Retail Innovaiton

In today's digitally empowered business environment, retailers must stay on top of the latest technology and marketing trends in order to remain competitive. The companies that will thrive moving forward are actively testing and implementing innovative ideas and solutions. Retail TouchPoints stays on the cutting edge of retail innovation by hosting the annual Retail Innovation Conference, interviewing industry leaders, and tapping our collective experience to deliver insightful reporting on the most important retail stories.

Alzheimer’s App Using AI-Based Facial Recognition Wins ‘Women Who Tech’ Award

  • Published in News Briefs
The Women Startup Challenge Emerging Tech, which showcases and funds early-stage women-led startups, awarded a grand prize worth $50,000 to the 14-year-old developer of an app designed to help people with Alzheimer’s. The “Timeless” app, developed by Emma Yang, uses artificial intelligence-based facial recognition technology to help users recognize people.…

Nordstrom Acquires Conversational Commerce, Digital Selling Platforms

To keep pace in the sprint to integrate online and offline shopper experiences at every touch point, Nordstrom has acquired two Seattle-based retail technology startups: BevyUp and MessageYes. BevyUp is a platform designed to enable sales associates to communicate with each other on the back end, encourage shoppers to share product information with each other and browse items together online. Nordstrom will incorporate the platform into a new mobile app for employees that the retailer will roll out later in 2018.

With Crowdsourcing, Betabrand Takes 3D Printed Heels From Design To Presale In 5 Days

Betabrand, an e-Commerce fashion retailer that crowdfunds and crowdsources ideas for its apparel designs, launched the “On-Your-Mark Heel Project” with one question in mind: “Can we create the next great pair of heels in less than a week?” The retailer collaborated with CPG manufacturer and designer Li & Fung to launch the project. Through crowdsourcing and 3D digital rendering, Betabrand is banking on this project to create and sell new products even more quickly than its fast fashion competitors. 

Zara To Deploy Click-And-Collect Robots In Stores

Zara has long been known as a fast fashion leader, but the retailer has been slow in one area: fulfilling buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) orders. The bottlenecks are a particular problem for Zara, a division of Inditex, because one third of its global online sales are picked up in store locations, including the 85 shops located in the U.S. The retailer will deploy robots operating behind the scenes in stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Shoppers will scan or enter a code at in-store collection points, which will trigger the robot to search for the correct package in a small warehouse, then deliver it quickly to a drop box.

Exclusive CDO Q&A: BJ’s Goes All-In On Digital Transformation

In the midst of a multi-faceted digital transformation, BJ’s Wholesale Club is focused on offering convenience and value for its members. Recently appointed as the company’s first Chief Digital Officer, Rafeh Masood sat down with Retail TouchPoints for an exclusive and enlightening Q&A. Masood also will be presenting during the Retail Innovation Conference, May 1-2 in New York City, where he’ll share details on how he has been able to transform the culture and build out the digital team at BJ’s.

Kroger Launches Innovation Center To Research And Test Grocery Offerings

Kroger is the latest retailer to create its own innovation lab, opening the Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio on Feb. 15. The opening of a food-oriented Innovation Center is timely as the grocer moves ahead with its Restock Kroger plan. Kroger launched the initiative to invest in technologies that improve the company’s store offerings, personalize communications with customers, revamp product assortment and leverage data-driven shelf optimization.

How Innovative Solutions Close The Store-Online Gap For Home Depot, Z Gallerie And Best Buy

It’s been a persistent retail challenge to connect consumers’ online and offline experiences. The ascent of mobile has made this challenge even tougher, because this portable touch point needs to be incorporated in retailers’ strategic thinking about the entire shopper journey, from pre-sale through post-sale. “The biggest challenge in the retail market is still offline/online integration,” said Pano Anthos, Managing Director of XRC Labs in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “If you’re browsing online, how does the retailer know who you are when you come into the store?”

