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The following was written by Paul Vachon for Stores magazine, December 2017.

As retailing continues to change and make use of ever more sophisticated technology, the number of statistical reports produced increases exponentially, which presents a problem: What exactly is a merchant supposed to do with all that information?

Making that data actionable — organizing, interpreting and acting on it — has proven to be a daunting task; Profitect just may have found the magic bullet.

Profitect’s software as a service platform of eight autonomous, fully integratable modules approaches the challenge with a singular goal — extract data from myriad sources and transform it into clearly stated prescriptives, instructing store management and associates on specific actions to take based on the system’s extrapolation.

“Profitect is a platform for retailers to change the paradigm of reporting to prescriptive analytics. The platform takes raw data from any number of [existing] systems and uses machine learning algorithms and patterns of behavior to identify opportunities to improve a retailer’s operations,” says CEO Guy Yehiav.

Profitect is set up based on the idea that people in different levels of an organization read, interpret and react to traditional statistical reports differently. To remove this obstacle, the prescriptive tasks are stated in plain language and STORES.ORG STORES December 2017 61 include enough background so that anyone performing the tasks will see how they fit into the larger whole.

Yehiav illustrates by offering an example of how Profitect’s inventory module works at a grocery store: The system notices at 5 p.m. that a regularly stocked bottle of water has not sold since 12:30 p.m., though the rate of sale should be one every five minutes. Through machine learning, Profitect reasons the probability of the water not being on the shelf as 98 percent since the system “thinks” there is inventory. Therefore, the system will send a text message to store employees asking that they check the stock level on the shelf.

If the shelf is empty, staffers are directed to the proper location where a stated amount of back stock should be. If the stock area is empty, instructions are provided to override and reset the inventory to zero, which will trigger an automatic replenishment order.

“The challenge for the user is minimal — all the complexity is on the back end,” Yehiav says.


ACCESSIBLE DATA

The inventory module is also useful in loss prevention; Yehiav says the system can take traditional exception-based data to the level of an individual till.

“We can look to the data to see why an individual associate’s drawer came up short. Perhaps he is coupon stacking or ‘sweethearting.’ We can then offer directives to managers to take appropriate actions.”

The same module can also provide prescriptives to analyze inventory issues stemming from damage and waste, markdowns, inventory distortion and other factors.

Profitect client DSW has found that the inventory module alone has yielded substantial benefits. A customer since 2014 when Profitect rolled out the inventory module, DSW has seen improvements in loss prevention, inventory control and merchandise planning and analysis.

An especially useful feature of the system is its ability to be mastered by people with non-technical backgrounds.

“Profitect can take very detailed data and express it in layman’s terms for anybody to be able to interpret with those prescriptive actions,” says Jordan Rivchun, director of loss prevention at DSW.

“We’re bringing data from hundreds of sources that are not themselves related, but the system allows us to paint a picture if something is either good, bad or neutral that we need to take action on.”

“We’re triangulating the data to find patterns of behavior,” Yehiav says, “with the presumption that most products, people and vendors are well-intentioned and committed to doing the right thing.”

EFFICIENT VERSATILITY

The total Profitect system includes seven additional modules, each of which monitors and provide guidance relative to specific areas of a retailer’s operation.

The sales module, which DSW implemented in May, connects directly to each individual till. Besides transmitting basic point-of-sale data, it also analyzes customer loyalty, traffic conversions and labor costs relative to volume and similar data.

The delivery and receiving module harnesses relevant data to flag opportunities for improvement stemming from in-store errors, delivery discrepancies or even driver fraud and/ or collusion, such as fraud detectable from GPS route discrepancies.

The logistics and warehouse module keeps tabs on internal warehouse practices, and can identify opportunities from operator error and noncompliance or stocking inaccuracies. In this setting, the module can link improper warehousing to inadequate associate training and suggest corrective measures.

The planning and buying module uses forecast, order and allocation data plus information from sales and inventory to identify opportunities for improving profit, sell-though, fill rate and inventory adjustments. For example, the module can identify inaccurate forecasting due to an inferior store allocation model.

The marketing module mines data from various sources to identify and recommend new strategies necessitated by changing customer behavior, response to promotions and the impact of existing marketing strategies on basket size. The module can, for example, identify customers with high promotional participation but low average basket size.

The omnichannel module takes data from various sources — sales, customer, logistics and vendor — to refine the merchant’s adaptation of new selling channels and create a seamless brand experience to enhance customer loyalty. The module can offer directives toward maximizing inventory to satisfy store pickup of orders placed online.

