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Sephora Is Using Personalization Tools To Enhance Customer Experience

July 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © purplegillian from Pixabay.com]
Kristina Stewart, "5 ways Sephora creates a seamless customer experience", National Retail Federation, July 23, 2018, © National Retail Federation
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Some Issues Present Themselves Before Marketers Planning To Use Voice Technology In Branding

July 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Brands need to consider several points when developing marketing strategies that use voice technology as a branding tool. First, marketers should choose a voice that “represents” their brand, keeping in mind that tone of voice as the most important feature. Next, marketers should integrate diversity when branding a voice assistant, focusing on the gender of the voice and the data set behind the creation of the assistant. Also, while marketers should work to develop natural-sounding voice assistants, they need to consider whether consumers must be aware that they are talking to a virtual assistant.[Image Credit: © Photo by Piotr Cichosz on Unsplash]
Jennifer Harvey, "Voice Assistants As An Extension Of Your Brand: Three Things Marketers Should Consider", Forbes, July 23, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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HiMirror Measures Skin, Recommends Treatment Options

July 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Cal-Comp Big Data, Inc.]
Katie Strick, "The future of beauty? A magic mirror that scores your skin and plays fitness consultant", The Evening Standard, July 21, 2018, © Evening Standard Ltd
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Innisfree Introduces New Retail-Equipped Store In China

July 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © Innisfree Corporation]
Jenny W. Hsu, "Innisfree Rejuvenates Its Store Experience in China", Alizila.com, July 20, 2018, © Alibaba Group Holding Limited
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Albertsons Extends Organic And Natural Foods Lines To Online Market

July 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Albertsons Companies]
"Albertsons Companies launches O Organics Market in San Francisco and Washington D.C.", GlobeNewswire , July 12, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc.
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Facebook Lets Advertisers Use AR To Display Products On News Feed

July 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © Facebook, Inc.]
Anthony Ha, "Facebook is testing augmented reality ads in the News Feed", Tech Crunch, July 10, 2018, © Oath Tech Network
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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: © Sniph AB]
"Perfume subscription box service Sniph launches in Harvey Nichols", Cosmetics Technology, July 06, 2018, © Verdict Media Limited.
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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: © L'Oreal]
Sarah Vizard, "How L’Oréal drives marketing effectiveness and media neutrality", Marketing Week , July 03, 2018, © Centaur Communications Ltd.
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Beauty Marketers Enlist AI Apps For Personalized Campaigns

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
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.[Image Credit: © Sephora USA, Inc.]
Krista Garcia, "Beauty Marketers Are Getting Personal with AI", eMarketer , July 03, 2018, © eMarketer Inc
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Conversable Launches Faster-To-Market, Customer-Loyalty-Promoting Bots

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Conversable, and automated message and voice platform, 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: © Conversable, Inc.]

"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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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: © Gerd Altmann]
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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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: © Chipotle Mexican Grill ]


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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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: © Procter & Gamble]
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. 

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]

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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Bauer Brands Try On Voice Search Marketing For Size

June 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Bauer Media 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: © Bauer Consumer Media Ltd]

Abby Carvosso, "Alexa, help me, I’m a marketer!", The Drum, June 28, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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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. 
Austyn King, "Engaging experiences: The secret to success in beauty retail?", Cosmetics Business, June 28, 2018, © HPCi Media 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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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]
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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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: © Gerd Altmann]
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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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 ]
"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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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 ]

Jon Heim, "How voice search can help regain consumer trust", The Drum, June 25, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Removing Impediments To Voice Shopping

June 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
AI-based voice communication is popular for accessing information, playing music and podcasts, but has yet to become ubiquitous for shopping. Professor Rahul Kapoor and Ron Adner suggests looking at the entire ecosystem of a new technology – device, voice AI, apps, personal data… - to understand how benefits are delivered and where bottlenecks lie. Denise Dahlhoff points out that while there is an extensive array of devices that support voice-assisted shopping, software components remain undeveloped. With Amazon’s solution so aligned with its core business, Dahlhoff recommends that retailers work with Google Assistant, just as Target, Walmart, Ultra Beauty and others have already done. Through mitigating shopping chores by leveraging personal data and using screens with voice to make shopping easier, Dahlhoff believes voice shopping will take off. [Image Credit: © Sebastian Bednarek]
Denise Dahlhoff, "Shopping by Voice a Hard Sell for Consumers", Strategy+Business, June 25, 2018, © PwC
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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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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.

