs and consistently outperform competitors, enjoying the largest weekly sales and online baskets in the industry. +MORE

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Freshop

Freshop

(1)

Freshop provides a friendly, powerful shopping destination that will make your customers happy and loyal. Online commerce sales are increasing every year and consumers are more and more comfortable ordering produce and other perishables online. To compete grocery stores must become destinations and Freshop makes your digital presence a strong destination to complement your in-store experience. Our team has worked with some of the top minds in grocery and we have layered those experiences with our unsurpassed knowledge and skills in the digital world. Web, social, search, commerce and analytics are what we live and breathe. Freshop is easy to use on any device. Web visitors can explore all of your products and services and quickly plan their meals and shopping. Your mobile customers will have the full power of the system with streamlined experiences to exceed their expectations, driving more business to your stores.   +MORE

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Digital Foodie

Digital Foodie Ltd.

Digital Foodie Ondemand provides a fully customizable SaaS platform for digital grocery. The platform is used by major retailers and brands, operating currently in North America, Europe and Asia. For consumers, Foodie provides apps that empowers people to shop online, consume smarter and eat better. Foodie delivers highly personalized food and product recommendations that make everyday shopping easy and fun. For retailers, the platform provides all the tools needed to run modern digital operations including click and collect service and home deliveries. Digital Foodie Ondemand platform is currently available on web, iPad, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. Digital Foodie is venture-backed by US based e-commerce growth fund, Blackdragon Capital, and part of their EnterWorks Holding group portfolio. Today they employ grocery industry experts and technology specialists in two different continents and several locations. Foodie’s award-winning recommendation technology ensures truly personalized omnichannel experience for consumers, increasing loyalty and sales. The service enables consumers to create and share shopping lists, make click & collect and home delivery orders and plan their weekly menus with “one click to cart” –recipes.  Foodie’s fulfillment tools are designed for real-time order management and they enable cost efficient picking and delivery processes. For back office Digital Foodie provides all the administrative tools needed for creating and managing store content and for monitoring, measuring and optimizing service performance. Foodie’s platform scales from independent store owners to very large enterprises.   +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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GrocerKey

GrocerKey

GrocerKey is a white label end-to-end technology solution for grocery stores. Included is a branded web site featuring an online store. GrocerKey has created a faster and more desirable ordering process than any other e-commerce grocery platform on the market. The GrocerKey admin allows you to update store settings in real time, stay on top of your stores performance with real time analytics, and prepare your store for pickup, scheduled delivery, and on-demand delivery. The GrocerKey back-end operations app provides your staff with the tools they need to run an efficient and successful operation. +MORE

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Three Imperatives for Retail in the Next Three Years

Gary Hawkins CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

Think about major developments in the grocery retail industry between 1940 and 2015, and by major I’m talking about advances that are truly transformational in nature.  When I went through this exercise I came up with only three: The development of self-shopping, the development of UPC barcode scanning, and the development of capturing customer identified transaction data via loyalty programs. Now consider major developments in just the past three years: Amazon Go self-shopping, automated distribution centers, self-driving vehicles, robots in store, robotic food preparation, drone deliveries, artificial intelligence everywhere, voice-based shopping, and more. That explosive growth in just the past few years makes it obvious that we’ve hit the inflection point on the exponential growth curve of technology and that change is only going to happen faster and be increasingly noticeable. Now alongside this explosive growth of technology put recent forecasts of store closings: Coresight Research states that 5,864 stores closed in 2018 and projects 12,000 store closing this year (2019). Tom Blischok, a long-time industry observer, estimates 30% of traditional supermarket chains will be gone by 2025, five short years from now. And UBS Securities projects a whopping 75,000 stores will close across all retail sectors by 2026 if eCommerce continues to grow from today’s 16% to 25%. A crisis of disruption is bearing down on grocery retail, driven by fast-changing consumer expectations fueled by new tech-driven capabilities. How are traditional brick & mortar retailers to keep up? I believe traditional retailers that survive the next three years will have increased their odds of longer-term survival. I believe there are three things - imperatives - that retailers need to focus on in the next three years: Innovation as a Process: Too many retailers treat new capabilities as one-off projects, not understanding that transformative capabilities are flowing into retail at an ever-faster pace. In this world innovation needs to be viewed - and operationalized - as a process. Something very much at odds with the slow-moving historical change. CART’s Innovation Program is designed to help regional and national retailers drive discovery and awareness of meaningful innovation as part of a process. Transform into a Nimble Organization: Though many retailers are moving faster than they have historically it is still not fast enough to keep pace with Amazon and the flood of new capabilities transforming retail. Traditional retail organizations need to embrace innovation, become more nimble, and evaluate, pilot, and deploy appropriate capabilities faster. Prepare for the Age of ‘i’: As I wrote about in my latest book, Retail in the Age of ‘i’, the world is increasingly tailored to each of us individually and there are significant implications for retailers. Consumers today expect contextual relevancy, not only online but increasingly in the physical world, and retailers need to deliver that. Delivering a true customer-first shopping experience requires an overhaul of the systems, processes, and practices that have become institutionalized in the product-first world of retail.  +MORE

