HIVERY Blogs

Latest blog posts from Hivery
blogs

HIVERY featured on Austrade's "Australian Digital Innovation on the Rise'

Oct 23, 2020 | By

Austrade

Exports of Australian digital tech are expected to triple by 2030 and HIVERY is part of this. Australia’s tech startup and innovation ecosystem is rapidly growing, attracting global attention and increasing venture capital funding, HIVERY has certainty experience this. Learn about this sector's rapid growth in Austrade's new Australian Digital Innovation Report. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government’s international trade promotion and investment attraction agency. Download now or visit Austrade site for more information
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blogs
The Supermarket Guru - Four (4) shifts in supermarket space that is going to change retail forever
Oct 01, 2020 | By

HIVERY

Recognized as “The Supermarket Guru”, Phil Lempert is one of America’s leading consumer trend-watchers and analysts on consumer behavior, marketing trends, new products and the changing retail and supermarket landscape. Phil brought us up to date with the ways the pandemic has been altering consumers’ shopping behavior and how these changes have been shifting both the retail, supermarketing and consumer packaged goods (CPG) sectors. What is the current state of retailers and supermarkets? Since the onset of COVID-19 crisis, things have been far from usual for retailers and supermarkets. For one, Phil emphasized that physical distancing, health protocols and safety measures have been limiting stores in providing a pleasant shopping experience for consumers.  “We’ve gone from having a very pleasant experience where supermarkets built themselves to be experiential, to this. No one right now can present a terrific experience. From food carts, self-service bars to salad bars - everything they’ve been doing to provide an inviting shopping experience is now out the window.” Phil also mentioned how customers have become more concerned about their health. Due to the rising cases of COVID-19, many people now resort to the “new normal” online shopping, curbside pickup and delivery. As expected, these come with serious implications for retailers.  “Pre-COVID-19, the average American went 2.2 times a week to buy groceries and spent around 22 mins on every shopping trip. Now, however, the average American just goes once a week, in and out as quickly as possible. To make stores more efficient, we will see many retailers reducing their number of skews on supermarket shelves. You can also expect online ordering, store fulfillment, in-store pickup and delivery to become popular approaches. As a result, a lot of stores will be decreasing their sizes.” How do these recent events affect product assortment and shelf space? The pandemic has brought significant changes to the formats and operations of retailers and supermarkets. It is expected, then, that variations around shelf space and product assortment will also arise. Phil delved into how these retail spaces will be leveraged today and in the post-COVID-19 world: A limited supply of certain commodities A lot of grocers are worried about the possibility of a second phase of the pandemic. Aside from the health implications, they want to figure out how it will affect the supply chain.  Phil explained, “When the pandemic began, Americans had experienced not having certain products on supermarkets’ shelves for the first time. They are wondering if it will happen again and the thought scares them. As such, they were buying everything they could – that is, hoarding.” The limited supply, then, has left some shelves empty for months. For instance, Clorox’s disinfectant wipes will not be able to stock up until mid-2021. So, to provide people with alternatives, retailers must modify the product variations they offer. Reconfiguration of stores as “ghost supermarkets”  Phil highlighted why there is a major reconfiguration of stores right now.  “Stores are being limited to 20-30% occupancy, which takes a toll on their bottom line. To keep the operations going, we are now seeing ghost supermarkets that focus mainly on delivery.” He also believes that while the online assortment range can cater for over 40 thousand products, physical stores will see a reduction to 20 or even 15 thousand products. This means that a smaller assortment at a store-specific level must be optimized to gain profits. Difficulty in attracting retailers’ attention with new products “The whole new product introduction system is under evaluation as retailers start to cut products and space,” Phil stated. With category "resets" happening just twice a year and now this limited launch of new products, it’s anticipated that there may be less variety of products available going forward. Unpredictable demand that limits retailers  Who would’ve thought that the demand for products related to the cold and flu season like medicines and vitamins would rise all year round? The unprecedented effects of COVID-19 have restricted retailers’ ability to predict which products will become a hit and which ones will fall flat. Phil said, “The way it usually works is you will build promotions and collaterals 2-3 months ahead. But because of our uncertain conditions, I don’t even know one retailer who can guarantee what kind of products will be on their store shelves 2-3 months from now.” How can retailers thrive in the new normal, then? Phil shared some powerful insights to guide supermarkets and retailers in overcoming the current challenges of the industry, especially around assortment planning. First, he advised retailers to thoroughly know and understand their customer base. Phil also put importance on zip code assortment specific recommendations. “They have to know the kinds of food their customers want. They have to know about the demographics and health conditions. If your store is located in Florida with older Americans and higher cases of diabetes, you need to stock differently from a New York store with a younger population.” He further emphasized the need for assortment planning at the individual store level. "Gone are the days of the same assortment in all stores. That hasn’t happened for a long time - and frankly, it shouldn’t happen. When I go into the supermarket, I want to feel that the store knows me and has the right products for me. I don’t want to have to go to 3 or 5 stores to shop around, especially at this time of COVID.” Phil also mentioned how retailers today are becoming less reliant on CPGs for category planning. Instead, they have been utilizing science and technology to make smarter decisions. For him, this is something that must be maintained. “Typically, the category manager is not an employee of the retailer, but the manufacturer. This person is usually from the biggest brand in that particular category. Obviously, you can see some conflicts with that. But that’s changing a bit. More and more retailers are now hiring their own category managers and using software like HIVERY to evaluate properly what products are put on, what shelves and where. We are seeing science becoming more involved, so it’s not about gut feeling anymore.” What are the expected changes in the supermarket and other retail spaces post-COVID? As our interview with Phil comes to an end, he discussed some of his predictions on the possible changes that might arise in the field of retail after the pandemic. His main points include: There will be more evident consolidation – Earlier this year, supermarkets bought smaller retailers to take advantage of consumers’ hoarding. Recently, however, we are seeing volumes go down - leading to the majority of these stores closing. Aging truck driver force will affect the supply chain – There are not enough trucks to get supplies. Autonomous vehicles, indoor farming and local production are the most viable solutions. Increased prices of imported products from Europe – This is because the US has not been exporting and importing a lot of products from European countries like before. Phil concluded the discussion by challenging retailers. He asked them to identify and better understand what shoppers would want tomorrow.  “How can we get into the head, heart and soul of shoppers? How can we be predictive? How can we get a much better success rate when we bring new products?” If you like this blog, listern to the podcast with Phil Lempert's podcast on this topic How can HIVERY help you?  HIVERY is the pioneer of hyper-local retailing – combining artificial intelligence, optimization and design to help CPGs and retailers generate an increased return on physical retail space investment.   HIVERY Curate, is the world’s first truly hyper-local category management solution, offering the simultaneous optimization of assortment and space at store-specific level. More information about HIVERY Curate and other HIVERY solutions.
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blogs
Future of Category Management: New capabilities needed to remain competitive, relevant and indispensable
Aug 27, 2020 | By

