News Briefs

  • 12/5/2023

    Amazon Gives an Inside Look at Its Packaging Innovation Lab

    amazon fulfillment

    About 11% of Amazon shipments globally now arrive in their original packaging, Amazon said, and the company is working on growing that number.

    Amazon recently posted a look inside its Packaging Innovation Lab, located outside of Seattle, where it tests a product’s original packaging to determine if it can be delivered safely without an Amazon box or bag.

    If it does, the product then qualifies for Amazon’s Ships in Product Packaging program. When Amazon identifies product packaging that stands up to the series of tests, it then uses machine learning to identify other items in its store with similar qualities. The company said it also works with brands and partners to develop custom packaging to reduce waste and offer an improved customer experience.

    Amazon designed the tests in the lab in partnership with the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), a third-party group dedicated to the development, design, and evaluation of cost-effective and protective transport packaging. 

    In its photo tour here, it shows:

    • Vibration tables with multiple settings to simulate the experience of traveling on various vehicle types 
    • A drop test that helps simulate the package being picked up, moved, and hitting the ground
    • The Incline Impact Test System, which simulates scenarios where an item might hit against the wall of the truck, like when a driver has to hit the brakes unexpectedly.
    • A test for large items which ensures the packaging will hold up against forklifts.  
  • 11/21/2023

    Australian Footwear Brand FRANKIE4 Opens First U.S. Flagship Store in Seattle


    Australian, podiatrist-founded women's footwear brand, FRANKIE4, has just opened its first permanent retail store at the Bellevue Collection, located outside of Seattle, WA., further amplifying a presence in North America.  This will be a permanent location following the success of its Bellevue Square pop-up location last Spring and Summer.

    Since its inception in 2010 by podiatrist Caroline McCulloch, the Australian footwear brand has amassed 100K 5-star reviews, proving that customers' testimonies are intrinsically linked to a brand's global success.  Frankie4 has also recently launched key US wholesale partnerships with Nordstrom and J.Jill.

    Frankie4's Seattle store is designed by JPC Architects. Australian design nods within the 1,844 sq ft retail space include curated coffee tables books by renowned Australian photographer, Kara Rosenlund.  The store's clean, modern interior combined with plenty of live plants and greenery is part of the brand's design concept globally.

    "We spend a lot of time educating our team on the materials we use, why we use them, what are common foot pathologies that women will come into store with, and how our shoes can really change a woman's life,” said Frankie4's Group CEO Hilary McMillan. “Most women consider some kind of pain in their feet to be ‘normal.’  Heel pain (plantar fasciitis) is extremely common in women and can be debilitating. Frankie4 exists because living with painful feet is not 'normal' and making the change to good-for-you, supportive footwear is a simple solution for so many.  Our footwear has helped hundreds of thousands of women, and we look forward to helping many more women in our flagship U.S. store.” 

    As with all Frankie4 retail stores globally (there are currently 9 in Australia), the Bellevue store will offer expert fittings to all customers to provide a truly customized experience.  "Our team has the tools to help women find the perfect fit for them. With most of our styles including our Sole Saver Pack, this enables us to adjust the fitting of the shoes then and there to accommodate different foot types. Whether wide, narrow, bunioned or somewhere in between, our Sole Saver Pack is a genius tool included with most of our enclosed styles when purchasing online as well," notes McMillan.

  • 11/14/2023

    J. Crew Unwraps Virtual Holiday Store

    image with package

    Apparel retailer J.Crew has launched the Holiday Edition of its immersive virtual store, The World of J.Crew.

    The virtual store is powered by experiential e-commerce platform Obsess. J.Crew first launched the 3D, shoppable experience in June to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary. The original version took the form of a beach house with six rooms and a separate boathouse.

    The Holiday Edition of the virtual store takes the form of a Snow Lodge for women’s apparel and accessories and a separate Ski Chalet for men’s apparel.

    The virtual experience now includes an AI Card Generator that allows visitors to answer a set of “this or that” questions, which will then generate a holiday greeting card based on their responses. The store also features a Ski Game inspired by a vintage video game that has the player move the skier through a series of red flags to avoid trees on the path. 

    Visitors can interact with content highlighting the brand’s heritage, participate in a scavenger hunt for a chance to win a cashmere giveaway, and shop J.Crew’s curated edit of winter and holiday styles.

  • 11/7/2023

    Mayoral Elevates E-Commerce Experience With AI-Powered Capabilities

    Childrens' Clothes

    International children’s clothing retailer Mayoral is tapping AI-powered e-commerce and CRM capabilities to bolster its customer experience. 

    The company is working with image and video platform Cloudinary, along with their partner CoreMedia, to introduce video and image optimization regardless of user bandwidth, or device or browser type, as part of Mayoral’s digital transformation goals. 

    The automated process is working alongside an elevated CMS platform to deliver visual content on an expedited time frame. Other companies leveraging this tech include Dune London, Neiman Marcus, Minted, Paul Smith, Wren Kitchens, Rapha, and River Island. 

    "To keep online shoppers engaged and loyal, images and video on e-commerce sites not only have to look really appealing, but also perform well across all devices," said Shelby Britton, senior director product marketing for Programmable Media at Cloudinary.

  • 11/5/2023

    JD Ramps Up Authentication With Blockchain and X-Ray Monitoring

    JD Traceability

    E-commerce marketplace is rolling out tech-powered authentication measures in order to reduce instances of counterfeit products and expedite verification processes. 

    The new capability, called “JD Smart Check,” checks the status of imported goods, inspecting for quality and authenticity leveraging x-ray fluorescence analysis, serialized tracking codes, supply chain monitoring, and product inspection videos. Additionally, the company is tapping blockchain-powered traceability to increase transparency across its supply chain. 

    [Also read: Gucci Launches Digital Flagship Store with]

    The patented fluorescence tech allows the company to quickly generate authenticity verification reports for cosmetics and personal care products in mere minutes — a process created in partnership with the Cosmetics Technology Center of China Inspection and Quarantine Science Institute. serves nearly 600 million customers, hosting major procurement centers in Japan, South Korea, and Europe to support a global network of vendors across 16,00 warehouses.

  • 10/31/2023

    Schnucks Launches Rewards App, Complimenting Its Loyalty Program

    Schnucks Markets

    Schnucks has launched a companion app for its rewards program, giving members the opportunity to tap into savings not only at the company, but with other local retailers. 

    The company partnered with rewards company Upside on the co-branded app, piloting in seven Evansville, Indiana stores. 

    In order to use the app, consumers must download it after following a prompt via email or QR code. Once they are registered, they can access savings from Schnucks and other participating fuel and restaurant retailers. 

    [Read more: How Schnucks Optimized Frontline Operational Workflows and Fine-tuned Flexible Scheduling]

    Any redeemed offers for Schnucks products are cashed out via Schnucks Rewards dollars, which are then deposited into the loyalty program’s rewards account.

    “Schnucks is always looking for opportunities to provide our Schnucks Rewards members with unique programs and opportunities to save,” said Bob Hardester, Schnucks SVP/CIO and chief supply chain officer, in a statement. “Our collaboration with Upside and the launch of this co-branded app pilot in Evansville showcase our commitment to delivering value and supporting the community.”

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