CART Weekly Report 11/7/19

CART, Advancing Retail

3 WAYS INDEPENDENT GROCERS CAN COMPETE WITH THE ‘BIG GUYS’| Guest Blog by Bobby Brannigan, Founder and CEO of Mercato  KNOW A REMARKABLE INDEPENDENT? NOMINATE THEM TODAY! WBG and CART, along with presenting sponsors, will host a celebratory reception and awards presentation ceremony for its 2020 Remarkable Independent award winners at the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, which will be held Feb. 23-26 at the San Diego Convention Center. NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCIATION - NGASHOW 2020: Register to Exhibit and/or to attend - February 23rd, 2019 - February 26th, 2019, San Diego, CA Apply to Speak at the CART Event at NGAShow 2020 Apply for a booth in the Innovation Pavilion at NGAShow 2020 Join the INNOVATION PROGRAM -New Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES MEET HEALTH AND WELLNESS | Hosted by Kevin Coupe, MorningNewsBeat’s “Content Guy” SPECS SHOW 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas Innovation, individualization and immersion are all shaping the future of retail. Savvy retailers are embracing more immersive shopping experiences, big data intelligence, and deep operations and systems integration to continue innovating their store designs in this new age of “i.” WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: THE CART RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM™ IS UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY | The CART Team 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. FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail ✔️Blogs ✔️ Webinars ✔️Newsletter ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content      LEARN MORE>> 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. +MORE

3 Ways Independent Grocers Can Compete With the ‘Big Guys’

Bobby Brannigan, Founder and CEO, Mercato

The other day I overheard a phone call between one of our sales representatives and an Independent Grocer. It went something like this: Sales Rep: Hi, this is Nikki from Mercato. We are the only e-commerce and delivery platform designed exclusively for independent grocers. I was hoping to talk with you about getting your store online and growing your business. Grocer: Oh, I’m not even thinking about that right now. There is a store across the street and they aren’t online, so I’m not sure it is important for me. Plus, I’m really busy. The sad truth is that we hear conversations like this all the time.  It’s almost 2020, and here is a merchant who isn’t even thinking about getting online. That isn’t even the worst part! The worst part is how far this is from what the big chains are actually thinking and doing. To them, e-commerce is yesterday. They are already there. They have already moved on to the next big things. How is the independent grocer supposed to compete in a world where the resource gap between the “haves” (Kroger, Amazon, Albertsons, etc.) and the “have-nots” is this large?  The Independent Grocer’s Edge   My family is in the grocery business, and I grew up working in our family store. I’ve had the privilege of seeing what makes Independents so amazing, and why they really do have a gigantic advantage over the big chains. It boils down to a few key things: Quality of the food – from prepared to fresh food, it doesn’t get any better! Quality of the employees - nobody cares more about the customer experience. Quality of the customer service - a constant drive to serve every customer as if they are family. No matter how much money Amazon and the others spend, they will never be able to compete in these areas. These are the virtues that Independents can use to their advantage.  Growing up in my family’s Italian grocery store, I’ve also seen first hand the real disadvantage independent grocers have when it comes to technology, innovation and marketing. Even more troubling, the gap is widening as the big companies acquire smaller chains and increase their investment in the future. Despite these difficulties, and because Mercato loves to help independent grocers, we have prepared a strategic roadmap to success. Competing With the ‘Big Guys’ Phase 1: E-commerce and Delivery I’m sure you’ve heard the stats by now. According to a study by FMI, 20% of grocery sales are expected to occur online by 2025. That may seem like a long time from now, but many stores on the Mercato marketplace are already seeing 10-15% of their retail store sales happening online.  The percentage of U.S. consumers who purchased groceries online over the past year grew from about 23.1% to 36.8%, according to Coresight Research, an online marketplace for independent grocers. Online grocery shopping is without a doubt here to stay. The Independent can win by embracing this change and getting online.  List all of your products online. The number one concern for online shoppers is freshness and quality. Prove to them that the Independents are the only ones who understand this by listing all of your prepared foods, amazing produce and high-quality dairy and meats. Know your online customers. Drop them a nice note in their bags. Figure out how to create an experience for them that shows your dedication to their satisfaction in the same way you would the person in your physical location. Packing is key. Make sure that every online order that leaves your store was packed by an employee who knows your customers and can pick the highest quality cuts, the freshest produce and ensure items aren’t missing.  Phase 2: Data What makes Amazon so successful? What makes Kroger’s tick? What makes Albertsons profitable? Simply put, data. Without data, they have no idea what to stock on their shelves, no idea what the competition is charging for similar products, and no idea what hot new products are on the minds of their customers. Independents are at a real disadvantage here. If they only have 1, 2 or even 10 stores, how can they capture the same amount of data as a company with 500 or 1000 locations? Even more challenging, they aren’t data analysts. If they had the data, many of them wouldn’t even have the time to crunch it all. So, what to do? Find any source of data you can. Data is information, and information is power. Many big wholesale suppliers have sales trend data. Be sure to remember that this data can be influenced by the particular products the supplier is promoting or offering at that time. It’s not always the complete picture. Embrace competitive data. What are stores in the local market charging for similar products? Where is the sweet spot between profitability and over-charging? Knowing this information can give stores a huge advantage.  Find help. If a merchant doesn’t have the time or skill to know what to do with the data, find someone who does. Hiring data analysts can be expensive and time-consuming. Think about contractors, consultants or other sources of not just data, but analysis. It will pay off in the long run! Mercato is committed to helping in this area. With our network of merchants rivaling the sales of some of the larger chains, we have access to the data that Independents need to compete, including pricing recommendations based on your local market competition, product recommendations based on online data and aggregated sales trends, and insights and suggestions for overall product mix and promotional strategies to improve profitability. Phase 3: Supply Management Many Independents don’t spend a lot of their time negotiating pricing with their suppliers or researching alternatives to lower their costs. As a result, the 16oz package of Cheerios that an Independent sells for $4.79 is available at the local chain for $3.59 and at the nationwide player at $3.09.  Even with diligence around negotiations and keeping suppliers on their feet by getting competitive bids, the buying power of any Independent can’t match the superstore. How do we change this? Start with your supplier. The average Independent is probably using the same supplier they have been for years. Bring in a competitive supplier from time to time, push for better pricing constantly, and challenge your suppliers by showing them that price matters to you. Join a larger group or association. There is power in numbers and in aggregation. Always try to be negotiating as part of a larger group. This way you punch above your own store’s weight and can get access to bulk pricing. Mercato is poised to be there for Independents in this area. With the aggregated buying power of the merchants on the Mercato online platform, we can deliver all sorts of benefits, including bulk pricing and access to hot new products that your suppliers might not even carry.  In the end, the winners in grocery will be the ones who innovate, create passion among their customers, and have the best economics. The best strategy for an Independent is to keep doing the things they are great at, and then to find partners who are great at the rest to fill in the gaps. Mercato now has over 750 merchants on our platform. Some are multi-store chains. Some are huge public markets and some are small specialty stores. What they all share is the courage to compete and the desire to stand up for the things they worked so hard to build. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 10/31/19

