WESTLAKE, Texas — Core-Mark International has temporarily shifted its Center of Excellence (COE), a facility it unveiled in early 2020 to provide convenience retailers with knowledge and insights that drive new ideas, products and solutions to grow their business, into a digital virtual experience because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 14,000-square-foot facility serves as a collaboration space for retailers, vendors, industry experts and Core-Mark strategists, delivering an immersive experience with high-speed videoconferencing and data analytics services designed to reveal real-time insights into convenience-store trends and opportunities.
“During these unprecedented and fast-changing times, retailers need to understand what’s happening—right now—in order to make the best decisions for their business,” said COE Director Amanda Sulc. “We encourage convenience retailers to ‘go digital’ with us in the COE, and make use of this unprecedented resource to collaborate, drive new ideas and leverage data-driven insights to grow sales and profitability.”
The COE’s tools and resources are divided into hubs that will be translated into the virtual environment:
- Data & Insights. Using Core-Mark’s three-pronged approach to data analysis, powered by Blue Yonder software, this hub enables development of SmartSet, SmartStock and customized planograms to determine the best mix of assortment and space utilization for each store.
- Store Innovation. This in-store showcase reveals trends in convenience retailing through such displays as bulk and shareable snacks and sweets; fresh food; health and wellness; nicotine; and more. It also features technology such as frictionless payment systems. This hub helps retailers consider new products and categories that can capture new audiences and increase average basket size.
- Culinary Test Kitchen. Overseen by Chef Glenn Terrell, the culinary test kitchen demonstrates best-in-class foodservice equipment, along with any customized foodservice programs that the retailers may consider for their stores. These sessions can be recorded and used as educational training for the retailer’s field personnel.
When the COE fully resumes in-person experiences, participants will also benefit from two other hands-on areas:
- Collaboration Hub. This area provides retailers and their COE teams with a strategic introduction into the opportunities and challenges facing the industry, followed by a customized presentation from the Core Solutions team that delves into business reviews and analyses that set the stage for solutions. Presentation and collaboration technologies such as digital dashboards enhance the sessions.
- Training & Development. This area seats up to 76 guests in a classroom-style setting, and up to 120 for special events. It can also be converted into two separate rooms for breakout sessions with a glass whiteboard partition wall.
Westlake, Texas-based Core-Mark is a major marketer of food, fresh and broad-line supply solutions to the convenience retail industry in North America. Founded in 1888, it offers a full range of products, marketing programs and technology solutions to more than 40,000 customers in the United States and Canada through 32 distribution centers. Core-Mark services traditional convenience retailers, grocers, drug, liquor and specialty stores, as well as other stores that carry convenience products.