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Natural Insight Teams with Snack Box USA

January 21, 2013 by narms  
Filed under News from Members

Retail Technology Firm Natural Insight Teams with
Snack Box USA to Debut Groundbreaking Workforce Management Solution

Quick Serve Restaurant with locations in Walmart, deploys system
that leverages Secure iPads, Square and cloud based workforce management

NEW YORK, NY, January 14, 2013 — Natural Insight®, a private retail technology company engaged in workforce management, announced today at the National Retail Federation’s 102nd Annual Convention and Expo that in conjunction with QSR customer Snack Box™, it has introduced a groundbreaking workforce management system for remotely managing staff, in-store procedures and daily activities.

The system is notable in that it leverages and integrates new and low-cost technologies, to include secure in-store iPads®; Square™ for cash management and credit card processing; remote device configuration and control; and staff scheduling, timekeeping and task management. In-store “out-of-the-box” deployment can take less than 30 minutes.

Stefan Midford, CEO of Natural Insight stated that “this was the perfect match of a retail industry segment (QSR) seeking improved methods for deploying new technologies into stores, and our firm, that prides itself in offering customers significantly reduced capital investment and shorter lead times than ever seen before.”

Snack Box has opened the first of many planned locations inside Wal-Mart stores and selected Natural Insight as its preferred workforce management solution. This allows centralized oversight of in-store retail execution activity, improved accuracy, accountability and deeper understanding of real-time activity. The new system provides an easily accessed, touch screen communication link to workers that aids in speeding numerous in-store work processes.

Snack Box CEO David Hoodis, an industry veteran, stated that “our ability to deploy quickly and effectively was enabled by working with a single provider of integrated services. Natural Insight brought us not only meaningful innovation in a compressed timeline, but teamed us with an exceptional and professional staff.”

With planned locations in Walmart stores nationwide, a simple unified platform that allowed a consistent level of high quality service across all restaurants was important. All stores receive identical systems, identical training and identical look and feel ensuring that the experience in each store is the same.

In addition to its fully managed and hosted solution, Natural Insight reduces the burden on IT by providing all staging, configuration, and on-going monitoring of the iPads. Delivering on its promise of out-of-the-box task management, Natural Insight can setup the iPads and ship them to stores fully equipped with secured mounts, instructions, and everything the store manager needs to get up-and-running in minutes.

Natural Insight customers benefit from a centralized database across all stores and an ability to drill down to specific activity status that includes verification of work completed as well as outstanding tasks remaining. In addition, retailers are now equipped to provide guidance and work tasks for the day. With careful attention to the user experience and testing of usability Snack Box is able to quickly grow without the need for extensive training or support.

About Snack Box
Snack Box, with planned locations within many Walmart stores, is a quick service restaurant (QSR) that was built from the ground up with 100% focus on putting the customer first. The company operates with a staff of “snackologists” that put an emphasis on quality, service, efficiency and flexibility. Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, Snack Box LLC has teamed with some of the best designers in the industry to identify superior and efficient technologies for food preparation and delivery, allowing for freshness all day. Store managers grow to own equity in the company. Visit www.snackboxusa.com.

About Natural Insight
Natural Insight is a private retail technology company with a distinguishing feature – outstanding user loyalty to the product. The company’s innovative, cloud-based platform significantly improves sales, reduces overhead and provides real-time workforce activity feedback that motivates high performance. Through an integrated suite of solutions focused on scheduling, task management, data reporting and timekeeping, large numbers of workers are empowered to complete assignments with significantly less effort. Providing services across a broad cross-section of the retail industry, Natural Insight is used by major retailers and servicing companies to improve execution and manage in-store merchandising, assisted sales, magazine and book distribution, product demos, and store audits. Visit www.naturalinsight.com.

iPad is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
Walmart is a registered trademark of Walmart Stores Inc.
Square is a trademark of Square, Inc.
Snack Box is trademark of Snack Box USA.

Natural Insight Pioneers In-Store Task Management on Secured iPads

January 21, 2013 by narms  
Filed under News from Members

Retail Technology Firm Natural Insight Pioneers
In-Store Task Management on Secured iPads

Rapid Deployment Equips Multi-Store Retailers with Real-Time Control
Without Requirement of Internal IT Ownership

STERLING, VA, January 8th, 2013 — Natural Insight, a private retail technology company engaged in workforce management, today announced rapid “out-of-the-box” deployment of an innovative in-store task management platform that features secured in-store iPads® for employee use.

