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

August 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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. [Image Credit: © Fancycrave.com from Pexels.com]


Rachel Wolfson, "Understanding How IBM And Others Use Blockchain Technology To Track Global Food Supply Chain", Forbes.com, August 11, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Einstein Says It Has Perfected Its Mobile App

August 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Einstein Bros. Bagels]
"Einstein Bros. Bagels Extends Free Bagel and Shmear to All Restaurant Mobile App Users", PRNewswire, August 06, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Sniph Partners With Retailer Harvey Nichols To Launch In-Store Service

July 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Sniph, a perfume subscription box service company, has launched its service in high-end retailer Harvey Nichols stores in London. Part of the company’s efforts to expand its operations in the UK, the move will let customers of the retailer try the service by purchasing a fragrance box for £14 or signing up for a Sniph subscription. According to the company, the in-store service will be available by October 3, 2018. [Image Credit: © auntmasako @ Pixabay.com]
"Perfume subscription box service Sniph launches in Harvey Nichols", Cosmetics Technology, July 06, 2018, © Verdict Media Limited.
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Conversable Launches Faster-To-Market, Customer-Loyalty-Promoting Bots

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Conversable launched a collection of omnichannel bots designed to get to market faster without the need for huge technical investments. Launched in 2016, the company provides enterprise-level software-as-a-service technology for developing and distributing AI-enabled messaging and voice services across social media and smart-technology platforms. With bots considered an important element of brands’ capability to promote lasting customer loyalty, only 4 percent of companies “have deployed conversational interfaces, according to the 2018 Gartner CIO Survey. Conversable, which was featured in the Gartner Market Guide for Conversational Platforms, offers its customers a platform that supports more messaging and voice channels than those of its competitors do. [Image Credit: © HeikoAL @ Pixabay.com]

"Conversable’s New Capabilities Empower Brands to Easily Deploy Bots Across Voice and Messaging Channels", Customer Think, July 03, 2018, © CustomerThink Corp.
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L’Oreal’s New Tool Measures Digital Media’s Marketing Effectiveness In Real Time

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal partnered with cloud services provider Domo to create the cockpit, a tool designed to measure the return on investment and productivity of its digital media assets. Also, the beauty brand said the tool is developed to allow it to see which digital media investments are working in real time and help the company decide on where to spend. Cockpit monitors more than 20,000 data sources in real time by using metrics, including share of voice, and performance measures, such as fraud, viewability, and CPM. [Image Credit: © Bruno Glatsch from Pixabay.com]
Sarah Vizard, "How L’Oréal drives marketing effectiveness and media neutrality", Marketing Week , July 03, 2018, © Centaur Communications Ltd.
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Chipotle Looks At Technology To Revive Sales Hammered By Outbreak

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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. [Image Credit: © samuelfernandezrivera from Pixabay.com]


Hollis Johnson and Kate Taylor, "We visited the Chipotle of the future. Here's what it's like", Business Insider, July 02, 2018, © Insider Inc.
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Customer Calls Offer Marketers Trove Of Data, Tips On How To Fine-Tune Targeting Campaigns

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Digital marketers, by analyzing the voice of their customers, can gain information about their behaviors, preferences, purchasing, and intent. These data can be used to develop a “seamless omni-channel customer experience.” The author presents four tips on how to manage this process. First, the process should route or send callers to the best destination based on consumer data and the reason for calling. Also, customer service agents should be equipped with insights on callers, by providing them with call analytics solutions through the PC or an audible voice message. Third, the system should deploy voice analytics to gather frequently asked questions from calls received. Finally, the process should use the results of every call received to retarget or exclude callers from the targeting campaign. [Image Credit: © JuralMin @ Pixabay.com]
Derek Andersen, "4 Ways Marketers Use Voice Analytics to Create Frictionless Customer Experiences", Business 2 Community, July 02, 2018, © Business 2 Community
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SK-II Opens Smart Tokyo Store With Emerging Technology

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese beauty brand SK-II has opened a retail store that features smart technology in Tokyo. According to the company, the store is designed to disrupt the beauty industry by using emerging technology. Featuring “The Art of You” digital wall, the store lets customers take part in the experience created with a two-level mixed reality learning laboratory. It also highlights the SK-II facial scan which scans customer skin without physical contact and analyses the skin using virtual technology. [Image Credit: © Karolina Grabowska @ Pixabay.com]
Shawn Lim, "How SK-II disrupted the beauty industry in Japan with emerging technology", The Drum , July 02, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd.
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Blockchain’s Innovative Features Whet Restaurants’ Appetite For Safety And Openness

