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Season 2 – Podcast #1: The NGA Show 2019: Key takeaways for independent grocers

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Mercatus Radio presents the Digital Grocer - Season 2, Episode #1

Brought to you from the NGA Show floor, Sylvain Perrier and Mark Fairhurst discuss what key learnings independent grocers can take from the conference. We were excited to sponsor the Advancing Retail CART event, where the speakers included Sylvain Perrier, John D’Anna from Brookshire Grocery Company and Ron Bonacci from Weis Markets, among others.

In discussing how independent grocers can strategically approach technological partnerships, Sylvain Perrier cites John D’Anna. “You have to really spend a good amount of time in understanding that picking a partner is not just picking a partner and connecting a bunch of technology, but it is implementing change management within your own business”.

Listen in to hear more about the NGA Show 2019 and find out what important learnings grocers can take from this conference.


Sylvain Perrier:              All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to season two. It’s episode one of Mercatus’ very own podcast, Digital Grocer. And this is kind of exciting because I’m here on the couch in our booth, joined by Mark Fairhurst, senior director marketing. Mark.

Mark Fairhurst:             I’m feeling out of sorts.

Sylvain Perrier:              Why are you feeling out of sorts?

Mark Fairhurst:             For those who don’t know, we record this in a small little meeting room in the Mercatus office in Toronto and now we’re on the show floor and I’m lounging on a love seat.

Sylvain Perrier:              You are. People that are looking at us. What’s he talking into? This thing in front of his face.

Mark Fairhurst:             That’s right, that’s right.

Sylvain Perrier:              And we’re at NGA in beautiful San Diego.

Mark Fairhurst:             I do like San Diego.

Sylvain Perrier:              I’ve met some San Diegons. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re called.

Mark Fairhurst:             I think there was a scene in anchorman.

Sylvain Perrier:              Anchorman. We have not seen Ron Burgundy.

Mark Fairhurst:             No, no, unfortunately.

Sylvain Perrier:              Unfortunately. And this is the beginning of season two, so we thought it’d be apropos to kind of do it straight from the trade show floor, which is something that we… you and I have talked about doing that we just never had the chance when we were thinking about doing it from an NRF, but it’s a bit challenging to kind of lug a bunch of gear around and microphones and try and go through US customs and security about this stuff, right?

Mark Fairhurst:             I’m quite impressed with how miniaturized this setup is now here.

Sylvain Perrier:              It’s not like what we have in the office, right? It’s a little bit more compact, which is great. So I’m hoping the audio quality’s going to be amazing.

Sylvain Perrier:              This is our first time, Mercatus, being at NGA in years. I think the last time we were here was maybe five, six years ago, probably around the same time our sales director started, Tim Zimmerman.

Sylvain Perrier:              It’s an interesting show because the format, and Mark, you know this, but you know we were a sponsor at CART, which is a kind of, qualified as an event in an event.

Mark Fairhurst:             Correct.

Sylvain Perrier:              Which was great and we had some of our customers up on stage.

Mark Fairhurst:             That was fantastic.

Sylvain Perrier:              Which was, you know, Ron Bonacci from Weis Markets, John D’Anna from Brookshire’s, and then they professed about Mercatus and what we do for them.

Sylvain Perrier:              It’s kind of cool when you hear from the customer’s perspective, it’s entirely different. And I would say that Brookshire’s and Weis in the context of NGA are fairly larger, or the largest retailers likely attending.

Mark Fairhurst:             And I think the value of bringing them in so that the smaller independent operators can take lessons away from their experience.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Sylvain Perrier:              You know, it’s interesting you mentioned that. NGA Is fundamentally known as being the trade show for this smaller local operator.

Sylvain Perrier:              And you know, funny enough, the reason I say that is this morning, I didn’t tell you this, so this morning I got up super early at like 4:00 AM I was like, my day was going to be set. I was going to go to the gym.

Mark Fairhurst:             And you didn’t message me?

