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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.

Tenth Street Hats Tries On AR, Boosts Conversion Rates 33%

Photo credit: WWD Tenth Street Hats is letting shoppers try on headgear in a whole new way: augmented reality. The tool, accessed via a button on the product detail page that reads “Try it on in AR,” is available for both mobile and desktop consumers, although shoppers need to have a web camera to use it on desktop. Shoppers can use the 360-degree feature to “try on” nearly 30 of the 200+ hats sold on Tenth Street Hats. With the Axis augmented commerce platform from Vertebrae, a technology innovator in interactive 3D and AR solutions, the retailer: Increased conversion rates 33%; and Boosted engagement 74%.

Albertsons Pilots Automated Online Fulfillment With In-Store Robotics

Albertsons Cos. has big plans to automate fulfillment for local online grocery orders — and it all begins with a micro-fulfillment pilot concept powered by AI-enabled robots. The grocery giant entered a trial with Takeoff Technologies, unveiling the partnership at the Groceryshop conference in Las Vegas. Albertsons has not revealed the store where the pilot will take place, and at this point there is no timeline for how long the pilot will last or any indication of further expansion plans.

Walmart Rolls Out On-The-Spot ‘Check Out With Me’ Feature, In-App Store Maps

Coinciding with the launch of its store technology testing ground, the Sam’s Club Now store in Dallas, Walmart is rolling out its latest innovative investment, a “check out with me” option at all U.S. stores. Starting at some locations as soon as Nov. 1, Walmart will give associates mobile devices that can scan bulky items such as flat-screen TVs and heavy furniture, enabling customers to immediately pay with a credit card and bypass checkout lines. Walmart has tested the functionality since April in the lawn and garden centers of more than 350 stores. The devices are not intended to check out whole baskets of items, but they will be capable of processing everything from groceries to apparel.

New Sam’s Club Store Will Be A Mobile-First, AI-Powered Tech Lab

  • Published in News Briefs
Sam’s Club is set to open its Sam’s Club Now store in Dallas, designed as a real-world technology innovation lab. The store will test technologies including mobile-enabled shopping; smart shopping lists that use machine learning and shoppers’ past purchase data; and augmented reality to tell the “stories” behind products. “At…
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Exclusive CEO Q&A: Get Ready For VR Saturation In Retail By 2028

With the ability to “take the best of the store experience and customize it for the individual…VR will be how people shop in 10 to 12 years,” said Lyron Bentovim, President and CEO of New York City-based The Glimpse Group. In this exclusive Q&A, Bentovim shares his insights and expertise, based on his work with technology entrepreneurs and startups. The Glimpse Group is a platform company comprised of 10 startups focusing on a variety of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) products.

B8ta Launches Interactive ‘Made By Google’ Experience In 7 Flagship Locations

The software-powered retail-as-a-service company b8ta has partnered with Google to showcase an interactive in-store shopping experience featuring Made by Google products. Shoppers in seven b8ta flagship locations will be able to test out and shop Google’s Home products in interactive home-like vignettes. These experiences are part of the b8ta mission — to get shoppers to try out new tech products in brick-and-mortar stores before they buy them. All b8ta stores “are designed for software to be a primary component that drives the experience,” said CEO and Co-Founder Vibhu Norby in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

3D Face Authentication: The Future Of Grab ‘N Go

As businesses investigate new ways to automate redundant tasks at a macro level, retail is a vertical ripe for disruption. There has been a lot of buzz in the press this year about hamburger-slinging robots and automated baristas creating machine-made mochaccinos, but one new approach to automation has gotten the attention of retailers: the introduction of the Amazon Go concept. Eliminating checkout lines and cashiers using next-gen tech is ushering in the era of frictionless retail that more and more shoppers, especially the smartphone-obsessed Millennials and their younger Gen Z cohort, are expecting. Amazon Go opened their first store in Seattle in January of this year. There are now three in that city with plans to open others in San Francisco and Chicago. A total of six are in the works. Shoppers use a smartphone app with a unique QR code that gets scanned outside a set of glass doors, similar to the kinds of entryways many corporate employees pass through every day on the way to work. Once inside, shoppers have a range of food choices like grocery essentials as well as grab-and-go breakfast, lunch and dinner options including salads and sandwiches. The store is set up with a…

Wegmans Combines Mobile App, Human Assistance To Guide Visually Impaired Shoppers

Wegmans, a supermarket chain based in the Northeast, has implemented a combination of technology and human assistance for blind and low-vision shoppers, to make their shopping experience easier across all its 97 stores. All Wegmans stores are now Aira Access Locations, giving any member of the blind and low-vision community free access to Aira’s service while in Wegmans stores.

Birchbox Pilots In-Store Beauty Experiences In 11 Walgreens Stores

Birchbox is piloting new beauty experiences in select Walgreens stores in the next few months, signaling that the retailer is realizing the benefits of expanding its brick-and-mortar presence. The pilot will debut in six stores in December in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, and will extend to five more stores in early 2019. Walgreens will take an undisclosed minority stake in Birchbox as part of the partnership. Earlier this year, one of Birchbox’s existing investors, Viking Global, acquired a majority stake in the company by investing an additional $15 million into the brand.

Walmart Will Train 1 Million+ Associates Using VR Technology

Walmart will distribute 17,000 Oculus VR headsets to all U.S. stores beginning in October 2018, to train more than 1 million Walmart store associates on how to use the technology, according to a company blog post. With this expansion of the VR training program, every associate — including those on the floor — will have access to the same training that their managers and department managers get at the company’s 200+ training Academies. The company first started training store managers in 2017.

Snapchat Introduces Snap-To-Buy Capabilities For Amazon Shoppers

  • Published in Mobile
Snapchat is bringing a new visual search tool to its app, enabling users to search for products on Amazon from the Snapchat camera. The visual search will allow Snapchat users to point the app's camera at an item or barcode, find it on Amazon and buy it straight from the social messaging app, the company said in a blog post. When the item or barcode is recognized, an Amazon card will appear on-screen, surfacing a link for that product or similar ones available on Amazon.

Macy’s, Cosmopolitan Bring Makeup Try-On Experience From Print To Digital

Macy’s has partnered with Cosmopolitan magazine and Perfect Corp., the creator of the YouCam AR-powered makeup app, to deliver a virtual try-on feature through an eight-page native content package. The pages will showcase select Juicy Couture products. Using a smart device, readers can snap a photo of a special QR code, which will bring them to a destination on Cosmopolitan.com where they’ll be able to choose a try-on experience, test out the look using YouCam Makeup facial mapping technology and shop the products directly from the page.

10 Women-Led Startups Compete For Grants In European Event

  • Published in News Briefs
Women Who Tech, which showcases and funds women-led ventures around the world, has selected 10 finalists for the Women Startup Challenge Europe. Hundreds of female-led startups from 35 countries competed for the chance to pitch to top investors and tech leaders. The final 10 will compete at an event co-hosted…
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Amazon Reportedly Plans 3,000 Go Stores; Unveils Recommendation-Based ‘Scout’ Shopping Site

Amazon is reportedly considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new Amazon Go cashierless stores by 2021, with more than 50 locations in major locations by 2019, according to Bloomberg. The e-Commerce giant would not comment on the report. The challenge to Amazon’s potential growth plan, regardless of how many checkout-free stores they end up building, is the high cost of opening each location. The original Amazon Go in downtown Seattle required more than $1 million in hardware alone, according to Bloomberg.
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