The Natural Insight solution is deployed to allow centralized oversight of in-store retail execution activity, providing improved accuracy, accountability and deeper understanding of real-time activity. The new system provides an easily accessed, touch screen communication link to workers that aids in speeding numerous in-store work processes.

By introducing iPads as the in-store communication medium operating with the proven Natural Insight platform, district managers, for example, can now have mobile access to the status of accomplished tasks across their stores; human resources can survey and provide essential employee communication; new employees can access product information and training; and management can access a dashboard view of the status of all in-store retail execution activity, including photo verification.

Stefan Midford, President and CEO of Natural Insight noted that “enabling such a comprehensive view of in-store task activity – what we call “Execution Intelligence” – drives so many forms of efficiency supporting improved worker productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall bottom line. We have pioneered an iPad-based system that takes all the friction out of task execution processes.”

The initial deployment of the iPad-equipped system was effectively introduced into dELiA*s 100-plus stores. Shelley Sadofsky, dELiA*s Director of Retail Communications, related that “rarely do we see a turnkey multi-store technology solution deployed so rapidly.”

The overall demographics of in-store retail staff is often young and sometimes a first-job experience. In those instances, the Natural Insight platform provides a quick ramp in training with iPad-based access to information and learning tools, which in turn allows improved customer service levels and reduced labor costs. Some retail employees have characterized Natural Insight’s ability to almost “paint by the numbers” in guiding the completion and verification of in-store tasks. One heavily-used feature is the capture and upload of photos of completed work for compliance and verification.

In addition to its fully managed and hosted solution, Natural Insight reduces the burden on IT departments by providing all staging, configuration, and on-going monitoring of the iPads. Delivering on its promise of out-of-the-box task management, Natural Insight can setup the iPads and ship them to stores fully equipped with secured mounts, instructions, and everything the store manager needs to get up-and-running. The iPads are removable for photo use in verification of completed projects and displays.

Natural Insight customers benefit from a centralized database across all stores and an ability to drill down to specific activity status that includes verification of work completed as well as outstanding tasks remaining. In addition, retailers are now equipped to provide guidance and work tasks for the day. With the Natural Insight platform, reduced emails and a reduction in project cycle time can also be productive benefits.

Deployment of secure iPads can also provide another intangible benefit in branding. Retail customers, seeing in-store staff so equipped, perceive the retailer as current, progressive and operating with the latest devices in technology.

Pioneering in-store task management has appeal across borders. Natural Insight is growing internationally with the addition of new customers in Canada and the Caribbean, sales partner CACI in the UK and the recent addition of German to the list of supported languages. All new customers cite positive user experience as a deciding factor.

About Natural Insight
Natural Insight is a private retail technology company with a distinguishing feature – outstanding user loyalty to the product. The company’s innovative, cloud-based platform significantly improves sales, reduces overhead and provides real-time workforce activity feedback that motivates high performance. Through an integrated suite of solutions focused on scheduling, task management, data reporting and timekeeping, large numbers of workers are empowered to complete assignments with significantly less effort. Providing services across a broad cross-section of the retail industry, Natural Insight is used by major retailers and servicing companies to improve execution and manage in-store merchandising, assisted sales, magazine and book distribution, product demos, and store audits. Visit www.naturalinsight.com.
iPad is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

Your Association on the Trade Show Trail

January 15, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf

trade_shows

In addition to all the excitement building over The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC), NARMS announced last week that it will exhibit at three prominent industry trade shows in 2013. As a service to the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry, the Association is offering members an exclusive opportunity to join us and kick the tires of these big retail events without a huge risk or financial commitment.

Marketing your company at a trade show always comes with the uncertainty that you will get return on your investment. NARMS will have a booth at each of the following events and we encourage you to use it as a home base for your business meetings and to promote your affiliation with our Association. Participation will allow you to determine for yourself if you want to market your company at these events in 2014.

Here is some information on the shows:

NGA (National Grocer’s Association): February 10th – 13th at The Mirage in Las Vegas, NV. The NGA Show offers something for everyone. Trading partners from retailers, manufacturers and suppliers will all find a wealth of good ideas and new information in the educational workshops and the NGA EXPO floor. The EXPO Floor is completely sold out, the earliest date in the history of the Show.