CART, Advancing Retail

KNOW A REMARKABLE INDEPENDENT? NOMINATE THEM TODAY! WBG and CART, along with presenting sponsors, will host a celebratory reception and awards presentation ceremony for its 2020 Remarkable Independent award winners at the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, which will be held Feb. 23-26 at the San Diego Convention Center. NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCIATION - NGASHOW 2020: Register to Exhibit and/or to attend - February 23rd, 2019 - February 26th, 2019, San Diego, CA Apply to Speak at the CART Event at NGAShow 2020 More CART RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM™ Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES MEET HEALTH AND WELLNESS | Hosted by Kevin Coupe, MorningNewsBeat’s “Content Guy” SPECS SHOW 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas Innovation, individualization and immersion are all shaping the future of retail. Savvy retailers are embracing more immersive shopping experiences, big data intelligence, and deep operations and systems integration to continue innovating their store designs in this new age of “i.” WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: THE PROMISE AND PERIL OF DATA FOR RETAILERS AND SOLUTION PROVIDERS | Gary Hawkins THE CART RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM™ IS UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY | The CART Team 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. FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail ✔️Blogs ✔️ Webinars ✔️Newsletter ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content      LEARN MORE>> 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: If you can dream it, you can do it ~ Walt Disney  +MORE

CART Weekly Report 10/24/19

CART, Advancing Retail

GNC LAUNCHES NEW PERSONALIZED DAILY VITAMIN PACKS BASED ON INDIVIDUAL HEALTH NEEDS, LIFESTYLE GOALS AND EVEN DNA; DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO YOUR DOOR | Cison PR Newswire Gary’s Take: My latest book, Retail in the Age of ‘I’, is all about the world - both digital and physical - becoming increasingly tailored to each of us individually. GNC, the vitamin and supplements retailer, has just launched new personalized daily vitamin packs tailored to each individual customer. “Based on an individual’s age, gender and personal and family health history, GNC will create a science-backed wellness plan curated with the industry’s leading vitamins and supplements to aid consumers in their quest for healthy living.” The GNC4U service can also ingest DNA information, either from a GNC DNA test kit or other source.  This is just one more example of how in the Age of ‘I’, products are becoming increasingly customized to the individual. Brand manufacturers and retailers should both be thinking about how their products, services, and experiences can be tailored to each customer. THEFT IS A MAJOR RISK FOR RETAILERS USING SCAN AND GO, EXPERT SAYS | RetailDive Gary’s Take: In a surprise to almost no one, a study published recently found that theft related to scan-and-go self-shopping increases as sales done via scan-and-go apps increases. While not all loss is intentional theft - some comes from people simply forgetting to scan and item or other issues - the bottom line is that shrink does increase. Many retailers using scan-and-go technology perform random bag checks or even verify each customer order.  Since scan-and-go apps first came on the scene I have seen this capability as simply a stepping stone to a full Amazon Go-like fully automated checkout system or other process that speeds checkout and reduces friction. Loss related to scan-and-go applications, intentional or not, can quickly add up, putting pressure on retailer’s already thin margins. Even more, all the retailer is doing is shifting the scanning and payment process from a cashier to the customer, not really providing any extra value to the shopper. Not a winning proposition in the long run. OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE WANTS TO KNOW IF A.I. TECH CAN HELP IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE | CNBC Gary’s Take: The use of AI powered computer vision analytics is moving from the store into restaurants and other settings. Outback Steakhouse is the latest to install cameras in its entrance and lobby areas to measure customer wait time, the number of customers leaving without being seated, and more. Outback is focused on leveraging the technology to improve the customer experience. Cameras are showing up everywhere and these kinds of analytics will increasingly be used to digitize behavior in a physical space with a goal of gaining insight to customer behavior and optimizing sales or other activity. DOES TARGET NEED TO ADDRESS ITS ASSOCIATE MORALE PROBLEM? | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: Team morale is everything and it translates directly into customer experience in store. If the employees aren’t happy, customers will be less happy over time. Of course Target has to make smart business decisions, but with the cuts store managers should be granted some autonomy to take care of individual employees as needed to keep morale high. Communication is the most important thing here so everyone on the team feels part of the conversation, not at the effects of it. CAN b8ta DO FOR FASHION WHAT IT’S DONE FOR CONSUMER TECH? | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: There’s plenty of room in the fashion and lifestyle space to innovate the stores. b8ta definitely has a track record to do these kinds of things; they did for consumer electronics what Sephora did for makeup. But I do think lifestyle and fashion is a little more difficult as it doesn’t naturally lend itself to interaction in a new way (most clothing stores let you touch, feel and try on the clothes). The banner will create interest from many; however, service in the store will be the key to making it successful.  WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: THE PROMISE AND PERIL OF DATA FOR RETAILERS AND SOLUTION PROVIDERS | Gary Hawkins THE CART RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM™ IS UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY | The CART Team MAKING LOYALTY PROGRAMS WORK HARDER | Winsight Grocery Business HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCIATION - NGASHOW 2020: Register to Exhibit and/or to attend - February 23rd, 2019 - February 26th, 2019, San Diego, CA Apply to Speak at the CART Event at NGAShow 2020 More CART RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM™ Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events SPECS SHOW 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas Innovation, individualization and immersion are all shaping the future of retail. Savvy retailers are embracing more immersive shopping experiences, big data intelligence, and deep operations and systems integration to continue innovating their store designs in this new age of “i.” 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. FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail ✔️Blogs ✔️ Webinars ✔️Newsletter ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content      LEARN MORE>> 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: What is now proved was once only imagined. ~William Blake +MORE

