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Period: May 1, 2017 to May 15, 2017
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Watsons Kiosk In Shanghai Features YouCam Makeup App, Allows Customers To Virtually Try On Cosmetics

Retailer Watsons' flagship store in Shanghai features a kiosk that comes with augmented-reality-powered facial detection technology. Developed by Perfect Corporation, the YouCam makeup app allows customers to try on more than 30 products from leading makeup brands, such as MaxFactor, Maybelline, and Kate Cosmetics.

"YouCam Makeup App Becomes an Interactive Makeup Consultant in Watsons Shanghai", Business Wire, February 24, 2017

Smart Lock Technology May Solve Major E-Commerce Problem

One of the biggest worries of online buyers is the fate of a delivered product when the buyer isn’t at home. It can be stolen, rained on, or simply returned to the seller if too many delivery notices are ignored. This “cognitive load” dampens online sales – it's the number one problem inhibiting e-commerce – according to the founder of August Smart Lock. His technology automatically unlocks the door when the correct codes are presented, giving delivery companies one-time, specific-time, or anytime access to the house. A camera monitors the whole process. A pilot test showed that lock owners, though nervous at first, were extremely happy with the process. Bottom line: “This is how I want everything delivered to my house.”

"How In-Home Package Delivery Could Save E-Commerce", Fast Company, April 21, 2017

“Blessed” Panera Streamlines Food Ordering, Ramps Up Delivery

Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich says his company is “blessed” because it has not only applied the principle of “digital utilization” to streamlining the ordering process, its menu – soups, salads, sandwiches – is perfect for easy delivery to homes and businesses. This blessing has meant that the company can reduce the number of workers handling food, but has to hire 10,000 delivery people by the end of 2017, as it adds delivery services to as many as 40 percent of its eateries this year. The streamlining process, known as Panera 2.0, has meant changes across the board, including redesigned kitchens and reworked assembly lines, plus implementation of new ordering technology like digital kiosks.

"Panera is Replacing Cashiers with Robots — but it's Hiring Thousands of Workers for Another Task", Business Insider, April 24, 2017

Fast-Growing U.K. Beauty Services Venture Gets Cash Infusion From Unilever

Unilever Ventures is putting $4.5 million into rapidly expanding London-based on-demand beauty services provider Blow Ltd. to facilitate the company’s expansion to other U.K. cities and to the Continent. Blow, which has been expanding at a rate of 20 percent a month, is based on an advanced technology platform that allows customers to book time-saving, at-home beauty appointments using its website or smartphone app. The company calls it a reinvention of the service experience that also creates a new product distribution channel. Three-fourths of the app users are busy women looking to save time by having beauticians, manicurists, etc., come to the home.

"Britain’s Blow Secures Unilever Ventures Investment, Plans Expansion", Women’s Wear Daily, April 27, 2017

Survey Puts Amazon, Google At Top Of Beloved Consumer Brands List

Digital media and survey research firm Morning Consult says the two “most loved” consumer brands in the U.S. are Amazon and Google, followed by Campbell Soup, Hershey Company, UPS, FedEx, Sony, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Google unit YouTube. The rankings are based on 200,000 interviews that covered 27 consumer brand sectors. In the food and beverage category, beer is led by Heineken, followed by Budweiser and Samuel Adams. Among restaurants, Baskin Robbins is the leader, followed by Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. And Kroger edges out Whole Foods in the grocery category.

"Amazon, Google 'Most Loved' Brands", MediaPost, May 03, 2017

Target Tests Next-Day Home Delivery In Minneapolis

Though retailer Target offers free in-store pickup for online orders, the store feels it needs to do more to keep up with competitors Amazon and Walmart, so it has begun an experiment with next-day home delivery of household staples. The company is testing the new service among employees in the headquarters city of Minneapolis, and will expand the test there later in the summer to the general public. For the pilot test, employees using a company debit or credit card will be limited to two 45-pound boxes of household goods, including laundry detergent, paper towels, granola bars and coffee. If the test succeeds, customers who use the Target Restock program will be charged “a low, flat fee,” according to the company.

"Target to launch next-day delivery of household goods", USA Today, May 09, 2017

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