Westfield’s Bespoke Innovation Hub Takes Retail Tech Brands Into The Future

As more merchants make the effort to test new offerings and strategies via their own innovation labs, one company has gone above and beyond to help retail clients take that next step for their business. The digital innovation arm of mall operator Westfield has built a 37,000-square-foot innovation center in San Francisco, Bespoke, serving as the home to more than 75 retail technology startups and brands.

In the 14 months since Westfield Labs launched the retail tech-focused co-working, demo and event space, Bespoke has hosted more than 100 events and 20 tech demos.

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GNC CEO Steps Down As Troubled Retailer Continues Strategic Review

GNC Holdings has become the latest retailer to fall victim to a CEO change in 2016; Chief Executive Mike Archbold is leaving the company and has resigned from its Board of Directors. Robert Moran, an Independent Director of GNC and the former CEO of PetSmart, takes over as interim CEO effective immediately.

The health and wellness supplements retailer, which has more than 9,000 corporate and franchised stores, suspended its 2016 earnings guidance as it continues its ongoing strategic review process. Since May, GNC has been reviewing strategic alternatives that could include: “accelerated refranchising strategies, capital structure optimization, partnerships and other value-creating collaborations, or a potential sale of the company.”

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Oracle Buys NetSuite: Another Massive Retail Acquisition

Seeking to build up its cloud-based offerings, Oracle Corp. has purchased NetSuite for $9.3 billion in a transaction expected to close this year, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

It’s a big deal even for a serial acquirer such as Oracle, which paid $5.3 billion in 2014 for Micros Systems. The price tag for NetSuite marks a return to the size of pre-Great Recession deals such as Oracle’s hostile takeover of PeopleSoft in 2004 ($10.3 billion); another hostile takeover of BEA Systems in 2008 ($8.5 billion); and its purchase of Sun Microsystems in 2009 for $7.4 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Oracle chairman Larry Ellison is already NetSuite’s largest investor; entities owned by him and his family held nearly 40% of NetSuite’s shares, according to the company’s proxy statement filed in April 2016.

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GS1 US and JICC Digital Couponing Standard To Streamline Settlement

1-digital couponsDigital coupons just got safer for customers to use and retailers to accept. GS1 US and the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) have collaborated to create a standard for paperless couponing. The new GS1 Standard helps retailers identify digital couponing transactions in a cash register transaction log with increased traceability at checkout, enabling more streamlined settlement for retailers.

The standard builds upon previously established industry best practices for barcode-based paper coupons and helps identify coupons in POS transactions. Consumer interest in mobile couponing is at an all-time high — the number of mobile coupon users in the U.S. has grown nearly 18% in the past year to 92.6 million, according to eMarketer data, and by the end of 2016 mobile coupon users are expected to increase another 11% to 104 million.

 “The new GS1 Standard is a step forward in addressing industry needs at a time when consumers are relying on their mobile devices more than ever to shop,” said Jeffrey Bumgarner, Manager, Industry Affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Industry members and their app developer partners will be able to use the new standard as soon as the proper infrastructure is in place at the end of this year, which is currently being developed by the JICC.”

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Apple Looks To India As Next Frontier For Retail Stores

When Amazon decided to invest in additional $3 billion in India in June, they sent a clear message to every other retailer that the country was a high-priority destination going forward. Apple appears to have caught onto this trend as well, with CEO Tim Cook announcing that the tech giant will open retail stores in India.

The announcement comes after Apple’s quarterly earnings report revealed that the retailer’s profit dipped 27% to $7.80 billion, largely due to a saturated market for iPhones.

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Will Macy’s AI-Powered Mobile App Be Friendly Tech — Or The Terminator?

There’s no question IBM’s Watson is smart. After all, it beat the pants off the best-of-the-best Jeopardy contestants. But is it smart enough — and flexible enough — to help a Macy’s customer find the perfect dress for her daughter’s wedding?

That’s one of the things the retailer is trying to discover with its 10-store test of a mobile web tool that connects shoppers with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform. “Macy’s On Call” taps IBM Watson, via the Satisfi intelligent engagement platform, allowing customers to input natural language questions about each participating store’s assortment, services and facilities.

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Connected Retail And The Internet Of Things

Unlock the power of IoT to create the connected store of the future. Download this white paper to find out how Kroger and other leading retailers are:

  • Empowering store associates to provide more timely, informed, personalized and potentially competitive assisted sales;
  • Boosting labor efficiency to complete sales, inventory and merchandising-related tasks more accurately and effectively;
  • Increasing store productivity for dynamic price, workforce and facilities management and optimization; and
  • Connecting with customers in more relevant, personalized and technology-enabled ways.

Download this white paper to take your first steps into the future of connected retail and IoT.

Grocery Delivery Platform Shipt Scores $20.1 Million To Expand Business


1shiptOnline grocery marketplace Shipt has secured $20.1 million in funding. The Series A round was led by Greycroft Partners, Harbert Growth Partners and e.ventures. Shipt plans to use the funds to continue to scale its business to new markets, develop more partnerships with grocery retailers and expand its team.

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