The Promise and Peril of Data for Retailers and Solution Providers

Gary Hawkins CEO, Advancing Retail

Data powers the retail industry, especially in today’s digital age. From in-store analytics to optimized-everything, and from marketing personalization to product customization, big data is the fuel in an age of tech-enabled innovation. Rarely do we see a few weeks go by that some new solution enters the industry that either creates a new data stream or feeds off existing data. But retailers’ resources and skills have not kept pace with the growth of new data and new solutions. It is surprising how often I encounter retailers - even multi-billion dollar revenue retailers - who do not have the skill sets to make effective use of systems and capabilities that they’ve purchased and put in place. Sometimes, retailers look to CPG brand manufacturers to purchase data, either as part of a broader initiative in which the brand is using the data to give back to the retailer insights & analytics, or other times as simply a new revenue stream. Selling data is not necessarily always a good thing: often there is some kind of quid pro quo with the brand expecting something in return that may or may not align with the retailer’s best interests. Solution providers have an opportunity to play a pivotal role here. It’s often not enough to just sell some new innovative capability to the retailer; true success comes from helping the retailer be successful with the new solution. I think it is incumbent upon both the solution seller and the retailer buyer to have a frank discussion around what skill sets and resources are required to make use of a new capability and identify if the retailer has those skills or if there is a gap. In the case of a gap, the solution provider has an opportunity to help the retailer train people or hire new people with the requisite skills. Now set this entire discussion in the context of exponential change where the development of new capabilities is increasing at a faster and faster pace every day. The need to constantly upgrade skill sets and train and educate employees to take advantage of new capabilities is paramount. The penalty for failing to do this grows by the day. It is incumbent on solution providers to make new technology and new capabilities as easy to implement and use as possible along with helping the retailer what’s required to be successful. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 10/17/19

CART, Advancing Retail

COMING SOON: A.I.-POWERED PERSONALIZED RESTAURANT MENUS | OZY Gary’s Take: Reinforcing the growing convergence of the massive food and healthcare industries, a growing number of restaurants are personalizing their menu items to the individual customer. These restaurants recognize that a growing number of people have food allergies - an estimated 32 million people in the U.S. alone - or have nutritionally sensitive health conditions (60% of Americans have one or more chronic health conditions) or have strong diet and food preferences. This personalization is happening across restaurants of all formats, from quick serve like McDonalds to more formal establishments. As I wrote about in my latest book, Retail in the Age of ‘I’, the world is becoming increasingly tailored to each of us individually and this trend of personalizing restaurant prepared meals is just the latest sign that this movement is expanding across the digital and physical worlds. WILL CUSTOMERS GIVE WALMART THE KEYS TO THEIR HOME? | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: Privacy is culture and it changes over time. 15 years ago it would be ludicrous to post all our family pictures and trips online; now it’s almost standard. I expect we’ll see that same thing over time for these kinds of services. Is the value exchange worthwhile? Consumers will increasingly answer: yes. PERSONALIZED PROMOS ADD UP TO A ‘WIN-WIN’ FOR RETAILRS AND CONSUMERS | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: Personalized pricing is inevitable. We see it in our credit card rates, our airline tickets and increasingly we see it as a standard in retail. Done right, not only do the economics work, but it's a better customer experience all around. REI OPENS OUTDOOR ADVENTURE GATEWAY CONCEPT | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: This is a great idea! And the next step in experiential retail. Not something contrived to create an “experience” but a real place consumers can launch their experiences from. It adds a lot of value for consumers and I’m willing to bet this concept will be successful for REI. WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: THE CART RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM™ IS UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY | The CART Team MAKING LOYALTY PROGRAMS WORK HARDER | Winsight Grocery Business RETAIL AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE - GLOBAL TRENDS | Thinking Heads HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS INNOVATION PROGRAM AT HY-VEE HEADQUARTERS - Des Moines, Iowa | November 6-7, 2019  NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCIATION - NGASHOW 2020: Register to Exhibit and/or to attend - February 23rd, 2019 - February 26th, 2019, San Diego, CA More INNOVATION PROGRAM Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events THE RETAIL REVOLUTION at PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR RETAIL LEADERSHIP - October 24, 2019, 12:30-5:00pm, Portland, Oregon  SPECS SHOW 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas Innovation, individualization and immersion are all shaping the future of retail. Savvy retailers are embracing more immersive shopping experiences, big data intelligence, and deep operations and systems integration to continue innovating their store designs in this new age of “i.” 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. FOR RETAILERS>> Proven programs to advance your business FOR SOLUTIONS>> Your growth engine into retail ✔️Blogs ✔️ Webinars ✔️Newsletter ✔️Accelerator ✔️Pitch Events ✔️Solution Spotlights  ✔️Innovation Programs ✔️Educational Content      LEARN MORE>> 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: The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovation company. ~Ginni Rometty +MORE

THE CART RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION PROGRAM™ IS UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU'VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY.  

Bringing a dedicated trade-show to the retailers' headquarters;  we connect Solution Providers in a powerful engagement with key decision-makers.

