STRATACACHE, Scala Push Deeper Into Retail With New Ordering And Checkouts Capabilities

January 16, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The long-running digital signage software platform Scala has been focused in recent years on retail as its main vertical – and that’s even more the case now with the launch of what’s been called Scala Commerce.

It’s a suite of in-store consumer self-service and service automation platforms tuned specifically to the retail, hospitality and closely-related quick service restaurant (QSR) sectors.

The new services were announced this week at NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show, where Scala and parent company STRATACACHE have a large presence. The new business unit leverages technologies acquired through development, partnerships and acquisition by STRATACACHE, and is based in STRATACACHE’s home base of Dayton, Ohio, rather than in Pennsylvania, where Scala has its main office.

The new division will result in a substantial increase in new hiring and positions for the company in Dayton. “Post pandemic, our customers still suffer from challenges with the cost, availability and reliability of labor in the retail and hospitality sector. The mission of Scala Commerce is to help consumers identify, select and transact better, with greater ease and more personalization in their retail interactions,” says Chris Riegel, CEO of STRATACACHE and Chairman of Scala.

From PR:

Scala Commerce will specialize in serving clients and prospects in:

“The evolving customer experience in retail, quick service restaurants and hospitality is a journey. Scala Commerce will leverage extensive 30+ year global experience helping customers have better, more connected experiences — in turn, more profitable for retailers — in the new frameworks of loyalty and concierge level services delivered by increasing automation in consumer services,” adds Riegel.

The addition of store operations capabilities like ordering, checkout and retail analytics take Scala well beyond the more conventional capabilities provided by most digital signage companies targeting the retail sector. Analytics would come via acquisitions like Walkbase, a Finnish company acquired by STRATACACHE back in 2017.

It also likely reflects a gradual integration with point-of-sale giant NCR, which announced a partnership with STRATACACHE back in March 2022.

From that news:

NCR is a full end-to-end provider from order creation to payment settlement that brings together software, services and hardware — trusted by more than 100,000 restaurant sites, including independent operators, domestic chains and international brands across the globe. NCR Aloha provides everything enterprise and SMB restaurants need to run their business, boost efficiency and increase growth.

STRATACACHE provides a full scope of consumer engagement technology and services to the world’s largest restaurant, retail, brand and service companies. STRATACACHE’s digital solutions use smart digital displays, advanced sensors and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to customize the guest experience, enhancing profitability, customer satisfaction and speed of service. With more than three million digital displays operating in 28 countries, STRATACACHE is the global leader in advanced retail marketing technology.

My comments at the time:

Partnerships are a big deal to the people who pull them together, but quite often don’t lead to all that much, because of different business cultures, different needs and the limited ability to understand and sell what the other partners do and offer.

This is different, I think.

First, Riegel doesn’t have the time or tolerance for partnerships that are more optics than genuine opportunity. He also doesn’t need a way into the QSR and fast casual space, because he’s already there in a substantial way. His estimate is 60% market share in the US and Canada, already.

Working with NCR means access to more restaurant operations that maybe use something else for signage, but NCR for payment or other systems. These days, a lot of operators like the streamlined notion of one supplier for many things, so if they can get payment systems from NCR and ALSO get state-of-the-art, data-driven software for their menu and pre-sell displays from a direct partner, maybe on one invoice, that’s likely to make them happy.

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