Merchandising

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

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

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

Timing is everything and ‘your newest team member’ is right on time!

Lan Nguyen, Marketing Manager, Bossa Nova Robotics

With AI and data from your newest team member, retail work has never been easier. Bossa Nova, a leader in creating autonomous service robots for the global retail industry, tracks inventory plus store and shelf conditions in real-time. Its solution delivers data with speed and accuracy. By reducing inventory time, Bossa Nova is able to provide real-time data for stock levels with improved accuracy. So how does this translate to a financial gain for retailers? First, by automating mundane tasks, employees are happy and happy employees make a happier retail environment. You might wonder how many hours are spent on mundane tasks such as inventory audits.  There are 30,098 items in the average grocery store. A typical Target store has around 80,000 SKUs and a Walmart supercenter sells up to 120,000 items. It takes about 20 human hours to audit 10,000 products. Following this logic, an average grocery store would require over 60 hours per store,  160 hours per store for Target, and a whopping 240 hours auditing shelves at a Walmart Supercenter. It’s easy to see how grocery stores following the recommended minimum quarterly inventory schedule forfeit a high proportion of human working hours to this task. For those that audit monthly, the labor costs are even more tremendous.   Bossa Nova helps retailers automate these inventory audits and monitor shelf-conditions in parallel, scanning an 80 linear foot aisle in 90 seconds with 98% accuracy. Through automation, employee focus can be shifted to more action oriented, customer-centric tasks, while the Bossa Nova robot detects anomalies in shelf conditions, covering everything from addressing out of stock and misplaced items, to pricing, and more. This shift in employee focus to the customer directly translates to higher shopper satisfaction and increased loyalty. It is estimated that out of stocks cost retailers over $129 billion in lost sales in North America - a loss of -4% of revenue annually. (the cumulative worldwide cost of out-of-stocks for retailers has now reached over $984b) A study conducted by MIT Supply Chain Management Research determined that 78% of products that are not on the shelves (i.e out of stocks) are actually on-hand. Given this, a majority of out of stock issues can likely be resolved in-store. Inventory replenishment is critical to success, and those tasks need to occur at store level. Having the right products in the right place when consumers are looking for them (both online and in-store) allows sales to escalate and deliver a sales velocity that makes the most effective use of each square foot of space. Bossa Nova is committed to maximizing this efficiency by gathing  reliable, real-time data that delivers task oriented, actionable items. Efficient inventory control improves speed to shelf by alerting store-level associates of inventory on hand, as well as buying desks / suppliers of true OOS situations. Through computer vision implementation, retailers can accurately assess, and more importantly, address in-store conditions in real-time, across all locations. Real-time accuracy is not only important to retailers, but it is also important to your shoppers. By having accurate inventory, confidence thresholds for item availability can be increased for both in-store and online shopper inventory inquiries. In fact, 81% of shoppers do research online before visiting a physical store for what they want to buy, yet only 27% of retail sites provide store level inventory. When the robot “wheels” into your stores, you will be saving intensive labor hours and improving your store conditions with unmatched accuracy. Bossa Nova has the credibility and experience to help retail operations realize the return on investment and successfully integrate with existing platforms and systems. There are two popular sayings that really affect your bottom line: “Timing is everything”, and “Time is money”, and in business, money really is everything. While many technology companies are still working to surmount the bell learning curve of applied technology, Bossa Nova is equipped with extensive retail experience and has been trusted by operations and IT professions to successfully integrate and lead this huge step in retail automation. With accurate inventory management, you can increase your revenue potential and more accurately can forecast the future. +MORE

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

AI Powered Promotion Optimization

CART

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

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DART Displays

DART Displays

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

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Artificial Intelligence Product, Price & Assortment Optimization

Daisy Intelligence Corporation

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

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Robots for Retailers

Bossa Nova Robotics

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

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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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Darius™ for Retail

Darius Technologies

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

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LISNR

LISNR

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

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Award-winning eCommerce solution

My Cloud Grocer

(5)

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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New Floral Care and Handling Formula Optimizes Floral Department Products and Operations

CART

(1)

