Northwest Grocers Takes Hosting In-house with BRdata

TUCKWILA, Wash. -- Northwest Grocers (NWG), a consortium of 55 independent grocery retailers providing advertising, administrative, and information technologies services to its member stores, has opted to provide its own retail price hosting services from its headquarters here, with Melville, N.Y.-based BRdata's Retail BOSS back-office software.

NWG was previously dependent on hosting services provided by its wholesaler, Associated Grocers in Seattle.

According to Don Ruder, IS director at NWG, operating the hosting in-house will reduce the cost of service for the stores, mainly Red Apple Market and Thriftway locations, and provide more granular control over pricing.

"We have stores in many different regions," Ruder said. "Our independent grocers operate in Seattle, Portland, and all the rest of Washington, as well as in the state of Alaska. We feel that by maintaining our own pricing zones internally, we can increase our focus on making sure retail pricing is correct for the market in which a particular store operates."

Ruder noted that NWG is currently employing BRdata's Host system's capabilities to optimize prices for a single store or groups of stores within defined pricing zones, as well as streamlining cost and allowances imports from Associated Grocers. The system is scheduled to start rolling out in March and April, with half the stores expected to be on the system by June and the changeover completed by the end of the year.

"We're positioning ourselves to better take advantage of more localized opportunities in order to increase margins and profit dollars," observed Ruder.

"Using advanced algorithms, our price engine analyzes item movement history to determine the item's price elasticity, taking into consideration competitors, predefined margins, size relationships, and private label to national brand comparison," explained BRdata e.v.p. John Abbene. "By using the calculated optimal price, our customers can increase sales and profit dollars. Northwest Grocer's implementation demonstrates the power and flexibility of BRdata's Retail BOSS application suite in enabling this group to manage and optimize pricing for stores in so many different regions from a single location."

Ruder characterized NWG's in-house installation of BRdata's Host as part of the consortium's goal to become more autonomous and expand the number of services it provides to its stores. "We're confident that we can run the hosting in-house more cost-effectively," he said.

NWG is additionally using BRdata's Competitor Price Tracking (CPT) module, which uses Symbol Technologies' graphical MC50 PDA units to capture competitors' pricing, saving significant costs over using a service to supply them.

BRdata's Retail BOSS suite of applications includes a corporate host, in-store systems, shelf ordering (CAO/CGO), price optimization, store and warehouse inventory control, fresh item management, customer loyalty, and financial sales data capturing.
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