Sylvain Perrier:              I didn’t message you, but I could see through the window. And I go downstairs.

Mark Fairhurst:             Okay, more about that later.

Sylvain Perrier:              As I’m in the elevator, there’s a lady talking to me and she’s got this North Carolina accent and we’re just chatting, and she says to me, she goes, “you’re up early”. And I said, “yeah”. I said, and “you’re leaving?” She had her suitcase, whether she goes, “yeah, I was just going to fly back to North Carolina”. I said “So are you from Charlotte?” She goes, she goes, “No, I’m from Wilmington”, I say “Wilmington?” She goes, “Yeah, I’m here with my father for NGA” And I looked at her, I said, “Oh, that’s interesting. So am I. I was at the CART session yesterday presenting”. She goes, “Oh, I was, I saw you. I was at the CART session”. I said, she says, “Are you the CEO of the company Mercatus?” I go, “yeah, yeah, so what do you do?” And she goes, “Oh, my father owns IGA”.

Mark Fairhurst:             Oh Wow. Really?

Sylvain Perrier:              And she goes, so I explained what I do. She goes, “Yeah, we’re going to be rolling out ecommerce in the coming months”. I said, “Oh, do you know who you guys went with? I think you guys were looking at Fresh Shop Rosie and stuff like that”. And she goes, “I don’t know, I’m kind of running an offshoot business from the family holding company”. And we just chatted and she introduced herself. I can’t remember if her name was Amber or Holly and so on. And we just kind of shook hands and then she took off into the mist of San Diego.

Mark Fairhurst:             But you know, that’s the value of being at a show like this.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yes.

Mark Fairhurst:             I mean, I think our decision to come here this year really was just to reassert the Mercatus presence. We have been so busy over the last three or four years getting the customers that we currently have online into market with their platforms, that I think it’s now good that we go out and start sharing the experience and the stories of success that we’ve had.

Sylvain Perrier:              I was talking to someone the other day, I was talking to Trent, Trent Berkshire. He was asking me how much travel do you do? I’m like, I had to convert it into miles for him. But from January 10th, which was what? Three days before NRF? Up until I think the end of January or maybe the end of the first week of February, covered nearly 16,000 kilometers in flying.

Mark Fairhurst:             Unbelievable.

Sylvain Perrier:              Coast to coast, right? Twice. Three times. It’s crazy. And it’s shaping up to be the exact same thing because once we’re done here at NGA, I’m meeting up with Frank Laudadio, our VP client success, and Andrew Chang, business partner, and they’re going to fly in to San Diego and then we’re going to drive up to Las Vegas. We’re going into Shop Talk. We’re having I think-

Mark Fairhurst:             Twenty one-on-one meetings.

Sylvain Perrier:              Twenty one-on-ones. We got flooded with 56 requests I think. And so we had to kind of pare it back and more focus on our target market. We’re getting a lot of interest from outside of grocery. And grocery is our sweet spot. It’s what we built the business on it’s what we focused. You know, I love NGA because it’s such a scrappy trade show. And I say that in the nicest way because there’s everything here an independent could want, it could be this beautiful wall of cheese that we have in front of our booth. And I hope that’s fake cheese.

Mark Fairhurst:             Literally this is like 20 feet tall.

Sylvain Perrier:              It’s 20 feet tall.

Mark Fairhurst:             And 20 feet wide.

Sylvain Perrier:              I may scale it. I may lick the wall. This cannot be transferred anywhere else, this wall, to be used for something else. So it’s not one of those types of walls.

Sylvain Perrier:              And, yeah, it’s scrappy in the sense you have food retailers. You have NCRs here. ECRS is here.

Mark Fairhurst:             There was a Halloween Costume pavilion.

Sylvain Perrier:              There is?

Mark Fairhurst:             Yes.

Sylvain Perrier:              That’s amazing.

Mark Fairhurst:             We haven’t gone there yet.

Sylvain Perrier:              We haven’t.