Kroger CIO Q&A: Innovation Initiatives Leverage IoT, Mobile Scanning And Shelf-Edge Videos

Long gone are the days when supermarkets were the most risk-averse, tech-unfriendly retailers on the block. In fact, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, displays a commitment to data, innovation and tech savvy that other retailers should envy. The leadership of Chris Hjelm, who has been EVP and CIO at Kroger since 2005, is one reason Kroger has been able to keep up with the times. “I came from a background of high-tech at companies including Orbitz, eBay and FedEx,” said Hjelm in an exclusive interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I created a research and development team shortly after I got here, and that’s been a huge contributor to innovation — and it’s a unique capability compared to many of our competitors.”

Walmart Tech Incubator Acquires VR Specialist Spatialand

Walmart's technology incubator Store No. 8 has created its third portfolio company, with the acquisition of virtual reality (VR) platform and content studio Spatialand. The combined team will develop and explore new products and uses of VR that Walmart can use, both in-store and online. Spatialand's focus has been on turning existing content into VR experiences, so the acquisition may be more about turning Walmart store and site content into VR than creating an experience from scratch.

Macy’s Ventures Into Pop-Ups With ‘The Market @ Macy’s’ Concept

Macy’s hasn’t always had a reputation of thinking outside the box, but the department store is bucking its somewhat staid image with the introduction of a non-traditional business model — pop-up stores. “The Market @ Macy’s” pop-up stores will appear in 10 Macy’s locations across the U.S., according to a report from CNBC. The pop-ups are part of a marketplace concept that provides pods of space to select brands and companies on Macy's ground floor to promote or sell their products. Most, but not all of the brands will be unique to the city they are in.

Music-Themed Pop-Up Showcases Pay-By-Phone Technology

I was recently invited to check out Mastercard’s music-inspired, experiential pop-up shop in New York City — The Mastercard House — which hosted a variety of shopping and music events leading up to the Grammy awards that were held on Jan. 28. The best part? All you needed to shop was your phone’s camera!

Miroglio Fashion Fuels Innovation With Oracle

  • Published in News Briefs
To power its Retail 4.0 program, an initiative to foster innovation, drive efficiency and increase performance, Italian retailer Miroglio Fashion has tapped Oracle to deploy its Retail Xstore Point-of-Service and Retail Customer Engagement solutions.

Finding The ‘Glue’ That Defines Customer Engagement At TechStyle

Q&A with Traci Inglis, Brand President, Fashion Brands – JustFab and Shoedazzle, TechStyle Fashion Group In this exclusive Q&A, Traci Inglis shares her insights into the magic behind TechStyle’s success with the brands under her purview, including JustFab and Shoedazzle. Founded in 2010, TechStyle serves more than five million VIP members across the JustFab, Shoedazzle and Fabletics brands. Before joining TechStyle in 2013, Inglis worked in marketing at Express, held a role in Retail Real Estate and Investor Relations at Westfield, and led the Digital Marketing and CRM teams across all brands at Torrid and Hot Topic.

Retail Innovators Create Landscape For Promising Israeli Tech Startups

Four organizations dedicated to retail innovation — The Shelf, Nielsen Innovate, JVP Play and Deloitte — have collaborated to create the Israeli RetailTech Landscape, mapping out 100 promising Israeli startups within the retail technology space. By grouping these companies, the landscape is designed to highlight the significant contribution that Israeli startups are making to the global commerce market. Together, the companies have raised more than $880 million, an average of $9 million per company. In fact, 19 of the companies have raised more than $20 million each, including some mega-rounds raised by companies such as Trax or Yotpo (both have raised more than $100 million).

Amazon Go Store Opens, Brings Checkout-Free Shopping To The Public

After more than a year of testing, Amazon finally let everyday consumers into its Amazon Go checkout-free convenience store in Seattle on Jan. 22. The 1,800-square-foot store was first unveiled in December 2016, but had only been open to Amazon employees. The Amazon Go store mostly sells food items, including the company’s exclusive meal kits. In the store, shoppers use the Amazon Go app, holding their smartphone near a scanner as they enter a store. Once inside, the store’s “Just Walk Out” technology — a combination of sensors, computer vision and deep learning — detects what’s taken off and returned to shelves, keeping track inside a virtual cart. Once finished, shoppers can leave the store and are automatically charged on their Amazon accounts.
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