Price Chopper Celebrates 5 Years of Insights Community

Northeastern grocery chain Price Chopper has been working on positioning itself as a more customer-centric chain in recent years, whether through rebranding its private label or revamping its namesake banner and its marketing materials under the new Market 32 fresh-focused format. Critical to the  grocer’s efforts in this space is its insight community, which is about to celebrate its fifth year of operation.

The Schenectady, N.Y.-based grocer’s Food for Thought community is powered by the Sparq 3 engine from Vision Critical, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based provider of cloud-based customer intelligence platforms. The customer intelligence platform introduces the concept of Relationship Memory, which offers the ability to connect what retailers already know about their customers with attitudinal data collected from an insight community, and to use that information to learn more, faster than ever.

Here’s how Relationship Memory works: A grocer invites customers to join its community and build a profile. It then connects that profile to transactional and behavioral customer data, searches and recalls what it already knows to ask more focused questions, and engages members in ongoing activities to uncover attitudinal insight. Afterward, it learns more through smarter reporting and analytics, and then shares findings with memorable and impactful reports and stories.

But the makeup of the community wasn’t ideal when Sam Trimboli took it over in 2013. As consumer insight specialist with Price Chopper, he noticed that the community wasn’t focused on all of the right people: The previous consumer insights department originally set it up with the intent of talking to just the “very best” customers.

“I changed the makeup of the community to … also [have] representation of middle-of-the-road customers or not-so-great customers,” he tells Progressive Grocer. “I wanted to do that because it’s definitely very important to know what the people who really love us think, but it’s also equally important to know what the people who don’t love us as much think, because that’s a huge opportunity for us to better meet their needs.”

Currently, Food for Thought boasts 5,000 members who can be called upon for any insights needed, from assisting with explaining the inexplicable – like when a separate tool shows low scores in customer perception of produce – to one-off ad hoc stories asking something simple such as “What tools are you using to buy groceries that you weren’t five years ago?”

“The best thing is that it allows us to make decisions a lot quicker than we would be able to in a more traditional approach to research,” Trimboli says. “For example, I could send out a study about something, and two days later, I could have 1,500 or 2,000 responses, which is really great if you want to find out insights really quickly.”

These insights have been used to help the grocer:

  • Improve marketing materials – In 2015, Price Chopper began its massive project to rebrand stores under the Market 32 banner, a new format offering healthier food choices and a better shopping experience. In tandem with that effort, the grocer decided to revisit its flier design, as a huge part of its customer base – especially Baby Boomers – still use flyers regularly. By engaging the community, Price Chopper determined what should and shouldn’t be in the flier, and has generated a 5 percent increase in customer traffic since the relaunch.
  • Successfully launch and relaunch brands – The Market 32 rebrand left Price Chopper with an opportunity to re-examine its private brands and consider rebranding them. Feedback from Food for Thought members revealed that an earlier version of the company’s brand caused some confusion, leading decision-makers to uncover more effective ways of communicating the new brand, tweaking packaging and messaging, and then launching the new brand in 2016. Early results show accelerated growth, with one line of snack items, for instance, enjoying a 7 percent sales increase post-rebrand.
  • Identify unmet needs – New product ideas at Price Chopper are inspired by a deeper understanding of the customer journey. For instance, the insight community recently revealed that many shoppers, particularly Millennials, find cooking with certain types of meat intimidating. In response, the grocer’s meat department piloted a meal kit type of product enabling shoppers to get a ready-to-cook meal in a complete package.

Ultimately, the Food for Thought community has helped the grocer develop a better relationship with many of the 5,000 members – superfans or not. According to Trimboli, his interactions with these people is what grew his survey response rate to 53 percent over the years.

“I think a lot of that has come from just over time, being able to put kind of a face behind Price Chopper,” he says. “In a lot of communications I do with community members, I’ll even include my picture like I’ll sign my name. It’s not just like you’re talking to a faceless corporation, and I’ve found that to be really good at driving up overall engagement and participation.”


For Honor: First Looks at the Shinobi, Centurion, and Epic Gear

Image result for For Honor: First Looks at the Shinobi, Centurion, and Epic GearAs Ubisoft ramps up for Season Two of the Faction War, the For Honor team has revealed what the Shinobi and Centurion gear sets may look like, as well as some of the Epic gear. Furthermore, the developers have changed the gear stat reporting system from bars to numbers. Season Two begins on May 16 coinciding with the release of the two new maps, Epic gear, and DLC classes.


Here are the alternate outfits and gear sets for the Centurion:

For honor centurion alternate outfits

From left to right, each image shows the natural progression of armor sets you might obtain as you level. Because there are only four images, each new set of gear can be seen as an example of each successive tier.

for honor centurion weapon design

For Honor’s weapons are known to get increasingly ornate as you reach new Reputation levels, and each class had named items they could scavenge beginning at Rep level three. The weapons at the far end for both the Centurion and Shinobi are likely to be the rarest weapon designs, though the stats may vary.


