Starbucks Will Build 20,000-Square-Foot Innovation Center

Starbucks is building a 20,000-square-foot space in Seattle that will house a new Tryer Innovation Center, according to Brent Cashell, the center’s Director who revealed the news at the Retail Innovation Lounge at SXSW. Cashell noted that any Starbucks employee can test ideas ranging in between “a new drink or a payment process,” according to a report from GeoMarketing.

The unveiling comes more than a month after Kroger opened its own Culinary Innovation Center and nearly two years after Walmart opened its Culinary & Innovation Center, signaling that food and beverage retailers see value in transforming how these goods are presented and sold.

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Macy’s Expands VR Pilot To 60 Stores, Will Add Mobile Checkout Nationwide By End Of 2018

Macy’s is unveiling two major features designed to transform and innovate the store experience, CEO Jeff Gennette said during a keynote at ShopTalk 2018. During the session, Gennette announced that Macy’s will bring VR furniture-selling tools to 60 stores by this fall and will debut mobile checkout in all stores by the end of 2018.

The VR tools will allow customers to create a virtual replication of their home or specific room via their tablet, and then drag and drop various products into the 2D space. Using a headset, customers can then jump into that model and see what a couch might look like in their living room in 3D.

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Exclusive CMO Council Q&A: If Unilever Takes A Stand Against Fake News, Retail Must Step Up Too

0aaCMOCouncilWith social media making it easier to share fake news, hate speech or divisive content with a larger audience, retailers and CPG brands now need to protect themselves to ensure they’re not caught up in a crossfire that can turn off consumers. A recent CMO Council survey found that 66% of U.S. and UK consumers lose respect for brands that place ads near inappropriate or questionable content.

Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, has gotten this message loud and clear — and is doing something about it. CMO Keith Weed recently noted that the CPG giant wouldn’t advertise on tech platforms that create societal division or don’t protect children. Weed later clarified that Unilever does not plan to pull advertising from these platforms, but will instead open a dialogue with them behind the scenes to improve the services and earn the public’s trust.

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UGC Influence On Store Purchases Grows To 45%

As consumers move seamlessly between the online and offline worlds while they shop, online research is increasingly influencing their in-store purchasing decisions. A new study indicates that the frequency with which Consumer-Generated Content (CGC) influenced offline purchases jumped from 39% in 2016 to 45% in 2017.

This measurement of CGC’s influence on shoppers who Research Online, Buy Offline (ROBO) comes from Bazaarvoice. The company developed a metric calledthe ROBO Multiplier to quantify how much online reviews, responses to Q&As, videos and photos uploaded by buyers, and other consumer content affect the brick-and-mortar retail experience.

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NRF 2018: Wakefern, Postmates Tap Next-Gen Cameras And Robotics To Improve Logistics

The NRF Big Show often highlights future technology that retailers might not deploy for a few years. But when it comes to improving the shelf stocking experience or building out a smooth logistics system, the future is now. Wakefern Foods and Postmates are leveraging out-of-stock detection cameras and robotics to bolster the shopper experience, both in stores and while awaiting a home delivery.

In a Q&A led by Seth Webb, Managing Director at Tusk Ventures, three retail and supply chain executives discussed the future of logistics. Panelists included:

  • Vikrum Aiyer, Head of Public Policy and Strategic Communications at Postmates;
  • Christopher McCrae, Manager of Retail Logistics at Wakefern Food Co.; and
  • Nick Saunders, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Quiet Logistics.

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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.

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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.

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Kroger Expands ‘Scan, Bag, Go’ Cashierless Checkout To 400 Stores

Photo from Business Insider

Photo from Business Insider

While the “big two,” Amazon and Walmart, have jumped into their own tests of cashierless technology, the nation’s largest pure supermarket chain isn’t just standing by. Kroger plans to expand its “Scan, Bag, Go” technology to 400 stores in 2018, enabling shoppers to scan products with a provided handheld scanner or with a smartphone app, according to a report from Business Insider.

The technology isn’t as sophisticated as the cashierless tests at Amazon Go and Walmart, which are designed to eliminate the concept of checkout entirely. But while Kroger shoppers still will have to visit a self-checkout register to pay for their orders, eventually shoppers will able to pay directly via the app.

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The North Face, Under Armour And Apple Lead In CX Study

Less than one in four (22%) of global brands are providing a “good” or “excellent” customer experience, according to a report from Astound Commerce that examined both web and store performance. Many brands lag in merchandising execution and self-service, although a number of site search capabilities are improving.

The top performing brands include:

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NYX And Samsung Launch VR Makeup Tutorial

L’Oreal’s NYX and Samsung have partnered to launch a virtual reality (VR) makeup tutorial in select stores, the “Impossibly NYX Professional Makeup” Gear VR experience.

In-store shoppers can use Samsung Gear VR technology to access makeup tutorials led by beauty vloggers Kristen Leanne, Mykie (also known as “Glam & Gore”) and Karen Sarahii Gonzales.Consumers wear the Samsung Gear headset with an Oculus controller to select the products they want to learn more about, and they also receive a special price for purchases.

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