Exclusive Q&A With Scott Emmons: ‘Open Innovation’ Requires Collaboration And Cross-Pollination

0aaascottemmonsUpon leaving his position as Director of the Neiman Marcus iLab, which he founded, to become CTO of retail innovation consultancy Current Global, Scott Emmons noted that the culture of legacy organizations can often hold back the progress of retailers’ internal innovation labs.

“For fashion and retail brands to succeed, they need to shift from an internally driven culture to one focused on open innovation with the world’s top technology and talent,” Emmons said in a statement. At Retail TouchPoints Live!, June 25-26 in Chicago, Emmons will expand on the reasons why retailers must focus on “open innovation,” and what makes an agile, nimble retail innovation strategy.


Walmart Testing Automated Delivery On Fixed Routes

Walmart is piloting a new phase in automation with robotic vehicles that automatically pass shipments across warehouses, according to Bloomberg. The retailer is aiming to cut its middle-mile shipping costs in half with robotic Ford delivery vans powered by Gatik self-driving technology.

The vans travel on fixed routes from warehouse to warehouse, or to pickup points where customers can get their order. The routes are often the same ones human drivers have been following for years, minimizing the need for new maps or infrastructure, and their unchanging nature reduces the chance of mishaps.


Sofia Kaman Debuts ‘My Treasure’ Try-It-On App For Jewelry Shoppers

  • Published in Mobile

0aaasofiavirtual-ring-try-on 7Sofia Kaman Fine Jewels has debuted a new augmented reality (AR) app on its web site called My Treasure, which enables customers to upload photos of their hand from their mobile device to virtually try on any ring or to curate a ring stack within the app.

The feature is designed to be user-friendly, enabling shoppers to simply click the top left corner navigation icon on their phone to sign in or create an account and use the My Treasure app. Shoppers can immediately select a ring and scroll the photos to the My Treasure hand icon. Once they tap the hand image, they can take a photo of their hand or upload a new image.


Two Paths To Innovation: Kroger Debuts Investment Firm For Brands; Lowe’s Acquires Analytics Tech

Two of the biggest traditional players in U.S. retail, Lowe’s and Kroger, have each made major pushes in the past year to ensure they are keeping up with major industry innovators. But this week these retailers made even bigger splashes, with Kroger launching an accelerator fund for consumer brands and Lowe’s acquiring retail analytics technology from Boomerang Commerce.

Kroger has partnered with Lindsay Goldberg, a private equity firm, to form PearlRock Partners, a platform designed to identify, invest in and help grow emerging consumer product brands.


Why Hudson Yards Represents Retail Excellence And Innovation

0aaaDan Hodges RetailStoreToursHudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the U.S. by area and home to more than 70 stores and restaurants, represents the best of what retail has to offer. The first of its two phases opened in March 2019 and comprises a public green space and eight structures that contain residences, a hotel, office buildings, a mall, and a cultural facility. The second phase, on which construction has not started yet, will include residential space, an office building, and a school. Both phases are projected to be complete by 2024.

You can think of Hudson Yards as a living museum of contemporary retail. Each floor has a theme that highlights many of the winning trends in current retail.


#RIC19: What Next-Gen Retail CEOs Can Learn From Macy’s Innovation Formula

0aaaParindaMuleyTop photo: 3DEN space in Hudson Yards

Right photo: Parinda Muley, VP of Innovation and Business Development at Macy's

The 2019 Retail Innovation Conference featured an intriguing duality within today’s retail landscape, showcasing new companies that have been setting up unconventional physical spaces alongside traditional retailers doing everything they can to bring their brick-and-mortar experiences up to speed. Two sessions captured this dynamic perfectly: the closing panel moderated by b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby, and a presentation from Parinda Muley, VP of Innovation and Business Development at Macy’s.

The event’s closing panel discussion, titled: CEO Exchange: New Ways to Succeed In Physical Retail, featured CEOs of three growing startup businesses (3DEN, Batch and Iris Nova) sharing the stories of their Hudson Yards locations and revealing how they have carved out their experiences. Muley’s presentation highlighted four key ingredients that the department store has adopted to change its formula:

1. Ensure top leadership, engagement and support;

2. Build a dedicated team;

3. Create a balance of tradition and disruption; and

4. Understand customer behavior.


Amazon Opens First ‘Go’ Store In NYC…And It Accepts Cash

Amazon is opening its first Amazon Go store in New York City in lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place, marking the twelfth Go store overall. The 1,300-square-foot space also is the first Amazon Go store that will accept cash for payment.

The cash option is a major departure from other Amazon Go stores that have opened in cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, which include no checkout points. Shoppers seeking to pay cash will have to be swiped in by an employee, then have their chosen products scanned by a staffer, who conducts the checkout process for them.


Farmstead Launches Predictive Behavior-Based ‘Smart Shopping List’

Farmstead, an online grocer of locally sourced produce based in San Francisco, has introduced a Smart Shopping List feature, designed to predict what products customers need based on factors including weekly shopping history, buying signals and what’s already in their cart.

The grocery company uses proprietary AI and machine learning technology to predict grocery trends and consumer purchasing habits. The technology helps Farmstead keep prices for certain products below the averages in Bay Area supermarkets. 


Sainsbury’s Pilots Cashierless Checkout Store

  • Published in Mobile

Sainsbury’s is piloting its first checkout-free location in a convenience store in London’s Holborn Circus. The store has been refurbished to remove the checkout area entirely, with employees instead working on the shop floor.

The retailer is using its existing SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go mobile app, which is currently live in eight of its London stores. In these other locations, however, customers still have the option of making their purchase at a checkout.


Walmart AI-Powered Lab Store Emphasizes Real-Time Grocery Inventory Control

Nearly six months after Walmart revealed it would open an Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL) within a Levittown, N.Y. Neighborhood Market, the retail giant has offered a peek into the store’s transformation. Powered by a massive data center, the 50,000-square-foot store uses AI to ensure in-stock position and freshness of perishable items like produce and meat.

IRL is set up to gather information about what’s happening inside the store through an array of weight-measuring sensors, 1,500 AI-enabled cameras and 100 data processors. These tools help the team focus on product inventory and availability, particularly by providing associates with real-time information enabling them to restock products, so items are available on shelves when they’re needed. For example, the inventory tracker for Walmart’s meat counter can identify every type of meat sitting on the product shelf.

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