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Elevator Pitches at Groceryshop

Vendors cut to the chase about what their tech solutions offer food retailers
Diebold Nixdorf Main Image
Nino Hoerttrich and Arvin Jawa, Diebold Nixdorf

At the recent Groceryshop show, which took place Sept. 19-22 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Progressive Grocer got to talk to a wide variety of vendors about their tech offerings. While the conversations went into greater detail about their respective solutions, PG also asked them each to provide an “elevator pitch” distilling the chief advantages for retailers that adopted their companies’ particular technologies. Following are their responses, which have been slightly edited for clarity:

Katie Seawell, chief commercial officer, Bowery Farming: “At Bowery, we are growing smart indoor vertical farms close to the communities we serve in completely controlled environments, which is enabling us to grow produce 365 days a year in a way that is fresher, safer, more flavorful, and in a way that’s more sustainable.”

Arvin Jawa, VP, retail industry strategy, Diebold Nixdorf: “Today’s consumers expect the ability to have journeys they can select on their own, including a self-service journey. The benefit of self-service enables you to lower the cost of your operations [and] increase the customer experience quotient, and you can do that with Diebold Nixdorf solutions because we’re much more modular, open and available.”

[Read more: "10 Ways Grocery Retailers Can Use Augmented Reality"]

Sarah Engel, president, January Digital: “We have this strength of having brand-side experts – we literally know what you’re going through. You’re not not solving these challenges because your team’s not smart; it’s incredibly complicated, so having that outside viewpoint to help you create the structure to be able to test and learn, the structure to be able to transform, that will allow you to determine which of your priorities need to be at the top, how you’re going to get after them, how you’re going to measure it. The structure of that, and having that outside point of view, will allow you to get to an end point that is actually beneficial to the company. … There’s pieces that you are experts at – you understand grocery – [but] there are pieces in terms of the digital transformation, in terms of customer understanding, in terms of how to turn that into priorities that actually grow your business that our team can bring in and provide your team, be that extension of your team without your having to hire all that internally.”

Shekar Raman, CEO, Birdzi: “We help retailers create true one-to-one personalization at scale, with minimal marketing overhead, and maximize shopper profitability.”

Stan Zylowski, CEO and co-founder, Movista: “If you truly want to win, you need to have clear visibility to not just your employees, but also your vendors and your service partners, and if you have those things, you will have a significant competitive advantage versus your competitors. Your out-of-stocks will be lower, and your customers will be more delighted with the experience they have inside your stores.”

Peter N. Cloutier, growth and strategic partnerships lead, ChaseDesign: “There is no area of the store that has changed more than checkout, whether that’s self-checkout or some other [solution], so I would approach that from two perspectives. First is buy online, pick up in store. … [W]hen you go to pick up something in store, about 80% of those people do not walk in the store at all; they pick up what they’re there for and leave. So, you lose all of the impulse purchase, and the experience sucks. Shoppers tell us from our surveys that they sit in the car anywhere from eight to 15 minutes – it’s dead time. Lots of opportunity for marketing, for loyalty, for taking that time and turning that into a positive experience for the shopper. So, at a minimum, rethink how buy online, pick up at the curbside is done. … We understand how shopper behaviors can be affected by stimuli and reimagining experience – we’re really good at that. So I would look at picking up the curbside piece. I would also look at the in-store piece. The whole notion that people all go to cash registers now to check out is kind of old-school. … [T]he solution that we came up with [for American Express] that’s currently at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, [enables] you [to] simply scan your credit card, walk in, grab what you want and walk out. It’s working phenomenally well. Don’t think of it as just self-checkout. Think of it all as customer service and also vend, believe it or not. So when you go to customer service to pick up your order, again, there’s a lot of dead time, people are in a mind frame to pick up what they want and leave, there’s some time there … you can use, frankly, to cross-sell, upsell, trade in, trade across, to get more out of that shopper, and certainly you can provide more relevance in that customer service scenario. The opportunity is self-checkout and buy online, pick up in store. We’re really good at fixing those things.”

Teresa Aprile, CEO, Brandcrush: “Retailers have a big gap in their ad tech stack. Only 20% of retail media assets are well served by ad tech. The other 80% – powerful marketing channels to influence and engage shoppers on their fast approaches – are well underserved. Brandcrush is an omnichannel retail media platform that makes it easy to buy and sell shopper marketing across the entire retail media ecosystem, in store, out of store and online.”