Each module can be used on its own or in conjunction with each other.

The mobile field application is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Profitect platform; Yehiav calls it “the extension of our product for the person on the move.”

Compatible with a variety of mobile devices, the app does not replicate the content of the full modules, but provides key ready reference information to managers, including side-by-side store metrics and the latest social media feeds.

The versatility of the Profitect system is demonstrated by the wide variety of retailers that it’s signed on as clients, including hardline merchants such as Auto Zone and Sunglass Hut, cosmetic stores Sally Beauty and Ulta Beauty and grocers Ahold Delhaize, Stop and Shop and Lowes Foods.

The system can also be efficiently implemented. “The system integrates data very quickly. DSW’s Inventory module was up and running in just three days,” Yehiav says.

Most new technologies and software packages increase the total amount of data generated, while Profitect works to synthesize, distill and interpret all those numbers — undoubtedly a great source of relief to any retail manager or senior executive.
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Source: http://www.profitect.com/pr-news/making-knowledge-powerful-inventory-integration-drives-loss-prevention-efforts-dsw/
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Asda is using data analytics to identify a series of patterns to reduce unnecessary information in its weekly reports. The grocer conducts 95 weekly reports, but is working with software company Profitect to reduce the noise in those documents which are not actioned by the business. “I have a small team of five, and just under 100 pieces of reporting gets circulated around the business – drowning in reports is the position we found ourselves in,” said James Newton, insight manager at Asda. “We became leaner in our retail model, but our reporting didn’t suit that.” So far the retailer has identified 50 patterns with Profitect to help improve its weekly reporting. One such pattern will reduce the workload involved in price changing by 60%. Newton described to delegates at RBTE 2017 how the Asda has identified repeated actions conducted when price changing, which takes place in every Asda store every week. Traditionally an associate reviews a report, keys item numbers into one system and reviews the price changes in another, before finally carrying out the financial correction. By spotting a pattern in this work load, the retailer can reduce efforts by 60%. Despite this, Newton warned that the routine of weekly reports can be difficult to wean the business off. “It’s a crutch for end users,” he said. He said involving all the end users in patent decisions helps to get the business on board. “Understanding how much noise is in the current reporting and how the end user’s time is sparse…if you can offer them time back to focus on their role, that’s the common denominator to break through that barrier.”
Source: http://www.essentialretail.com/news/article/59108a9c3c8de-asda-reduces-workload-for-price-changes
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Breakout Session to Feature How DSW Leveraged Prescriptive Analytics to Redefine Shrink and Exception Based Reporting (EBR) to Drive Success at Renowned Retail Technology Conference WALTHAM, Mass., June 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Profitect Inc., the leading prescriptive analytics provider for the retail and CPG industry, today announced the company will be attending and presenting at the NRF conference taking place at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Washington, DC, June 26-28, 2017. Profitect will be presenting with a leading shoe retailer on how the organization leveraged prescriptive analytics to redefine shrink and EBR to drive success. In addition to presenting, Profitect will be hosting meetings and demonstrations of the company’s award-winning prescriptive analytics solutions at Booth #135 on the show floor. “We are thrilled to be presenting at NRF with one of our marquee and longtime customers, as they discuss strategy and the benefits they have seen with prescriptive analytics,” said Guy Yehiav, CEO, Profitect. “This also continues a roadshow customer showcase at industry events following recent customer presentations such as Walgreens at the NRF Big Show, ascena retail group at RILA, and Asda at RBTE. We are immensely proud our customers continue to be our biggest champions in educating the industry on how our solutions have enabled them to easily understand, and more importantly act on their data.” The session will feature how the shoe designer leveraged internal data through the use of prescriptive analytics and machine learning to guide decision-making to predict and manage shrink, as well as take Exception Based Reporting to the next level. Attendees of this session will learn how the retailer redefined what it means to look at shrink through EBR to create a self-sustaining system of identifying profit opportunities and acting on them appropriately in real-time to drive success across the enterprise.
  • Session Title:Exhibitor Insights: How DSW Redefined Shrink and EBR to Drive Loss Prevention Success”
  • Date and Time: Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 11:15-11:45 am
  • Speakers: Jordan Rivchun, director of loss prevention, DSW; Guy Yehiav, CEO, Profitect
  • Location: Expo Hall – Exhibitor Insights
  • Profitect Booth: #135
