Take a moment to revisit Ignite 2018’s Opening Keynote from ECRS Founder & CEO, Pete Catoe.
ECRS and the success-focused retailers who comprise the CATAPULT community have a mission. That mission is to “Slay Giants” in retail.
What do I mean by that?
Disruption has rocked retail. Multinational competitors are eager to seize market share in grocery, convenience, pharmacy, food, and beverage verticals. These global giants pose an existential threat to other retailers. But giants can be beaten.
Competing against multinationals and winning is going to require a long-range focus and a dedication to three core pillars:
- Local, regional, and midsize retailers have to out-innovate their rivals.
- CATAPULT retailers must band together as a community.
- The effort to slay giants must be sustained.
Pillar One: Local, regional, and midsize retailers have to out-innovate their rivals.
We need to innovate around the weakness of the big competition. Where are retail’s global giants weak?
Eliminating Silo Slowdown
Silos. Despite their size, many of these large multinationals have very complex and archaic POS systems. Imagine an enterprise worth billions, relying on a dozen or more different third party technology vendors.
These giants are deep in technical debt because of all of the middleware, time, and money required to keep their stores running. It’s that massive friction factor that we really need to focus on.
With CATAPULT, retailers have one comprehensive platform that eliminates siloed-commerce. Your point of sale, self-checkout, webstore, and your mobile capabilities are all running on one logic, seamlessly, across the enterprise.
CATAPULT retailers are able to move much faster than competitors of much larger scale because of Unified Transaction Logic.
Having Unified Transaction Logic™ across the enterprise means you can scale rapidly and expand your hardware and software functionalities with ease. Need to add self-service terminals in your store? With CATAPULT, you can be trained and up-and-running with self-service within 24 hours of initial installation.
That’s what moving without friction looks like. I keep stressing the importance of this capability because your competitors want it and they don’t have it.
Pillar Two: CATAPULT retailers must band together as a community.
So, what about our community? First consider this: as a community, we’re a massive entity with 3,000 locations! We can make a huge impact if we work together. The more we coordinate, the more we can run interference against multinationals. This collaboration is done through events like the Ignite Retail Success Conference, and our online forum, the CATAPULT Community.
Here are a few more examples of collaborative projects we’re building together:
Universal Product Database
As a community, we can’t have a great digital presence if we don’t have good data. We need pictures of our products, and we need to be able to provide shoppers with ingredient information. With the Universal Product Database (UPD), any CATAPULT retailer can add that information, and share it across the community. We have more than 700,000 item records and almost 400,000 images, and it’s growing every month.
We developed ECRS Gateway™ so you can electronically communicate with your key suppliers easily and without mounting cost. We have one fixed cost. On top of that, we do not charge suppliers to integrate into Gateway. All a supplier has to do is connect one time, and they’re all set.
EDI capability is going to be crucial to optimize inventory in the battles ahead. We will need our CATAPULT retailers to build on this effort, encourage new suppliers to join us, and help us build this EDI community.
EcoPortal empowers you to leverage local in a big way. With Ecoportal you can send in an order to a local farmer and actually fulfill those orders electronically. EcoPortal allows you to communicate with your smaller suppliers who can’t do EDI.
EcoPortal also allows suppliers and manufacturers to update products in the UPD. Here’s the vision: over time, with thousands of stores using CATAPULT, many manufacturers will help us maintain and expand the UPD for your benefit.
It’s a tremendous feature available now, and is free to the CATAPULT community.
Pillar Three: The effort to slay giants must be sustained.
The third pillar of our plan to slay giants? Dig in and sustain the effort! How are we going to dig in and wear the competition out?
A focus on teaching retail success
“Teaching organization” may not be the first descriptor that comes to mind when someone mentions ECRS–but that’s the mindset we’re committing to as we go forward. It’s reflected in the extensive content, programs, educational opportunities, and insights we’re striving to provide every day.
At CATAPULT University (CAT-U) we have experts teaching subject matter on specific aspects of the system, in our hometown and at locations all across the country. ECRS realizes that we need to have an ever-expanding knowledge base, along with accessible teachers, as opposed to just a handful of sometimes-available CATAPULT gurus.
The world of retail runs at a breakneck pace, we know that you can’t always fly to a destination to attend a school. That’s what we have ensured that CAT-U Online is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I am confident that retailers who dig deep into our educational resources will be able to dig their heels in to battle against the retail giants in a sustainable way.