News Briefs

  • 12/18/2023

    Racetrac Deploys Servers at the Edge in Every Store To Transform Technology Environment


    RaceTrac, which operates a chain of convenience stores and gasoline service stations across the southern U.S., is collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to support RaceTrac’s digital transformation to modernize and deliver a consistent experience for its customers across its 800-plus stores. 

    The two organizations work together closely to achieve RaceTrac’s business goals with HPE compute at the foundation. HPE ProLiant servers were implemented in every store to deliver optimized performance for a range of applications.

    RaceTrac also relies on HPE Alletra Storage, a cloud-native data infrastructure, to improve ease of use and increase operational efficiency. The upgrade boosts RaceTrac’s storage capacity and simplifies its data management.

    RaceTrac’s new compute environment supports workloads that are critical to enhancing the customer experience, including self-pumping gas stations, credit card and payment processing, and a customer loyalty platform.

    RaceTrac will also apply HPE compute and storage technology to improve overall store management programs such as camera surveillance, employee digital timecards to clock-in and clock-out, daily accounting summaries, staff scheduling, and inventory order placements.

    “The average time spent by a RaceTrac customer is approximately two and a half minutes, and our goal is to offer a frictionless experience during every visit,” said Tyler Grubbs, executive director, store systems and technologies, at RaceTrac. “We chose HPE because they entered the trenches with our IT team to understand our needs and how to support our organization’s mission. In addition to making our customers’ experience simpler and more enjoyable, the new compute environment will enable us with capabilities to harness the power of data to make better business decisions.”

    HPE and RaceTrac are also exploring future use cases to improve other areas such as increasing fraud prevention and detection with video surveillance and analytics, and real-time inventory tracking using computer vision.

  • 12/10/2023

    Pop-up adidas Stores Open In Roblox

    adidas x Rush X Pack. Credit adidas

    Pop-up adidas stores have arrived on Roblox, kicking off the brand’s Roblox debut by carrying officially licensed digital clothing and bespoke outfits for the platform (UGC).

    These digital wearables and accessories will begin appearing across a range of Roblox experiences. Roblox users can now dress up their avatars with some of adidas most iconic pieces, such as the firebird tracksuits. All items will be available on the Roblox Marketplace.

    As part of the diverse range of UGC collections immediately on offer, adidas has joined forces with Roblox creator Rush Bogin (Rush X) to craft a range of exclusive, limited-edition UGC that will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Following the initial release, additional designs for both adidas and adidas x Rush X collaboration products will be introduced, with new drops scheduled weekly throughout December. The adidas x Rush X collection will be available alongside a wide range of iconic looks that will be brought to new life from the brand’s existing and upcoming collections.

    Millions of Roblox users now have the chance to discover the first adidas pop-up shops, with more stores being regularly introduced in the following weeks. Users can explore the first of these pop-up shops in the following experiences: Princess Dress Up Obby, Cotton Obby!, Seaboard City, Theme Park HeideLand, Noob Train, Dream Island, and Ultimate Ragdoll Playground.

    The prices for the adidas x Rush X packs will range from, 85 Robux, gradually increasing up to 500 Robux. The digital items in the packs will include adidas Oversized Trefoil Cross-Body Bag, Trefoil Crown with Halo, Black Hair with Beanie Headphones and more. These items will only be available in limited quantities.

  • 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.

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