Mark Fairhurst:             No.

Sylvain Perrier:              And that’s pretty cool. So we have all those things and so Shipt is here. I bumped into the-

Mark Fairhurst:             Our partnership.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah, our partners in crime are here. And then I bumped into Inmar. I bumped into Worldpay. I mean this happened in a space of 10 minutes, just looking for a restroom, bumped into a bunch of people.

Sylvain Perrier:              So that’s why it’s really good. I really appreciated the fact that yesterday we were able to attend and speak alongside some of our customers at the CART event and there is something that was called out early in the presentation by Gary, Gary Hawkins, who’s got a really good book out. It was launched here at the show, right?

Mark Fairhurst:             Yup. Yup, Yup.

Sylvain Perrier:              And I think the title is “The age of I retail”.

Mark Fairhurst:             Correct.

Sylvain Perrier:              Which is available on Amazon. You know, Gary early in the presentation and then his son-

Mark Fairhurst:             Sterling.

Sylvain Perrier:              Sterling went up and kind of talked about how we’re really on the precipice of some major changes and exponential changes within the context of the grocery retail. And early on when we kind of all got into the room before everything kicked off, I was sitting next to Ron Bonacci and I was having conversations with some of the other presenters and I said “This is the most exciting time to be in this vertical simply because I’m finding more often than not, and this is a juxtaposition to like 10 years ago, where you would go meet a retailer and they necessarily didn’t have the onsite talent to be able to have strong digital marketing conversations”, right?

Sylvain Perrier:              And some of the lingo we use, and you’ve used historically, right? Because of your background. It’s starting to seep into retail. We’re now able to have strong technology conversations. Now we’re no longer talking about how nefarious cloud computing is. Everything should be on prem. You know that there’s a general expectation that everything should be in a cloud.

Sylvain Perrier:              So that was really refreshing to hear those experts at CART say, “Hey, rate of change is exponential. Now’s the time to adapt. You need to evolve. You need to move forward. Status quo is not an option. And you need to giddy up”. I found that really refreshing.

Sylvain Perrier:              Mark, I mean, you’ve been with Mercatus how long now?

Mark Fairhurst:             Almost two years.

Sylvain Perrier:              What’s the biggest thing when you think out of 2019, 2020, what kind of gets you jazzed?

Mark Fairhurst:             On the market side, I think it’s this gradual transformation, business maturity of the vertical that we’re selling into.

Mark Fairhurst:             They all recognize that their digital futures are dependent on the experience that they’re able to give to their clients, their customers, the shoppers, and they’re looking around and they need help, especially in the tier that we play with. They may not have the full extent of the resources necessary to bring a full ecommerce experience to fruition. So they’re looking for strong partners. And I think that message, it’s what Mercatus has been about for the last five, six years, and I think the message is finally starting to translate into the market. And I think that’s exciting.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah. You know, it’s interesting you say that because it kind of equates a little bit to what John D’Anna said yesterday up on stage at the CART event, you have to judiciously pick your partner. And we’ve been fortunate enough that we are the partner, in fact, to Brookshire’s and he said, you have to pick the right partner that understands how to leverage the technology that you have existing in your own environment. As well as bring the expertise to the table to know how to leverage that pre-existing technology and marry it with kind of the secret sauce and kind of everything else, which is really what we do at Mercatus.

Mark Fairhurst:             And that comes from experience. It’s have we done everything perfect out of the gate? No. But we know what the bumps are. We know what the pitfalls can be, we bring that experience and that intelligence to future customers and we provide them that strong guidance and we’re not afraid to say no.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, it’s interesting that resonates with me what you just said, because what I found historically in the past, being the CEO of this company, is that when you’re onboarding a retailer, there’s a difference between commerce being a strategic initiative versus commerce being a defensive position, right?