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]
Robert Katai, "3 Reasons Why Audio Will Conquer Social Media", Adweek.com, June 21, 2018, © Adweek.com
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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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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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Hype Lags Reality For AI Use In Marketing

June 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Artificial intelligence holds great potential for understanding and attracting consumers yet many marketers are still unable to capitalize on it. Some 85% of executives say AI could give their company a competitive edge yet only 5% of companies have extensively integrated AI into their processes. The gap between the hope and the reality is due the lack of clarity about what AI can do for their business, underlined by the fact that 61% of companies say they do not have an AI strategy in place. Some of the uncertainty surrounding AI can be attributed to AI vendors who, instead of delivering ready-to-action insights, are developing products to solve problems.[Image Credit: © Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay.com]
Alain Stephan, "How AI Is Turning the Voice of the Consumer into Marketing Analytics Gold", Business 2 Community, June 19, 2018, © Business 2 Community
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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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L’Oréal To Roll Out AR And Livestreaming Platform To All Of Its Brands

June 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty company L’Oréal unveiled a new service to be rolled out later this year for its NYX Professional brand. The digital beauty assistant uses augmented reality and livestreaming to bring a personalized makeup counter experience to consumers’ homes. The company plans to roll out the solution, based on its March 2018 Modiface acquisition, for all of its brands across 65 markets. L’Oréal chose NYX as the first brand to offer the service because it is a “very social brand, a pro brand and a retail brand,” according to L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, Lubomira Rochet.[Image Credit: © NYX Professional Makeup]
Kristina Monllos, "L’Oreal Is Bringing the Makeup Counter Experience Into Your Home With AR and Livestreaming", Adweek, June 18, 2018, © Adweek
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US Voice Shopping Expected To Reach $40 Billion By 2022

June 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers mostly use voice-shopping for products in groceries, clothing, electronics, and entertainment but analysts expect voice-activated shopping to grow rapidly as consumers use it to buy a wider range of goods. Currently shoppers typically buy “low-consideration goods” and products customers have bought before, but Capgemini executive vice president Mark Taylor believes consumers will buy “high-consideration” items in the future as they become more comfortable with voice shopping. eMarketer found that 36 percent of consumers in the US like the idea of voice shopping and Capgemini expects it to be the “dominant” mode of making online purchases in a few years. OC&C Strategy Consultants projects that in the US the voice-shopping market will grow from $2 billion today to $40 billion by 2022.[Image Credit: © Thomas Kolnowski]
"‘It’s like Star Trek’: voice-activated shopping tipped to become US$40 billion industry in US by 2022", South China Morning Post , June 17, 2018, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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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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Wunder2 Partners With YouCam Makeup For Virtual Try-On Website Feature

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Wunder2 Cosmetics signed up YouCam Makeup to add a virtual try-on component to its website. The partnership covers the company’s color cosmetics ranges, but other products will be added later. The products can also be accessed through the YouCam Makeup application, allowing the app’s existing users to “try on” makeup looks and 25 items from the range. Wunder2 is also considering offering the service through its retail partners.[Image Credit: © www.wunder2.eu]
Faye Brookman, "Wunder2 Partners With YouCam Makeup For Virtual Try-On Website Feature", WWD, June 15, 2018, © Penske Media Corp.
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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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Lush Tests New AI App In Package-Free Store

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Cosmetics company Lush is testing its Lush Lens mobile application, developed in-house. The app uses combines AI and product recognition, allowing users to scan products and access information, such as ingredient lists, even without packaging. It is being tested at Lush’s first ever “Naked” and package-free store in Milan, where visitors can use the app on the store’s Fairphone devices. Lush plans to roll out the app worldwide. It will also be available for consumers to download on to their smartphones.[Image Credit: © Lush Cosmetics]
Bia Bezamat, "Lush Tests New AI-Based App In Package-Free Store", The Current Daily, June 14, 2018, © THECURRENT
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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: © Dorco Europe Ltd]

