Progressive Grocer Independent

APR 2016

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32 | Progressive Grocer Independent | April 2016 N o issue is more pressing for retailers than the adoption of emerging technology. Moving too slowly can leave you hopelessly outmoded and behind your competitors, but moving too quickly can drop you into an endless money pit of ever-increasing costs and unsatisfactory results. Every retailer needs to keep up, but no retailer can aford to experiment with every new and exciting development. Te challenge of balancing the need for innovation with the need to conserve resources is a signifcant one for all retailers. Tis challenge is especially difcult for smaller, inde- pendent retailers. Te giant chains have signifcant capital budgets and large IT departments, and are continually striv- ing to embrace the future as soon as possible. Independent retailers don't have those luxuries, however. For indies, the technology challenge is to identify those emerging technolo- gies that are "ready for prime time." At technology-oriented trade shows like the recent NRF Big Show in New York, a mind-boggling array of new technologies were featured, all of which "promise" to drive sales or save money, or both. Many of these technologies are just not very good ideas. Out of the good ideas, some don't really work yet, while many of those that do actually work require signifcant upfront investments — of money, time and technical expertise — to function properly. Te market at large, including the trade publications that serve the large chains — including our sister publication Progressive Grocer — does a good job identifying the tech- nologies that really serve consumers and retailers and deliver real benefts, but the job of this column will be to look at the technologies that are further down the adoption curve, and to help fnd ones that are sufciently developed to be able to help independent retailers in the near term, without gigantic investments of time, money or expertise. Te idea of Te Technology Pragmatist is to look at new technology with a semi-jaundiced eye and separate those technologies that might really work someday or Introducing the Technology Pragmatist This column will look at technologies that are beneficial in the real world of the independent retailer. By David Diamond might be great multimillion-dollar projects for Kroger or Target, from those technologies that currently exist in a form that allows inde- pendent retailers, which don't have large IT departments, to install and beneft from in the short term. I plan to review many of the hottest and newest technologies, but always with a focus on identi- fying those that have "crossed the chasm" from cutting-edge ideas to useable, implementable products. In each issue, I will discuss technologies like in-store communication beacons, new payment methodologies like ApplePay and its brothers, advances in inventory management, and the evolution of consumer communi- cation, but I will always be primarily focused on iden- tifying those technologies that are ready to go, ready to install and ready to deliver positive results to indepen- dent retailers today, with minimal cost, expertise needs, and lead time for installation. My hope is to make this column at least somewhat interactive. Over the years, I have received some of my best ideas and topics from my readers, and Te Tech- nology Pragmatist will always be open to hearing from its readers. If you've had a great experience with a new technology, I want to hear about it — and if you've tried something new without good results, I need to know that as well. For that matter, if you're tempted by a new technology and want another opinion about it, I'll be happy to provide that, too. PGI David Diamond is an independent con- sultant to leading retailers, manu- facturers and service providers in the grocery industry. He can be reached at [email protected] The Technology Pragmatist The job of this column will be to look at the technologies that are further down the adoption curve, and to help find ones that are sufficiently developed to be able to help independent retailers in the near term.

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