Sylvain Perrier:              So offence, defence. So if customers are approaching this from a defensive perspective, no, a check the box. I think we covered this historically in the past with Brittain Ladd in their first episodes of season one, at the end of the day, Mercatus is not going to be necessarily the right choice. But if you’re taking a strategic approach to wanting to do ecommerce, to generate revenue, positive ROI and capture basket, right market share away from your competitors, 100% we’re going to be the right fit.

Sylvain Perrier:              What I find though is as the market is shifting and there’s this clear need to be ready out there and to do things, that rate of patience, that retailers have to be able to transform across the entirety of the business, not just vis a vis implementing ecommerce is getting short, right? So that’s what you have to be and John said it so eloquently, you have to really spend a good amount of time in understanding that picking a partner is not just picking a partner and connecting a bunch of technology, but it is implementing change management within your own business. That’s important.

Mark Fairhurst:             Across multiple internal business operations.

Sylvain Perrier:              You know, 100%. Even some of this that we’re kind of seeing happening in the industry, right, and I’m just going to wax philosophically for a minute here. You know the big announcement in ad age this week, Mark, you posted it internally on our Slack channel.

Mark Fairhurst:             It was Walmart.

Sylvain Perrier:              Sorry. What did I say? Did I say Instacart?

Mark Fairhurst:             No, no, no. You said Walmart.

Sylvain Perrier:              I did. Thank you. I thought I was just, I had a senior’s moment. Alexa, Siri. Hey Google. It’s like going through all your kids’ names and I don’t have kids, until you can find the right one, but you’re kind of like, you know, the big announcement is Walmart ditched WPP. Pulling in their whole digital ad sales kind of framework in house.

Mark Fairhurst:             That’s right.

Sylvain Perrier:              Likely going to run this out of Bentonville. They may decide to run it out of their office on the West Coast, although I’m not so sure if they would do that or they may have an office in Chicago. Who knows.

Sylvain Perrier:              I know that historically Walmart used to use IPG, specifically Howard Draft from Draft FCB was involved. I’m not sure if that’s still the case. I think Draft historically had been sold to IPG in the years of Phil Geier, kind of all those guys.

Sylvain Perrier:              But it’ll be interesting to see what Walmart does and I think there is a strong appetite in the case of a lot of retailers going out there to create a form of ad network where I would think their hope is that they can go out and grab above the line media dollars, right?

Sylvain Perrier:              So above the line has been traditionally TV, radio and print retailers don’t see that.

Mark Fairhurst:             All the mass marketing tools.

Sylvain Perrier:              All the mass marketing tools, TV’s not so great anymore because everyone’s shifting to watching videos on their mobile device and so on.

Sylvain Perrier:              But the digital budgets are evenly split between two conglomerates, Facebook and Google.

Mark Fairhurst:             That’s right.

Sylvain Perrier:              So I’m interested to see how Walmart is going to want to pull those things in house in the context of their trade dollars and if they’ll have enough pull to be able to take it away from the Googles and the Facebooks of the world.

Mark Fairhurst:             And even Amazon. Amazon is-

Sylvain Perrier:              100%

Mark Fairhurst:             Number one when it comes to product ad placements.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah they are. And the amount of time that I’ve been to Chicago and you know, going to those small event shows that we’ve done in the past and the name of the company escapes me. Gary, Gary works for them. This is not helping our guests or our listeners right now. Gary who? We don’t know Gary. Gary can be the guy that works on the car wash.

Sylvain Perrier:              But he doesn’t work in a car wash. He’s a former roadie for Van Halen.

Mark Fairhurst:             Yes he is.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yes, he is. I mean hopefully he’s going to be listening to this. What we’ve seen is, you know, there is that even split between Google and Facebook and talking to the kind of the marketing experts that are out there in the world of digital, there’s still this quite frank notion of it’s not about the reach anymore, right?

Sylvain Perrier:              So you know this as much as anyone else.

Mark Fairhurst:             It’s about targeting.

Sylvain Perrier:              And it’s conversion.

Mark Fairhurst:             And conversion. Yeah.

