Inmar Named as Finalist for NC Tech Awards Large Company of the Year   

Inmar has been named a finalist for the NC Tech Awards Large Company of the Year for 2017.  NC Tech Awards, presented by the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA), is North Carolina’s only statewide technology awards program that recognizes for achievement in technology.

“For over 20 years, the NC Technology Association has celebrated companies, organizations and individuals for outstanding achievement at the NC Tech Awards.  As a finalist the year, Inmar has distinguished itself as one of the state’s innovative and emergent leaders,” stated Brooks Raiford, NCTA’s President and CEO.

Inmar has a 37-year history of innovation as a global provider of software, data services, analytics and strategic consulting to the world’s leading retailers, manufacturers and health systems.

“While we are now in locations across North America, our roots are in North Carolina and in the center of innovation occurring in Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter,” says David Mounts, Inmar Chairman and CEO.  “We are honored to be named with other great North Carolina companies leading the way during this exciting time in technology innovation.”

More CPG Purchases Taking Place Online

More than 130 million Americans now shop online regularly for consumer packaged goods (CPG) ranging from household and personal care products to alcohol and salty snacks, posing a significant challenge to traditional manufacturers and retailers, according to a new study released by Maru/Matchbox, a technology-accelerated consumer insights firm.

“The traditional paradigm of controlling physical shelf space to build market share is increasingly irrelevant,” said Matt Kleinschmit, Managing Director, Consumer & Shopper Insights at Maru/Matchbox. “While it’s not yet exactly clear how this emerging digital shopping behavior will impact traditional buying decisions long term, the potential for major CPG manufacturers and brick-and-mortar retailers to face music industry-like disruption is increasingly real.”

The study analyzes this dynamic in five key, fast-moving consumer packaged goods categories: Personal Care, Household Goods, Salty Snacks & Confections, Non-alcoholic Beverages, and Alcohol.  It found that digital shoppers are typically younger, better educated, more affluent and less tied to traditional brands. Half of them are more likely to agree with the statement, “I like to buy from new, innovative brands even if they’re not well known.”

In every category, the study found that digital shoppers are generally willing to pay more for products perceived as “premium” and are roughly twice as likely as non-digital shoppers to strongly agree with the statement, “I like products that are pure and natural (that is, made with little to no processed ingredients).” Further, digital shoppers are more likely to be “health conscious and environmentally aware,” and have a university degree and earn over $100,000 per year. Free trials, purchase reminders and personalized product recommendations were found to be highly influential in digital CPG shopping.

Digital Influences Most Grocery Sales along Path to Purchase: Survey

More than half (51 percent) of grocery sales are digitally-influenced, according to a new survey report from Deloitte. Digital’s overall influence on grocery has nearly doubled year over year and has similarly driven increasing impact on the in-store shopping experience.

While digital continues to grow in influence, there still appears to be a digital divide between what consumers’ desire and what the current grocery shopping experience offers. Despite digital’s expanding impact, the survey noted only 31 percent of grocery shoppers indicate that digital makes grocery shopping easier (versus 42 percent across other retail categories), offering a strong opportunity for those companies who can improve the experience.

“People are making decisions about what goes in the grocery cart long before they get to the shelf or even the store,” said Barb Renner, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. consumer products leader. “The majority of food and beverage purchases still happen in the store, but consumers’ online or mobile experiences impact those purchases much earlier in the shopping journey.”

Digital now permeates the grocery path to purchase by influencing shoppers’ awareness, selection, purchase and loyalty, and in turn is driving new and evolving consumer habits:

  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) of consumers surveyed use digital touchpoints such as recipe websites and blogs to drive awareness and find inspiration.
  • Eighty percent of respondents have used a digital device to browse or research grocery products, tapping sources like manufacturer and grocery retailer websites.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (29 percent) of respondents try products based on online recommendations and reviews, seeking answers from blogs and social media posts alongside online product reviews and loyalty apps.
  • Consumers who embrace digital options — such as on-demand local delivery, in-store coupons and instant rebates or mobile checkout — before or during a shopping experience end up converting 9 percent more often than those who shy away from digital leading up to their purchase decision.

