Welcome to the October Grocery Trader. In this issue we’ve got four exclusive interviews with CRP, Itim, ValidSoft and X2 Computing, each one a leader in their field. And as the countdown to the festive season starts, we also have features on Christmas and Big Night In.

With Christmas displays now appearing in supermarkets, conscientious shoppers are clearly getting into the festive mood bright and early. For consumers Christmas is a welcome blaze of light in the autumn and winter gloom. And for retailers, Christmas remains a huge, huge sales opportunity.

But before that, as the nights get longer, consumers are banishing the autumn blues by making the most of their Big Nights In. Diwali, Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night are all massive party occasions in October/November, but every other evening is a possible Big Night In, too!

In our interviews we talk to CRP Print & Packaging, whose Display Group creates award winning POS display units, for many leading brands and retailers. In 2011, for the third year running, they have received accolades and awards on a pan–European basis from POPAI Europe. Within the UK POPAI awards, CRP’s credentials are even stronger, with a long history of gold awards.

We also hear from Itim, the specialist service provider to the retail sector of optimisation tools for pricing and promotion. Itim deliver end-to-end multi-channel retail applications and insights, which help retailers optimise their businesses for 21st Century retailing. Itim’s solutions fall into two major categories – optimisation solutions, led by their Profimetrics suite, and an end-to-end Multi-Channel software platform called “The Retail Suite,” which delivers ERP in the cloud, and is the first solution of its kind.

As the way we make purchases and payments becomes increasingly internet-based, it calls for new security models. ValidSoft is the only security company in the world that provides protection for not only all electronic and phone-based banking channels but also card-based channels, both card-present, and card-not-present. In the first of two interviews, we hear how ValidSoft’s VALid® solution covers authentication and verification of remote transactions of various kinds and is redefining card not present (Internet) fraud prevention.

As the volume of online grocery shopping orders increases, so does the retailer’s need for hard working IT-based picking solutions which are a step forward from the clipboard and printed list. A growing area of expertise for X2 Computing, the mobile IT specialist, is the supply of integrated computerised picking solutions for retailers’ home shopping services. These solutions combine trolleys and the appropriate IT along with powerful, all day batteries and a full battery recharging capability.

Happy reading.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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