July 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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. [Image Credit: © Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.com]

Kevin Hardy, "Explaining the Rise of Blockchain in Restaurants", QSR Magazine, July 01, 2018, © Journalistic, Inc
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Voice Search And Marketing Can Catapult Brands To Top Of Online Retail World

June 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Results of a study in the UK revealed 85 percent of Amazon customers prefer the recommended Amazon product when voice shopping. Because customers view Amazon as a reliable source of product reviews and suggested products, consumers tend to accept recommended products as ideal for them. Already, marketers and brands are looking at the possibility of advertising on Amazon’s Alexa virtual-assistant platform although the online retailer has repeatedly denied it plans to allow advertising. Results of a test conducted by Bobsled Marketing on Alexa’s basis and logic order for recommending products showed products with the “Amazon’s Choice” badge are top priority. Products from the user’s order history and the first products in the search result for a search term come second and third. [Image Credit: © HeikoAL @ Pixabay.com]

Kiri Masters, "Amazon Voice Commerce: A Huge Opportunity For Brands Or Too Early To Tell?", Forbes.com, June 30, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Direct-To-Consumer Channels Boost US Beauty Brands’ 2017 Sales Growth, Report Finds

June 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A recent study from market research company Kline showed that sales in direct-to-consumer channels are growing faster than other channels in the US. The report, Beauty Retailing USA: Channel Analysis and Opportunities, found that sales on home shopping, social media and direct-to-consumer e-commerce platforms together grew 13% last year. Brands like Glossier and Kim Kardashian's KKW Beauty, for example, are using pop-up shops to reach and appeal to more customers by offering a personalized experience, and retailers are being forced to enhance the in-store customer experience, particularly through technology, to compete. [Image Credit: © freestocks-photos @ Pixabay.com]
Austyn King, "Engaging experiences: The secret to success in beauty retail?", Cosmetics Business, June 28, 2018, © HPCi Media Ltd.
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Bauer Brands Try On Voice Search Marketing For Size

June 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Bauer has started integrating voice technology into the company’s marketing strategies. With voice search forecast to account for 50 percent of all searches by 2020, according to ComScore data, an increasing number of Bauer brands are looking at innovations in voice activation. Sales of voice-enabled devices, such as the Amazon Echo, are growing, creating a bigger audience and user base for voice search marketing. Data from Radiocentre showed Amazon Echo will be in 40 percent of homes by early 2018. [Image Credit: © HeikoAL @ Pixabay.com]

Abby Carvosso, "Alexa, help me, I’m a marketer!", The Drum, June 28, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Physical Stores Play Important Role As Component Of Omni-Channel Customer Experience

June 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Ecommerce and advances in retail-related technologies are prompting retailers to transform their physical stores into a component of the omni-channel customer experience. Retailers are turning their physical stores into a fulfillment center for customers who demand the omni-channel experience. Also, stores are becoming a destination that supports the customer’s online experience with the brand. Although stores no longer need to carry huge inventories, retailers can use virtual technology to “display” huge collections of products. Digital technology has equipped customers with increased knowledge about products and services, prompting retailers to empower store associates with skills and capabilities beyond selling. [Image Credit: © Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay.com]

Singaravelu Ekambaram, "Chatbots Recoding the Customer Experience", The Economic Times , June 27, 2018, © ETRetail.com
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Majority Of Retailers And Brands To Invest In Voice-Enabled Search

June 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
According to digital marketing agency QueryClick, 53 percent of retailers and brands said they are planning to invest in voice search in the next 12 months. Data from the survey “The CMO Performance Report 2018,” published by the company, revealed 75 percent of CMO respondents said their brand plans to adapt their SEO strategy to ensure it comes out in voice search results. Among all respondents, 43 percent said they plan to implement this in the next 12 months, with 32 percent saying they intend to adopt voice search in over 12 months. [Image Credit: © William Iven @ Pixabay.com]
Paul Skeldon, "More than half of retailers investing in voice search in next 12 months, study says...", Internet Retailing , June 26, 2018, © InternetRetailing Media
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Lush Launches Limited Edition Products Chosen By Online Communities