Here are some shots of the gear sets for the Shinobi:

for honor shinobi alternate outfits

For Honor’s Shinobi employs mostly dark colors, at least in these art shots, and with each successive gear set, the class becomes increasingly detailed and menacing. That said, there are almost no cosmetic changes to the sandals other than different colored straps.

for honor shinobi weapon design

When building your weapon in For Honor, there are normally three pieces: the blade, hilt, and crossguard. As for the Shinobi’s kusarigama, the blade and shaft pieces are apparent while more subtly, the third piece will either be where the chain connects or the chain itself.

Epic Gear

for honor epic gear lawbringer season two

As part of the new content, For Honor is receiving a full new rarity of gear. The weapons of the epic gear look increasingly ornate, usually with gold trim. The new armor sets, at least for this Lawbringer, pull away from the mostly ceremonial armor they may obtain at Rep level three. Granted, you can always keep your current armor for later transmogs to copy the design.

Stat Reporting System Change

for honor centurion epic weapon

The image above gives a preview of many Epic crossguards the Centurion will have access to. More importantly, the developers have changed the stat reporting system from bars to actual numbers. Now you’ll be able to get exact data on the attributes you change for your character, instead of basing your playstyle on obscure bar-charts.

For Honor’s Season Two of the Faction War releases on May 16 alongside the two new maps, Epic gear, as well as the Shinobi and Centurion.


Tencent Steps Up AI Push With Research Lab in Seattle

Tencent Steps Up AI Push With Research Lab in Seattle

Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent Holdings said on Tuesday it will open an artificial intelligence (AI) research facility in Seattle in the United States, to be led by former Microsoft scientist Yu Dong.

Yu, who has been appointed as deputy head of Tencent’s AI Lab division, will run the new lab as well as spearhead research in speech recognition and natural language understanding, the company said.

Tencent, which owns the popular WeChat messaging app, is Asia’s most valuable company with a market capitalisation of nearly $300 billion (roughly Rs. 19,25,936 crores).

Shenzhen-headquartered Tencent is one of a number of Chinese technology juggernauts that are stepping up efforts in AI research. Tencent’s WeChat has more than 889 million monthly active users.

Tencent has more than 50 researchers and more than 200 engineers at its AI Lab in Shenzhen, which was established in April 2016, according to the company.
China’s “Big Three” tech firms – Tencent, Baidu Inc and Alibaba – have been competing to attract top-notch talent.

Yu, a speech recognition and deep learning expert, was the principal researcher at Microsoft Research Institute’s Speech and Dialog Group before joining Tencent.

Baidu suffered a setback to its AI ambitions after its chief scientist Andrew Ng resigned in March, shortly before Tencent announced it has poached Baidu’s former big data director Zhang Tong to head up its AI Lab.

Yu is looking to build a team of around 20 for the Seattle lab, according to Tencent.




Titanfall: Assault Real-Time Competitive Multiplayer Game Announced for Android, iOS

Titanfall: Assault Real-Time Competitive Multiplayer Game Announced for Android, iOS

South Korean mobile game developer Nexon on Wednesday announced Titanfall: Assault, and upcoming mobile title from the Titanfall series developed by Respawn Entertainment. It is coming to both Android and iOS. While the game will initially be made available as a closed beta, the timeline for wide release of the game has not been revealed by the company.

Titanfall: Assault is a real-time competitive multiplayer mobile game and is being co-developed by Nexon, Respawn Entertainment, and Particle City. “During the closed beta, we’ll be monitoring many aspects of the game and reaching out to the players for their feedback. We’ll also be continuously iterating based on that feedback from the community, as well as fixing bugs and making overall improvements,” Nexon said in its announcement post on Facebook.

In the upcoming Titanfall mobile game, users are required to assemble their squad of Pilots, Titans, and Burn Cards to fight for the Frontier across multiple locations from the Titanfall series, Nexon said. Interested players can already register for the game on its official website.
Notably, Nexon, Respawn, and Particle City earlier collaborated to develop another Titanfall-based mobile game called ‘Frontline’, which was cancelled earlier this year. Hopefully this time around, the companies will be able to release the mobile game to wider audiences after making appropriate changes with the feedback.

In terms of sheer numbers, Titanfall does not enjoy the same playerbase as some of its other first-person shooter competitor games on PC and consoles but it has always maintained a loyal fan-base. Although the upcoming Titanfall Assault doesn’t share the same gameplay mechanics, it will be interesting to see if the mobile game is able to generate same buzz as Titanfall’s first-person shooter games do when they release.