Sylvain Perrier:              So how Walmart’s going to play this game and the regional retailers want to get into this, but I don’t know if they have a enough.

Mark Fairhurst:             This comes out at a time when Walmart announces record ecommerce sales.

Sylvain Perrier:              43% increase.

Mark Fairhurst:             And so they’re marrying the eyeballs they’re getting online with now a full blown in house media agency.

Sylvain Perrier:              I don’t know if they have the wherewithal for that.

Mark Fairhurst:             I guess time will tell.

Sylvain Perrier:              I don’t know. I was telling you the story about Walmart TV and the how that was just a fiasco and they had a couple of agencies in Chicago involved. Walmart TV was a big thing in Canada because-

Mark Fairhurst:             And you said this wasn’t the first time this has happened. This has been, this is like a historical behavior on the part of Walmart.

Sylvain Perrier:              It is. And they would have the Walmart TV set up in Canada. They were trying to do it in the United States, but Walmart TV in Canada was a spinoff of, I think maybe it was an acquisition or something out of shop cast, I really can’t remember. Shop cast became O3. Anyway.

Sylvain Perrier:              You know the big challenge that they had everyone believe narrow casting and TVs in retail was going to be a revolution. But again, the fundamental principle is no one had good programming data. No one had good program product data.

Mark Fairhurst:             I cut my teeth in marketing working for a conference producer. And one of the first properties that we went out with was digital signage in retail and the number one issue you had these system integrators and all the hardware people pushing it. This will be the next big wave in store engagement. But it comes down to the content.

Sylvain Perrier:              100%

Mark Fairhurst:             And if you didn’t have the content, all the systems in place, there’s going to be no return on it from the consumer perspective.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah. You know on top of that you mentioned content, but it was also the notion of in Walmart’s case was the content that was being displayed lining up with the products on the end cap. Products in the aisle. And that that’s what ended up being the demise.

Sylvain Perrier:              The only good, so not the only good, but their retailer that succeeded at this, and this is anecdotally, was Target. So Target had internally their own pre media group and the TVs that were on display in their electronic section. The content being played on those TVs was supplied by Energizer, Walt Disney, Marvel and so on. And the content was kind of the creative was taken over by their pre media group and then eventually kind of put out and it made money for them like gangbusters. But there was no agency, there was no notion of merchandising wasn’t really necessary. I’m not sure what that program ended up, so I think that’s going to be a big topic for 2019 so I’m excited to see that. I’m also-

Mark Fairhurst:             And to bring it back to NGA, there’s opportunities for smaller retailers to also benefit from the ad network of vacation, of digital media when it comes to retail sales.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah. When we started Mercatus, before Mercatus quite frankly, when I was at Springboard Retail Networks and we had kind of designed the computer and the shopping cart and stuff like that, it was supposed to be funded through an ad model. You know, spend a lot of time with a lot of agencies, a lot of CPGs kind of understanding, you know, the balance between distribution and the balance ultimately between a conversion, right? Being able to prove that person bought something because they were influenced. And what we kind of realized early on is that it’s not an easy thing to do. That a small independent retailer with 10 locations, unless they’re very niche. No, when I say niche, I’m thinking Dean and Deluca. You know that would have like [inaudible] which is a very expensive coffee.

Sylvain Perrier:              Dean and DeLuca could command a little bit more attention than maybe something that’s a little bit more home grown in terms of a retailer.

Sylvain Perrier:              I think that there is an opportunity for a lot of these independence to get together to create a quote unquote virtual conglomerate that would be able to have some sort of mass appeal for the CPGs that are out there in the market. The challenge fundamentally with the business model to go after those quote unquote above the line media dollars is it will require, and again, Sterling and and Gary talked a bit about this yesterday, is the merchants internal to the business are going to have to start to realize that they’re going to have to have different style conversations with the CPGs on their TPRs.