The CART Innovation Program™ is a powerful way for solution providers with transformative, disruptive new capabilities to gain an audience with the senior executive team of large regional and national retailers. Without a program like this, gaining such an audience - especially for young companies - is nearly impossible. Solutions are curated at the request of the retailer. Through our application and acceptance process and partnering with the retailer, we select the exact solutions they want to see.  Once accepted to participate, the CART team partners with the solution provider to hone their presentation and coaches them to deliver a spot-on presentation; helping to create a powerful, succinct story to gain the retail executives’ attention. This is being proven to be the most effective and powerful way to begin the sales cycle. The CART Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program™ provides you access to the retailer’s senior execs and time to network, exchange contact information, hear immediate feedback and begin to build a relationship.  You can begin your sales process by hunting down people at a company hoping you get a meeting with a person who will listen or you can be in front of the C-suite and senior decision makers all at once.  There’s no better way to get your foot in the door, launching your sales cycle, and breaking down corporate silos than having a full audience of decision makers all in the same room to understand your solution’s capabilities. Historically, before the CART Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program™ was developed, solutions selling into regional and national retailers would typically encounter a two, to sometimes four, year period of selling before getting the deal signed. Companies still have budgets, decision making processes and due diligence to manage after a Program which a solution provider needs to be aware of and manage accordingly. The CART Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program ™ facilitates and expedites this process.  With the CART Retail Tomorrow Innovation Program™ solution providers have an opportunity to engage more quickly and effectively, better understanding the retailer’s decision making and budget processes and who the decision makers are. With this knowledge solution providers can potentially get pilots moving faster so the retailer has time and experience to envision what a full implementation looks like should they engage the solution. The retail industry is a high-pressure, dynamic, high-volume, thin margin, business where executives never have enough bandwidth and are always pressured for time. Even with company silos broken down, it’s still important to understand the environment and the sales process to successfully engage your solution into this highly competitive market. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 10/10/19

CART, Advancing Retail

AMAZON’S DYSTOPIAN PLAN TO BE ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE | The Week Gary’s Take: Amazon had a product launch event during which it released 15 new products - more than most companies release in a year. Amidst the various products, Alexa was featured prominently as Amazon is focused on getting Alexa on as many products suitable for as many environments as possible, from  your living room to your car to the office. Thinking about what Amazon is doing, it is becoming clear that the company believes that voice is going to be the next major platform, potentially surpassing the smartphone. Lots of implications here for retailers when thinking about customer engagement and how to accomplish that in a world of voice-based computing. THIS ROBOT CAN MAKE 300 PIZZAS IN AN HOUR | Trib live Gary’s Take: The robots are coming! We’re seeing lots of activity in automating food production and the latest is from a company called Picnic. They have created a robotic pizza maker that can make 300 12-inch pizzas an hour and 180 18-inch pizzas per hour. This comes on top of Flippy, the automated burger grilling bot, salad robots, and even bread baking robots. Automation at retail in the areas of food production and maintenance (like robotic floor cleaning machines) make a lot of sense for retailers. Smart retailers will take the savings they realize from automating these types of non-customer facing jobs and reinvest in people in roles where they engage with shoppers and can build relationships.  AMAZON IS LOOKING TO INSTALL ITS GO TECHNOLOGY IN HUNDREDS OF RETAILERS BY 2020 | Business Insider Gary’s Take: So this is really interesting - Amazon is in talks to bring its Amazon Go checkout free shopping experience to movie theaters, sports venues, and other retail stores. Makes sense from Amazon’s perspective as the tech space has gained a number of companies focused on replicating Amazon’s tech to bring to traditional retailers. Those startups are receiving some serious  funding and we are seeing a growing number of deals being announced as Grabango begins work with Giant Eagle and Tesco makes an investment in Trigo Vision. While many retail execs seem to be skeptical that the technology can scale to eventually handle a full supermarket, advances in computer vision are happening fast and I believe the tech will get figured out. BEST BUY MAKES A BIG BET ON HEALTH TECH | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: I think it’s a good move for two reasons: 1. There’s a significant and growing need and 2. Technology and services can fit that need in new and innovative ways. Establishing themselves as an early entrant into the new senior tech + services market builds relationships with customers that have a high switching cost (as your data, support and knowledge will already be with Best Buy). WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: MAKING LOYALTY PROGRAMS WORK HARDER | Winsight Grocery Business RETAIL AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE - GLOBAL TRENDS | Thinking Heads HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS INNOVATION PROGRAM AT HY-VEE HEADQUARTERS - Des Moines, Iowa | November 6-7, 2019  More INNOVATION PROGRAM Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events 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 - October 24, 2019, 12:30-5:00pm, Portland, Oregon  SPECS SHOW 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas  Innovation, individualization and immersion are all shaping the future of retail. Savvy retailers are embracing more immersive shopping experiences, big data intelligence, and deep operations and systems integration to continue innovating their store designs in this new age of “i.” 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: Your past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future. ~Marilyn Ferguson +MORE