Profitect continues to lead the industry with robust solutions that augment and/or replace an organization’s existing business intelligence and EBR reporting tools with solution modules that identify, resolve, and measure opportunities for improvement. To follow Profitect’s activities at the conference on Twitter, visit @Profitect. Learn more about upcoming events, by visiting: http://www.profitect.com/us/events/. About Profitect Since 2012, Profitect has helped companies leverage existing big data investments to identify, resolve, and measure opportunities to transform the business by delivering actionable prescriptive analytics to the right person, at the right time. To learn more about Profitect visit www.profitect.com.
Source: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/06/26/1029078/0/en/Leading-Retailers-Make-Waves-with-Prescriptive-Analytics-at-NRF-Conference-in-Washington-DC.html
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The following blog article was written by Profitect CEO Guy Yehiav, June 16, 2017, in direct response to the announcement of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods.  Thought Leadership I recently wrote a blog about a month ago that spoke to the rumors swirling around Amazon possibly purchasing BJ’s. Amazon was quick to distance themselves from the noise, and today’s announcement is a the perfect indicator as to why. Amazon today announced it is acquiring supermarket giant Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. This is a move that will send shock-waves across the food and grocery industry and will be examined and discussed thoroughly in the weeks to come. I stand by my original statements when the possibility of the BJ’s acquisition was brought. I think this is a brilliant move for Amazon into a brick and mortar strategy. A recognizable and valuable brand like Whole Foods enables Amazon continues to position itself as a true innovator and leader in this space. Read below to see why I had positioned this as a strategic move for Amazon to acquire a brick and mortar network: Amazon is looking to optimize its supply chain. It’s been made clear through these speculations that Amazon is looking to extend its supply chain and ultimately create a comfortable way for consumers to shop in warehouses close to them. In the past two years, Amazon has prioritized fast and convenient delivery. Investing in planes, shipping services, drones and trucks – Amazon has spent $3 billion in transportation shipping alone. The endgame is clear: ‘uberize’ last mile service. There really is no better way to streamline this process than by occupying more warehouses and improving the supply chain. It’s also a smart move because warehouses appeal to customers that live in close proximity. They get the same level of quality they expect from Amazon, while simultaneously reducing the cost of delivery and working with a “local” company. Amazon is moving further into a customer-centric model. Let’s face it – each customer is unique and has different wants and needs when it comes to what they buy and how they buy it. Consider two different groups of products that are most commonly purchased on Amazon – they can both be found in seconds and significantly contribute to the online retailer’s success. The first set of products can be defined as ‘mainstream.’ This means items that are being bought every day and are not difficult to find – TVs, laptops, desk supplies, seltzer water or even holiday decorations. Consumers shop for these products on Amazon because they can be delivered quickly, efficiently and at competitive prices. These are Amazon’s reliably movable products, with consistent sales on a daily or weekly basis. The second group is the ‘long-tail products.’ These could be anything from a rare book, a particular part for a car that isn’t sold at your average automotive store or a certain size shoe that isn’t commonly carried. Amazon recognizes that, by having such a wide assortment of products available in one place (in this case, online), consumers will continuously look to them for their needs because of this “one-stop-shopping” model. In fact, this model has been successful to the point of beating out Google as the first point of search for most products. Opening up warehouses that consumers could physically shop in would add another dynamic of tailoring shopping experiences for consumer benefit. For example, if a newly re-branded Amazon warehouse is located just a mile away, a consumer would be able to pick up the exact product they need and Amazon would ensure that it’s waiting for them upon arrival. This comes with the added benefit of being able to conduct regular shopping of mainstream items while in-store, killing two birds with one stone. This is the next logical step in the quest to optimize convenience for consumers, reducing the 24-48 lead time from purchase to delivery to 10 minutes. Thinking long term, this is how Amazon will create the ideal customer-focused retail experience of the future, where shoppers will have their goods waiting for them, and they can be instantly directed to anything else without having to ask an associate or wander the aisles. Despite having backed away from rumors of purchasing BJs, the fact the rumor mill was churning is telling in itself. Amazon is hoping to combine the Brick & Mortar and online models into one convenient location that sells just about everything, while optimizing its supply chain cost down to the last five miles. It is a pretty powerful concept, and one that showcases how Amazon is thinking ahead and disrupting traditional commerce every day. With bringing back the desire to shop in-store, Amazon also generates an opportunity to analyze consumer behaviors in a more granular fashion. When a product is returned for example, Amazon will not only understand why, they also now have the chance to provide the customer the opportunity to replace that purchase with something they may like better – potentially increasing sales converting real traffic in-store rather than only relying on online conversion. Considering that online conversion rates are at 0.08 percent and increase to eight percent in-store, there is significant opportunity for Amazon here.
