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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.

Unmanned, AI-Powered Skincare Experience Debuts In Dubai

An AI-powered beauty startup spun off by Samsung, lululab, now provides an unmanned virtual beauty experience in Dubai. The kiosk is powered by LUMINI, an AI-based skincare assistant that provides shoppers with individually tailored skin care solutions. The installation, dubbed the AI Beauty Store, is housed on the ground floor of Galeries Lafayette, a French department store. The experience helps shoppers find new products through a three-step process: A selfie is taken by the multispectral camera in the kiosk, providing information on the shopper’s skin; The LUMINI AI analyzes the results and makes recommendations, which also can include discounts on some products; and The customer receives a follow-up report on their mobile device.

Exclusive Q&A With Brian Solis: Why Innovation Is Key To Engaging ‘Gen C’

We’ve all heard about Generations X, Y (a.k.a. Millennials) and Z, but have you heard about Generation C? The “C” stands for “Connected,” and despite the “Generation” title it’s not limited to people born during a specific span of years. The common factor for members of Generation C is a simple one: their use of smartphones. Using smartphones “rewires your brain to essentially move faster, makes you a lot less patient, and has created a lot of ‘accidental narcissism’,” said Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter. The rise of Generation C has essentially created a new type of customer, forcing all kinds of businesses to reimagine both the customer journey and key elements of the customer experience (CX).

What To Expect From #RIC19 Panels: AI, Women’s Leadership, Pop-Ups

Every year, thought-provoking panel discussions are a staple of the Retail Innovation Conference agenda, because they allow a group of industry experts to exchange insiders’ perspectives on the hottest topics in retail. In 2019, RIC continues this trend with panels that will dive deep into hot-button topics that include: artificial intelligence, women’s leadership, influencer marketing, consumer shopping habits, next-gen pop-ups and more.

80% Of Shoppers Give Thumbs Up To Chatbot Experiences, But 59% Remain Uninterested In Using Them

As many as 80% of people who have interacted with a chatbot say the experience was positive, according to a survey from Uberall. Even so, 30% of consumers have a tepid response to chatbots, saying they were “somewhat uninterested,” with 29% more indicating no interest at all. “There’s definitely growing interest in branded chatbot experiences, but most consumers still need convincing,” said Florian Huebner, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Uberall in a statement. “Many are wary, either because chatbot technology in the past was not advanced enough to ensure a good experience, or because consumers worry chatbots could easily become another spam channel. Brands have to do a better job creating AI experiences that customers find personalized, helpful and worthwhile.”

The Role Of Customization In Retail: Meeting Ever-Changing Demands With Unique Experiences

Shopping has changed. Solely meeting consumers with a traditional brick-and-mortar experience is a surefire way to become a victim of the retail apocalypse, and there are certainly enough tragic examples on record — from Toys ’R’ Us to Blockbuster Video — to prove the point. Whether surfing online from the convenience of their own smartphone or desktop, or actually stepping inside a physical location, potential purchasers are almost as interested in customized, unique experiences as the products or services they’re shopping for themselves. From interactive in-store demos to automated and personalized thank-you notes, the new retail ecosystem offers more opportunities to connect with target audiences than ever before, and those who take advantage are those that will most likely survive.

1-800-FLOWERS.com Upgrades Voice, Implements AR Ahead Of Valentine’s Day

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, 1-800-FLOWERS.com is giving shoppers additional ways to buy gifts for their loved ones at virtually any time and place. The retailer has upgraded or debuted numerous platforms to kick off February, including: Voice command-powered smart ordering and order tracking with Samsung Bixby, Apple Business Chat, Google Assistant and Facebook Messenger; A “Quick Meets Easy” gift selection tool designed to help shoppers who prefer receiving speedy, tailored floral recommendations; Augmented reality (AR) messaging through the mobile app, with a variety of filters and messaging options to choose from; A redesigned mobile site powered by progressive web apps (PWAs); and Last-minute gifting via SmartGift; shoppers can select a floral arrangement and let SmartGift notify the recipient when it will arrive, via text, email or any other messaging platform.

11 Honoré Partners With Shopify To Host ‘Runway Commerce’ Experience At NYFW

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) kicks off in the Big Apple this week, and companies such as Shopify are getting in on the action with unique partnerships to celebrate the event. For the first time, Shopify will debut a “runway commerce” experience and interactive pop-up alongside 11 Honoré, a luxury, size-inclusive…
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NRF2019: Innovation Lab Showcases Frictionless Self-Checkout, Facial Recognition And Last Mile Transparency

Photo credit: NRF For the third year the NRF Big Show put a spotlight on its top innovators, giving attendees tools and ideas for solving consumer needs in 2019 and beyond. The eclectic, hand-picked group of 50+ startups — broken out into customer convenience and customer experience sections — showcased new ways for retailers to manage some of their most pressing concerns, including: Removing friction from checkout; Providing targeted content to shoppers using facial recognition; Offering personalized assistance, whether in-store or online; and Adding transparency to last mile delivery.