CART Weekly Report 10/3/19

CART, Advancing Retail

THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR U.S. DRUGSTORES | Nielsen Gary’s Take: The convergence between the massive health care and food industries in the United States continues to gain momentum and retailers and brands not paying attention will miss major opportunities and risk their shoppers moving on without them.  While supermarket retailers with in-store pharmacies are right in the middle of this convergence, drug stores are in a more challenging position. Food is increasingly being viewed and understood as medicine, putting grocery retailers in prime position. Drug stores are improving their food selections but have a long way to go. Needless to say, any retailer in the food, pharmacy, or health and nutrition space should be aware of the convergence underway and figure out how they can benefit their shoppers. THESE 18 RETAILERS HAVE FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY OR LIQUIDATION IN 2019 | Business Insider Gary’s Take: Yesterday, Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy, adding to a growing list of retailers closing stores and going out of business. Many of these retailers are in non-food related channels like apparel, toys, etc. but it is only a matter of time before we see an acceleration of bankruptcy filings, store closures, and acquisitions in the supermarket sector. I believe this acceleration has already started but it is occurring across the independent sector of smaller retailers where filings don’t make the news. How it shows up though is in consolidation happening at the wholesaler level as the wholesalers seek to maintain their volume through acquiring other smaller distributors. I also continue to believe that the majority of retail executives do not yet fully understand what’s coming. I hear more execs talking about change and innovation and exponential growth of technology but its almost as if they are just saying the words. Technology and all it enables is moving faster every day, and the exponential growth of computer processing power is creating industry disruptive capabilities at a growing pace.  The challenge for the retail industry is three-fold: 1) putting in place processes like the CART Innovation Program to build discovery and awareness of new capabilities, 2) train and educate your organization to be more open to innovation, doing things differently, and moving faster, and 3) develop a strategy for where you want to go and create a roadmap identifying what systems, processes, and practices need to be developed to get you there. BALANCING TECH WITH THE HUMAN TOUCH IN RETAIL | tech radar.pro Gary’s Take: That automation is transforming retail is no longer in debate. The only question is what area of retail operations are going to be automated and what retailers are going to do with the savings. I believe automating jobs that people really don’t want to do, like floor cleaning, makes a lot of sense and everyone wins. And while I believe that Amazon-Go like technology will eventually make its way to full supermarkets, I’m not sure that’s a great thing. People are social animals and shopping has been a social activity, seeing your neighbors, family, or friends at the local supermarket. Removing human interaction through automation can transform  the shopping experience to a sterile, people-free transaction but eliminates a massive opportunity for retailers to actually foster and grow relationships with their customers. WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: RETAIL AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE - GLOBAL TRENDS | Thinking Heads HOW TO FOSTER EMPLOYEES INTO BRAND AMBASSADORS by Andrew Hoeft, Retail Process Innovator | CEO at Pinpoint Software Solution Highlight: Date Check Pro  New Date Check Pro e-Book!  What Does it Mean to be a Community Grocer in 2020? This eBook dives into the strategies and tactics you can put into place in order to make an impact as a community grocer in 2020. HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS INNOVATION PROGRAM AT HY-VEE HEADQUARTERS - Des Moines, Iowa | November 6-7, 2019  More INNOVATION PROGRAM Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events 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 - October 24, 2019, 12:30-5:00pm, Portland, Oregon  SPECS SHOW 2020 - The ForeFront of Physical Retail - March 15-17, 2020, Gaylord Texan, Dallas  Innovation, individualization and immersion are all shaping the future of retail. Savvy retailers are embracing more immersive shopping experiences, big data intelligence, and deep operations and systems integration to continue innovating their store designs in this new age of “i.” 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: Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure ~ Albert Einstein +MORE

CART Weekly Report 9/26/19

CART, Advancing Retail

ALPHABET’S WING DRONE DELIVERY SERVICE TO LAUNCH TEST PROGRAM IN VIRGINIA | CNet Gary’s Take: In a real world example of how fast technology is moving. Alphabet (parent of Google) is launching a test program next month using drones to do home delivery in partnership with FedEx and Walgreens. It wasn’t that long ago drones even became a ’thing’ and now real world retailers like Walgreens are moving aggressively to pilot the technology in real world situations.  The drones being used in this test will fly about 100-200 feet in the air. When arriving at their destination, they will hover about 20 feet in the air and lower the package with a tether to a backyard or doorstep. The drones will be able to carry packages weighing 2-3 pounds, appropriate for a drug store like Walgreens. This is far from the only drone test; Amazon remains focused on using drones for delivery of packages and other startups have gotten into the game. This space is moving increasingly fast and is part of helping retail solve the last-mile delivery challenge. GROCERY STORES OF THE FUTURE WILL LIKELY SHARE THESE 3 IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS | Forbes Gary’s Take: The physical store is changing fast and nowhere is this more evident than in grocery retail. While grocery is moving online quickly, it is the center-store packaged goods that are moving the fastest. This has big implications for the physical store. - Future grocery stores will be smaller as they focus on fresh and prepared foods while packaged foods are boxed up for customer pick-up or home delivery. - Order fulfillment, even for the smallest orders, will increasingly be done on a hyperlocal level. The only way to reduce delivery costs and speed delivery time is to move fulfillment closer to shoppers. - Frictionless shopping like Amazon Go will happen. Yes, there are pain points today in trying to scale the technology to a full supermarket and recognizing fresh foods, etc. but tech is moving fast and these things will be addressed and solved. All these factors, and more, impact on store design going forward and retailers should be thinking about these as they look to the future. WILL FREE SAME-DAY DELIVERY BOOST MACY’S ONLINE SALES? | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: There’s little to be gained in playing another company’s game. I think Macy’s will have some minor wins when it comes to launching free same day delivery. And it could be worth doing. But Macy’s would find more benefit in finding themselves in terms of their core value proposition to the customer beyond what everyone else is already doing. ARE SMART CARTS A SMARTER WAY TO WALK OUT | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: The context that these are/are not adopted under is what matters. I don’t think there’s a silver bullet tech that is the answer for everyone. The company, stores, customer base, etc. all factor in to what technology will work and be accepted. This approach will certainly be viable for some retailers. More broadly, all retailers need to rethink the checkout process as it’s ripe for disruption given tech capabilities today. WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY:  ARE GROCERY RETAILERS CHASING SHINY OBJECTS? | Gary E. Hawkins HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS INNOVATION PROGRAM AT HY-VEE HEADQUARTERS - Des Moines, Iowa | November 6-7, 2019   RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 More Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events 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: Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun! ~Mary Lou Cook +MORE

Are Grocery Retailers Chasing Shiny Objects?