Expo West : March 8th – 10th at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA. The Natural Products marketplace is growing. As a result, Natural Products Expo West is growing as well. More retail buyers are walking the show floor at Expo West than ever before, looking for the newest quality products to bring back to their stores. Over 60,000 industry members attended Expo West this past March.

GlobalShop : April 16th – 18th at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. GlobalShop is the largest annual event for retail design and shopper marketing. It is the only show in the world where you can find the largest, most comprehensive array of store fixture companies and more in-store solutions than any live event in the nation.

Click here to download an informational flyer and learn more about these special opportunities. These are high traffic events so you will want to act quickly as these shows do sell out. We hope you will join us as together we display that NARMS members provide valuable, innovative and necessary services to the retail industry.

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RMMC Keynote Will Address the New Rules of Retail

robin-lewis-photo

The retail industry is tough and getting tougher. Driven by constantly evolving technology, globalization and a saturated marketplace, consumers now have total and instantaneous access to whatever they desire, creating an unprecedented level of consumer power and expectations. The impact of these changes is so profound that all traditional strategic success factors, and the business models necessary to execute them, will become extinct. To help the members of NARMS to Learn, Change and Grow, keynote speaker Robin Lewis of The Robin Report will present The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace at the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS.

The annual at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry get together will take place on April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale. Lewis will take the main stage at 3:30 on Sunday, April 28.

Using profiles and case examples of industry giants, Lewis will reveal why some retailers are tremendously successful at reaching increasingly elusive and demanding consumers, and explains the new mandate, essentially the new rules for retailers.

Lewis is the founder and CEO of The Robin Report. He is an author, speaker, and consultant for the retail and consumer products industries. He is frequently requested by C-level management for advice, consultation and strategic presentations: among them are Kohl’s, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, Liz Claiborne, VF Corp., Charming Shoppes, Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, and Sara Lee. Previously, he was Vice President at Goldman Sachs, where he developed and launched a global retail consulting practice.

He is the co-author of The New Rules of Retail, published by Palgrave- McMillan Publishing in 2010, and is often quoted in various trade and consumer publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, Time Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Brand Week, and Advertising Age, as well as on CNBC and MSNBC.

The Lewis keynote address is just one example of the value-packed agenda being put together for RMMC. This is a chance to not only take in some valuable information, but also have your voice heard as the Association prepares to meet the challenges of the future. You can find out more about RMMC and register by visiting the official website. Group rates are available so you can bring your whole team.

NARMS Health Exchange Enables Learn, Change, Grow

January 8, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf

exchange1

The New Year is a time to make resolutions. NARMS and the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry are resolved to live by the theme Learn, Change, Grow in 2013 and beyond. These three words are also the theme of The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) set for Scottsdale on April 27-30. Addressing the Affordable Health Care Act and its business tax provisions starting in 2014 is an opportunity to start fulfilling those resolutions now.

Rob Dooley with the NARMS Health Exchange, along with Bob Plante, will be expanding on the issue as they present a breakout session on the Affordable Care Act at RMMC. The duo will also be available at the conference in the exhibit area to meet and consult on how you can create a Safe Harbor Plan for you and your employees. If you recall, Dooley hosted an installment of the NARMS Webinar Series on this important topic back in October. For those members who were unable to attend the webinar, an audio playback and the companion slideshow are available by visiting the Members Area on www.narms.com

Dooley has set up the NARMS Health Exchange as part of the solution and an outstanding benefit to our members. The Exchange is a value-added service provided at no cost to NARMS members. It can be found online at www.narms-exchange.com.

The NARMS Health Exchange is an information source and a quote engine for health insurance offered through a defined contribution income tax exempt approach. There is a short video on the website under the employer tab that will further clarify the program and how it works. You can save thousands of dollars in taxes with less than 10 minutes a month in administration, help attract and retain good employees and save those employees thousands of dollars in tax and premiums.

The NARMS Health Exchange is another example of how the members of our Association can work together for the mutual benefit of all and is a vivid example of the benefits of membership. Register for RMMC by visiting the official conference website and start down a path of preparation for the Affordable Health Care Act.

