News Feature | February 20, 2014

Grocery And Convenience Store IT News For VARs — February 20, 2014

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By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor

Mobile Device Shopping And Payment News

In the news, industry associations form a new partnership to focus on payment card security. Also, the NACS Leadership Forum provides insights on technologies retailers use — and will use — in the future, how Big Data can benefit retail, and why innovation should mean opportunity, not risk.

Retailers Seek New Technology To Promote Security

The NGA and Food Marketing Institute have joined with various other merchant and banking trade groups in a new partnership that focuses on payment card security. Supermarket News says other groups in this partnership include the National Retail Foundation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Association of Convenience Stores, and National Restaurant Association. According to a statement, one goal of this new partnership is to implement innovative technologies that transmit payment data in a unique way to outpace threats.

C-Store Industry Sets Sights On Next Gen Technology

Convenience Store News discusses some of the highlights of the NACS Leadership Forum. While technology, regulations, and other factors in the retail environment can inhibit innovation, one expert says that making small investments is key to growth. Uncertainty should not be equated with risk, but should be considered an opportunity, Dr. Roch Parayre of Decision Strategies International says. He cites Sony in particular as being a company that embraced innovation by making small investments in up-and-coming techno-startups, which ultimately led to its success.

During the “Next Gen Customer Engagement” panel, experts predicted which type of technologies consumers would choose in the future. While mobile was of course a hot topic, other technology developments discussed were wearable technology and what one expert calls “everywhere computing.” How-to videos and social media campaigns that balance usefulness with entertainment were also highlights of this particular panel.

For those businesses looking to invest in a Big Data initiative in the upcoming years, one c-store owner said he launched an initiative to answer certain questions. Some of these questions include “which customers respond best to reward offers, and how do reward offers affect consumer price elasticity?”

CRM Technology Investments On The Rise

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies are becoming a major part of companies’ digital strategies, Gartner says in a recent release. Mobility, social media and technologies, Web analytics, and e-commerce will take a majority of the CRM investments. Overall, CRM software revenue is expected to reach roughly 24 billion in 2014. While SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) or cloud-based CRM deployments represent more than 40 percent of all CRM deployments, they are poised to reach 50 percent during 2015. In addition to social, mobile, Big Data, and cloud, Gartner has added an additional CRM driver this year: Internet of Things. As more sensors connect people and other objects to the Internet, new services will come to light that can change the face of customer service.

Lack Of Data And Technology Challenge CMOs

According to a report conducted by CMO Club and Visual IQ, a majority of CMOs are struggling to master omni-channel marketing. The report highlights some of the obstacles that are keeping companies away from implementation. The largest issue for 85.6 percent of CMOs is that customer data/interaction data is either unavailable or spread across too many different “data silos.” Lack of necessary technologies or tools (84.6 percent) and an inability to measure cross channel performance or ROI (82.2 percent) round up the top three. For 80.3 percent of CMOs, there is also a lack of in-house talent to implement and maintain omni-channel marketing.

Grocery And Convenience Store IT Talking Points

The “got milk?” campaign and social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon recently studied social data and released a new report called “What America (Tw)eats.” In studying Twitter social data, the campaign found that Americans like to talk about protein — including milk — in the morning. 

A recent study by King Retail Solutions (KRS) predicts that store categories will continue to blur. More often, consumers are choosing to purchase groceries, fresh meals, apparel, and other services from non-traditional sources (e.g., purchasing fresh meals from pharmacies.) KRS predicts that retailers will begin expanding outside of their traditional channels to compete against other industries.

Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert conducted a report for the NGA that showed customers crave a more personalized shopping experience, Supermarket News says. In particular, customers are seeking online ordering services and more marketing and promotional initiatives that are tailored to their specific needs. Customers also expect faster checkout: 18 percent of consumers surveyed said they’d like to see more self-checkouts in grocery stores.

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