Core-Mark Goes Virtual With Center of Excellence

The company uses the center to provide retailers with immersive, insightful experiences during the pandemic.

August 19, 2020

WESTLAKE, Texas—A lingering effect of the global pandemic is that the Center of Excellence (CoE) facility that Core-Mark International unveiled in early 2020 has been closed in recent months for in-person visits.

But that didn’t stop the market leader in convenience retail distribution in North America from temporarily shifting its CoE into a digital virtual experience, leveraging the 14,000-square-foot facility’s state-of-the-art technology to provide convenience retailers with knowledge and insights that drive new ideas, products and solutions to grow their business.

Thanks to the center’s high-speed videoconferencing and data analytics services, the CoE continues to be a valuable collaboration space for retailers, vendors, industry experts and Core-Mark strategists, delivering an immersive experience that reveals real-time insights into convenience 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 Amanda Sulc, CoE director at Core-Mark International, in a press release. “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.”

Centered in five separate hubs, the CoE’s tools and resources that are particularly useful in a virtual environment include:

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 the hottest 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 the latest in technology, such as frictionless payment systems. In doing so, this hub challenges retailers to think outside the box and consider new products/categories that can capture new audiences and increase average basket size.

Culinary Test Kitchen. Even in a virtual environment, this state-of-the-art kitchen—overseen by Chef Glenn Terrell—demonstrates best-in-class food service equipment, along with any customized food service 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.

Read more about CoE’s culinary services in “Test Kitchen” in the July 2020 issue of NACS Magazine.