Source: http://www.profitect.com/thought-leadership/another-look-amazons-acquisition-whole-foods-another-example-innovation/
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BGV portfolio company IntelliVision was awarded the honor of inclusion on the Top 100 Red Herring North America 2017 list on June 14th.  CEO Vaidhi Nathan was selected to present at the final panel of the Red Herring Finals Top 100 conference in LA this week.  From the Red Herring website, more about the Top 100 annual awards: Red Herring has announced the winners of its Top 100 North America 2017 event, held this week in Los Angeles. The winning companies, selected from thousands of prospective startups and tech firms, represent the cutting edge of North America’s world-class technology industry–and demonstrate the region’s continued reputation for digital excellence. The Top 100 awards were handed out at a special ceremony tonight at the Marina Del Rey Marriott Hotel, where for the past two days companies’ executives have presented their companies to a judging panel comprising industry insiders, analysts and journalists. Entrants also enjoyed a host of keynote speeches and panel discussions featuring some of North America’s top technology leaders. “This is one of the most innovative and exciting groups of companies we’ve ever hosted at a Top 100 awards show,” said Alex Vieux, chairman of Red Herring. “It’s always a pleasure to come to California and see the cream of North America’s tech crop. 2017 has proven to be another fine year for tech, which is now simply the economy rather than a small part of it.” Finalist companies operate in all aspects of the tech industry, from fintech and IoT to robotics, security and clean technology. It was a particularly good year for cybersecurity platforms, whose market has diversified and expanded amid technical breakthroughs, and hacks that have made headlines around the world. “The fact that so many companies here are working at the bleeding edge of tech, goes to show just how fast this sector is moving,” said Vieux. “I’m proud to see so many exciting entrepreneurs at this awards ceremony, and have no doubt they will go on to achieve great things.”  
  Source: http://www.redherring.com/startups/red-herring-announces-2017-winners/
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In a ceremony at the Retail Asset Protection Conference in New Orleans yesterday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) honored Digital Safety USA as first place winner of the 2017 (R)Tech Asset Protection: Innovation Awards. The Awards showcase emerging, game-changing technologies that mitigate total retail loss, as defined in a groundbreaking research report published by RILA last year. Digital Safety offers Point-of-Sale Activation (PoSA) technology for “intelligent” products and single-scan UPC serialization for both “intelligent” and “non-intelligent” products. PoSA benefits include, but are not limited to, open sell of product which promotes increased sales, reduced shrink, elimination/reduction in cost from current theft deterrent solutions, reduction in returns fraud, promotes PI accuracy, and allows for true, non-assisted self-checkout options for the customer. Second and third place winners were Profitect and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., respectively. Retailers’ Choice Award, which was voted on by conference attendees throughout the week, was awarded to Profitect, for the second consecutive year. The first, second, and third place winners were selected by a panel of top executives from a group eight finalists. “Each year, we ask companies to bring us their game-changing technologies and each year, they deliver and exceed expectations. This year in New Orleans was no different,” said Lisa LaBruno, RILA’s senior vice president of retail operations.“Recognizing innovations across the industry and learning more about how we can implement them to improve the field of asset protection are what the Awards are all about. Thank you to all of the participants and judges, and we look forward to seeing more cutting-edge technology in the future.” Winners of the 2017 (R)Tech Asset Protection: Innovation Awards are:
  • Digital Safety USA (First place)
  • Profitect (Second place)
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Third place)
  • Profitect (Retailers Choice)
The Awards come on the heels of RILA’s public announcement of the (R)Tech Center for Innovation. (R)Tech is a new term coined by RILA to describe the confluence of retail and technology. An (R)Tech company embodies the core values of both those industries – global and local, nimble, and entrepreneurial – to win the loyalty of today’s empowered consumers. The Center’s mission is to is to help retailers navigate the industry transformation, and to spur the adoption of the “(R)Tech” term within the retail innovation ecosystem. To learn more visit www.rtech.org. For more information, visit the awards homepage. RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.   Source: https://www.rila.org/news/topnews/Pages/RILA-Announces-2017-(R)Tech-Asset-Protection-Innovation-Award-Winners.aspx
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