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Combined Capabilities Of Mercatus Create Connected Ecosystem

From left to right: Randy Crimmins, Galen Walters, Mark Fairhurst and Sylvain Perrier

Relationshop recently finalized the merger of two providers of e-commerce solutions for independent and regional grocers – Mercatus Technologies and Stor.ai. The new company is operating as Mercatus, a wholly owned subsidiary of Relationshop Inc.

Galen Walters, CEO of Relationshop, spoke with The Shelby Report’s Jan Meade. He said Stor.ai, which is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, was purchased in January 2023. Mercatus Technologies was acquired in December 2023.

The combined capabilities of all three companies will create a connected commerce ecosystem with robust shopper engagement, personalization and loyalty solutions scaled for retailers of all sizes in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Walters said the AisleOne brand at Mercatus will become a new entity.

AisleOne is an intelligent targeting and personalization solution for grocery retailers. It leverages the customer engagement technology from Relationshop to provide regional grocers and independents with a competitive advantage over national chains, mass merchants and discounters. Randy Crimmins is president of AisleOne.

“It will set on top of and run along beside Mercatus and Store.ai,” Walters said. “We are continuing to look for strategic assets that fit into where we’re headed. The long-term plan is another phase of this that needs more stores brought into the kit to be able to really get to where we’re trying to go.

“We’re over 2,000 stores total today. And we’ll be adding another couple 1,000 stores to that over the next two years.”

Walters said Relationshop is excited to be able to serve independents through the Stor.ai platform. 

“We can put an independent in the e-commerce space, white label for themselves very quickly now with that platform. That was a very keen interest of ours. And we’re working right now to finalize some tools that are going to give them some personalization assets from AisleOne … Bringing these three things together really does give us the breadth and depth now that we can serve the independents in a way that they’ve never had the opportunity to be served.”

He added they now have more than 300 independents using the product. In Israel, Stor.ai has more than 90 percent market share and the “product has been honed incredibly well by the toughest merchants in the world. That product is very stable and very solid and works very well for the independent retailers. We’re very excited about bringing that into the United States.”

It also allows them to work with wholesalers to serve their independents and chains. Walters noted there is strength in having a global presence.

“We’re active on the retail front in England, Kuwait, France, Israel, Canada and the U.S. We’ve got a really nice global footprint now that’s expanding. We just sold some new business in Europe. It’s very exciting,” he said.

The company’s development team also has a global presence, with a large group based in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and others based in Toronto and Tel Aviv.

Walters pointed out that both he and Crimmins have backgrounds in grocery retail. 

“What’s really exciting to me is when you back up far enough away from the day-to-day grind of all this technology … you realize the food business is the very foundation of our country,” he said.

“Everyone eats – it is the common denominator of every human in the world. So when we’re trying to develop out tools, it’s not just developing out technology. We’re developing ways for a retailer to better serve a consumer. 

“We’re giving consumers options and choices on the way they want to shop because of their crazy, hectic lives. So what we’re doing is developing products to go around the curve. And we’re looking around the curve, saying what’s the next thing that we need to have ready for the retailer to be able to service their shopper better.”

They are able to do that for independents and regional chains.

“We’re coming in white label. Nobody knows it’s us, except the retailer. But their front end is us, their websites or mobile apps, all their technology, their shopper tools, it’s them but yet it’s us. And we’re there to support them to make sure they can serve their shopper.”

Mark Fairhurst, global chief growth officer, said they are now able to level the playing field with the national chains, like Walmart and Target.

“We know, given the economic conditions, it’s driven a lot of high-income households to those discount retailers and the mass merchants,” he said. “It’s taking a lot of traditional shoppers away from regional supermarkets, which is not good because you’re hurting businesses that have always been traditionally local. You need to be able to give regional grocers the tools to bring their loyal customers back.”

This includes using the same product assortment they have come to value but with the convenience and time savings of e-commerce.

“I that’s the really exciting part that we’re looking to tap, especially with the AisleOne personalization side,” he said. 

Crimmins said they are able to offer “that unified digital experience for the shopper and then leverage the technology and leverage AI across the platform. Personalize the experience and deliver relevancy at every turn, every interaction with the shopper.”

According to Walters, the foundational principles of the company are threefold: collapsing time to market, improving the ROI for the retailer in their technological investment and making sure the message is personalized down to the single shopper level.

Read more grocery store equipment news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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