June 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Direct-to-consumer cosmetics brand Lush has launched a new concept, offering limited runs of old and new products, chosen by the brand’s communities and “super fans” on social media. ‘Community Products’ is a way of using consumer engagement to support innovation. Each product will be launched as a limited edition and produced only in small batches, available first and exclusively on the UK website, and later extended to other markets globally over the summer. [Image Credit: © skeeze from Pixabay.com]
Lucy Whitehouse, "Lush Community Products Launch: responding to consumer feedback ", Cosmetics Design Europe , June 26, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
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Voice Search Helps Brands And Marketers Regain Trust Of Consumers

June 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Voice search technology can help marketers and advertisers regain the trust of consumers. Recent studies, such as the one by ExpressVPN, have revealed that consumers do not trust how brands and tech companies collect and use user data. To regain user trust, marketers should adopt a conversational approach, which is increasingly becoming possible as consumers become more at ease with using their voice to interact with their devices. Voice search allows consumers to actively search for what they want instead of “being fed” by a non-voice system. [Image Credit: © PhotoMIX-Company @ Pixabay.com]

Jon Heim, "How voice search can help regain consumer trust", The Drum, June 25, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Glossier Sees Direct Customer Relationship As Best Way To Grow Business

June 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
US beauty brand Glossier is using digital technology to establish and maintain a direct relationship with its customers. Henry Davis, president and chief operating officer of the company, said his company strongly believes in the value of owning the relationship with the customer. After launching its online business in 2014, Glossier has gained a niche status in the global beauty market by selling its collection of 26 skincare and beauty products. It also operates a content division and physical stores across the country. [Image Credit: © PhotoMIX-Company @ Pixabay.com]
Charlotte Rogers, "Why direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier is ripping up the marketing playbook ", Marketing Week , June 25, 2018, © Centaur Communications Ltd.
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Voice Tech Expected To Be Major Part Of Marketing Strategies, Industry Movers Say

June 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Several marketing professionals present the reasons why marketers should be aware of developments related to voice technology and connected devices and be ready to use them. Originals at Adidas global director of digital and retail marketing, Swave Szymczyk, said “voice is set to become the next big input into our computers,” which will enable users to simply ask their digital assistant for anything, including a brand or commodity. Lego Group head of global search marketing Luis Navarrete Gomez said marketers need to ask how they can use voice technology to improve user experience. Bauer Media group managing director of advertising Abby Carvosso said brands within her company are expressing interest in new forms of voice activation. [Image Credit: © Kaufdex @ Pixabay.com]
"Listen up: here's why do you need to think about voice now", The Drum, June 25, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Blockchain-Based App Helps Atlanta Businesses Reduce Food Waste

June 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A technology that allows distribution – but not copying – of digital information, blockchain was originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin. Now a food waste management company in the Atlanta, Ga., area is using a blockchain-based app to connect businesses with local charities to ease deliveries of leftover food. The idea behind the Goodr app is to reduce food waste by providing data about what types of surplus food app users are producing. The Goodr app keeps a data ledger for clients showing how much food is wasted, and where they might be losing money. Data indicate what food gets wasted the most, what the community connections are, and how the environment is affected. Goodr hopes to expand to Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, Dallas, Houston and San Francisco by the end of 2019. [Image Credit: © Blockchain.info]

Gillian Brassil, "Meet Goodr, the company using blockchain technology to reduce food waste", CNBC, June 24, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Audio Will Soon Be King Of Social Media, Research Shows

June 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
There are three reasons why audio will soon become the most important element of social media marketing. First, audio is the most intimate kind of content, as can be seen in the rapid growth of podcasting. Podcast consumers feel like they are part of the process and are more likely to recommend a podcast to a friend. Also, audio is a type of content that “can be consumed passively.” Latest research shows 69 percent of podcast listeners can engage with the content while doing some other things. Leading social networks, such as Facebook, are adopting audio content and adding it to their platforms. Facebook Stories, for example, plans to introduce a feature designed to let users share a voice message if they do not like to have a video of themselves. [Image Credit: © Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay.com]
Robert Katai, "3 Reasons Why Audio Will Conquer Social Media", Adweek.com, June 21, 2018, © Adweek.com
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New App Helps Reduce Food Waste With Smart Shopping, Storage, Cooking

June 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Silicon Valley-based Chefling, Inc., has created a smartphone app that helps consumers minimize daily food waste. Available now on the App Store and Google Play, the app includes food inventory organization, intuitive recipe suggestion, and shopping list management. According to the company, consumers using the app can track and make the most out of recently purchased and existing ingredients in the pantry. The app monitors the freshness of added foods, notifies the consumer when foods are about to expire, and suggests recipes for the foods already purchased. The app also features integration with voice assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home: it will add foods to a shopping list and provide step-by-step cooking instructions. [Image Credit: © Chefling, Inc.]