Sylvain Perrier:              Right on their trading promotion dollars. Because you and I both know that unfortunately there are retailers out there, and we saw this in the last US recession, that when those trade dollars started to shrink, some retailers got into some really hot water.

Mark Fairhurst:             And then you could see exactly how, where the revenue was coming from.

Sylvain Perrier:              100% and you know, you have profitability in certain categories. It’s all dependent on the trade dollars and the bonus structure for the category manager. And it’s a drug, I hate to say it, and it’s really comes down to two very large retailers, three very large retailers in the United States that kind of really control the ebb and flow of some of those dollars and to the detriment of the industry. And that’s why I get excited for 2019 because I think the age of personalization is upon us.

Mark Fairhurst:             Oh absolutely.

Sylvain Perrier:              Even the results Mercatus has seen with its one product, right? I think it was, is it a 13% lift Mark? I can’t remember the exact-

Mark Fairhurst:             $13

Sylvain Perrier:              $13.

Mark Fairhurst:             Per engaged shopper.

Sylvain Perrier:              And then $700 annually.

Mark Fairhurst:             Per shopper.

Sylvain Perrier:              Per shopper. When you extrapolate that in some of this stuff that we’ve done that’s over 45 million US dollars in additional gross revenue.

Sylvain Perrier:              Now if you’re starting to calculate the contribution margin of that, I mean it’s, it’s a compelling numbers. So it’s kind of this new technology is upon us and how is that going to affect trading promo dollars? We just don’t know yet. And I think that’s going to be interesting.

Sylvain Perrier:              NGA I’m excited. I’m having, and just being here, conversations are rich people walking by with bagpipes, which is kind of interesting. There is-

Mark Fairhurst:             We’ll have to splice that in later.

Sylvain Perrier:              And there’s a bear over there. It’s not a real bear.

Mark Fairhurst:             Is it over my shoulder? I’m not going to turn around.

Sylvain Perrier:              He’s not Russian, so there’s no collusion. Sorry. I just, yeah, this is such not a political show.

Mark Fairhurst:             But you’re in San Diego. It’s okay.

Sylvain Perrier:              I’m in San Diego, I’m amongst good people here. The other hot topic this year is that CCPA, since we’re in California. And it’s nebulous to say the least.

Mark Fairhurst:             And just for the the audience, so that’s the California Consumer Protection Act.

Sylvain Perrier:              Or private.

Mark Fairhurst:             Privacy act.

Sylvain Perrier:              Privacy Act.

Mark Fairhurst:             Comes into effect January 1, 2020.

Sylvain Perrier:              2020. It is, it’s not GDPR. It has elements that could be interpreted as being similar to GDPR. So the right to delete your data, the right to transport your data, stronger disclosure from the people that are collecting your data and what they’re doing with it, which is good.

Sylvain Perrier:              A lot of this is in response to Facebook using, the whole crisis that they had with Mark Zuckerberg had to actually go to Congress and testify and California has historically been the leader in this space of privacy. In Canada, PIPEDA. There is talks in parliament about potentially causing a change to PIPEDA and adopting that. We do know in the US, CCPA has gathered the attention of a lot of the other states that are apparently formulating their own bill.

Mark Fairhurst:             Correct.

Sylvain Perrier:              We’re ahead of the curve on this at Mercatus, which I’m really excited about.

Mark Fairhurst:             So not to give it away, but-

Sylvain Perrier:              Well give it away, Mark.

Mark Fairhurst:             We have engaged with a very well known privacy lawyer in Houston. He will be producing alongside us a few episodes of the upcoming Digital Grocer around the CCPA, what it means to grocery retailers and what you need to know and what the reality is and what some of the myths are.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah, and when I reached out to him, the one thing I’ve always wondered, and we do this for ADA compliancy, WCAG 2.0 or level AA, indemnifies our clients.

Mark Fairhurst:             And that’s the American Disabilities Act.

