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CEO: Upshop Helping ‘Lessen The Load’ On Grocery Employees

Upshop CEO Shamus Hines
Shamus Hines

The Shelby Report’s SVP Jan Meade recently caught up with Shamus Hines, CEO of Upshop, to talk about how the software company can aid grocery retailers and their employees.

Hines said Tampa, Florida-based Upshop has operational technology that supports some of the more complicated workflows in the grocery store. These may be considered through three primary lenses, he said. 

First, the focus is to take fresh digital. Second is e-commerce, which is “more about owning the e-commerce experience,” Hines said. This includes having employees be part of the solution in fulfilling orders, “making sure that they’re being actioned and done in the right way for either pickup or delivery. Really managing that whole process behind the scenes.”

The third lens of focus is from an inventory excellence standpoint.

Upshop logo

“Really thinking about replenishment at scale across the entire store – the center aisles, into fresh departments, even into the DSD space, which is pretty unique for us, being able to help retailers take control of the DSD experience,” he said. “So, a pretty broad-reaching capability set.”

Speaking to how technology is driving transformation in the grocery industry, Hines said labor is a good example.

“Everybody in retail realizes the shortcomings that are there. There’s less and less committed labor in the retail space; the knowledge is going away. There aren’t people who are seeking careers in that space … as much as they have historically. 

“They need to cater to this younger generation that has a different view on technology than maybe what’s been done in the past. And you couple that with the idea that we’re just trying to do less with more every day to make sustainable profits … you’ve got to get really smart with your labor.”

He said Upshop looks to take the difficult tasks and, as much as possible, use the intelligence offered through its “sophisticated demand forecasting and easy-to-use technology to just lessen the load on people.”

Through that focus on the store associate, companies see financial results through increased sales across the store and major reductions in waste, Hines said.

“You’re giving them tools that make them more effective in their jobs, and then ultimately produce those results,” he said. “It’s been fulfilling for us to have that focus on making the store associate’s day fun. If we can make work fun, that’s the goal. You get financial results from that.”

Measuring success on the e-commerce side is seen through how many orders are being fulfilled and looking at pick rates.

“We manage the volume, and we look at the pick rates to understand how much we can pick throughout the day,” Hines said. “We also look at order size … are we able to expand the basket size?”

He said using those metrics, they can understand the impact Upshop is having. “As that order volume increases, we see more penetration. We get to get a feel of that success metric.”

Looking to the future, Hines said he sees more grocers moving to cloud-based native solutions.

“Retailers need to be more nimble, and they have to iterate and change more than ever. The competition is increasing. To deliver a fresh experience today, there’s a lot of things that they can play with … there’s things that retailers need to dabble with, they need to understand and try to turn the dials back and forth. From a flexibility standpoint, that just necessitates a cloud and API first technology approach.”

Going from paper-driven production guides to app-guided experiences for grocery employees will help retailers become more nimble.

Also, having a broader reaching forecast and demand replenishment solution for inventory – fresh, center store and DSD – also will help take control of the space that has largely been managed outside of the grocery store, by the CPGs or suppliers, Hines said.

“Retailers are beginning to understand that they have more capability in managing that and managing those inventories, so we’re seeing that reach broaden into the DSD space,” he said.

Grocery retailers are looking for a single, easy-to-use app strategy to get employees up to speed quickly – days and hours versus weeks and months, Hines said.

“That technology experience is engaging the employees. It’s giving them a better day. It’s giving them a better feel about their work, so it helps with retention.”

Read more technology news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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