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Period: August 1, 2018 to September 1, 2018
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

Blockchain’s Innovative Features Whet Restaurants’ Appetite For Safety And Openness

Restaurant companies are trying blockchain applications to manage their various operations, including customer loyalty programs and supply chains. For example, Chanticleer Holdings uses blockchain, which is a digital, peer-to-peer technology designed to store encrypted data and protect it from fraud, to manage its loyalty program. With blockchain, the company is letting customers earn points and rewards across its restaurant brands. Closely linked to the cryptocurrency bitcoin, blockchain lets users share and access data through a decentralized system that is both open and anonymous. However, developers can add safeguards and safety parameters to the technology. 

"Explaining the Rise of Blockchain in Restaurants", QSR Magazine, July 01, 2018

Chipotle Looks At Technology To Revive Sales Hammered By Outbreak

Chipotle is using technology to recover from a sales slump caused by an E. coli outbreak. One of the restaurant chain’s locations in New York City has functioned as a test site for many of the innovations Chipotle has implemented. According to the company, one of the biggest changes involved the company’s mobile ordering. Previously, customers have complained that its mobile ordering was confusing and came with wait times that could be as long as 45 minutes. Chipotle is using bold signs to help lead customers to mobile pick-up shelves and has reduced wait time to 12 minutes. Mobile orders account for 8.8 percent of sales, an increase of 40 percent from 2016 to 2017.

"We visited the Chipotle of the future. Here's what it's like", Business Insider, July 02, 2018

Beauty Marketers Enlist AI Apps For Personalized Campaigns

Beauty brands are adopting artificial intelligence technologies, including augmented reality, to create personalized marketing. With 70 percent of American women beauty buyers claiming being overwhelmed by product choices in a May 2018 survey by marketing firm Automat, beauty marketers see the need to provide consumers with product recommendations tailored to their needs. Beauty retailer Sephora’s Virtual Artist, for example, lets users upload photos in Messenger to virtually try on lipstick shades recommended by bots. However, marketers need to convince consumers to try and be comfortable with AI-enabled initiatives, with about a third of respondents saying they were unsure about using a virtual beauty advisor.

"Beauty Marketers Are Getting Personal with AI", eMarketer , July 03, 2018

Facebook Lets Advertisers Use AR To Display Products On News Feed

Facebook has announced plans to allow advertisers to display their products on its Messenger and News Feed platforms using new technologies, including augmented reality. Facebook VP for product marketing for global marketing solutions, Ty Ahmad-Taylor, introduced AR-enabled ads that let consumers virtually try on sunglasses and makeup products. Beauty brand Michael Kors was the first advertiser to try AR ads, which include a “Tap to try it on” option.

"Facebook is testing augmented reality ads in the News Feed", Tech Crunch, July 10, 2018

Albertsons Extends Organic And Natural Foods Lines To Online Market

Privately-owned grocery chain Albertsons has launched an Instacart-powered virtual store offering organic and natural foods and beverages. According to the Idaho-based company, the O Organics Market will be available at first in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, Calif., but will expand to other locations in the future. The online market will carry more than 3,800 items from the O Organics, Open Nature, and other organic and natural brands available in its stores, which include Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, and United Supermarkets, among others.

"Albertsons Companies launches O Organics Market in San Francisco and Washington D.C.", GlobeNewswire , July 12, 2018

Innisfree Introduces New Retail-Equipped Store In China

Korean cosmetics company Innisfree launched its first New Retail store in China. Located at the Li Xing Shopping Plaza in the country’s Hangzhou region, the store comes with New Retail digital and interactive features. Developed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma in 2016, New Retail is designed to use technology to combine online and offline shopping “into one comprehensive channel”. It offers customers convenience whether buying through an app or at an offline store. New Retail features include Magic Mirror, an AR-enabled technology which lets consumers virtually try makeup products; Smart Skin Analyzer, which analyzes the user’s skin and recommends the best Innisfree products based on the skin report; and Vending Machine, which lets consumers buy products at discounted prices using the Taobao mobile app.

"Innisfree Rejuvenates Its Store Experience in China", Alizila.com, July 20, 2018

HiMirror Measures Skin, Recommends Treatment Options

HiMirror, an internet-connected smart mirror, lets users scan and analyze their skin. Designed as an “at-home beauty and fitness consultant”, the device allows users to sign in with their face and access its functions using an interactive touchscreen. Its daily skin analysis gauges 10 indicators, presenting the results as a slide show or through a mobile app. Equipped with LEDs, the mirror includes five lighting settings and lets users zoom. 