Kristina Herrmann and Ofek Lavian, Forage
Kristina Herrmann and Ofek Lavian, Forage

Ofek Lavian, CEO, Forage: “In six words: Forage helps merchants accept EBT online. Many grocers already know the benefit of this, and know that there’s 42 million Americans in this country, one out of every eight individuals, that rely on government assistance to buy food … for their families. It’s a very complex process … to accept [EBT] online, and Forage is the simplest way to both use the technical integrations to make that possible through [an] e-commerce solution, as well as on the government compliance side. We’re now one of three payment processors in the country that can do that.”

Kristina Herrmann, chief business officer, Forage: “Forage enables online groceries to make their services more accessible across income demographics by reaching to the low-income customer demographic and enabling the payment method that they use to buy food.”

John Carroll, chief growth officer, Acosta: “Sharing data is the key to unlocking value for both the CPG and the retailer, and doing that is really understanding … who the best shopper, the most profitable shopper, is for the retailer, and then how do those manufacturers, [retailers] and brands fit with that shopper. Getting on the same page about understanding what the shopper … wants, and then providing them the right offers, versus just stacking it high and selling low, but the right strategic offers to really grow the business together profitably, that’s the future of the business.”

Christian Freese, head of U.S. and Canada, grocery and new verticals, Uber: “It’s a no-brainer. Tell me why you shouldn’t [use our service]. We make it so easy for a grocer to come online. We can take anybody online … within 30 days. You can go online, and then you have access to lots of incremental sales, because we bring, very likely, users to you that you wouldn’t have access to in any other way. And they’re really valuable, lots of repeat users, frequency, so it’s a win-win in the end, when it comes to us growing your business online. And if you care about market share, that’s probably the one spot where you should be right now in all the marketplaces. I’m not saying don’t go on the other marketplaces; what I’m saying is, it’s just a no-brainer to be everywhere.”

Mike Weber, CMO, Upshop: “We do operations experience management, so it’s all about [a] smarter, more connected, in-store experience. [W]e really help retailers ‘pull off’ the perfect store walk every day. So, you think about out-of-stocks, freshest products, everything is all ready to go for that order, that e-comm order is picked in the most efficient way. Our platform makes that happen, and, most importantly … we want to make sure we have the app that brings it all to life, and that helps the associate do that job in the easiest way possible, because everybody’s talking about technology; not enough people are talking about the associate. And we know that their job’s already hard enough, so what we want to do is help them make it happen and help them actually not even have to think about the next task they have to do, [so that] by the time that they’re leaving the store, they’re not just exhausted. And because they work as teams, a lot of grocery stores know that [when] you put together strong teams, they bond and they bring the brand to life, and that’s what we’re trying to live up to.”

Steve Cunningham, sales director, Retail, Scandit: “The first reason to consider Scandit is that we’re extremely interested in understanding our clients’ business first, before there’s an application for our technology. Ultimately, we’re looking to partner with those retailers that are looking to drive change, to drive operational efficiencies, to drive down costs, to drive additional revenue. And understanding the areas that they want to focus on, where our technology is of benefit, is of utmost importance to us.”

Stephen Midgley, VP, marketing, Invafresh: “Invafresh gives you visibility and control across the entire fresh perimeter to help you maximize margin, offset labor issues, increase sales and provide a better personal experience.”

Ryan Goldman, VP of marketing, Moloco: “[G]iven [the] problem [of profitability at scale] and also given the changes that we’re already seeing in terms of protecting the privacy of the consumer, being able to actually have a good user experience across the board and driving high relevance, that all sort of points at this idea that performance advertising is the opportunity within the context of retail media. What Moloco does is uses the retailer’s own first-party data, combines it with a really robust and well-tested machine-learning algorithm, as well as a really easy-to-use merchant-and-advertiser interface, so that the onboarding is easy, the targeting is highly relevant and it’s not disruptive, and the outcomes are actually measurable and tied back to, ‘Is this driving more purchases? Is it bringing customers back a second or third time? Are we doing it in the context of the point at which they’re most likely to actually make a purchase, which is the point of sale?’ And that’s what Moloco really emphasizes.”

Having the chance to interact with technology vendors and find out how their solutions can help their businesses has always been the chief attraction of an event like Groceryshop, and it still holds true, even after a prolonged period of virtual meetings. As Natalie Knight, CFO of Ahold Delhaize, remarked when speaking to PG about the benefits of checking out the “latest and greatest” offerings in person, after the social isolation of COVID, these types of industry gatherings, which provide ample opportunities for face-to-face meetings, are “more relevant than ever.”

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