- Earth Fare reports better top-line sales and efficiency one year after adopting technology that optimizes its store promotions, pricing and demand forecasting, according to Progressive Grocer.
- The technology platform, available through software provider Daisy Intelligence, plans promotions several weeks in advance and allows staffers to adjust its recommendations as they see fit. Daisy claims that the system’s recommendations can improve yearly sales by 3%.
- “Most of our team is finding they are spending less time trying to find the right data and understand it, and more time addressing the more critical elements of their jobs,” Earth Fare CFO Scott Little said in a statement.
Earth Fare, which for years operated just a handful of stores around its Asheville, North Carolina base, has undergone major growth in the past decade. Since being purchased by private equity firm Monitor Clipper Partners in 2007 — then being sold to Oak Hill Capital Partners in 2012 — the natural and organic retailer has grown from 13 stores to 41. The company has said it hopes to grow its store count by 25% each year.
With this growth has come an increased focus on operational efficiency. Pricing and store promotions — which retailers have traditionally determined through a combination of store research, institutional knowledge and instinct — are increasingly being automated through partnerships with technology firms like dunhummby, Daisy Intelligence and others. With Earth Fare and other grocers needing to squeeze every cent they can out of their coupons, price reductions and store circulars, turning to the granular science of predictive software and customer analytics has become an increasingly popular decision.
By automating what were previously time-consuming jobs, Earth Fare is also able to free up its staff members to focus on their core responsibilities. At the same time, workers can still closely follow Daisy’s AI recommendations and make changes as necessary.
Recent research shows that small natural and organic grocers are seeing healthy growth as larger chains duke it out over pricing. Earth Fare isn’t the small operation it once was, though it has worked hard to maintain its all-natural bona fides. Earlier this year, the company issued a “Clean Label Challenge” that invited other grocers to match its standards for clean, natural ingredients in their stores.