HIVERY

We often hear that the future of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and retail sectors begins with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and that technology is disrupting the industry today.  But how exactly can AI shift category management? How can it improve different stores with different requirements? To help you learn about how AI is optimizing your shelf space utilization, here is everything you need to know about it. What makes AI powerful? AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is augmenting “domain expertise” in every industry.  This isn’t a surprise anymore considering that we’re getting glimpses of AI around us – from digital payment advisers in banking and chatbots in customer service, to highly accurate forecasting in the logistics of different companies. However, what makes AI relevant to various fields and industries is not just the increased efficiencies it provides, but more of its capacity to open up next-level solutions to different challenges.  In fact, some of AI’s advantages include: Growing data sets – 90% of the data we have in this world has been created in the last two years. There’s too much data, variables and noise far beyond what humans can process. Through AI, we can utilize these growing data sets to get more helpful insights efficiently. Unlimited capacity – Humans have 86 billion neurons, while machines have unlimited capacity. This makes AI more adept at detecting complex patterns. Speed and agility – AI is capable of generating actionable insights in minutes, rather than months. Because of this, it’s more reliable when testing various hypotheses. New, creative thought – While humans like us have biases that hinder us from identifying creative thought, AI is good at learning from previous actions and developing its own insight or creative strategies. Check out this video from an ex-Autodesk executive on how AI has improved their ability to think and imagine. This example in industrial design however this is happening in category management today. Planograms creation software or category management software is being reset. How about AI in category management? Breakthroughs in technology have paved the way for AI in retail. Advanced machine learning methods like “Deep Learning” algorithms allow category managers to uncover large amounts of data and simulate various assortment scenarios that can help determine the right shelf space utilization, enhance customers’ experience and maximize profitability.  For instance, if we instruct AI to maximize revenue, it will then analyze all granular data points out there – from macro-space level to individual store levels. Once category managers proceed to introduce constraints and rules such as limitations in prices, seasonal shopping behavior and location factors, AI will also consider these in optimizing revenue. What’s powerful about AI in category management is that it focuses on enhancing the human element, not eliminating it. The approach works by combining human insight and strategy to AI’s unrivaled and unlimited capacity in order to identify the best space allocation and product assortment for any retail business. An example of AI in category management is HIVERY Curate. HIVERY Curate is a category management tool which utilizes AI techniques and operations research to achieve space and assortment optimization for CPG companies and retailers. It generates compliant planograms for different convenience retail outlets, while taking into account the merchandising rules and constraints at a national, channel or store level. HIVERY Curate runs multiple assortment scenarios in a span of a few minutes to help category managers like you see the impact of each possible decision in real-time. Despite being a smart AI-driven category management application, HIVERY Curate is intuitive and user-friendly, to ensure users will get the most benefit with minimal training.   So, what does this imply for category management in general? It means that there will be an 80% reduction in Planogram drawing time. Category managers can also spend less time on data collection, analysis and planning, which then allows you to pay more attention to things you’d prefer to do, like critical thinking, strategizing and implementing. With AI tools such as HIVERY Curate, category managers can become more like category consultants - delivering more accurate recommendations that are beneficial in driving business growth. Case study: how AI is impacting Category Management Contrary to what most people expect, AI enables more than just labor savings. It provides operational, financial and strategic value for both suppliers and their retailers. In fact, one of our partners achieved the following benefits through the AI-driven HIVERY Curate: $50M incremental annual sales from its one retailer, and $150M sales over 3 years Points Of Distributions (POD) becoming #1 in the category Awarded as “Sales Driver of the Year” Back in 2016, some of this customer’s retailers had cut category PODs by 22% and promotional support by 50%. Fortunately, through AI technology, they were still able to curate the perfect assortment in each store and consistently grow their PODs, including their category. This was made possible even though the rest of the market in that category had declined. It’s also important to take note that our customer had been able to achieve the same positive results in 2017 and 2018 - the times when PODs and promotions fell flat compared to 2016 numbers. All of these points prove that AI plays (and will continue to play) a big part in growing retail and CPG businesses How can HIVERY help you? HIVERY is the pioneer of hyper-local retailing, combining artificial intelligence, optimization and design to help CPGs and retailers generate an increased return on physical retail space investment.  Our product, HIVERY Curate, is the world’s first truly hyper-local category management solution, offering the simultaneous optimization of assortment and space for each unique store. It’s powerful and continuously learning AI-driven engine optimizes generates rapid category strategies, insights and actions to take around product assortments, space and planograms generation. More information about HIVERY Curate and other HIVERY solutions
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blogs
Four (4) industry shifts that retailers like Walmart and Kroger are experimenting with that will impact category management roles in the future
Aug 26, 2020 | By