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Advancing Retail

I participated in a rapid-fire panel discussion at Groceryshop this past week looking at 10 different technologies for supermarket retail. It was a lot of fun speaking with Phil Lempert, Brita Rosenheim, comparing our thoughts in a lively debate that brought up some good points for retailers to consider. Amidst the explosive growth of new innovative capabilities coming into retail, there are a number of things that seem to have been created just because technology now enables new things - not necessarily focused on solving specific issues. And we see too many retailers chasing after each new shiny object without a real plan for what they’re trying to accomplish. I think that solution providers should focus on what problems they are helping solve for the retailer, or what benefits they help create for the retailer or shopper. Broadly speaking, new capabilities should help the retailer reduce costs, improve operations, or help benefit the overall shopping experience. Customer facing capabilities ultimately should help the retailer attract new shoppers, grow the value of existing shoppers, or better retain shoppers over time.  Running a retail organization, particularly a larger organization, is a complex challenge. It is an incredibly dynamic business, high sales volumes and low profit margins, that is dependent on doing a million different things well. I’d suggest that retailers can use the same lens suggested earlier for reviewing new capabilities and starting to bring some order to the chaos of new innovation. First and foremost is a focus on the customer and understanding that retail competition has shifted from mass promotion to share-of-wallet and shopper lifetime value.  +MORE

The Promise & Peril of Retail Personalization

Gary Hawkins, Founder, CEO, Advancing Retail

As we head into Groceryshop 2019 I am struck by the number of solution providers focused on providing marketing personalization. It is safe to say that retail personalization has arrived. And yet is also safe to say that far too few retailers truly understand what’s involved with providing effective personalization and how fast capabilities are moving in this space. As supermarket retail has been dragged into the digital age, personalization has become a customer expectation, no longer a nice-to-have. And solution providers have come out of the woodwork to provide capabilities to retailers, each proclaiming the sophistication of their approach and the use of AI and machine learning.  But here’s the problem: Like any engine, the quality of personalization is dependent on the fuel it’s running on… and too many retailers are providing poor quality fuel or, even worse, lack the fuel necessary. As retail enters the Age of ‘i’ - a time of maximizing share-of-wallet and growing lifetime value of each individual customer - far too many retailers lack customer identified transaction data, the primary fuel. Looking at a list of the top 50 supermarket retailers, approximately half of them have little to no customer identified purchase data.  Beyond that, personalization is driven by customer intelligence; the more known about the customer the better. Customer intelligence is driven by attributes, attributes tagged to the customer and to the products he or she purchases. Attributes can, and should, also include location and other information that can be brought in from outside data sources. Knowing what product a customer purchases is good, knowing that the product is sugar-free and gluten-free adds that much more insight to what that customer is searching for. This is where retailers need to start to dig when evaluating different personalization capabilities. What, and how many, attributes are maintained and how they impact recommendations is key to relevancy. How those attributes are created and refreshed is also massively important. Batch cycles and customer segments are yesterday’s approach; look for automated creation of customer profile attributes and systems capable of calculating, maintaining, and ingesting hundreds and even thousands of attributes tagged to the individual shopper and products. Anyone with customer identified purchase data and a spreadsheet can quickly identify products frequently purchased by a customer. It takes more sophistication to track each product’s purchase cadence for each individual customer. And even more sophistication to understand subtle changes in customer behavior. A handful of retailers realize that contextual relevancy in marketing is more powerful than straight personalization. And to provide contextual relevancy requires deep integration with digital touchpoints like mobile and awareness of location - all in realtime. Retail marketing personalization presents the retailer with both promise and peril. Providing recommendations that are irrelevant, or simply wrong, to the shopper in today’s world holds great risk. In the digital world, irrelevant communications are spam, and a customer can easily delete your app or unsubscribe from your emails. But for those retailers who get it right, who understand the need for vast customer intelligence and realtime interaction, contextual relevancy can be massively powerful as retail competition quickly shifts to a stealth battle over each customer’s share-of-wallet and lifetime value. +MORE

CART Weekly Report 9/12/19

CART, Advancing Retail

A RETURN TO CONTEXTUAL ADVERTISING | StreetFight Gary’s Take: Programmatic marketing is facing an increasing challenge as consumers increasingly focus on privacy, governments increasingly are passing privacy regulations, and the benefits of ads based on what is known about the shopper frequently don’t produce the expected results. In its place is a return to contextual marketing; suggesting ads and other information based on what the shopper is currently looking at. For example, if a person is researching diabetes because of a recent diagnosis, a marketer may want to present information on new prescriptions or other information. Far different than providing a deal on cookies because that’s what the shopper was clicking on a few days ago. All digital marketing is facing increased scrutiny and challenges and retailers should look at growing digital engagement with their customer base as fast as possible so as to collect first party data. Reliance on second and third party data will become increasingly risky as regulation increases. STARSHIP TECHNOLOGIES CEO LEX BAYER ON FOCUS AND OPPORTUNITY IN AUTONOMOUS DELIVERY | TechCrunch Gary’s Take: Last mile delivery is a major focus for the retail industry today. There are a growing number of solution providers getting in the game, in addition to the usual players of the Post Office, UPS, FedEx, Amazon, and more. New entrants are focused on self-driving autonomous vehicles - either cars or purpose-built smaller vehicles like Starship Technologies, to deliver products. While these types of automated solutions work best in dense population areas, drones are in pilot to be used in delivering products in more remote areas.  Given the speed of innovation, retailers would do well to focus on developments in last mile delivery. As the economics shift, and automation drives down costs, delivery may become very important very quickly. BEAR ROBOTICS IS RAISING BIG BUCKS FOR ROBOTS THAT DELIVER FOOD TO RESTAURANT PATRONS | TechCrunch Gary’s Take: Robots are coming to a restaurant near you as automation helps restaurant owners address high wages, and a lack of people interested in service positions. Robots serving food, combined with tablet remote ordering have the potential to improve the efficiency of restaurant operations and may in some cases even improve the customer experience. It will be interesting to see how the technology can be applied to supermarkets increasingly offering prepared foods and meals. STARBUCKS DEVELOPING NEW STORE DEDICATED TO PICK UP AND DELIVERY ORDERS | RetailWire Sterling’s Take: The experimentation here is what’s important. There’s a general acknowledgment that things are changing and Starbucks is out in front creating what that change might look like for them and their customers. I don’t think there’s a single answer for all retailers/foodservice operators regarding pickup/delivery, but there are a variety of new things that might work depending on the operator, region and customer base. WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: 5 WAYS BIG DATA CAN IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE | Ashley Lipman HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 ENERGIZER - November 14, 2019 More Events to be Announced Soon! Notify me about upcoming and new events GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas GETTING THE MOST OUT OF GROCERYSHOP | Gary Hawkins CART’s Gary Hawkins is participating in two sessions at Groceryshop. On Monday, Sept. starting at 8:45am, Rapid-Fire Review: 10 Technologies Transforming Operations will be looking at ten new technologies and getting thoughts from industry leaders. The next is on Tuesday at 9:30am where Gary will speak to Retail in the Age of ‘i’ and then lead a panel of industry execs in a discussion around Data-Driven Shopping Experiences. 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: Innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect. Steven Johnson +MORE