"The future of beauty? A magic mirror that scores your skin and plays fitness consultant", The Evening Standard, July 21, 2018

Kanebo Subsidiary Launches MemoMi Digital Mirror Service

Japanese beauty brand Kanebo’s subsidiary, e’quipe, Ltd., plans to launch a service featuring the digital mirror developed by Silicon Valley-based MemoMi Labs Inc. Buyers of SUQQU brand of cosmetics can experience the service while receiving a Gankin facial muscle massage at some retail stores. According to the company, a built-in digital image recorder will record the facial massage session and sends the video to the customer’s smartphone.

"e’quipe to Introduce MemoMi Labs Digital Mirror", Beauty Packaging, July 23, 2018

Sephora Is Using Personalization Tools To Enhance Customer Experience

Beauty retailer Sephora is focusing on personalization, using a range of tools across its channels, to meet growing consumer expectations for shopping experiences. These include the Virtual Artist try-on tool, applicable across various categories; the Beauty Insider Community, for followers of beauty trends to connect with others in real time; its mobile app and Store Companion tool, providing product recommendations and other useful information; guides for skincare and makeovers, including videos; and its new Skincare Advisor on Google Home, Sephora’s first voice tool, with which users can book in-store appointments, listen to beauty news and more.

"5 ways Sephora creates a seamless customer experience", National Retail Federation, July 23, 2018

MDacne's Online Payment Deal With AskToPay Makes It Easy For Teenagers To Complete Transactions

Dermatology company MDacne has signed a partnership with AskToPay, an online payment platform for teenagers. One of Mastercard's startup of the year awardees, AskToPay allows teenagers, MDacne's target market, to send payment requests to their parents and complete their transaction with the acne treatment company. Teenagers will find AskToPay's technology convenient to use, the payment service provider said. 

"MDacne Partners with AskToPay for Revolutionary Sales Solution for Teens", PR Newswire , July 25, 2018

Lime Crime Marks 10th Year By Opening For Business At Selfridges

Lime Crime, makeup brand with cult following, celebrated its 10th anniversary by launching its products at Selfridges' beauty department. Know for its “colorful, vegan and cruelty-free products”, Lime Crime was launched when online beauty retail or ecommerce was relatively beginning. Its popularity among YouTube beauty bloggers helped make the company popular. According to the company, its decision to launch in Selfridges was prompted by the fact that the UK is its second largest market.

"Digital First Beauty Brand, Lime Crime Unveils First European Retail Presence in Selfridges", Women’s Wear Daily, July 27, 2018

Brandless Secures $240-Million Investment From Softbank

Japan's Brandless Inc. revealed Softbank's $100-billion Vision Fund investment unit has invested $240 million in the online retailer. In three previous rounds of funding, the online seller of exclusively own-brand, generic daily household products had easily secured $51 million. According to Softbank managing partner Jeff Housenbold, Brandless' data focus and its ability to create excitement around ordinary products have convinced the bank to invest in the online retailer.

"This No-Brand Startup Won $240 Million to Fight Amazon on Price and Quality", Bloomberg Businessweek, July 31, 2018

Look Fabulous Forever Launches At-Home Selling Program

UK-based Look Fabulous Forever has launched its At Home home selling program, a sales-representative-based retail scheme similar to those of direct-selling brands, such as Avon. According to the brand of cosmetics for elderly women, the program provides customers and sellers the opportunity to socialize and test the company's collection of beauty products. In early 2018, the company implemented a brand refresh, which included a packaging and design revision.

"Look Fabulous Forever: ageless beauty player launches at-home selling model", Cosmetics Design Europe, July 31, 2018

Samantha Bort Talks About L’Oréal USA’s Focus On New Technology

In an interview with The Drum, Samantha Bort, manager of digital innovation and entrepreneurship for L'Oréal USA, discusses the importance of new technology at the company. She said new technology needs to answer some key questions: why it exists and how it will improve the consumer’s experience, and also do the developers have a long-term plan for it that will benefit L’Oréal. In Bort’s opinion, AI is an exciting opportunity, enabling the company to provide a personalized experience at scale, highlighting the 2017 launch in the USA of the company’s first chatbot, for Kiehl’s on Facebook Messenger. She is currently most excited about “conversational commerce”, with chat and voice bringing new opportunities, and blockchain.

