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Walmart CEO Sees Big Challenges Ahead For Retailers, And Big Opportunities

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon believes strongly that retailers need to adapt quickly to rapidly advancing technologies that have accelerated the pace of modern living, particularly when it comes to shopping, purchasing, and taking delivery of products. These technologies will create unprecedented opportunities for retailers. Looking ahead 10 years, he says customers will be able to fulfill everyday needs easily through stores, e-commerce, pick-up, delivery, thanks to sophisticated technologies. Retailers will need to adjust to the fact that customers globally will see what people in other countries have, and will want it too. Lastly, embedded social and environmental sustainability will require tighter collaboration among retailers, NGOs, ...  More

"3 Predictions for the Future of Retail – from the CEO of Walmart", Blog entry, Walmart CEO, January 09, 2017

2017: The Year Of The Brand Chatbot?

2017 could the year of the chatbots for brands looking to automate consumer engagement. They reside within Messenger Services, like Skype and Facebook Messenger, as well as internal messenger services, like HipChat. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated with more user functionality, and as artificial intelligence becomes better understood, chatbots will be able to do even more, with development moving from what the bot builders believe consumers want to a machine-learned reflection of what they really want. Chatbots will proliferate and become an essential element of any integrated marketing campaign, supporting highly targeted campaigns delivered in the environment in which the consumer spends the majority of their online time. [ ...  More

"What, Why and How: Chatbots for Brands", The Drum, January 06, 2017

Shifting Power Balance Between Brands And Retailers As Brands Diversity Channels

For decades, brands and traditional retailers have been joined at the hip, but that mutual dependency is starting to change. Consumers are purchasing ever more online: in 2016 and for the first time more shoppers (51 percent) made purchases online, up from 48 percent a year earlier (ComScore). And the range is extending, with e-commerce pushing into previously largely untouched categories, such as groceries and prestige. Some retail stores are having to scale back – this week Sears Holdings announced it would close nearly 150 Kmart and Sears outlets, while Macy’s plans to shut 68 stores by the middle of 2017, but for the most part, brands seem indifferent. Brands are increasingly investing to reach consumers wherever they can find them.
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"Do brands care if bricks-and-mortars survive the Amazon era?", Campaign Live, January 06, 2017

Gen Z Is Techno-Savvy, But More Cautious, Conservative, Industrious

A college marketing agency survey has determined that Generation Z, known as the first “digital natives,” easily adapts to new technologies, expects instant gratification of needs and desires, and yet is more cautious and disciplined in the face of economic uncertainty than one might expect. The Fluent survey of 501 college students found that Gen Z-ers: have jobs (75 percent), spend less time gaming, use cash less often, prefer in-store shopping (54 percent), tend to avoid cable TV and radio, increasingly cook for themselves, are hooked on social media to connect with friends or get news updates, and want to work for midsize companies when they graduate. [ Image credit: ©  Ron Mader ]

"Fluent College Student Survey Reveals Rising, Falling Trends among Gen Z; New Behaviors Reflect Social and Economic Realities", Marketwired, January 04, 2017

Online Grocery Deliverer Fulfills Orders Using Advanced Warehousing, Robotics

British online grocery delivery firm Ocado is applying an array of advanced technologies to speed grocery purchases to consumer homes. The company maintains a 350,000 square-foot warehouse near Birmingham that beats Amazon at automated order fulfillment. Most of the 48,000 lines of products it sells are perishable, many chilled or frozen. The complex, time-sensitive optimization challenge is handled by sophisticated technologies like swarm robotics – teams of robots that cooperate to find, lift and grab products from shelves – as well as autonomous delivery vehicles, and machine-learned preferences. The company is expanding its warehousing and robotics capabilities to be able to handle and deliver more products even faster in the future. [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia  Commons ]

"The Robotic Grocery Store of the Future Is Here", MIT Technology Review, December 29, 2016

Developed by Yuri Ingultsov Software Lab.