Digital Natives Seek Omnichannel Brand Experience

December 13, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, RMMC2012, What's in store

smartphone_shopping

As the last installment of the NARMS Webinar Series pointed out, there is a wealth of research available that can help guide and enhance the efforts of the at-retail merchandising and marketing community. In fact, NARMS will shortly be seeking your opinion on the content of an industry study. In the meantime, helpful nuggets of data appear every day in the trade media. Today we will look at a consumer survey by IBM as reported on in the pages of Chain Store Age.

The study looked at the shopping behavior of 1,200 consumers between the ages of 13 and 60. The key themes again center on future shoppers being social, mobile and self sufficient. There is less differentiation between the various touchpoints of the customer experience and more focus on seeking an overall flawless experience regardless of the channel.

The next generation of shoppers, or digital natives, is much more likely to shop on mobile devices. This group wants retailers and brand marketers to know them and their shopping patterns intimately. In return, they are much more willing to provide information about themselves and will actively advocate for the stores and brands that they see as delivering a complete omnichannel experience.

Cost and quality are listed as among the most important factors for the participants of the study. Being in-stock (91 percent), delivering on an overall experience (90 percent) and providing a convenient return process (85 percent) were the next three factors for recommending retailers. The post-purchase process was listed as important in building brand loyalty and advocacy.

Members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing services industry have a huge impact on the touchpoints experienced by the future shopper. Out-of-stocks can cause a shopper to quickly find a replacement brand or store via their smart-phone and turn a powerful brand ambassador into a negative influence. The story shares many more findings and you should click on the link to get more details.

Research and how to use it is an important topic for NARMS. It is vital that our members get involved and tell us what they are looking for. One way to get involved and have your voice heard is to attend The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS scheduled for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Click here to find out more and to register.

Member Publishes Holiday Consumer Buying Intentions Study

November 27, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

trendsource

An ongoing feature of this column has been to find and present important marketplace information for the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry. Today, we will preview a just released study by one of our members. 2012 Consumer Buying Intentions - Gifts, presented by MSO member TrendSource, takes a look at data compiled through surveying 3,620 field agents between October 29 and November 9 of 2012. You can download you copy of the summary by visiting the InfoShare section of the Members Area on www.narms.com.

The TrendSource study takes a look at the process consumers go through while planning their Holiday gift shopping. This process defines the retailers they plan to visit, the budgets they plan to work within and the products they plan to purchase. Here are some of the key findings:

-Spending budgets for gifts are down or remain the same as last year for 85 percent of consumers.

- Gift budgets are down from 2011 for households with income less than $75,000.

- There is still time to earn consumer holiday gift sales. Over 50 percent do their holiday gift buying between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

- Over 50 percent of consumers are hesitant to purchase without a discount.

- More than half of consumers learn about the products they plan to give through word of mouth.

- Over one-third of consumers plan to shop online.

- Top gift categories and products are electronics, fashion/apparel and toys.

We thank TrendSource for providing this information to the members of NARMS. This preview only scratches the surface of the findings. TrendSource provides much more detail and analytic graphics in the easy to read report. This piece of market research, and others like it, can help us prepare for the service challenges ahead, and help us to sharpen our service offerings to the marketplace. Download and read your copy today.

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No Twinkies, Ding Dongs or Ho Hos for You

November 20, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

twinkies

OK, it is a pretty good bet that we have not seen the end of the iconic brands produced by Hostess, even though the baker is closing its doors and liquidating its assets. Food companies are bound to aggressively bid to bring Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and Ho Hos back to store shelves soon. It is a cautionary tale that no CPG brand is completely insulated from outside economic forces and inside management decisions. For the members of NARMS, helping your customers to enhance sales and grow market share, even incrementally, can make the difference between success and failure.

Hostess is placing most of the blame on a nationwide strike by its largest labor union. Labor cost has been an ongoing battle. The company filed for bankruptcy last January and had already gone through reorganization driven by bankruptcy proceedings in 2004.

Although national bakeries like Hostess usually rely on a direct store delivery model for their sales and merchandising services, the example is still relevant. All manufacturers and their retail partners are being pinched by thin margins, high material costs and difficulty managing production costs.

As members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service community, it is up to us to demonstrate to our trading partner customers that flawless, seamless execution of store and shelf level sales, marketing and distribution initiatives can be just the means to find the margin in sales and market share. Many manufacturers and retailers have found that partnering with a member of NARMS has helped them to enhance the efficiency of their go-to-market system and protect the marketing and product development investment, while still seeing a nice return.