As the nation's economic recovery continues, supermarkets and other mass market outlets across the country, which capture 38% of the floriculture market, are expanding their floral offerings and anticipate an increase in sales. But it's not just the uptick in the country’s economic condition that's spurring sales. Retailers are redefining the supermarket floral department by concentrating on making it a point of differentiation, a go-to destination for shoppers, and a focal point within the grocery store. And while consumers will always consider price a significant factor in the purchase decision, overall freshness of floral and appearance of the department are the most important buying criteria for shoppers who will likely only spend their discretionary money on flowers that will meet these expectations. Achieving these goals, while optimizing floral department operations, can effectively be accomplished through the use of Sterilox FloraFresh. Unlike other solutions available in the marketplace, FloraFresh does not require any additional products to be used along with it. It is a concentrated, one-step solution designed to keep flower buckets clean, the water fresh and odor free, and provide essential nutrients to fresh cut flowers. FloraFresh is a safe, broad-spectrum cut flower formulation in a stabilized concentrate form of electrolyzed water with potassium-based electrolytes. The solution was designed to keep water in flower displays clear and eliminate any buildup on the vases and buckets that hold and display flowers. FloraFresh integrates seamlessly into the operations of any size floral department. It comes in a 2.5 gallon container with a proprietary delivery system that is installed within the floral operation. The solution is delivered through a trigger-activated dispenser that employees use to easily refill flower vases and buckets. The following case study reveals the results and benefits experienced among several independent grocery retailer study participants at Roche Bros. who used the FloraFresh solution in their floral departments. +MORE

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FloraFresh Concentrate

Sterilox Fresh

(4)

Sterilox Fresh focuses on solutions that make fresh retail products safer, fresher, and longer lasting. The Sterilox Fresh System and ProduceFresh are the standard in leading supermarket chains to keep produce fresher longer and to address cross-contamination. These products protect against harmful pathogens and spoilage organisms, reduce labor associated with trimming and case cleaning, make a step change in reducing category shrink, and enhance the shelf life and quality of fresh produce. FloraFresh is specially formulated to keep floral buckets free from slime build-up and odors, eliminating the need for scrubbing buckets while providing essential nutrients to cut flowers. +MORE

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POS Tuning

POS Tuning

(1)

POS Tuning is the global innovation leader for retail front facing shelf management solutions.  POS Tuning offers an entire toolbox of products (pushfeeds, illumination, theft prevention, stock management, brand staging, and other disruptive elements) optimizing the presentation of brands and categories at the Point of Sale. +MORE

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Gauging the Impact of Display and Brand Messaging on the Cereal Category

RetailNext Learning Labs, RetailNext, RockTenn Merchandising Displays, & CART

The goal of this project was to determine whether or not in-line display fixturing and messaging increased brand and category sales and drives acceptable ROI.     +MORE

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Impacting Product Presentation, Merchandising and the Customer Experience

CART

The in-store environment has become an increasingly important front in retail competition as the majority of shoppers make their purchase decisions in the store and impulse purchases remain a significant factor. With this in mind, it is critical that retailers provide a pleasant and engaging in-store experience for their shoppers to achieve long term success as chain competitors stress clean, uncluttered, and well-organized stores. Key to the shopping experience is merchandising. Merchandising success means not only having the right product selection and assortment available, but also having products neatly presented to make it easy for the shopper to find what she is looking for. With so many more options available to shoppers today, retailers understand that the negative impression made by products in disarray and the frustration caused by inability to find the right product in a timely and efficient manner can send the shopper to a competitor. In addition to lost sales, poor merchandising discipline can result in higher labor costs, as store personnel must take time to straighten products and bring them face-forward. European supermarkets, faced with high real estate and labor costs, utilize merchandising fixtures to maintain product display discipline, maximize shelf space, and realize restocking efficiencies. A relative newcomer to the US market, merchandising fixtures from POS Tuning were recently tested by CART in a live learning lab (operating store) to determine the impact on sales, store labor related to restocking and merchandising, and the customer shopping experience. Overall, the fixtures provided a significant positive impact on units sold in key brands and sections in both the cereal and frozen foods categories, which were evaluated in this test. The quantitative results were reinforced by comments from the Store Director who clearly identified labor savings, improved merchandise presentation, and positive remarks from shoppers as key benefits to the POS Tuning fixtures. Merchandising tests such as these are challenging, especially in the dynamic supermarket environment where there is a regular inflow of new products and delisting of older products. Retailers regularly re-merchandising categories and sections compound the challenges as they react to competition and search for any advantage. The CART team’s retail experience underscores the importance of viewing test results through both a qualitative and quantitative lens. The positive impact provided by an easier and less frustrating shopping experience can create customer value over time that can be difficult to manage in a short-term test. Comments from shoppers and store personnel help reinforce the importance of this perspective. POS Tuning is a global provider of innovative merchandising and display solutions that has brought its products to retailers in North America. Building on the success in its home market of Europe, where leading retailers utilize its products across many categories to great success, POS Tuning engaged CART to implement its solutions in key categories in a supermarket to prove their value. +MORE