"Q&A: L'Oréal USA innovation boss on new tech and conversational commerce", The Drum, August 02, 2018

New Study Highlights Growing Use Of Beauty Advisors

According to a new study by Automat, US beauty shoppers are embracing the use of advisors to provide tips and product recommendations. Beauty advice is now being channeled through new tools, including chat, as well as texting and live video. The survey found that 49% of respondents would definitely or likely use a virtual advisor when shopping online or offline, to help them navigate the growing number of options - 70% say they are overwhelmed by product choice. However, around two-thirds would prefer to browse in-store without an advisor, making it easier for advisors to reach consumers online. 78% prefer to look online before they buy in any channel. The study concluded that brands need to consider chatbots and artificial intelligence. 

"Beauty shoppers want virtual advisors", Business Insider, August 03, 2018

Einstein Says It Has Perfected Its Mobile App

Colorado-based Einstein Bros. Bagels is launching its “perfect” smartphone app with a rewards program and a one-day offer of a free bagel and shmear with purchase to anyone who shows a restaurant brand's mobile app on their device. To participate, customers need to download the app and sign up for the Shmear Society Rewards program. Members are eligible to enjoy a free egg sandwich with purchase on their birthday and two points for every $1 spent in-store, which can be redeemed at any time for food and beverages at participating locations. Einstein Bros. Bagels is part of the Coffee Bagel Brands family, which includes Caribou Coffee, Bruegger's Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel.

"Einstein Bros. Bagels Extends Free Bagel and Shmear to All Restaurant Mobile App Users", PRNewswire, August 06, 2018

AI Advances Will Create New Opportunities Throughout The Beauty Supply Chain

The global cosmeceuticals is sector expected to attract over US$60 billion in sales by 2020, and artificial intelligence could provide an opportunity for more brands to offer customized beauty solutions. AI is already being adopted by some brands, with AI personal stylists, chatbots and product recommendations. The haircare category is one that is embracing the opportunities afforded by AI and machine learning developments to, for example, create a formulation personalized for the consumer’s hair type, and packaged with a personal touch, which will define new frontiers for the packaging industry too. In fact, AI will be increasingly integrated throughout the supply chain, and create the platform for even deeper communication with the consumer. 

"How Artificial Intelligence is Adding Glitter to the Beauty Industry", Analytics Insight, August 07, 2018

L’Oréal And Facebook Team Up For AR Makeup Experience Using Modiface

L’Oréal, using its recently-acquired ModiFace solution, is collaborating with Facebook on creating an augmented reality makeup try-on experience through the social media platform’s camera products. Facebook says this brings AR into the mainstream. L’Oréal’s Chief Digital Officer, Lubomira Rochet, said that the two companies share a belief that AR is becoming an increasingly crucial way for consumers to discover brands and products.

"L'Oreal's ModiFace launches long-term Augmented Reality collaboration with Facebook", L’Oreal, August 09, 2018

IBM’s Blockchain Program Seeks To Eliminate Food Fraud By Partnering With Producers And Retailers

Announced in August 2017, IBM’s Food Trust is a blockchain-enabled cloud-based system designed to help retailers determine the sources of food contamination. Counting 10 food producers and retailers, including Dole, Driscoll’s, and Kroger, among its partners, the system uses blockchain to link the members using a “transparent, permanent and shared record” of the “most urgent areas” in the global food supply chain. At present, the IBM Food Trust system accounts for more than 350,000 food data transactions, covering dozens of food products, such as vegetables, meats, and spices.

"Understanding How IBM And Others Use Blockchain Technology To Track Global Food Supply Chain", Forbes.com, August 11, 2018

Virtual Beauty Try-Ons Could Be Available In-Flight

Augmented reality tools are becoming mainstream in travel retail stores in airports around the world. Sunglass Hut had a “magic mirror” in its store in Queen’s Terminal, London Heathrow, some four years ago. The trend is being extended to the airports’ beauty stores. Last year, the Lancôme holiday pop-up In Singapore Changi’s Terminal 3 allowed users access to the AR makeover app, Virtual Mirror, and in the new Terminal 2 building at Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Lancôme and Chanel stores are using interactive and virtual tools. AR technology in the duty-free shops is getting more sophisticated, and it could be extended to the air too, with travelers “trying on” and buying products in-flight. Qantas and Air France are among airlines testing AR entertainment systems.

"Beauty Boost: Duty-Free Shopping Now Includes Virtual Makeovers", Apex.aero, August 14, 2018

Developed by Yuri Ingultsov Software Lab.