These and many more retail issues and industry trends will be discussed at The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS. The event is scheduled for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza resort. Visit the conference website for more information and to register. And who knows, maybe we can even figure out a way to save Twinkie the Kid.

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Sponsorship Prospectus Outlines RMMC Promotions

November 15, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, RMMC2012, What's in store

prospectus

As you can probably tell, momentum is building for the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS slated for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The official conference website is on-line and registration is now open. And by the way, did you know we have group rates and early bird registration deals? The event is a gathering point for current and prospective members of NARMS, retailers, manufacturers and other companies who provide goods and services to the at-retail merchandising industry. This highly engaged group of trading partners presents an exciting opportunity for you to reach out by partaking in the many RMMC sponsorship and promotional programs.

Supporting RMMC promotes brand identity and visibility of your company to more than 300 attendees specific to the retail services industry. Whatever your objectives are, or your budget, the NARMS International team can develop creative opportunities for you to reach your target audience. Here is your chance to connect with new businesses, increase brand and product exposure, enhance relationships with your customers, elevate your company profile within the industry and cultivate relationships through networking.

Click here see the RMMC Sponsorship and Promotional Prospectus or visit the official website. There is something for everyone including sponsorships of networking lunches, receptions and dinners. Support of programming is also available through General Session, Seminar and Breakout opportunities. And do not forget about the chance to display in the exhibit hall or sponsor the NARMS Annual Golf Tournament with proceeds benefiting Enactus. You are going to want to act early as several sponsorships, including the RMMC Mobile App, are already spoken for.

Your support of sponsorships and promotions make the RMMC possible. Visit the site, download the prospectus and contact the NARMS International team to find out how you can take a leadership position and enable the theme of Learn, Change, Grow.

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SymphonyIRI: National Brands Strike Back

November 13, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf

tt1112

We all know that the recession and a slow economic recovery have given rise to a strengthened effort on the part of private label merchandise and store brands. In the November issue of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI revisits how the private label explosion is playing out, and how national brands are digging in and protecting their turf. There are strong at-retail merchandising and marketing implications on both sides of this battle for market share.

The overall finding is that the lines are solidifying. Both sides are finding areas to score some impressive gains, but it is not a winner take all contest. SymphonyIRI says that national brands and private labels must complement each other and put the needs of the consumer first. There is room for both to succeed in-store around the globe. Here are some key findings from Times & Trends:

-Although dollar share continues to grow, private label unit share of CPG products has slipped. Meanwhile, national brands are gaining volume share in 40 of the top 100 CPG categories.

-Consumers are continuing to see value in terms of cost and benefits of store brands. There is growing feeling of acceptance helped by innovation and improved quality.

-Private label continues to score big points in the grocery sector in terms of growing share. However, share has slipped within the important drug and c-store sectors over the last year.

-In spite of the impressive gains, even the most ardent private label buyer only spends one out of every four CPG dollars on store brands.

-Store brands receive below-average levels of merchandising support and there is evidence to suggest that the level of support has been declining during the past several years.

As is the case with every issue of Times & Trends, there is way more valuable information than can be represented in this column and you should visit SymphonyIRI and download your free copy today.

Keeping you up to speed on the trends shaping the retail marketplace is an important function and value of your trade association. That commitment will be on full display at The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS. The event is scheduled for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza resort. Visit the conference website for more information and to register.

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Events

Calendar items for NARMS:

Feb 10, 2013 - Feb 13, 2013
2013 NGA Show
Feb 10, 2013 - Feb 13, 2013
2013 Toy Fair
Feb 19, 2013 - Feb 22, 2013
87th Education & Trade Expo
Feb 20, 2013 - Feb 22, 2013
Global Pet Expo
Feb 26, 2013 - Feb 28, 2013
2013 Commercial Construction & Renovation Summit
Mar 02, 2013 - Mar 05, 2013
International Home & Housewares Show 2013
Mar 03, 2013 - Mar 06, 2013
Distribution Management Conference & Technology Expo 2013
Mar 07, 2013 - Mar 10, 2013
Natural Products Expo West 2013
Mar 07, 2013 - Mar 10, 2013
2013 CHPA Annual Executive Conference
Mar 17, 2013 - Mar 20, 2013
SPECS/2013
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Webinars

NARMS-hosted Webinars: