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Period: June 1, 2017 to June 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

Facebook Expands Food Order/Delivery Feature On Desktops And Phones

Facebook users are now able to tap an icon on their smartphone or desktop to place food pickup and delivery orders from participating restaurants that use Delivery.com or Slice. The innovation means users needn’t leave the Facebook platform to visit a restaurant or delivery site. The new feature expands a deal with the two online ordering businesses announced last October that allowed Facebook users to order food from Facebook pages of supported restaurants using a “Start Order” button. The “Order Food” icon eliminates the need to visit restaurant sites because all participating restaurants are listed together on the user's Facebook page.

"Facebook Rolls Out a New “Order Food” Option in its Main Navigation", Tech Crunch, May 19, 2017

Health And Personal Care Sales Booming Online, Led By Amazon

U.S. sales of health and personal care (HPC) products slowed in the first quarter by one percent year-over-year, mainly in brick-and-mortar stores. Online sales were up in the quarter, led by Amazon.com. As of the first quarter of 2017, the U.S. HPC market was valued at $80.6 billion, while Amazon sales represented $1.3 billion. Year over year growth of HPC sales on Amazon in the first quarter was 30 percent. According to One Click Retail, consumers are abandoning in-store shopping for HPC products in favor of online shopping. Within Amazon, the rate of growth for HPC is highest in Prime Pantry, with top categories multiplying revenue by as much as five times.

"Amazon Pantry Drives Health & Personal Care Sales: The Amazon Effect", One Click Retail, May 31, 2017

Walmart Tests Use Of Employees As Delivery People

To further save customers time and money, Walmart is experimenting with the use of employees on their way home from work to deliver online purchases to nearby buyers. The new program is strictly voluntary and participation levels are up to the employee. Walmart’s technology allows them to set preferences: choose how many packages they deliver, sizes and weights, and which days they can make the after-work deliveries. “It just makes sense,” Walmart eCommerce CEO Marc Lore, says. “The best part is this gives our own associates a way to earn extra income on their existing drive home.”

"Serving Customers in New Ways: Walmart Begins Testing Associate Delivery", Blog entry, Walmart, June 01, 2017

How Walmart Might Foil Incursions By Discount Grocers Aldi, Lidl

Walmart has been doing a good job of beefing up its e-commerce program to stay close to online retail competitor Amazon. But analysts say another big challenge is to better compete against the German no-frills grocery retailers Aldi and Lidl. That battleground is mainly about price, but not completely. Walmart’s U.K. grocery unit Asda, whose unique selling proposition was low prices, got beat in the price arena by Aldi and Lidl. It is still trying to recover. As the two German retailers expand their presence in the U.S., Walmart needs to make sure it is not out-discounted again. It also needs to make sure its house brands compete on quality as well as price. The good news is that the company’s growing e-commerce strengths could help it fend off low-tech discounter competition, especially if it continues to boost its shop-online/pick-up-in-store strategy.

"Walmart's Big New Problem Isn't Amazon", Bloomberg , June 02, 2017

Amazon Customers Who Get Food Assistance Can Pay Cheaper Prime Fee

Amazon has adjusted its Prime program to include customers receiving government financial assistance at a lower monthly fee. Membership in Prime includes video, music, reading, photos and unlimited free shipping. The fee for people on food assistance and other programs will be $5.99 a month for a year with anytime cancelation. Customers will need to qualify with a valid EBT card linked to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). The EBT card cannot be used to pay for membership. The regular monthly rate for Prime is $10.99, which drops to $8.25 a month if paid annually ($99). Prime Video membership is $8.99 a month.

"Amazon Introduces Discounted Monthly Prime Offer for Customers Receiving Government Assistance", News release, Amazon, June 06, 2017

Walmart Tests Large Parking Lot Kiosk For Online Order Pickup

Walmart is testing the use of a large self-service kiosk that would allow customers to pick up their online purchases without contact with an employee. After purchases are paid for online, Walmart employees find and pack the orders in bins in the 20-by-80-foot test structure, which is located in the parking lot of a Warr Acres, Okla., supercenter. Customers gain entry to the kiosk, which contains refrigerators and freezers to maintain food freshness, via a typed-in code. Customers must spend at least $30 online to use the kiosk, which is open 24/7 and can fulfill hundreds of customer orders in a day.

"Walmart built a giant vending machine that retrieves groceries", Business Insider, June 06, 2017

Companies, Organizations  

TECHNOLOGY: Coke CEO Sees Technology As Major Challenge, As Well As Solution

Technology advances are helping Coca-Cola cut costs. Company has turned to cheaper off-the-shelf software, for example, to run human resources and bill payment, allowing it to cut obsolete jobs. But evolving technology also presents new marketing challenges, according to CEO James Quincey. Rise of online beverage purchasing is disrupting soft drink buying patterns: shopping trips that used to lead to soft drink purchases at food courts or vending machines are being replaced by smartphone purchases and home deliveries. Quincey sees technology such as social media as key to answering these challenges, including decline in foot traffic, and ultimately believes surmounting them will make Coca-Cola a winner, here and abroad, in the digital age.

"Coca-Cola’s CEO Fights Digital Threat to Buying Habits", TheRecord.com, May 26, 2017

How Panera Solved Its ‘Mosh Pit’ Problem

The Wall Street Journal, June 02, 2017

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