HIVERY

Retailers nowadays are facing challenges in the form of trend shifts, behavioural changes and technological advancements. This is why a commitment to continuous renewal and transformation is a must to remain competitive in the market. Therefore, it’s also important for retailers to ramp up their processes, teams and relationships. To help you understand the true implications of our industry’s current trends, here are some insights around how retailers are responding. How do retailers respond to the waves of change? For retailers to hit their target and remain relevant to consumers, they must proactively adapt to the changes and innovations in the industry. The following approaches are some of the strategies they implement to keep their business up and running amidst the evolving retail landscape. 1. Dealing with the competitive squeeze Discount stores like Aldi are invading the US market, increasing retail competition. Traditional grocers like Walmart have been able to observe that there is almost a 10% difference between their gross and net operating margins to those comparable discount grocers – leaving them under pressure to compete. In addition to this, retailers have to consider the impact of Amazon and their kind of infinite assortment offering that customers nowadays are beginning to expect. And while physical retailers continue to invest in in-store experiences, better product mix which may provide lower returns in the short run, the hope that they remain relevant to customers in the long run. In fact, Kroger into expanded into restaurant business with Kitchen 1883 and private-label clothing line. Nevertheless, labor is a major factor they can continuously utilize in the short term to alleviate margin pressure. For example, Walmart is starting to renovate their stores by eliminating the need for humans to operate cash registers on the front-end, instead automating their check-out process as well as streamline operations with robots. According to Forbes story, Walmart will bring on board thousands of robots in nearly 5,000 of its 11,348 stores. However the “New Retail” capabilities consumers require of retailers (e.g. Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, etc.) are all putting additional a strain on in-store operating models. 2. Facilitating the role of space It can’t be denied that labor is impacting the utilization of retailers’ spaces.  As such, category managers are being faced with various decisions about how retail stores can be outlined in the best ways. For example: Labor vs holding power vs assortment – if you have more days of supply, you don’t need to stock frequently. However, having more days of supply also means you’ll be pushing assortment out of your stores. Floor (space for customer) vs backroom vs fulfilment – Where should your store’s square footage be allocated? In the case of Walmart, they have been increasing their backroom space in order to provide fulfilment that will not interfere with their customers’ shopping experience.  Because the range of assortment is becoming more compressed than ever, the bottom line here lies in the need for retailers to coordinate with powerful, innovative brands and partners. To move forward rapidly, retailers must have great partners to collaborate with. 3. Working with a digital merchant We are anticipating fewer, focused merchants nowadays because of the current trends we are seeing in the industry.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are disrupting the supply chain, modular planograming and merchandising - eliminating the need for more people in those jobs. In fact, Walmart had a huge layoff only recently. That was one of their largest in years. The inclusion of things like “Negotiation Chat-Bots” such as Pactum or Skype Mafia and companies like RangeMe who also becoming more revolutionary in managing what is brought and stocked in their stores. These ordering bots can essentially automate ordering;  eliminating the need for “category managers” or influence from CPG suppliers. hey serve as a good way to understand different products and manufacturers in the market, while allowing for more efficient communications.  Additionally, buyer-less line reviews and assortments are now being facilitated via technology. You can only imagine how important it is for merchants to evolve their skills to remain relevant and strategic. 4. Understanding the importance of an advisors’ evolution Optimizing the retail process involves having fewer heads who carry greater scope of responsibilities. Most often, retailers make such adjustments with their category management teams.  For one, being equipped with an in-house data science team means category managers like you can get helpful insights that will allow you to understand algorithms and systems well.  Meanwhile, planogram operators must go beyond their roles to become strategic consultants. It means being able to leverage processes and strategy to draw specific planograms within minutes, rather than months. To do this, they have to master the 4 Ps of merchandising: placement, products, promotion and price. What does this mean to category managers like you, then? It means embracing technology to enhance your store’s processes, without isolating relationships and access. This also involves understanding that both roles of humans and technology are important – retailers needing AI and automation to accelerate their operations, while having thought leader partners to get optimized analysis and results. The opportunity to differentiate has never been greater - so don’t waste this chance by resisting change. How can HIVERY help you? HIVERY is the pioneer of hyper-local retailing, combining artificial intelligence, optimization and design to help CPGs and retailers generate an increased return on physical retail space investment.  Our product, HIVERY Curate, is the world’s first truly hyper-local category management solution, offering the simultaneous optimization of assortment and space for each unique store. It’s powerful and continuously learning AI-driven engine optimizes generates rapid category strategies, insights and actions to take around product assortments, space and planograms generation. More information about HIVERY Curate and other HIVERY solutions
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blogs
Eight (8) retail trends every category management professional needs to know.
Aug 24, 2020 | By