Sylvain Perrier:              Act, yeah, and it’s about to go through a transformation. 2.1 is going to come out. Again, it’s so unclear the law and so on that side we hired accessible 360. We’ve done a podcast show with those guys. With ADA we’re able to have a quote unquote expert come in and certify us. So when I spoke to our new attorney out of Houston, there is no such thing for CCPA. There’s really no such thing and where it gets really complicated if you’re a retailer and you don’t have a solid foundation and understanding your data flow and your data map. For example, in Mercatus when you use our technology and you sign up to clip coupons, whether you have a contract with an Inmar or Utech or, you know, Quotient or coupons.com, we go out and we create a link between your core Mercatus account, your core retailer account, your loyalty count, your loyalty card and so on. So what happens if you did request to delete? Do we delete your information on the third party system? Do we report it? What’s the financial impact? Because you know the rules here in the United States with the IRS, much like our own rules in Canada with our own revenue agency is you have to maintain financial records.

Sylvain Perrier:              So there’s this whole level of complexity that kind of gets embedded in this and we’re just like, you know what guys? Hands up. Let’s just get the expert.

Mark Fairhurst:             And this gets to something, bringing it back to an earlier point in the conversation around do you have a partner that sees this coming? Do your technology partners understand the implications of these legislative changes and what it could mean to you as a business that trades in consumer goods? Retailers could potentially be exposed.

Sylvain Perrier:              Oh my God, 100%. You know, the other day I was asked, I was approached with a technical question and I had to scratch my head and it was a question on EBT.

Mark Fairhurst:             What’s EBT?

Sylvain Perrier:              EBT is… the acronym escapes me, but it’s food stamps. And can you pay with using digital currency for food stamps? And you know, when they asked me the question, I’m like, technically, yes. Requires a payment processor to have the infrastructure to do it and will require third party integration. But it’s not a technical hurdle. So this was a couple of days ago here. It was before the CART event. And, they kind of looked at me and they go, well, our perspective, it is a technical challenge. I know you need to have approval from the state. And you need to have, yeah. So whoever is your agency that controls this, you have to have some form of approval before they’ll allow this to happen because it creates a whole other level of audit trail online in terms of the potential misuse of dollars and so on.

Sylvain Perrier:              So that was kind of one of those things like I was, thank God I lived through this, early on in a past life. Past life for me was last year. And I was able to kind of comment on that. So that’s, CCPA is kind of one of the big things on the horizon. Some of the new stuff with ADA compliancy. God, there’s so many things happening in 2019 for Mercatus.

Mark Fairhurst:             Yeah. And more.

Sylvain Perrier:              And more.

Mark Fairhurst:             That we haven’t talked about yet.

Sylvain Perrier:              We haven’t. And you know, the one thing that surprises me walking the show, where’s the Instacart? Where are they? Are they hiding behind that wall of cheese?

Mark Fairhurst:             It could be.

Sylvain Perrier:              We’ve not seen anything in the trades. I know we’ve heard about some of the stuff that they’re dealing with, right?

Mark Fairhurst:             Yeah. You had mentioned that typically pre IPO companies going into this quiet phase.

Sylvain Perrier:              Typically, but you know at this point the rumors of a prospectus being filed would be out there. And then through the undercurrent of the industry, we would have gotten a copy because you know, maybe some of us want to invest. And maybe some of us don’t. It really depends. So it’ll be interesting to see what kind of happens in that whole respect with Instacart. But listen, I wish him the best of luck in terms of what they’re going to be tackling.

Sylvain Perrier:              I think we’re also going to be announcing very shortly some more partnerships.

Mark Fairhurst:             Oh, we have a few press releases coming out, some exciting retailer and partnership announcements.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah. So I think that’ll be really cool. Trade shows this year, Mark, I think we’re at Grocery Shop, we’re the level five sponsors?

Mark Fairhurst:             Level five sponsor, that’s about six months from now. Time kind of flies.

Sylvain Perrier:              It has passed very quickly.

Mark Fairhurst:             But we’re looking forward to making some big announcements there-

Sylvain Perrier:              Some noise. Noise.