"Chefling App Provides Consumers with a Simple Way to Minimize Food Waste with Intuitive Recipe Suggestions", PR Newswire, June 20, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Amazon Eyes Prime Day Sale To Grab Market Share From Rival Walmart In India

June 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Seeking to lure consumers away from its rival Walmart-Flipkart, online retailer Amazon plans to launch its 2018 Prime Day sales event in India in close partnership with its US headquarters. Also aimed at driving membership in the company’s Prime customer loyalty program, the sale will feature discounts expected to be bigger than before. Amazon India is also expected to introduce its virtual fitting-room technology Prime Wardrobe, which lets consumers try fashion products before buying them. [Image Credit: © Mediamodifier @ Pixabay.com]

Writankar Mukherjee and Shambhavi Anand, "Amazon plans mega 30-hours sale next month to counter Walmart-Flipkart", The Economic Times, June 20, 2018, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd
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Smartphones Transform Retail Stores Into Something More Than Shopping Destinations

June 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Smartphones and their apps have grabbed shoppers’ attention from products on store shelves. To help regain the lost link with consumers, retailers are offering in-store experiences that completely combine with the sellers’ online operations and web stores. These enhanced retail spaces enable customers to create “virtual feeds and inspiration boards”, instead of merely encouraging them to follow their “conspicuous consumption” drive. [Image Credit: © rawpixel.com from Pexels.com]

Courtney Coffman, "Shops Aren’t for Shopping Anymore", The Atlantic, June 19, 2018, © The Atlantic Monthly Group
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Amazon Seeks To Lure Brazilian Brands Grupo Boticario and Natura Cosmeticos Into Its Online Fold

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Online retailer Amazon is reportedly wooing Brazil-based beauty and wellness brands Grupo Boticario and Natura Cosmeticos as part of its efforts to expand its online beauty business in the country. Brazil’s market for cosmetics, hair treatments, and other wellness products is worth about $30 billion as of 2018. Amazon has already been operating its online bookselling and video streaming business in the region. [Image Credit: © Simona Simonova from Pixabay.com]

"Amazon Looks To Brazil To Expand Its Hold On Beauty", PYMNTS.com, June 15, 2018, © What’s Next Media and Analytics
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South Korea's Dorco Joins The Online Subscription Razor Market In The UK

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

In recent years, the UK has witnessed a boom in the online subscription shaving market and Dorco, a 60-year-old South Korean brand, is one of the players that entered the scene along with brands like Dollar Shave Club, Cornerstone, Bic, and Gillette. Dorco set up its UK Commerce site in 2015, marking its first expansion into Europe. A household name in South Korea, Dorco aims to expand in the UK by highlighting its Korean heritage, friendly messaging and by offering blades and razors for both men and women. Its vertically integrated business model allows it to set competitive prices and control quality, and Dorco says it is open to collaboration with other brands in creating grooming accessory kits.[Image Credit: © TLSPAMG @ Pixabay.com]

Charlotte Rogers , "Meet the South Korean brand taking on the UK subscription shaving market", Marketing Week, June 14, 2018, © Centaur Communications Ltd (a member of the Centaur Media plc group)
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Microsoft, Partner Preparing To Fight For Share Of Cashier-Less Technology Market Against Amazon, Reports Say

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Microsoft and its partner, AVA Retail, are developing a technology for grocery stores that will monitor the products that shoppers pick up, eliminating the need for checkout cashiers. Originally designed to gather data about in-store shoppers, the technology is being upgraded by the partners for physical stores. Amazon could sell to other retailers its cashier-less technology, Amazon Go, which lets shoppers swipe an app when they enter a store and keeps track of their purchases. However, retailers are likely to favor the technology from Microsoft, which they see less of a competitor than Amazon. [Image Credit: © Negative Space from Pexels.com]

Rachel Lerman and Matt Day, "Microsoft may be aiming for Amazon with cashier-less shopping technology", The Seattle Times, June 14, 2018, © The Seattle Times
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To Compete With Amazon, Rivals Need To Be Like The Online Retail Giant

