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Coffee with CART (2/26): Innovation and Security

Have you ever watched one of your customers stand in an aisle, overwhelmed by the options in front of them? They have so much to choose from but they can’t decide which item they want to purchase. Have you ever felt that same way trying to decide on technology enhancements to purchase for your store? You’re probably not alone because there are more technology options for retailers now than ever before.

In a recent Coffee with CART webinar, the topic of discussion was the wide selection of retail technology available at this point in time and why it’s important to determine which ones fit best with your store’s goals and needs.

Specifically, the CART team focused on their theme for this month: innovation. They highlighted some of the innovative retail technology currently available and a few retailers who are using it to their best advantage.

For example, they discussed a collaboration between Project Tango (sponsored by Google) and Aisle411. Comparing it to Google Glass, it’s described it as a virtual reality component to add to brick and mortar stores. To get a better idea, check out this video. And while this isn’t a part of the mainstream retail experience, they reminded us that this is the future and it isn’t too far away.

The team also commented on Instacart, a grocery delivery service that’s currently making a lot of waves in the retail technology space. However, there is a new app that’s heavily competing with Instacart, called Magic. With Magic, you set up an account and then text them from your mobile phone anytime you need something. They take care of everything from the back end…like magic.

And while services like Instacar and Magic aren’t likely to completely replace brick and mortar grocery stores, keeping up-to-date on what’s going on technologically is going to be critical for all businesses, including independent grocers. There is always something new and the adoption rates are always changing. As a retailer, you must stay on top of technology as much you are your marketing plans for consumers.

Another aspect of retail technology to keep in mind is your POS system. The team discussed ShopKeep, a point of sale system similar to Square, but with back-end reporting. Many tablet-based POS systems are adding reporting to give value to the larger independent retailers.

With all this talk about tablets, mobile phone, and online customer information, you might be curious about how data security plays into all this. And if you aren’t about thinking that, you should be. The responsibility is on the retailers more than ever to keep customer information safe. It’s important to keep this top of mind with all current and future technology.

At one point they mentioned the famous Wayne Gretzky quote, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Tying it back to the innovation discussion, retailers in this day and age must keep their focus on where the puck is going to be in order to get ahead of the other players and make the goal.

Why do I work at AWG? “I like working for a company that supports local, often times family-owned, businesses in everything they do in order to help them succeed and stay competitive. It’s great to interact with the stores on a daily basis and learn about their story and the communities they serve.” -Melanie