Monday Jul 22, 2013

RetailROI Impacts Lives

RetailROI is a charity aimed at leveraging the power of the retail industry to help at-risk children across the globe.  Their premier fund-raising event is Super Saturday, an all-day conference for retail executives.  Last year the event raised nearly $300,000 to be used for several projects.  Additional funds were raised via booth programs at NRF's annual Big Show in New York and ongoing donations from individuals.  I recently returned from Honduras where I was able to witness the impact of those funds on the children of the second poorest country in Latin America.

RetailROI and Lifesong partnered to fund a new multi-purpose building for Plan Escalon, a school for orphans and at-risk kids. The building, which was named "Centro Vida" during the dedication ceremony, provides an auditorium for the 550 students to gather, play sports, and worship.  Below is Guy Henry, director of Plan Escalon, along with Greg Buzek, co-founder of RetailROI.

In addition, a new state-of-the-art kitchen was built to serve three meals a day to the students and staff.  In the picture below are the girls making corn tortillas.

But it's not just about improving the school.  The students frequently go into the mountains to distribute food and clothing to small villages in need.  The visiting team from RetailROI was invited to tag along one of these "life in action" trips where we also distributed books, shoes, toothbrushes, and toys.  You can see from the houses in the background that living conditions are less than ideal.

Our next endevour is to produce an integration standard for connecting the POS to donation processors to simplify the ability for shoppers to make charitable donations at the cash register.  The new NRF-ARTS standard will support rounding-up, donation matching, and other ways for retailers to quickly solicit at checkout.

So here are some ways you can help:

  1. Attend Super Saturday.  Its the day before NRF's Big Show, so you'll likely be in New York anyway.
  2. Take an overseas Vision Trip and see the impact of RetailROI.
  3. Sponsor a child at Plan Escalon.
  4. Join ARTS and help develop the Change4Charity standard.
  5. Donate to RetailROI.

I'm proud to be part of an industry that takes action and impacts so many lives.

Growth in Latin America

The Latin American economy continues to grow, and with it more retailers are investing in their IT.  I recently traveled to Honduras with several retail industry leaders to visit Plan Escalon, a school that receives support from Retail ROI.  I told the roughly 600 students and staff that Oracle was committed to growth in the region and already has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.

Retailers such as Grupo Pão de Açúcar, Mercal, OXXO, Farmatodo, Renner, Falabella, Pernambucanas, and CM continue to expand domestically, while North American retailers like Best Buy, Lowes, Walmart, and 7-11 move further into Latin America.

Unfortunately the growth is not spread evenly with much concentrated in Mexico and Brazil, and overall economic growth is predicted to slow from 4.5% to 3.75% in the coming years.  That said, Latin American growth is still substantial and retailers continue to benefit from an emerging middle class.  As employment improves and corruption lessens, the region should prove to be fertile ground for further retail expansion.

If the students I met in Honduras are any indication of the future of Latin America, then I'm not worried in the least.  The future looks bright for this region of the world.

About


David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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