HIVERY

Is your current category management strategy still relevant? Are you wondering if your retail shelf space investment is making significant returns, given that we’re facing an unprecedented pandemic today? In an already crowded retail industry, we know that you don’t want to get left behind the innovations, initiatives and progressive changes your competitors and industry leaders are doing. To help your business navigate these shifts happening in your field, we have compiled different trends affecting the Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) environment. What are the relevant changes happening in retail? Part of your job as a Category Manager is being aware of the different trends that are occurring in the industry. Understanding these kinds of insights will help you organize the right product assortment and optimize shelf space to earn higher profits for your overall business.  There are the eight (8) retail trends every category management professionals need to know: 1. Increasing retail competition Recently, there have been changes in the retail landscape. Discount stores like Aldi are invading the US market. In fact, this grocer aims to become the third-largest US retailer with 2,500 stores by the end of 2022. Aside from that, online retail has become more prevalent than ever. It has been happening for quite some time, but the convenience it provides, and the impacts of COVID-19 have fast-tracked its growth. This trend will surely modify the CPG brand - so you must also be ready to adjust in your category strategy.  2. Emerging new brands and categories Almost 30,000 new consumer products are being launched every year. With these new entrants in the market, some products will eventually have to go. Nevertheless, it’s also important to take note that these kinds of product innovations aren’t always a guaranteed success – 80% of them often fail to penetrate the market. The trick to solving this problem is having the right technology that can predict what goods would positively influence shelf space. 3. Rationalizing Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) Due to the effects of the pandemic, retailers and manufacturers have been eliminating their ‘little to no scale’ brands.  For instance, Coca Cola has announced that it will kill 400 of its “zombie brands” which make up only 2% of its total revenue. Mondelez is planning to do the same by removing a quarter of its snack products, mostly comprised of individual product varieties. After removing these items, what will now happen to the spaces they will vacate? This is something you must consider. 4. Changing shopper behavior The remote school and work set up we are currently experiencing is affecting consumers’ shopping behavior. Because most people are at home, they now tend to shop online instead of buying directly from the stores. Seasonal category buying is also changing. Back-to-school shopping is expected to decrease this year, while the demand for products related to cold and flu season like medicines and vitamins are predicted to rise all year round. However, when structuring your plans, it is also important to take note that the situation may not totally change back to what it was before. 5. Changing consumer behavior Virtual is the new normal. Research by the consulting firm McKinsey showed that an estimated $250 billion in healthcare spending could shift to virtual care models due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to this, consumers have become more concerned with their health. From being reactive patients, their focus now is becoming more proactive consumers to protect themselves against illnesses. 6. Evolving store formats As a response to the ever-changing shopper behavior and growing competition, retail stores have been evolving, too. For one, you can probably observe a lot of retailers opening more stores but decreasing their sizes. This is because online ordering, store fulfilment, in-store pickup and delivery have become far more popular approaches.  With all these changes in store formats, expect significant variations around how shelf space and product assortment will be optimized. 7. Accelerating COVID-19 trends Due to the effects of the pandemic, some previously flat or declining categories are now growing. Home-confined buying has led customers to purchase more essential supplies like frozen foods and beverages. Many people have also been trying new brands and product variations because their usual goods tend to run out of stock. 8. Emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) advancements Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been disrupting several industries like healthcare, customer service and banking. The retail and CPG industry, though, is predicted to be its next frontier. Through breakthroughs in technology and machine learning, retailers and suppliers are expected to get more accurate information on how to optimize product assortment and shelf space.  To enhance retailers and suppliers’ internal processes and organizational structure, the possibility of running various category management scenarios in a short amount of time is also anticipated. Let’s have a quick recap.  The trends that have been predicted well into the future are actually happening right now. To succeed in the retail and CPG industry, you should think of them not as dire circumstances but rather as opportunities for growth that can drive your business forward. Now is the time to re-organize and think differently. Just remember to keep these important points in mind when developing your new and improved category management strategy: Major trends in retail that you need to know now. New competition - Retail competition is increasing with a shift to discounters and online shopping. New format - Store formats are changing in response to changing shopper and consumer behavior. New trends - Category winners and losers are emerging because COVID-19 is accelerating these trends. New normal - The future will be the new normal – likely a blend of what is now and what used to be. New technologies - AI will disrupt the CPG and Retail industries by changing and improving processes. How can HIVERY help you? HIVERY is the pioneer of hyper-local retailing, combining artificial intelligence, optimization and design to help CPGs and retailers generate an increased return on physical retail space investment.  Our product, HIVERY Curate, is the world’s first truly hyper-local category management solution, offering the simultaneous optimization of assortment and space for each unique store. It’s powerful and continuously learning AI-driven engine optimizes generates rapid category strategies, insights and actions to take around product assortments, space and planograms generation. More information about HIVERY Curate and other HIVERY solutions
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blogs
The current state of category management and 3 ways the industry is coping with the change
Aug 23, 2020 | By

