News Briefs

09/21/2022

AI Takeover Coming to Walmart Canada to Keep Shelves Stocked

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Woman looking at empty shelves with out of stock sign

Walmart Canada is leaning on automated artificial intelligence to ensure its shelves stay stocked and consumers have an elevated experience regardless of whether they’re shopping in-store or online. 

The Canada-wide launch follows the success of a 70-store pilot that equipped locations with an AI-based computer vision platform from Focal Solutions. The technology uses cameras to automatically detect out-of-stocks. 

Integrated into Walmart’s existing inventory systems, the technology also highlights any real-time availability concerns such as low-stocked items. 

[Read more: Walmart Connect Dives Further Into Social Commerce, Launches TikTok and Snapchat Partnerships]

How does it work? Computer vision cameras installed throughout the store point directly at shelves and continuously scan to identify gaps and opportunities for replenishment. Associates are then alerted to re-stock the shelf as soon as possible. 

“We know it can be disappointing for customers when we don’t have products they want available on our shelves. That’s why we initiated this pilot using technology from Focal Systems that takes the guesswork out of knowing when a product is out of stock,” said Robin DeMers, director of store optimization at Walmart. 

“This leading-edge technology provides real-time, automated alerts for replenishment in key priority areas within our stores. It also empowers our associates with cool tech that makes a big difference in the way they are able to work and provide the best possible customer experience,” added DeMers.

Megan Osborne, a store manager at the Walmart Heartland Supercentre, one of the pilot locations, said her associates are excited to work with technology, which simplifies their work and is a “game-changer” in her store.

"With this bold step, Walmart is driving this industry forward in AI-adoption and retail automation, challenging the status-quo on availability, customer experience, and employee satisfaction,” said  Francois Chaubard, CEO of Focal Systems.

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09/21/2022

ASICS Powers Up CMS With Localization Capabilities

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CRM concept

Sports equipment brand ASICS is transforming its CMS, leveraging modern headless technology with localization capabilities and a more streamlined platform that requires less assistance from developers. 

The company has partnered with Contentstack, joining other brands like Mattel, K2 Sports, and Express, to overhaul its system.

Additionally, ASICS will have access to the Contenstack Community portal, where they can engage with a dedicated tech team that can help share CRM best practices, troubleshoot issues, and connect with groups specifically tailored for app developers and more.

Peter Nealon, vice president of engineering of ASICS Digital, said the company’s previous CRM was older, slower, and more difficult to manage — an overall lack of flexibility. 

"We wanted a tool that allowed us to step out and do things differently than before. By making the switch to Contentstack, we'll be able to provide creative, unique content experiences, and operate with speed and flexibility for years to come,” said Nealon. “We want to provide preeminent digital experiences to our customers and Contentstack will enable us to do that."

Neha Sampat, CEO at Contentstack, said the community enables users to connect, grow, and find the best journey for themselves, helping them to demystify and implement compostable architectures that allow them to move forward faster.

This article first appeared on the site of sister publication CGT.

09/14/2022

Burton, GANNI, Outdoor Voices, and Vince to Deploy Contactless Payment

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I Phone

Select Burton, GANNI, Outdoor Voices, and Vince locations are some of the first retailers to roll out a new capability, which will enable them to run their stores solely on iPhone.

NewStore, a modular, mobile-first omnichannel cloud platform for retail brands worldwide, today announced that Tap to Pay on iPhone is now available for all its U.S. customers. The new feature is offered through the NewStore Associate App, which includes mobile POSendless aisleclienteling, and inventory management. With Tap to Pay on iPhone, NewStore customers can accept all types of in-person, contactless payments with just an iPhone.

“We were excited to hear that NewStore can natively offer Tap to Pay on iPhone this quickly. We recently rolled it out at one of our pop-ups, and it was incredibly easy to set up,” said Kevin Harwood, vice president of technology, Outdoor Voices. “The payment experience was also far more convenient than a traditional credit card transaction. We look forward to using it at other pop-ups and in our stores.”

Based on NewStore customer data, the feature has already emerged as a preferred payment method, with 50% of credit card transactions across all live stores occurring via Tap to Pay on iPhone.

“The biggest benefit of Tap to Pay on iPhone for us comes down to the impact it has on checkout speed,” said Brian McAllister, director of Global Operations, Consumer Direct, Burton. “Our store guides have been able to shorten the payment processing time by as much as 30%. Those seconds add up during peak hours, and the time saved allows our guides to better serve customers and take care of other important tasks.” 

Tap to Pay on iPhone is available to NewStore customers in the U.S. that use Adyen as their payment service provider. The service requires brands to use iPhone XS, or newer devices, with iOS 15.5 or later. Eligible retailers can now accept contactless payments — from physical debit and credit cards, to Apple Pay and other digital wallets — through the NewStore Associate App. Until now, associates would have to carry a wireless credit card reader in addition to an iPhone to complete transactions.

NewStore is in the process of rolling out Tap to Pay on iPhone to its remaining, eligible U.S. customers who wish to implement the feature.