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GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck

GoSpotCheck is mobile form and execution management software that enables team leaders to improve workforce operations. Organizations can assign tasks, analyze real-time reporting, and drive action to accomplish critical goals and objectives. +MORE

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Category Assessment

Shopperception

Our capabilities include: - Category optimization (planogram, visibility, product innovation) - Lost shopper analysis - Category performance monitoring - Contextual shopper engagement at the shelf (in-store advertising) - In-store shopper traffic analysis Key benefits to the retailer: - Test and optimize changes in a small set of stores before full-chain rollouts - Protect category performance - Increase basket size - Optimize investments in shopper activation and increasing conversions +MORE

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BEFORE! Predictive Analytics

ACT Operations Research

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

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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

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

How to Foster Employees into Brand Ambassadors

Andrew Hoeft, Pinpoint Software

In the digital marketing space, brand ambassadors have become a must-have accessory. The media landscape that we’ve all become accustomed to is crowded, so much so that a single message from a company – even on a stage as big as the Super Bowl – doesn’t easily resonate with an audience. It’s not memorable. It’s not moving the needle. Digital marketers seem to have found their secret sauce in brand ambassadors, those influential people online who can convince others to purchase the products and support the brands that they do. With these ambassadors on their side, they’re able to cut through the noise and convey a message to a specific target demographic without a Super Bowl-sized budget. What makes them stand out in a crowd of advertising? They’re people.  But we’ll get into that more later. As a grocer, you may think that brand ambassadors aren’t in your wheelhouse. After all, influencers are chasing after big brands and products that can show off their clout. They wouldn’t want to be an ambassador for a grocery store? Would they? And, even if they did, would it really have an impact on your business? How would having an influential person spreading the word about your store bring in more customers and more revenue? I think you just answered your own question. Let’s get into the details. What is a Brand Ambassador? A brand ambassador is someone who is paid to showcase a product or service to their network, digital or otherwise, in the hopes that their influence will inspire a group of people to purchase the product or service. The term is thrown around a bit loosely when it comes to marketing, but the above definition gives a more specific answer to the question, “What is a brand ambassador?” One common misconception is that a brand ambassador has to be someone who does their work digitally, through social media. We hold a strong belief that an individual who has a wide, connected network that is invested in their opinion will do just as well as a brand ambassador as someone who has hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers. A brand ambassador who can bring up your brand organically at a cocktail party, at an event that they’re hosting, or casually in the drive through at the local fast food restaurant is probably more convincing than a celebrity spokesperson anyway. Why You Need Brand Ambassadors for Your Grocery Store Now that you understand what a brand ambassador is, the logical question is, “Why do I need one?”  Aren’t my in-store promotions enough to get people through the door? My weekly flyers? My digital ads or app notifications? The truth is, that even those more sophisticated means of reaching your customers may not be working. People are inundated with thousands of messages every day, asking them to buy this, call this number, take action here. It can be incredibly overwhelming, and your litany of messaging could be adding to their mental exhaustion. Brand ambassadors work in this media environment because they are people. (Remember when we talked about that in the beginning of this post?) Brand ambassadors aren’t hidden behind a company logo, anonymous copywriters, or editorial writers tasked with giving your press release a unique spin. Brand ambassadors are people, and people trust people. Here are the cold hard facts: 76% of people find content posted by other consumers to be more honest than brand content. 46% of Twitter users rely on recommendations from influencers, while 56% rely on recommendations from their friends. 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above all other brand messaging. It makes sense when you think about it logically. If you see a commercial for weed killer that tells you it kills 95% of weeds in your lawn, you may not be convinced. If your neighbor Joe is telling you about how the new weed killer that he’s been using in his garden has staved off weeds and essentially saved his tomato plants, you’ll probably be more inclined to remember that message. Right now, your marketing team is probably spending the majority of their time (and budget) on corporate messaging. However, the research shows that your customers might only be seeing or hearing that message a small percentage of the time, and, even if they do, they don’t trust it as much as a recommendation from a friend or an influencer. That’s why you need brand ambassadors for your store. Tapping into those personal relationships will help to convey your store’s message to your ideal customers in an authentic, organic way. Why Employees are Your Best Brand Ambassadors The key to an effective brand ambassador program for your grocery store is to tap the right ambassadors. As we mentioned above, it takes more than a brand ambassador with a large follower account to move the needle. In fact, it could be just the opposite. Micro-influencers are hot right now across industries because of their highly engaged audiences. A micro-influencer is any digital influencer who has less than 10,000 fans and a high engagement rate (usually above 3%) on their content.  