Independents Facing Unprecedented Data Challenge

LAS VEGAS — Independents are "under siege" from sophisticated shopper data tools of big retailers, said Gary Hawkins, CEO, Hawkins Strategic, during a session at the NGA Show here.

"The big retailers are gathering data, driving insights, and using these across their organizations," said Hawkins, citing operators including Kroger [2], Safeway [3], Walgreens, CVS and Target [4]. Hawkins is a former independent retailer partnering with NGA on a number of technology initiatives.

"This is a different battle than independent retailers have had to face in the past, because it's a stealth battle," he said, referring to the precision targeted promotions for individual shoppers that aren't apparent to competitive retailers.

"Kroger and other big retailers have weaponized shopper data," he said, citing Kroger's long arrangement with Dunnhumby.

Read more: Retailers Urged to Make Social Media Plans [5]

Bigger retailers are using targeted promotions to "drive secondary, lower spending shoppers up into becoming loyal shoppers."

NGA is partnering with Hawkins on a new initiative for members called Personiphi, which will aggregate transaction data from NGA member retail stores, apply sophisticated personalization and offers from CPG brand manufacturers, and create personalized offers for individual shoppers.

"The nature of competition has changed," Hawkins said. "It's not about the ad flier anymore. It's about communicating a specific promotion to a specific shopper based on relevancy to them."

He said Personiphi is "automated and scaled" in a way that's ideal for independent retailers, and "sophisticated engines discover segmentations and lifestyles of shoppers, and it ties in with with pools of promotions."

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