Shamus Hines, CEO of Upshop talks about the company's singular platform that delivers end-to-end visibility, increased sales, major waste reduction, and streamlined labor efficiencies.

Transforming Store Operations

The future of store operations

Leader in food retail operations

Integrating online and in-store experiences

Unifying omnichannel operations

Key Highlights

Can you offer your insights on the Future of Store Operations and the areas where technology can add the most significant value? Additionally, could you elaborate on how AI technology can enhance operational excellence in this context? 

Could you provide an overview of Upshop's journey in building the Total Store Operations Platform, highlighting the key milestones and driving principles that have shaped its development?

Upshop’s journey to creating the leader in food retail operations is best told in three steps. Many have only realized now that our business has 30 years in Fresh, 20 years in Ordering, and 10 years in Omnichannel. There are 00s of years of expertise in our organization, which retailers leverage daily to be successful.

  1. First Movers in SaaS for Fresh. After purchasing ADC, a technology firm with nearly 30 years in fresh operations, we launched the most comprehensive Fresh Operations SaaS platform, FreshIQ.

  2. Product Expansion for Omnichannel. The next move was purchasing ShopperKit and Pinpoint (Date Check Pro), technology products that enabled retailers to more effectively manage online orders, guarantee fresh beyond the perimeter and guide associate tasks.

  3. We merged with Itasca Retail, makers of Magic, which enabled our collective business to offer a unified store forecast, real-time inventory, and automated replenishment. There is no technology provider in food retail currently offering one system to order ingredients, perishables, center store and DSD. We’re doing it.

This led to our final step of rebranding as Upshop, just a year ago, to reflect the unified capabilities, ambitious vision and significant on-going growth.

I am excited about the future of store operations, and the role that technology can play in delivering value to retailers, associates and ultimately consumers. But in order to truly find the “ceiling” for store operations success, retailers need to continue making their associates’ jobs simpler, smarter and more connected to the shopper.

Imagine this future, for a moment. Every associate, instead of using multiple apps and devices in-store, is equipped with a single app… SaaS-powered, API-first, enabling real-time learnings and recommendations, by store, to the organization. The handheld device uses AI to guide and gamify associate tasks, cutting training time and boosting effectiveness 10x. With a unified, total-store forecast, real-time inventory, and automated ordering, the system can drive double-digit sales increases, reduce waste 2x, and increase shopper satisfaction 5x.

This is the future we see on the horizon, and Upshop is getting closer to helping food retailers attain it.

In order to truly find the “ceiling” for store operations success, retailers need to continue making their associates’ jobs simpler, smarter and more connected to the shopper.

Presently, there is a strong emphasis on omnichannel retail, with a focus on seamlessly integrating online and physical in-store experiences. What implications does this hold for retailers, both operationally and technologically? How do Upshop's solutions address the contemporary challenges faced by retailers in this dynamic landscape?

Retailers cannot afford to lose anything right now. Shoppers. The added item in the basket. Shoppers expect to be able to shop for items, food or non-food, at any time, on any device and delivered in their preferred manner. In order to support these expectations (demands), digital assortment must expand to include more fresh prepared items, including made-to-order, as well. Operationally, Upshop connects eCommerce order management with store-level production planning, enabling retailers to broaden prepared assortment. Equally, substitutions are still a huge challenge. With unified inventory across online and the physical store, we can significantly reduce substitutions – easing associate struggles in-store and increasing consumer satisfaction. Every sub that is not up to satisfaction can lead to a lost trip, or even a lost shopper.

Guess what else retailers cannot afford to lose? Associates. The more Upshop can use technology to more effectively reduce friction across the eCommerce order management process, the more likely it is the associate will feel better about how they do their job. Store employees are walking miles a day in-store managing digital order fulfillment --- we need to make it easier on them.

Upshop recently hosted a groundbreaking event, Altitude, aimed at empowering retailers with strategies and initiatives to unify omnichannel operations for success in the ever-evolving retail landscape. Could you share some key insights and takeaways from this User Conference, shedding light on the experiences, challenges, and triumphs that your customers are encountering as they leverage technology for their operations?

This is going to sound crazy coming from a tech CEO, but my biggest insight from the event is that technology cannot completely answer the biggest operational challenges. People are the answer. Listening to associate’s needs and then applying technology that makes them more empowered in their job has to be the focus.

At Altitude, customers shared significant operational successes such as digitizing production planning, implementing inventory intelligence, simplifying eCommerce orders, and taking control of DSD ordering. In all cases, success started by listening to, and learning from the store team.