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Retailers and branded companies need to adopt Amazon’s strategies in order to compete in the online and physical-stores markets. In order to match Amazon Prime, branded companies need to create an “on-demand, always-on direct connection” with consumers using a “conversational interface.” This will enable offline retailers to come up with a “customer-focused, data-driven, real-time business.” Legacy retailers and brands should learn from Amazon’s use of machine learning and the online retailer’s focus on customer service. Also, Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, is fast becoming a brand influencer, making the shopping experience easier and serving as another tool for data collection. [Image Credit: © Mediamodifier @ Pixabay.com]

Rick Braddock , "To Compete with Amazon, Big-Name Consumer Brands Have to Become More Like It", Harvard Business Review , June 14, 2018, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Grocery Sellers Turn To Tech Firms To Enable Ecommerce Operations

June 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Grocery retailers are partnering with technology companies to improve their online retail operations and capabilities. According to UBS analyst Daniel Ekstein, many traditional food retailers need tech help to manage in-store product replenishment, shopper subscription, artificial intelligence, and even digital assistants. Although retailers own data on shopping habits of customers, they cannot use it as well as big tech companies can to create personalized offers, for example. [Image Credit: © Mediamodifier @ Pixabay.com]

Emma Thomasson, "Why are grocery retailers teaming up with tech giants?", Reuters, June 13, 2018, © Thomson Reuters
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Bearing Consumer Convenience, Amazon Disrupts Retail Market

June 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Offering convenience to consumers, online retailer Amazon has disrupted the retail industry, forcing legacy retailers to rethink their strategies. Leading physical-stores retailers had to launch their own online operations, shut down significant numbers of their locations, or totally close down their business. Wharton marketing professor and author of the book, “The Shopping Revolution,” Barbara Kahn said two basic principles can help retailers make sense of the changes caused by Amazon. First, the principle of customer value, which prompts customers to “buy something they value from someone they trust.” Second, the principle of differential advantage, which means “customers want to buy from retailers who do it better than anybody else.” [Image Credit: © MikesPhotos @ Pixabay.com]

Barbara Kahn , "Retail Reimagining: Why Being Great Is no Longer Good Enough", Knowledge@Wharton, June 12, 2018, © Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
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Powered by AI, Future Shopping Malls To Highlight Health And Wellness Services

June 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

International shopping-center operator Westfield introduced its Destination 2028 retail concept. According to the proposal, the company sees the future shopping mall as a “hyper-connected micro-city,” which is powered by artificial intelligence, and integrates health and wellness services and community involvement. Westfield said the concept was developed based on a growing consumer interest in health and wellness. [Image Credit: © tweetyspics from Pixabay.com]

Sarah Tilley, "2028 Retail Futures", J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, June 12, 2018, © J. Walter Thompson
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Food Industry Hits Panic Button Following Amazon’s Whole Foods Buy

June 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Amazon.com Inc.’s June 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.5 billion has prompted rival food retailers to reorganize, reinvent, and recalibrate their business and sales strategies. Whole Foods has seen an increase in sales and delivery following its merger with the online retailer. This is prompting grocery chains to speed up investment plans for delivery and pickup services for their online retail operations. Also, dozens of supermarket companies have entered into agreements with online grocery-delivery service provider Instacart Inc. [Image Credit: © Marco Pomella @ Pixabay.com]

Heather Haddon, "A Year After Amazon Devoured Whole Foods, Rivals Are Pursuing Countermoves", Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Walmart Buys Majority Stake In India’s Flipkart, Sees Stronger Capabilities In Online Market

June 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Walmart has acquired 77 percent of India’s online retailer Flipkart for $16 billion. According to the US retail giant, the deal great improves its ability to compete in the country’s online retail market, against its biggest rival Amazon in particular. Walmart International executive vice president, president, and CEO Judith McKenna said, her company is expected to benefit from Flipkart’s online platform or ecosystem. Mckenna said Walmart also plans to integrate lessons learned from Flipkart’s operations with the company’s international operations. [Image Credit: © Alexandra / Munchen from Pixabay.com]

"Flipkart's ecosystem true advantage to Walmart: Official", The Economic Times, June 10, 2018, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd
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Strong Traditional Retailers Ready To Compete With Amazon, Study Reveals