CART Weekly Report 9/5/19

CART, Advancing Retail

BREAK DOWN DIGITAL WALLS TO KEEP PACE WITH CHANGE | Forbes  Gary’s Take: As I speak to in my latest book, Retail in the Age of ‘i’, one of the ‘i’s that retailers need to focus on is integration. Specifically, I’m referring to the disparate systems most retailers use to connect with shoppers online. We can broaden this to also include the myriad social media channels and other online shopping sites. The need for systems integration to provide a smooth and cohesive user experience is vitally important as traditional retailers increasingly compete with technology firms. There are two primary reasons driving these challenges. The first is that retailers have added digital capabilities over the years as new things entered the scene, leading to multiple solution providers that need to be integrated. Secondly is the retailer erecting walls around their digital properties in hopes of providing a better experience for shoppers. In both cases, the customer experience usually suffers. INTEL TUNES ITS IoT WITH THE HELP OF BLUEBERRY FARMERS | ZDNet Gary’s Take: As 5G cellular networks roll out and IoT explodes, we’re going to see a fast growing number of solutions focused on tracking and monitoring products across the supply chain. In addition to location (and how much time at each location) we are going to see growing sophistication around monitoring of temperature and other environmental conditions. All this is coming together to power greater transparency for the end customer, letting the shopper know where the product was sourced and its journey to the shopper. STORE BRANDS CUT INTO BIG FOOD | Wall Street Journal Gary’s Take: Retailers’ private label programs are finally hitting their stride as retailers put forth products comparable to, if not even better than, the quality of national brands. And, doing it at attractive price points that are appealing to a growing number of shoppers. Sophisticated private label programs provide the retailer a way to differentiate their stores and build customer loyalty. And, in an age of personalization and true focus on growing customer share-of-wallet, private label margins help the retailer provide meaningful savings on relevant products to the individual customer.  WILL H&M’S AMBASSADOR PROGRAM TURN EMPLOYEES INTO SOCIAL INFLUENCERS? | Retail Wire Sterling’s Take: Developing a culture that starts to generate ideas and fashion from the inside is a good plan. And doing it over time is even better. As these new influencers are able to express themselves through the brand it will breathe excitement and life into the whole organization (and of course shoppers). Of course, if the brand tries to express itself through the people it'll be a non-starter. It's a fine line, but certainly doable. I think other retailers are watching to see how it's done... WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY: GETTING THE MOST OUT OF GROCERYSHOP | Gary Hawkins  IT TAKES SOMETHING TO DO NEW THINGS | Sterling Hawkins HAPPENINGS: UPCOMING RETAIL TOMORROW INNOVATION DAYS/EVENTS CGA STRATEGIC CONFERENCE 2019 - September 29-October 1, 2019 RETAIL REVOLUTION AT PORTLAND STATE - October 24, 2019 ENERGIZER - November 14, 2019 More Events to be Announced Soon! GROCERYSHOP - September 15-18, 2019 at the Venetian in Las Vegas 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: Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun. ~ Mary Lou Cook +MORE

Getting the Most Out of Groceryshop

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology

So Labor Day has come and gone, school has started back, and its time once again for Groceryshop! This year’s show, the second annual, is on track for significant growth (to the surprise of no one) with several thousand people expected to attend. The Groceryshop team has lined up great speakers from technology companies, leading retailers, and brand manufacturers to educate, inform, and share ideas and best practices. There are three areas of opportunity for retailers to get major learning out of the show. The first is to attend the various workshops that are organized into tracks to help attendees find areas of interest easier. In addition to major presentations, there are many smaller workshops speaking to more focused areas.  The next opportunity is to spend time walking the exhibit floor, meeting and learning about all the solution providers who are there. While you’ll find some established names, there are many younger startups that come to Groceryshop seeking to find partners and retailers to learn with.  The third opportunity is to network, meeting other executives from across technology companies and the retail supply chain. Talking with other people is a great way to to learn what others are doing, sharing best practices, getting feedback on new technologies and innovation. CART’s Gary Hawkins is participating in two sessions at Groceryshop. On Monday, Sept. starting at 8:45am, Rapid-Fire Review: 10 Technologies Transforming Operations will be looking at ten new technologies and getting thoughts from industry leaders. The next is on Tuesday at 9:30am where Gary will speak to Retail in the Age of ‘i’ and then lead a panel of industry execs in a discussion around Data-Driven Shopping Experiences. Photo: Winsight Grocery Business +MORE

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