For a grocer, this influencer might be right in your midst. They could be walking the aisles of your store on a daily basis, building relationships with customers right under your nose. They might be on your payroll. That’s right – the best brand ambassadors for your company are your employees. These individuals likely already have social media accounts, and they’re most likely in the micro-influencer range when it comes to follower count. Here’s why they’re so great as brand ambassadors for your store: Your employees are in your brand each and every day. They understand your company’s mission, your tone, and the reasons behind why you do what you do. They have a deep knowledge of your products and services, and what makes you different in the grocery space. You won’t have to educate them on this information, as it would have already been covered in their corporate training. As brand ambassadors, they would be genuinely authentic. Because they are already employed by your brand, it’s clear that they have an affinity for your company. They likely already shop there on a frequent basis, and it wouldn’t feel disingenuous for them to speak about your brand or post about it on their social media channels. Finally, these employees as brand ambassadors could be found in your store on any given day. The average person who may follow them on social media, or know them within the community, will see them working in your local store, creating a quick association between your brand and a local, aspirational individual. How to Choose Employees to be Brand Ambassadors Just because employees are your best bet for effective brand ambassadors doesn’t mean that every employee is the right choice. It probably comes as no surprise to you that you should choose your best employees to be your brand ambassadors. How you define “best” is up to you: from someone who excels in customer service to someone who exemplifies your brand values, you should choose the employee that will always put their best foot forward in the name of the company. That’s the thing with brand ambassadorships. It’s impossible to “clock out” as a brand ambassador. Once you’ve given that title to one or more of your employees, they wear it constantly. Whether they’re actively working in your store, talking to people about your brand, or out for a night on the town, they are still known as your brand ambassador. Take that as a word of caution when you’re making your choice. In addition to setting the right example, the individual or individuals that you choose must also have a presence in the community. It’s one thing if your best employee is someone who only works in the store and heads home for the night, and quite another for them to be socializing in their free time, networking, and building connections with your target customers in the community. Those employees that have a certain level of notoriety in your geographic area are the ones that you should choose as brand ambassadors. How to Foster Employees into Brand Ambassadors Find out what a brand ambassador is? Check. Discover why you need them for your store? Yep. Choose the right ambassadors? Done. You’ve made it to the final piece of the puzzle: actually fostering those chosen employees into brand ambassadors. It’s likely that this has already happened organically to some extent. People in your community are probably aware of who works at your store, and the subsequent association between that individual and your brand. If that individual already carries a certain level of influence, you may have had a brand ambassador working for you without even knowing it! However, to make this initiative truly successful, you need to put a bit of effort into it. Here are our suggestions: Provide your chosen brand ambassadors with resources that they can use to spread the message. Marketing toolkits, easy to photograph spaces in your stores, and opportunities to speak about your brand are great places to start. Make sure to let them know that it’s better if they use their own words instead of “corporate speak”. It will come off more genuine and drive better results. Encourage your brand ambassadors to share their day-to-day activities, the work that they’re doing, or any news from your store either on social media or with their network through word of mouth. A post here and there during their shift won’t hurt you, and, in fact, it may help humanize you. Offer rewards or a stipend to your brand ambassadors for their work. The best way to get great work is to incentivize those who are doing it with the things that motivate them most. Whether that is monetary, through physical prizes, or something a bit out of the box (event tickets, additional PTO, etc.), you’ll need to consider how you’re reimbursing your brand ambassadors for their time. Are you already thinking about which of your employees could be a great brand ambassador? We look forward to seeing how you make this concept your own, and how you run with it in the grocery space. New 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. +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

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