June 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Traditional retailers have varying degrees of readiness and capabilities to compete with online retail giant Amazon.com, according to a study by market research firm Edison Trends. According to the report, Macy’s posted the strongest growth in online business in 2018, expanding by 28 percent in monthly order volume since the start of the year. Meanwhile, Sears’s online order volume dropped 25 percent from January to May. [Image Credit: © Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.com]

Elizabeth Winkler, "Winners in Traditional Retailing Are Also Winning Online", Wall Street Journal, June 08, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Target Says Halfway Through Launch Of Same-Day Delivery Service

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Retail company Target said it is more than halfway through its planned launch of its same-day delivery service with Shipt, as well as the introduction of Drive Up, a curbside pickup service. Target said it plans to have majority of its stores offering the services before the holiday season. According to the company, the services will be launched first in Chicago, making the city the first in the US to have all of the retailer’s new delivery services. [Image Credit: © Alexandra / Munchen from Pixabay.com]

Lauren Thomas, "Target makes a big leap in the delivery wars against Amazon, Walmart", CNBC, June 07, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Chinese Companies Lure Aussie Consumers With Beauty Tech

June 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Chinese cosmetic conglomerate Jala Group is touring Australian cities, in partnership with Alibaba’s e-commerce arm Tmall, to promote its products, including a smart mirror. The augmented reality (AR) tool allows users to take a selfie using an in-built webcam and then shows them how they look with different make-up choices. Users can scan and buy their preferred choices through QR codes that appear onscreen. Jala has built four key brands (Maysu, Chando, Botanical Wisdom and Insea ) over the last 17 years to develop its presence in technology, innovation and design, in partnership with firms in Japan, France and the US. [Image Credit: © maicou3834 @ Pixabay.com]

Natasha Spencer , "Hi-tech Chinese cosmetics retailer hits Australia", Cosmetics Design Asia, June 01, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Meitu Working On Selfie App That Addresses Skin Concerns

May 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

After going viral, an app developed by Chinese software firm Meitu that altered the user’s selfie image hit up against privacy concerns. The company is now trying to commercialize its software by employing its various selfie apps and virtual reality to offer real-world benefits.  Meitu is partnering with a hospital to develop MeituBeauty, an app that assesses skin condition through a selfie to recommend products. It also allows users to try virtual makeup and then buy it. [Image Credit: © freestocks-photos]

Xinmei Shen , "Selfie app Meitu wants to build an empire around beauty", Abacus News, May 21, 2018, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd
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AI Reshaping And Redefining Beauty Marketing

May 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

AI is redefining how beauty brands can engage and interact with consumers. According to Automat CEO and co-founder Andy Muaro, concern over online monitoring means brands must invest in new methods of customer engagement that allow them to reach consumers in a more transparent and direct way. Companies such as Estée Lauder, Coty, and L’Oréal are investing in new marketing and AI technologies such as bots and digital "consultants" capable of analyzing face shape and complexion to make personalized product recommendations and offering consumers virtual try-ons. Automat helps companies use AI to better engage customers, and revealed its own bot, modeled after American TV personality Kalani Hilliker, generated 1400% more conversions than the real Kalani's posts. Mauro will be talking about the subject in-depth in the upcoming Innocos 2018 event in Flore, Italy on June 13-15.

Lucy Whitehouse , "Conversational marketing & AI: the new way to talk directly to beauty consumers", Cosmetics Design Europe, May 18, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Kroger Taps Ocado Robot Warehouses In US To Combat Amazon

May 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

U.S. supermarket chain Kroger is partnering with U.K. Internet supermarket Ocado to build around 20 automated warehouses or “sheds” to improve its home delivery service after Amazon's recent buyout of Whole Foods shook up the retail industry. Ocado’s robot tech to process and pack orders is expected to give Kroger an advantage over Amazon. The move is in response to Amazon’s expected transformation of existing Whole Foods stores into a grocery delivery network using gig workers. However, experts believe Amazon is still looking at other options since it still operates mostly human-staffed warehouses for its Fresh grocery delivery service. [Image Credit: @Creative Commons]

Paul Sandle, Lisa Baertlein, "Kroger inks Ocado grocery delivery deal to battle Amazon threat", Reuters, May 17, 2018, © Thomson Reuters
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eSalon Expands Distribution Beyond The Direct Channel

