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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.

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.
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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.

EBay, Cosabella, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM Lead The Next Wave Of AI Implementation

Retailers are beginning to share more about both the benefits and the limits of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Major benefits often include higher customer satisfaction, increased conversions and higher revenues. At NRF 2018, Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Fung Global Retail and Technology, hosted a panel featuring three success stories from eBay, Cosabella and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM that showcased how and where AI can help retailers bolster the customer experience. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM ‘Human-Nurtured’ Approach To AI Deployment Chris McCann, CEO of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, pointed out that his company’s GWYN (Gifts When You Need) AI-powered gift concierge, still needs a human touch in order to function correctly. The technology, powered by IBM Watson, enables shoppers to enter a conversation with a bot that adapts and learns human language with every interaction. “We often say automation for automation’s sake would clearly deliver the wrong message,” McCann said during the session. “To some degree, we take a human-nurtured augmented intelligence approach. How do you get that balance to make sure that the technology is making the right decision? It’s a learning process, and it’s what we’re going through with GWYN. We need to show that GWYN is understanding what to look for, what attributes need to be put into…

NRF 2018 Recap: Positive Economic Forecast, The ROI Of AI, China’s Fast Growth

The National Retail Federation Big Show 2018 is in the rear-view mirror now, but the insights that were shared will make their mark throughout the coming year. The good news is that, judging by the crowds and overall excitement at New York City’s Javits Center, the retail industry is definitely not in an apocalyptic — or even a post-apocalyptic — phase. In fact, a roundtable of economists pointed to strong holiday sales, high consumer confidence levels and the recent tax cuts as reasons for optimism in the coming year. The Retail TouchPointseditorial team shares some of the major headlines from the show, which was held January 14-16, including:

1:1 With CIO McNamara: How Target Achieved 25% Digital Growth In 2017

With mobile devices in the hands of employees across all 1,800 stores, Target was able to boost its digital business by more than 25% during 2017, said Mike McNamara, Chief Information and Digital Officer, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. After a quick trial in late 2016, Target has now distributed upwards of 50,000 new mobile devices to all stores, with about 25 to 45 per store. “They were a big hit with the stores immediately,” said McNamara. The devices — TC51 mobile computers— are supplied by Zebra Technologies.

NRF Big Show Preview: Editors Pick The ‘Hot’ Sessions

When people call the National Retail Federation’s annual gathering at New York City’s Javits Center the Big Show, they are not exaggerating. From Jan. 14-16, a total of 35,000 attendees from 95 countries will tour the booths of 600+ exhibitors, and more than 3,500 retail companies will be represented by 18,000 retailers. Beyond the Expo floor, there are hundreds of educational sessions to choose from, with speakers ranging from keynoter Arianna Huffington to retail’s own gallery of movers and shakers. A very partial list includes Macy’s Terry Lundgren, Marvin Ellison of JCPenney, Tommy Hilfiger, Hubert Joly of Best Buy, Karen Katz of Neiman Marcus and Lee McCabe of Alibaba Group.

Walmart Will Expand Cashierless Checkout To 100 Stores

The industry’s top retailers are continuing their quest to make cashierless checkout within physical stores more of a reality. Walmart is expanding its "Scan & Go" technology to an additional 100 locations across the U.S. in 2018. The app allows customers to scan and bag items, including produce, while they shop and pay directly with their phones. Customers see the price of individual items as they scan them, along with a running total, enabling them to gauge their total costs ahead of checkout. As part of the test, some Walmart stores have been outfitted with Scan & Go kiosks, where customers can pick up handheld devices, allowing them to try out the service before downloading it to their phones.

JD, Alibaba Introduce Tech-Driven Supermarkets To Chinese Consumers

Following in the footsteps of chief rival Alibaba, Chinese e-Commerce giant JD has opened its first supermarket, a 4,000-square-meter location in Beijing. The 7FRESH grocery chain will be stocked with thousands of fresh products, including fruit, flowers, imported meat and freshly-caught seafood, prepared and cooked on-site. JD may open more than 1,000 7FRESH stores in the next three to five years, according to China Daily. 7FRESH is JD’s largest brick-and-mortar endeavor yet. The launch coincides with Alibaba’s decision to expand its fleet of Hema supermarkets by opening 30 stores in Beijing in 2018. While JD maintains full control of its supply chain and sources its own inventory, Alibaba primarily acts as a platform for other merchants. But these moves into grocery widen the reach of both brands. JD And Alibaba Leverage Both Online And Offline Data Both retailers are combining e-Commerce and traditional technologies to better manage inventory and customer data, and are leveraging this data to improve their online experiences — particularly by shortening delivery times. JD is using data from 266.3 million e-Commerce consumers to craft the 7FRESH shopping experience. The supermarket integrates several technology elements designed to deliver a “personal and educational” hands-on shopping experience. For example, 7FRESH…
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