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Why the Human Touch is Key to Richer Shopper Experiences
March 22, 2018 at 11:02 am

The world of social media advertising is going through a seismic shift. Not only are brick-and-mortar businesses fighting for survival, many e-commerce brands are struggling to find and maintain their target social media audiences. In a world that includes thousands of competitors, a wide range of social channels and millions of demanding buyers, retailers must…

Google Launches Shopping Actions to Help Retailers Compete With Amazon
March 20, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Google announced yesterday a new service designed to help retailers take on Amazon — and give Google a cut of their sales in the process. The service, Shopping Actions (formerly known as Google Express), gives consumers an easy way to shop for retailers’ products on the Google Assistant app and search via Google Search with…

How Retailers Can Get ‘Experiential’ With New Technologies
March 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm

The retail industry is in the throes of a major transformation as the traditional retail model gives way to new modes of “experiential retail.” A key element of experiential retail is the innovative use of technology to provide richer shopping experiences that are more informative, frictionless, immersive and satisfying. To create richer experiences both online…

Fixing Retail’s Returns Problem by Cracking Down on Sizing
March 16, 2018 at 10:14 am

Stop me if you’ve had this problem before. You’re doing some online shopping and have found a new shirt or dress that's just perfect. You even pay for expedited shipping because you can’t wait to wear it and show it off to all of your friends. The day finally comes and the box arrives, but…

A Lesson in Personalization From Beauty By Design
March 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

As has been written about ad nauseam in this e-newsletter and countless others retail trade publications, personalization is the Holy Grail for retailers. After all, done right, personalization elevates consumers’ lives and promotes engagement by providing products and/or content that tune into and even anticipate the needs of customers. The benefits of personalization to the customer…

Artificial Intelligence is the Answer to Retail’s Cyber Threats
March 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm

As the cyber threat landscape continues to grow — and threat actors increasingly steal data, commit acts of fraud, and expand retailer losses — it’s time for the retail industry to rethink its cybersecurity strategies and shift the focus to the protection of online outlets. As many have seen, news of point-of-sale malware has increasingly…

Why Amazon Go is a ‘No-Go’ for Most Retailers
March 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

As Nick Wingfield, technology correspondent for The New York Times described in his vivid, first-hand account of shopping at the Amazon Go store, it’s hard not to get excited about the future of retailing. And while the retail industry can use all the good press it can get, I’m not sure this is it. It was…

Digital Assistants Are Eliminating Transactions … And That’s a Good Thing
March 14, 2018 at 9:27 am

“Alexa, place an order for AAA batteries.” This simple request is just one example of the millions of purchases made each day by digital assistants. As connected devices like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home become more mainstream, the very act of going to the store to buy batteries, for example, is becoming antiquated. But as…

4 Reasons Brands Should Focus on Conversational Commerce in 2018
March 13, 2018 at 11:56 am

You can’t ignore the growing prominence of artificial intelligence (AI) in today’s retail landscape. According to IDC, 40 percent of retailers will have developed a customer experience architecture supported by an AI layer by 2019. Will your business be one of them? Retailers that fail to incorporate an AI-backed solution into their business strategies will…

Brands Want to Help Retailers Add Value Through POS Data
March 12, 2018 at 9:14 am

Retail has changed. With the intensification of competition, the rise of e-commerce, and the importance of creating a unified customer experience both online and offline, retailers and brands have been given an enormous opportunity to reinvent the way they do business. The best retailers (e.g., The Home Depot, Walmart, Sephora) have embraced these challenges with…

It’s Time for Retailers to Step Out From Behind the Technology Curve
March 8, 2018 at 11:25 am

There's little doubt in the retail industry that it’s time to make big changes. And if anything was clear this year at the National Retail Federation's Big Show, it was that retailers are on the search for technologies that can help them adapt to the times. Specifically, these retailers are looking to provide the omnichannel…

Amazon is Bringing Free Whole Foods Delivery to Prime Members in San Francisco and Atlanta
March 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm announced yesterday it’s expanding its delivery partnership with Whole Foods by rolling out free delivery from the grocery chain to Prime members in San Francisco and Atlanta. Recode reports orders that total at least $35 can be delivered within two hours for free through Amazon's Prime Now service, or within one hour for an…

10 Retail Technology Trends to Watch in 2018
March 7, 2018 at 9:35 am

In the age of customer centricity, the old adage, “the customer is king,” has never been more applicable. Customer expectations are greater than ever, especially in retail. Digital access to information, social networking platforms and the Internet of Things (IoT) have created conditions that make consumers increasingly impatient and fickle. To meet the demands of…

Why Retailers Can’t Afford to Ignore Virtual Reality
March 6, 2018 at 9:57 am

How could retail ignore an opportunity of having infinite space within a 10x10-foot room? With virtual reality (VR), it’s possible to design, enter and test live realistic retail simulations. Gone are the days when we needed to create mock stores to arrange category management or merchandise real solutions. Professionals may enter the same virtual environment remotely. Within a retail…

Retail Tech Panel: Execs From Sephora, J.C. Penney, Dell Discuss Their Digital Futures
March 2, 2018 at 3:02 pm

In a panel discussion at eTail West this week in Palm Springs, Calif., Harsh Acharya, head of technology and product, Dell; Dhritiman Saha, senior vice president, digital, J.C. Penney; and Raghu Sagi, chief engineering officer, Sephora, discussed how their businesses are evolving for a digital future. Specific attention was paid to transforming company culture, making…

Why Practical AI is Critical for Retailers in 2018
March 2, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Last year saw a lot of change for the retail industry. Brands that have been household names for decades closed their doors or filed for bankruptcy as pure-play e-commerce newcomers entered into the fray and found immense value in opening up their own physical stores. The term “retail apocalypse” also became ubiquitous, and artificial intelligence…

Amazon Acquires Smart Home Company Ring
February 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm announced yesterday the acquisition of smart home company, Ring. The $1 billion-plus price tag represents Amazon's second largest ever acquisition (the online giant paid $13.6 billion for Whole Foods). Recode reports Ring is now being bought for somewhere between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion. The startup recently authorized a fundraising round that would have…

How Target is Evolving for Retail’s Digital Future
February 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm

In an interview at the eTail West conference in Palm Springs, Calif., this morning, Bruce Starnes, vice president, digital solutions, Target, addressed how the big-box retailer is evolving its business to thrive in a changing retail environment. Starnes was interviewed by Jenny Kaplan, consumer goods reporter for Bloomberg.

AI-Enabled Personalization Will Change the Narrative of Stores in Decline
February 28, 2018 at 11:12 am

Retail personalization has long been the domain of the e-commerce retailers that redefined the concept of local retailing by bringing it to a geographically unrestricted audience at scale, leaving traditional retailers scrambling to combat their new, impersonal identity. And as retail stalwarts shuttered their doors and malls became modern American ghost towns, the narrative that…

The New World of Retail: A Curated Future and the Next Generation of Commerce
February 27, 2018 at 10:42 am

Recently, Hubba, a global B-to-B commerce network, examined the trends impacting the retail economy and released a new whitepaper, The Curated Future - why less selection, not more, will be the defining retail trend of 2018. The study explores the past, present and future state of the retail industry, as well as the tools needed to…