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Community-based independent Green Hills has turned its Syracuse, N.Y., store into a live technology lab — called the Center for Advanced Retail Technology (CART) — with the goal of enhancing industry learning through store visits featuring hands-on experience and behind-the-scenes views into technologies used in its operations.
Headed up by Green Hills CEO and shopper data guru Gary Hawkins and VP Sterling Hawkins, CART will also be an incubator for new ideas and research about the next generation of retailing, which Hawkins refers to as the “Retail 3.0 ecosystem.” Retailers and vendors are encouraged to submit ideas or technologies for testing in this live environment, where they will be reported on for the benefit of all retailers.
Following are some of the strategies and technologies already being tested in CART:
Offer Creation and Management: Designing an offer-creating system that accepts inputs directly from manufacturers and wholesalers, enabling point-and-click promotion management for paper ads, mailers, e-mail and kiosks, and providing a strong platform for measured feedback.
Communication Channels: Kiosks, location-based mobile, e-mail and Web tools that can provide shoppers offers when, where and how they choose. On top of this, store systems that are capable of skewing value in the form of additional offers or discounts to desired channels of interaction. Adding another dimension to communication, shoppers are able to provide feedback on offer relevance or lifestyle changes.
Offer Delivery and POS: Real-time electronic offer delivery is a necessity for the next generation of the retail ecosystem, according to Gary Hawkins, so offers are activated at the POS via an event-based rules system that delivers values only to those consumers viewing the offer, reducing wasted markdown. Value is then injected directly into the transaction upon customer identification.
Customer Management: Capturing and using shopper data necessitates a system of shopper management solutions to keep it organized.
Supply Chain Collaboration: A retail ecosystem involves all those taking part in value equation, not simply the retailer. Sharing data with suppliers is becoming necessary for going to market, despite its being taboo in past generations. “Real-time vendor reporting and alerts put retailers on the same page with wholesalers and manufacturers, opening up a streamlined supply chain,” says Gary Hawkins.
Support Infrastructure: CART highlights the next generation of systems for supporting store activities.