Mark Fairhurst:             Noise. And just building on that presence from last year.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah.

Mark Fairhurst:             In the meantime though, you’re off to Shop Talk and-

Sylvain Perrier:              Off to Shop Talk. May do a show from there. With Mr Laudadio.

Mark Fairhurst:             Perfect.

Sylvain Perrier:              That should be interesting to do that. We’ll talk about what we’re seeing over at that show and then it’s back on the road.

Mark Fairhurst:             And then Home Delivery World in the beginning though, of April.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah, that’s right. That’s in Philadelphia this year.

Mark Fairhurst:             That’s in Philly, yeah.

Sylvain Perrier:              I remember going there two years ago when they had the show over in hot-lanta and it was hot and it was kind of interesting because it’s such an important segment when you look at the lifecycle and the journey of a shopper and we got to see some really cool tech back then, which was hot and cold storage locker format where you can, you know, somebody can go deliver the food in there, you can go retrieve it as a consumer.

Sylvain Perrier:              A lot of cloud based solutions for routing vehicles, for making sure that they’re properly stocked for the deliveries that they’re about to do for the day. I’m not sure if the show happened last year.

Mark Fairhurst:             Yeah. There was a show last year. Mercator’s did not attend.

Sylvain Perrier:              That’s right. So we’re going this year.

Mark Fairhurst:             We’re going this year. Our friend Brittain Ladd will be chairing the grocery track, but it’s just become such a bigger show. You’ve got automated delivery vehicles, you’ve got expansion of the last mile delivery ecosystem, you’ve got Mercatus now that has last mile delivery integrated into our capabilities and from a white label perspective. So a-

Sylvain Perrier:              Dispatch.

Mark Fairhurst:             Dispatch. Mercatus dispatch. Which is evolving, with more news to come.

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah. And we’re integrating some more partners into that product, right? And that’s going to be really cool. And I think I’m giving a keynote.

Mark Fairhurst:             Yes you are.

Sylvain Perrier:              Am I opening the show? Cutting a ribbon or something?

Mark Fairhurst:             We can arrange for that. Yeah. You’re opening the grocery track conversation.

Sylvain Perrier:              I want garden sheers to be open, to cut that ribbon or maybe a whipper snipper. Most people probably don’t know what a whipper snipper is, but that’s okay.

Mark Fairhurst:             Is that a Canadian colloquialism?

Sylvain Perrier:              Oh, it’s like tuk. It’s like you say tuk to someone and you say, did you say toke? No, I said tuk. Double double I heard is cross the border.

Mark Fairhurst:             Is it?

Sylvain Perrier:              Yeah,

Mark Fairhurst:             But just in the American border state?

Sylvain Perrier:              Yes.

Mark Fairhurst:             That’s a good question to ask our audience. Do you know what double double means?

Sylvain Perrier:              If you know what a double double is, email Mark because he will share with you how to get a hold of us and I will send you a hoodie. But I’m just going to randomly pick one person. You’re not all going to get a hoodie. Full disclaimer right here. One’s enough. Alright folks, we’re going to tune out here. Thank you very much for joining us on episode one of season two Digital Grocer. We know we got some stuff to do here in San Diego and Mark, share with our audience how they can get a hold of us.

Mark Fairhurst:             They can get a hold of us by going to www.mercatus.com, many avenues to reach out. You can email us directly. All the information’s there on the website.

Sylvain Perrier:              Thanks folks.

 

Speakers

Sylvain-Perrier-Headshot

Sylvain Perrier

Sylvain is president and CEO of Mercatus Technologies, and the driving force behind the leading digital commerce platform in grocery retail today.

Mark Fairhurst Mercatus

Mark Fairhurst

As Senior Director of Marketing at Mercatus, Mark is responsible for leading the overall market strategy development, planning and execution to support Mercatus' multi-year revenue growth and customer acquisition and retention objectives.


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