To deliver on the new digital imperative, drive brand engagement and win in today’s digital, omnichannel marketplace, the report advises consumer products companies to consider transforming how they operate day to day to become faster, more granular and more connected within a digital-first world. As well, consumer products companies should integrate and coordinate across their functional silos to align with a converged world where consumers can shop at any given moment and where the lines blur between digital and physical marketing, consumer and shopper, and online and offline purchases.

Deloitte commissioned the two surveys, which were conducted online by an independent research company Nov. 3-18, 2016. The surveys each polled national samples of about 2,000 random consumers.

Coupon Program for Low-Income Shoppers Launched

Food Stretcher Plus is a new electronic coupon marketing program, which extends promotion dollars to low- to moderate-income shoppers and those participating in food assistance programs (SNAP, WIC and unemployment).

“These consumers – representing over $70 billon nationally – typically spend a higher percentage of their income on food, yet are difficult to reach with FSI coupons and/or traditional coupon marketing promotions,” said David Davis, president.
Program offers are distributed directly to these shoppers through participating social services and government organizations including churches, food banks, pantries, SNAP and WIC Offices. There is also a mobile app for program awareness and execution.

Here is how the program works: Consumers present their offers at participating retailers at the time of purchase. Proprietary Food Stretcher Plus software verifies the item purchased against other available offers and issues the discount immediately to the consumer.

Davis listed the following program benefits:

  • Shoppers are incented to choose participating brands over competitors
  • Promote WIC products and non-WIC products at a 2 for 1 cost
  • Promote brands to consumers who have purchasing power that can only be used on grocery items yet have choices as to specific items to be purchased
  • Expected average redemption of approximately percent better than FSIs or digital
  • Category exclusivity
  • ROI: 20 percent to over 199 percent.

For more information, visit

British Supermarket Offers ‘Finger Vein’ Payment Option

A UK supermarket has become the first in the world to allow customers to pay for groceries using just the veins in their fingertips, according to story in The Telegraph, a British newspaper.  Shoppers at the Costcutter store, at Brunel University in London, have the option of paying for groceries using their unique vein pattern to identify themselves.

The Telegraph said the firm behind the technology, Sthaler, claims to be in “serious talks” with other major UK supermarkets to adopt hi-tech finger vein scanners at pay points across thousands of stores.

Here’s how it works: Infrared scans a shopper’s finger veins and then links this unique biometric map to their bank cards. Bank details are then stored with payment provider Worldpay, in the same way shoppers can store their card details when shopping online. After selecting their groceries, customers only need their finger to pay for them.

Finger print payments are already used widely at cash points in Poland, Turkey and Japan, according to the report.

VideoMining Stresses Need for Monitoring of In-Store Activities

The evolution of omnichannel retail has changed the way organizations measure the impact of shopper marketing and other investments, according to a panel of experts at the Goldman Sachs 24th Annual Global Retailing Conference recently. They discussed emerging technology solutions for retail.

The panelists agreed that as retailers increasingly rely on fast-paced collaboration with manufacturer partners and other stakeholders, being able to nimbly uncover actionable insights is key.

“With the increasing rate of change in today’s retail industry, we are seeing more demand for tools and data streams that enable ongoing monitoring and evaluation of activities such as marketing and merchandising,” said Rajeev Sharma, Founder and CEO of VideoMining, a provider of in-store behavior analytics. He was joined by two other panelists: Michael Feindt, Founder, CSO of Blue Yonder and Guy Yehiav, CEO of Profitect.
The panel also discussed bridging the data gap between online retailing and brick-and-mortar retailing, innovative methods of gathering previously unmeasured data to respond to shopper preferences and the effect of emerging technologies (including AI and Machine Learning) on the affordability and effectiveness of business intelligence.