May 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Hair color brand eSalon is expanding beyond the direct-to-consumer channel by introducing its products on the QVC home shopping channel and in 1,500 CVS stores. The rationale is new customer acquisition, according to CEO and co-founder, Francisco Giminez. The brand used to rely on paid promotion on social media, but Giminez believes that a move into mass retail could double the 15,000 new customers it currently acquires each month. The company has been growing fast and recently relocated to a new and larger headquarters in in El Segundo, Calif., which includes office space and production facilities. (Image Credit: @Creative Commons)

Ellen Thomas , "D2C Hair Color Brand eSalon Moves Into Retail", Women’s Wear Daily, May 17, 2018, © Penske Media Corporation
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Cosmania Turns To AI, Machine Learning In Personalized Beauty Shopping Initiative

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch beauty online retailer Cosmania now offers customers a more personalized shopping experience through a new digital consultant. It has partnered with Finnish startup Revieve and its Digital Beauty Advisor platform to provide users with personalized skincare advice, skin analysis and product recommendations, using a selfie. Cosmania said the partnership is a response to growing consumer demand for a more interactive, personalized shopping experience. Revieve's technology is just one of many applications trying to replicate the work of in-store consultants by machine-learning and AI. [Image Credit: © maicou3834 @ Pixabay.com]
Lucy Whitehouse , "Netherlands beauty retailer offers personalized beauty experience", Cosmetics Design Europe, May 16, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Hyundai Launches AR Virtual Make Up Try-On Service

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Hyundai Department Store launched an upgrade to its online mall in the form of a virtual make up try-on service powered by augmented reality (AR). The virtual service, offered via Meitu's Makeup Plus app, allows customers to try on more than 20 products across eight beauty brands without visiting a physical store, with plans to extend it to 20 brands. Hyundai said the AR approach is their way of differentiating themselves from other online retailers, which they said still focus on prices and delivery speed. Meitu's app has been downloaded more than 200-million times since its 2015 launch. 

"Beauty shopping gets AR upgrade", Korea JoongAng Daily, May 14, 2018, © Korea JoongAng Daily
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China A Focus For Automated Store Innovation

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

China has become the focus for companies looking to automate the physical shopping experience. Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com have all opened automated stores in the last few months, at the start of what they believe will be a large-scale rollout of personnel-free shops. The Chinese consumer's openness to high tech and willingness to try something new is expected to drive unprecedented growth of the retail industry in China as the country's 724 million mobile phone users increasingly accept mobile transactions. Improving internet connectivity and smartphone penetration are expected to boost sales even further, and retailers are also having to deal with labor pressures due to an aging population and the trend of millennials leaving retail to seek higher-paid work. [Image Credit: @Creative Commons]

Ralph Jennings, "Why Unmanned Stores Are About To Take Off In China's Retail Market", Forbes.com, May 14, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Traditional Retailers Fine It Necessary To Partner With Amazon

May 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Retailers with an offline heritage are choosing to explore partnerships with the one retailer they fear, Amazon. Sears and Amazon have agreed that shoppers that buy tires on Amazon can be delivered to and fitted at Sears Auto Centers. Kohl’s is running a pilot in Chicago and Los Angeles to take Amazon returns and has made space to sell Amazon products. Other companies trying out deals with Amazon include Best Buy and Chicos. Although early signs are encouraging, previous tie-ups between Amazon and other retailers, including Toys R Us and Borders, proved unsuccessful. There are clear pros and cons: an alliance with the fast-growing internet retailer should help boost the retailers’ sales, for example, but some believe it might also make them even more vulnerable to Amazon. [Image Credit: @Creative Commons]   

Samantha Bomkamp, "Retailers bring the wolf, Amazon, into the henhouse", Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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New Dior Backstage Line Gives Glimpse Into Makeup Secrets

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Dior claims its new line, Backstage, is easy-to-use and basic cosmetics, and gives women, particularly Millennials, a glimpse into professional makeup secrets. It is to be launched in late May on Dior.com in France and the Middle East, before a rollout in those markets in stores. It will be available on the Dior site in other European markets from June 1, with a broader online rollout, including Asia, the US and Canada, from mid-June. It is a 40-product range of face and body products that appear to be in the same space as Kylie Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty, which are also positioned to appeal to Millennials. [Image Credit: @Creative Commons]

Jennifer Weil , "EXCLUSIVE: Dior Backstage Makeup Line Set to Launch", Women’s Wear Daily, May 10, 2018, © Penske Media Corporation
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Skincare In 2018: A Focus On Natural and DIY Beauty