HIVERY

Category management offers desirable outcomes to suppliers, retailers and customers. When done correctly, it can enhance the consumers’ buying experience while providing efficient delivery of products and generating profit for both retailers and suppliers. However, as a Category Manager, you’re probably well aware that this isn’t a simple and straightforward process. It requires data-driven assortment planning, strategic pricing, effective marketing and the development of optimized planograms. So, are you conducting category management in the best way? To help, here is some useful information about the present state of category management practice and how we can advance it to boost business’ success.   What is the current state of category management? According to the research led by the IHL Group, suppliers and retailers in the US experience $144.9B out-of-stock losses every year due to poor category management.  Experts in the industry have also noted how the retail space is on the decline, while new item launches have continued to be robust – that is, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) suppliers are releasing new innovations much faster than retailers are increasing their retail spaces.  These factors show that a lot of CPG companies and retailers are still finding it difficult to optimize their retail shelves. What are the challenges behind shelf-space optimization? To maximize the advantages of shelf-space optimization, you must find the perfect balance between product assortment and retail space.  However, this category management practice of optimizing the right product mix and drawing effective planograms is often tedious, time-consuming and costly. In fact, I’m some large CPG companies it take up to 150 steps to undertake the current category relay process, 33 weeks to complete a category relay and over 15 people every day to do the work of a single category relay. Achieving high returns from your retail shelf space investment also requires more than just legwork – it necessitates specialized skills to align customers’ preferences with product availability. You have to prioritize driving profits and delighting customers at the same time, too. Nevertheless, these challenges aren’t isolated cases. They are common concerns of retailers and suppliers across the globe. What are the impacts of these challenges in our industry? The challenges of category management have created unintended ‘collateral damage’ throughout the retail and CPG industry.  Here are the two (2) major impacts: 1. In general, retailers can only manage to undertake 1-2 relays per year. CPG suppliers often adjust their product innovation schedule to match the retailers’ category relay process. But since retailers can only manage to have 1-2 annual relays due to the length of time required, shoppers are limited to seeing new items just once or twice a year.  There is also the problem of inefficient team utilization. Category management resources are at full capacity with way more demand for the significant first half of the year – exceeding capacity for 33 weeks and then being slightly unproductive for the other 19 weeks.   2. All stores are being reset in a generic way. The tendency to reset stores all at once in a generic way has stemmed from the inconveniences brought on by the category relay to both suppliers and retailers. The results, however, have not been entirely positive. The individual stores are left with markdowns, massive strains on their labor force and unhappy customers who are not keen on the purchasing adjustments they have to make. As an industry, we were forced to adapt and cope with these impacts through different approaches. How is the industry coping? The typical category relay process and retail shelf utilization demands a significant amount of time, effort and people-power. To address issues and cope with the challenges of category management, the industry resorts to these types of approaches: 1. Oversimplifying and overgeneralizing Category managers have been grouping items, stores and shoppers into buckets we often call “segments” or “clusters.” You’ve also probably observed different market areas and utilized a group of competitive data sets, too.  Unfortunately, in doing this, you’re losing your ability to cater to unique stores which are located at a unique location with unique shoppers. Applying a broad category management solution for your distinct store requirements can be counterproductive for your business.  Always keep in mind that no retail store is exactly alike - each has its own rules, constraints and objectives.  2. Specializations  To handle the workload, the industry facilitates specializations. Category managers study market-level insights and determine market-level assortments, then pass assortment recommendations to planogram staff. If all the products don’t fit into the shelf, these planogram specialists will ask for help from category managers again. This kind of strategy may not always provide precise solutions because category managers are not fully aware of shelf space limitations, in the same way that planogram experts don’t fully understand assortment optimization. Therefore, the ideal solution is simultaneous assortment and space optimization. Combined with mutual awareness, such an approach can drive more effectiveness and efficiency. 3. Spending too much time on data collection You can’t deny that a lot of us in the CPG and retail industries are dedicating a lot of time and effort on things we’re not specialists in, such as data collection, data preparation, data loading, analysis, reviewing business rules and more. As humans who are prone to error, it’s still possible for us to generate inaccurate recommendations even though we’ve taken months or years to pull these kinds of processes off. To optimize the assortment and retail space, it will be much better if we pay attention to things we’re really good at such as critical thinking, strategy design and planning. Fortunately, we’re heading into times of change – category management is now moving forward with humans and technology augmenting each other’s strengths. What is the best solution? To get the optimal benefits of category management, suppliers and retailers need to move past its traditional approaches. It’s time to embrace progressive change and blaze new trails. Today, breakthroughs in technology have been paving the way for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in retail.  Advanced machine learning methods like “Deep Learning” now provide AI-generated data and analytics that businesses like yours can use to easily determine the right product mix, the right space-to-sales and right sales price to maximize profitability.   Through world-class technology and competent implementation, you can generate more positive returns on your retail shelf space investment. How can HIVERY help you? HIVERY is the pioneer of hyper-local retailing, combining artificial intelligence, optimization and design to help CPGs and retailers generate an increased return on physical retail space investment.  Our product, HIVERY Curate, is the world’s first truly hyper-local category management solution, offering the simultaneous optimization of assortment and space for each unique store. It’s powerful and continuously learning AI-driven engine optimizes generates rapid category strategies, insights and actions to take around product assortments, space and planograms generation. More information about HIVERY Curate and other HIVERY solutions
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blogs
What is data empathy?
May 24, 2020 | By