Brandbox Gives E-Commerce Brands A Brick-And-Mortar Testing Ground

Real estate firm Macerich is best known for operating malls and shopping centers throughout the U.S., but now the company is taking a new approach to retailing: bridging “high-growth digitally native brands” with brick-and-mortar. The company launched BrandBox in November 2018, a concept designed to house e-Commerce brands in malls on a rotating basis, giving them the chance to operate storefronts at an affordable cost. Brandbox launched its first concept at Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, Va., and it includes: Flexible space and lease terms: A BrandBox store ranges from 500 to 2,500 square feet, and leases run six to 12 months; Support on design and buildout, staffing and technology through partnerships with companies including Bobby Redd, FITCH, Vitra, RetailNext and Boomtown; Store designs tailored to each brand; Social and experiential marketing designed to drive foot traffic and brand awareness both online and offline; Access to an analytics dashboard; and Educational content via Brandbox.com.

Neiman Marcus iLab Founder Named CTO Of TheCurrent Global

Scott Emmons, Founder and Director of the Neiman Marcus iLab, is leaving the retailer to take the position as CTO at TheCurrent Global, a consultancy focused on transforming how retail and fashion brands intersect with technology. Emmons announced his changing role during a session at the NRF Big Show. Emmons will oversee an ecosystem of global startups and tech partners, managing their integration with brand and retail clients. He will work alongside TheCurrent Global founders Liz Bacelar, CEO, and Rachel Arthur, Chief Innovation Officer.

NRF19: 36% Of Shoppers Want Better Personalization, But Hesitate To Share Personal Info

Personalization will continue to be a hot-button investment item for retailers in 2019, but they will have to struggle with consumers’ cognitive dissonance to implement it effectively, according to Sucharita Kodali, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Kodali spoke during the State of Retail Innovation 2019 session on Sunday, Jan. 13 at the NRF Big Show. Up to 36% of shoppers say retailers need to do more to offer more personalized experiences, with this percentage reaching 43% for households that earn more than $100,000 annually, according to data from Forrester Research. Yet despite the evident desire for personalization, shoppers are still hesitant to share the personal information that can steer retailers in the right direction, and are overall distrustful of the concept.

CES 2019: Chinese Retailers JD.com, Suning Give New Meaning To ‘Smart’ Retail

With more than 180,000 attendees, 4,500 exhibitors and 3,000 product launches, CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) brings out the best technology retailers can look forward to experimenting with in the coming year. But this year, two China-based retailers stood out for their innovations displayed throughout the event.…
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Walmart Pilots Autonomous Grocery Delivery In Arizona

Walmart has made significant investments in its online grocery delivery capabilities over the past year, even quietly experimenting with driverless delivery. The retail giant will pilot a program to use Udelv autonomous-driving vans to deliver fresh groceries in Surprise, Ariz. Tom Ward, Senior VP of Digital Operations at Walmart U.S. revealed in a blog post that the trial is set to begin February. Udelv will use a cargo van custom-made to deliver Walmart customers fresh groceries that are hand-picked by personal shoppers. The vans are outfitted with a cargo system designed to carry up to 32 customer orders per delivery cycle. Walmart already had announced other pilot programs with self-driving car companies, including Ford and Alphabet’s Waymo.

Standard Cognition Acquires In-Store Mapping Tech Provider

Standard Cognition, an AI-powered cashierless checkout provider that has positioned its technology as an “alternative to Amazon Go,” has acquired Explorer.ai, a mapping and computer vision startup, for an undisclosed sum. With the technology, Standard Cognition will be able to map larger stores, allowing the company to expand into new retail verticals. The Standard Cognition technology uses store ceiling cameras to determine what products are in the store, customer location and items they possess so that the shoppers can walk in and out of a store without stopping at a cashier to pay. The company already opened its own pilot store, Standard Market, to test the technology in public. While the 1,900-square-foot San Francisco-based store sells food, cleaning supplies and general convenience store items, Standard Cognition wants to broaden its horizons beyond this vertical.

Kroger Pilots Two ‘Connected’ Stores With Microsoft Partnership

In its latest push to drive forward its Restock Kroger initiative, the retailer is partnering with Microsoft to pilot a connected store experience and jointly market a commercial retail-as-a-service (RaaS) offering to other retailers. The two pilot stores are located in Kroger’s home city, Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Redmond, Wash. headquarters of Microsoft. Results of the pilot will guide expansion plans in 2019 and beyond, according to a joint statement. To provide a guided, personalized shopping experience, the stores will leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud technology and connected IoT sensors to bridge Kroger’s proprietary EDGE (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment) shelf-edge screen technology with its Scan, Bag, Go mobile checkout feature. Customers using Kroger’s self-checkout app will be guided through the store to items on their shopping list, and will encounter personalized icons on digital shelves that are below the next relevant product on their list.
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