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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Voice Faces Significant Barriers As A Marketing And Shopping Tool

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Drum Agency chief strategy officer, Dave Randolph, is skeptical virtual assistants will quickly have a massive impact on shopping. He claims technology, notably AI and bandwidth, are too inadequate for consumers to meaningfully interact with voice-activated devices. He also points out that many of the worries raised about voice-shopping – loss of visual cues, ability of Amazon to promote its own products, importance of ratings – are all factors already faced online. He suggests that marketers do not need to ‘fully dive in’ until voice technology advances greatly, becomes more ubiquitous and offers much more significant benefits to consumers.[Image Credit: © Thomas Kolnowski]
David Randolph, "Why voice isn't poised to take over the marketing world — yet", Marketing Dive, June 14, 2018, © Industry Dive
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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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Traditional Search Is Still Consumers’ First Choice For Shopping, Not Voice Aides

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
In a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers last month, RichRelevance found that 86 percent of shoppers preferred typical search functions such as search bars over voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Moreover, 72 percent of participants said they would leave the website if it lacked a ‘strong’ search tool, while 80 percent confirmed that they use the search bar exclusively when shopping online. Consumer focus on traditional search also points to the slow integration of voice aides in retailers’ websites. In fact, 70 percent of participants have not used voice assistants yet, with 63 percent of consumers saying that they don’t have faith in industry leaders such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. “With many retailers looking to go beyond last-generation keyword-based search, brands and retailers would be best served by focusing on personalization and image search while positioning themselves to win with any developments in voice-based search,” added Mike Ni, chief marketing officer of RichRelevance. Results also show that the Millennials and Generation Z are more familiar with voice aides:  43 percent of younger people have used them compared to just 30 percent of older people.[Image Credit: © Andres Urena]
Elizabeth Doupnik , "Consumers Use Siri, Alexa for Daily Tasks, Not Shopping", Women’s Wear Daily, June 04, 2018, © Penske Media Corporation
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L’Oréal Acquires Tech Startup Modiface For Improves AI, AR Services

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal has acquired its first technology startup, Modiface, for an undisclosed sum to help the group improve how it incorporates advanced technology into its brand offerings. Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, underscored the importance of global brands adapting to digital developments in order to survive but also said that L’Oréal’s strategy is to determine the most appropriate technologies for its brands and scale them across the group’s websites and stores, but in a way that works for local conditions. It is looking to develop technologies via a number of routes, including acquisitions; Station-F, a startup campus in France; and the Founders Factory, a digital accelerator based in London.[Image Credit: © L’Oréal]
Kitty Knowles, "L'Oréal Snaps Up Startups: AR Beauty Is Just The Beginning Says CDO", Forbes.com, June 04, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Voice Assistants Used by 20% Of EU Consumers, Set To Grow Strongly

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Mastercard Inc. reports that one in five customers in the European Union used voice aides such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa and similar chatbots. Conversational commerce is expected to rise strongly and Mastercard projects that by 2022 it will make up 6 percent ($40 billion) of all online expenditure in the US. Additional research says that 16 percent of EU residents made payments using voice assistants and 7 percent performed banking using the same technology. Voice-powered commerce poses an additional threat to physical stores that are already struggling because of online shopping. But for consumers, voice provides an opportunity for “faster, easier, and more convenient [shopping] experiences,” said Ann Cairns, vice chairman of payments company Mastercard. [Image Credit: © Andres Urena]
Joe Mayes, "Voice Aides Like Alexa Used by 20% of EU Shoppers, Survey Says", Bloomberg, June 04, 2018, © Bloomberg LP
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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: © JALA Corporation]

Natasha Spencer , "Hi-tech Chinese cosmetics retailer hits Australia", Cosmetics Design Asia, June 01, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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