Franki Chamaki

What is the data empathy process? I love writing, mostly because I love talking, but after 25 years of machine-gun mouth, my family are pretty tired of listening to it. So I write, because other people don’t know how annoying I am yet. Medium is a great platform for doing just that, with an intuitive post builder. Without it, I’d probably be fooling around with markdown, writing HTML & CSS for every new post, or simply releasing stuff as long walls of text. Who’s got time for that? Not this guy. 1. Discovery So I decided to learn how to create my own post builder in React, just in case there’s a future where sheep rise up and take over Medium, and refuse to let any non-sheep write on the platform. Baaa’d news. The process was relatively straightforward, and I’m going to detail it here. Read on if you want to find out more. Pre-requisites Intermediate knowledge of React & React 16 features. The ability to download packages from npm. A computer. Too much time on your hands. Like me. Setup I used create-react-app to get started, which I installed with npm i -g create-react-app. Then I ran create-react-app post-builder to generate the project, and loaded it in the browser with npm run start. After that, I deleted the following files: src/App.css src/App.test.js src/logo.svg src/serviceWorker.js And the service worker stuff from index.js. Then, I edited my App.js file until it looked like this: I used styled-components for this project, which is a great library for writing css-in-js. If you’re retracing what I did here, you might want to use it too. Download it by running npm i styled-components. But you can also use regular css, or sass, or the blood of your enemies. It don’t matter. The PostBuilder Component The <PostBuilder /> component was to be the main component. It would have a single state field, items. This would be an array of objects, each representing a single item on the page, like a textarea, an image or a code block.
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What does the future of vending look like?
May 21, 2020 | By