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09/14/2022

Zenni Shipping Glasses In 24 Hours or Less With ‘Fast Frame’

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Zenni website

Online eyewear retailer Zenni is jumping into expedited shipping with a new premium service, Fast Frame. With this option, consumers will be able to get their orders within 24 hours or less. 

The standard wait time for shipping is 7 -14 business days. Now shoppers can get eligible orders in a fraction of that time — these include single-vision prescriptions, sunglasses, or Zenni’s blue light blocking lenses called Blokz. 

The new expedited service is included in each frame’s price (a $19 value) for pairs starting at $43. 

“At Zenni, we always listen to customer feedback and look for ways to improve the experience and the overall delivery process,” said Bai Gan, chief product officer with Zenni. “Fast Frame is one of the most impactful outputs of our new Ohio manufacturing and fulfillment facility for our customers across the country.”

[More Delivery News: Walmart Opens Door to Secure Delivery With Smart Garage Tech]

Zenni processes these orders in its new manufacturing facility in Ohio. A recently established second location is helping the company to expedite fulfillment to meet increasing demand. According to the company, the Ohio factory allows Zenni to reach more than 60% of its customer base in as little as 48 hours. Zenni will employ more than 300 people at its Ohio location.

“The global supply chain issues over the last year disrupted companies big and small, across every industry,” said Rob Tate, general manager for Zenni USA. “Our newest facility in Ohio mitigates the risks that come from relying on third-party international suppliers, and allows us to fulfill customer orders in record time. As we continue to scale the business, we now have even more flexibility and space to advance our mission of providing Eyewear for Everyone.”

09/12/2022

Target Signs Multi-Year Partnership With FAO Schwarz, Brings Play to Store Aisles

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FAO Schwarz toy

Select Target stores will soon have toy demonstrations and an opportunity to get creative and enjoy hands-on play throughout the holiday season as part of a new multi-year relationship with FAO Schwarz. 

Starting in mid-October, FAO Schwarz toys will be exclusively available at Target stores, Target.com, and FAO Schwarz stores. All Target store toy departments will feature dedicated space with displays highlighting FAO Schwarz toys and toy demonstrations throughout the holiday season at select stores.

To celebrate the 160-year anniversary of FAO Schwarz, a capsule collection will feature several nostalgic FAO toys under $25. Additionally, consumers will get access to even more FAO Schwarz toys with exclusive product drops throughout the holiday season.

“One of the reasons families love shopping at Target is because of our incredible assortment of toys, and that selection is only getting better with our new exclusive agreement with the beloved FAO Schwarz brand,” said Jill Sando, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Target. 

“From hot new items to time-tested favorites, we’ve curated our annual list of Bullseye’s Top Toys to create an easy, fun, and affordable way for guests to find just the right gift for every toy lover on their list,” Sando added. “Simply put, there’s only one place parents and gift givers need to shop for toys this holiday season — and that’s Target.

“We are incredibly thrilled to partner exclusively with Target after having forged such a successful relationship together over the past couple of years. There truly is no better way to kick off our 160th anniversary than to announce this partnership,” saidDavid Niggli, chief merchandising officer, FAO Schwarz. “FAO Schwarz has been celebrating the wonder of childhood and bringing awe and discovery to all children — and the child inside all of us — for 160 years, and now families everywhere across the U.S. can enjoy this experience at their local Target store.”

09/12/2022

Southeastern Grocers to Launch Delivery and Curbside Pickup Experience

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winn dixie

Winn-Dixie will soon offer a new means to shop for groceries online that will also allow customers to enjoy the same prices as shopping in stores. 

Parent company Southeastern Grocers (SEG) announces that starting in October, customers can utilize its proprietary new offering to shop their local Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores online and have their groceries delivered right to them in as little as two hours with the benefit of in-store deals and promotions. Customers will also be able to pick up their groceries curbside at their preferred store beginning early 2023.

SEG’s proprietary new offering will allow customers to conveniently shop for their groceries online through the Winn-Dixie or Harveys Supermarket app or website and receive their order in two hours or less fulfilled exclusively by DoorDash Drive, DoorDash’s white label fulfillment platform.

“After extensive research and listening to customer feedback, we recognized there was a need for delivery and curbside pickup options that reflected the same great prices and deals shopping in our stores provide,” said Andrew Nadin, chief customer and digital officer of Southeastern Grocers. “We believe shopping online should be an extension of shopping your local stores, and our new offering is just that. It’s a Winn for customers looking to save, while still enjoying the convenience of shopping from their homes or offices.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Southeastern Grocers to power their online fulfillment that will give consumers even more opportunities to enjoy the convenience of on-demand grocery, whether at home or on the go,” said Shanna Prevé, VP of Business Development at DoorDash. “We have been working closely with SEG to grow their digital offerings and are excited to continue building our partnership to offer even more convenient and affordable options for their customers.”

Customers may notice store enhancements and equipment installments in Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket locations over the coming months as the grocer prepares to seamlessly introduce its innovative, direct online shopping experience.

Customers will be able to connect to the online shopping site through their Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket apps or websites in October, with a rollout beginning early 2023 for convenient curbside pickup. Fresco y Más customers will be able to utilize the delivery and curbside pickup options in early 2023.