May 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A number of consumer trends are driving innovation in beauty, including demand for natural products, as well as personalization and customization. Brands and retailers are offering consumers the opportunity to mix their own products, and with a more natural ingredient list. Follain, an online beauty retailer, offers a personalized skincare regimen. Beauty brand LOLI Beauty focuses on ingredient transparency and education. Ktchn Apothecary, a skincare brand, Oleum Vera and Brandless all sell DIY beauty kits that allow consumers to mix ingredients to create their own products at home. [Image Credit: @Creative Commons]

"How Brands Are Delivering DIY Beauty", PSFK, May 09, 2018, © PSFK LLC
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Panera Rolls Out Delivery Program Nationwide

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Panera Bread is expanding its food delivery service nationally to 897 cities and 43 states via the Panera app or website. The company said its products will be available for lunch and dinner to officers, hospitals, college campuses and, in participating markets, to homes.According to CEO Blaine Hurst, "Delivery is fueling our next phase of growth.”Panera is using its own delivery drivers in the expansion – it has hired 10,000 so far – and says it has already created 13,000 jobs. Digital sales at Panera comprise online, app and kiosk orders and represent 30 percent of total company sales. Deliveries are possible with orders as small as $5 menu purchase plus tax and a $3 delivery fee in most markets. The company operates 2,076 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada. (© Panera Bread)
"Panera Bread Unveils National Delivery Service", GlobeNewswire, May 08, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc.
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Billie Unveils New Campaign To Help Customers See "Magic In The Mundane"

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

US-based direct-to-consumer female personal care brand Billie launched its "Magic in the Mundane" campaign, inspired by a user comment on the firm's Instagram page. The brand offers a subscription service for razors, shaving cream and lotion, as well as other body care products for women. Co-founder Georgina Gooley said the new campaign aims to celebrate women and their everyday routines and follows its #RethinkPink message, which tackles the issue of a pink tax on women's products, during the brand launch in November. Billie recently completed a $6 million seed funding round which will help it expand its team and boost its inventory. [Image Credit: @Creative Commons]

Shirley Brady , "Making Mundane Magic: 5 Questions With Billie Co-Founder Georgina Gooley", Brandchannel, May 08, 2018, © Interbrand
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Revieve Launches White-Label AR Personalized Cosmetics Tool

May 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Finnish beauty tech firm Revieve is introducing a tool for brands and retailers to allow their customers to try on the full range of their products. Revieve AR Virtual Try-on is part of the company’s Digital Beauty Advisor integrated suite of white-label tools. It uses selfies to analyze faces to provide personalized product recommendations and advice. It will be available in e-commerce, in-store and social media channels.

Natasha Spencer, "Seamless Asia eCommerce features AR beauty solution", Cosmetics Design Asia, May 07, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Study Concludes Brands Should Use Original Digital Video To Connect With Millennials

May 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

According to a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau report, brands should use original digital video (ODV) to engage with the more diverse and technology-aware younger consumers. The report also says that ODV viewers report higher levels of brand engagement and have a stronger affinity and awareness off some of the new direct-to-consumer brands, like Birchbox and Bonobos. Almost half of ODV viewers are “Brand Seekers”, who are more receptive to new brands and see the benefit in ads. (Image Credit: @Creative Commons)

Bulldog Reporter, "Original digital video connects brands with young, diverse, techie consumers", Agility PR Solutions, May 07, 2018, © Agility PR Solutions LLC
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Walgreens Unveils Online Skin Care Advisor Tool For Acne-Prone People

May 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

To help customers determine the appropriate skin care regimen to treat acne, US beauty and personal care retailer Walgreens has launched an online skin care analysis tool called SkinID. The tool, hosted on Walgreens' website, utilizes Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.'s SkinID technology and evaluates customers' skincare needs through a series of questions about their skin types and acne breakout experiences. It then recommends a personalized, three-step daily routine of cleansing, treatment, and moisturizing using products from Walgreens' pool of skin care brands. Walgreens’ Beauty Enthusiast club members can save their results on their online profiles. The tool is also available in select Walgreens stores. (Image Credit: @Creative Commons)

"Walgreens Launches Online Skincare Advisor SkinID™ to Provide Acne Sufferers with Personalized Skincare Regimens", Business Wire, May 03, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc.
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