Shantanu Pasari

Although biomedical research will eventually deliver a vaccine for Covid-19, the world will take time to regain its normal course. The coronavirus pandemic will cause a semi-permanent shift in human interactions not only amongst themselves but also their surroundings. This ‘new normal’ will compel an even greater reliance on technology. In fact, the world has already shifted to using technology for old established customs — families are using video conferencing to celebrate festivals together, and governments are using social media applications to track the locations of individuals susceptible to the virus. Robotics and automation will lead the way in the new technology-dependent world. We were already heading towards more and more automation, but the current norms around social distancing will only accelerate the uptake. Organizations like McDonald’s are testing robots as cooks and servers, while online retailers are using robots to automate sorting, packaging and shipping. Why Will Vending Machines Become Popular? No human interaction As harsh as it may seem, it is sensible at this time to minimize human interaction and encourage social distancing. This is where vending machines have an edge over other retail channels: they are hygienic systems where products are neatly packaged in portions, in a refrigerated unit, behind glass doors. Customers have to punch in the corresponding product code, pay by card and the window opens to collect the goods. If you had the option to buy a can of Coke from a vending machine right now, or have someone grab a glass, put ice and lemon into it — then pour it for you, what would you do? While it remains a fact that a real person stocks the machines, one can be assured that vending operators adopt the most stringent standards of hygiene and cleanliness procedures. Less crowded environment As people are stockpiling essential goods, supermarkets and grocery stores are getting congested. Vending machines, on the other hand, present a safer crowd-free alternative to make purchases. Ease of access Vending machines are everywhere! There are approximately 4.6 million vending machines in the US alone and about 5 million in Japan. Given the high density of vending machines in most countries, it is likely that there will be one close to most households and workplaces. Despite the inherent advantage that vending machines have over traditional retail, operators need to be discerning about how they adapt to the ‘new normal. The changes that companies make now will yield benefits long after Coronavirus restrictions ease. How Can Vending Operators Adapt To The ‘New Normal’? Change the product mix Operators must continue to focus on the customer’s needs and keep up with the latest innovation. For instance, there will be a high demand for protective facemasks and hand sanitizers in the foreseeable future; in fact, a company in Turkey recently launched a machine that dispenses face masks. By making use of such technology, operators can not only offer essential products such as hand sanitizers, soap and immunity-boosting vitamins to the community but can also increase their revenues in a challenging business environment. Vending machine for hand sanitisers Vending machines that sell fresh food are also booming during the Coronavirus crisis. A shift in approach to provide ready to eat meals and hot beverages in vending machines, like in Japan, is required in these times. Focus on specific locations Reporting shows which locations are most active during this time. Hospitals, manufacturing facilities, and residential buildings, for example, are sites that continue to generate sales. The focus should be on servicing these locations in the most efficient way possible. At HIVERY, we have conducted internal research on the channels that are performing well. Here is what the data shows: Hospitals: The Hospital Channel had similar revenues in 2020 relative to 2019 pre-COVID. However, once the medical cases started to rise in the middle of March, the revenue plunged. Residential: As more people are staying at home due to the lockdown, Vending Machines in residential buildings have matched the revenues of the previous year. Amusement Parks:They started the year with strong growth in the first two months before the decline in revenue in March. This channel too will be susceptible to lockdown restrictions. Super Markets: Contrary to other market segments, the Super Market channel has grown since the National Emergency was declared and lockdown restrictions were set in place. Operators should focus on servicing this channel efficiently. Reduce operational costs: With the closure of universities, hotels, shopping malls and other establishments, vending operators are generating less revenue. To ensure business survival operators need to shift focus to cost-saving initiatives. How Can Operators Reduce Costs? Visit vending machines optimally By optimizing visit schedules, vending machine operators can become more efficient. There are going to be fewer re-stock visits across the board right now, but if organizations are ingenious about it, they can optimize scheduling even more. Re-organize routes There are plenty of machines that operators cannot visit due to restrictions. They have also had to re-assign their existing route personnel to other pressing matters. Taking a data-driven approach to re-organizing routes will lead to appreciable savings. Extend the restock cycle with space-to-sales optimization Vending operators are suffering low patronage due to social distancing. To keep outlets stocked in the same old way, will now result in out-of-stocks and over-servicing. How should the outlets (that are still operating) be set now, so that they can be maintained on a skeleton crew but still meet demand? For machines that have dropped in sales, operators could look at optimizing the space allocation of products — making the most of the less frequent visits. Indeed doubling down on effective merchandising is the need of the hour. Optimise Vending Machines Using HIVERY Enhance Additionally, reducing the number of SKUs available in the machine will help increase driver productivity and extend visit cycles. In the end, changes will have to be made, the extent of which nobody can properly fathom right now. However, we are determined to try and be agents of that change, as opposed to victims of it.
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AFR top 100: HIVERY listed as one of Australia’s fastest growing companies 9th out of 100 #amazing
Mar 23, 2020 | By

Franki Chamaki

It’s not easy to find good news in today’s environment, however, hard work being rewarded is always nice to hear. And so the team were quietly pleased, when this morning, we found out HIVERY was listed as number nine (9) in The Australian Financial Review’s Fast 100 this year.  “That’s not the kind of result that happens by accident. I’d like to thank everyone involved for making this possible, from our amazing staff, our clients, investors and supporters over the years. None of this would have been possible without all of you. Thanks ” –  Jason Hosking CEO, HIVERY This coming year is going to be a lot more challenging, however with a group of people as talented as we’re lucky to have right now, and a fresh pool of capital – having closed an investment round at the end of last year – it’s a challenge were ready to face. Our aim is to bring the advantages of true hyper local retailing to as many businesses as we can, giving them a better chance of riding out the storm, and supporting the economy as much as possible. Read the full coverage in The Australian Financial Review story entitled “Fast 100 and Fast Starters winners revealed“. See the full list online at Fast 100 and Fast Starters winners revealed .
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