News Briefs

08/08/2022

The Body Shop Expands On-Demand Delivery Nationwide

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The Body Shop is expanding its partnership with Uber Technologies, Inc. to include almost all the company’s retail stores across the U.S.

The expansion kicks in on August 10, making more than 2,000 of the beauty retailer's most popular items available for purchase and on-demand delivery through the Uber Eats app from 75 of The Body Shop’s stores. This expansion brings new locations to the Uber platform and allows consumers in new cities including Illinois, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Hawaii to shop for The Body Shop products through Uber Eats.

This partnership builds on the 2020 launch that brought six pilot locations to the Uber Eats and Cornershop apps, offering products from across the company’s haircare, body care and skincare lines. Uber One members benefit from $0 Delivery Fee on all The Body Shop orders with $15 minimum purchase.  

“Two years since The Body Shop pilot program with Uber Eats began, we’re thrilled to expand our partnership to now offer reliable, fast, same-day delivery to all of our US customers, in 75 stores across the country,” said Aliza Birnberg-Perruzzi, AVP, Marketing, US, The Body Shop. “Uber Eats allows us to continue to meet our existing customers changing shopping habits and grow our customer base by meeting the needs of the beauty consumer in the US today.” 

This expansion marks Uber’s ongoing commitment to the retail and grocery categories. Uber is uniquely poised to meet consumers’ growing desire to get things in an on-demand fashion within hours—if not minutes—rather than days. 

“When it comes to delivery at Uber, we strive to be able to get consumers whatever they want, when they want it - and that includes their beauty must-haves,” said Christian Freese, head of New Verticals for Uber Eats in the US & Canada. “Beauty is an exciting space for us, and expanding with The Body Shop, a beauty industry staple for over 40 years, will allow us to bring on-demand cosmetic and personal care items to even more people across the country.” 

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08/08/2022

The 2 Companies Walmart and Amazon Are Buying

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Retail giants Walmart and Amazon both announced last Friday they’re acquiring new companies.

Walmart said it will acquire Volt Systems, a technology company that provides suppliers with enhanced on-demand visibility into merchandising resources. The application delivers current store-level data, actionable analytics, and shelf intelligence for suppliers to plan, forecast, and optimize product assortment. As a result, customers receive a more seamless experience with reduced friction from out-of-stocks. Walmart is acquiring Volt Systems outright, including the company, talent, technology, and customer agreements.

The deal affirms Walmart’s “continued investment in technology and innovation that enables us to better anticipate customer demand,” the retailer said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Amazon and iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum since 2002, have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire iRobot.

iRobot is a global consumer robot company that designs and builds robots and home innovations. Amazon will acquire the company for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7 billion, including iRobot’s net debt. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by iRobot’s shareholders and regulatory approvals. On completion, Colin Angle will remain as CEO of iRobot.

“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices, in a press rleease. “Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive—from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin. Customers love iRobot products—and I’m excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.”

“Since we started iRobot, our team has been on a mission to create innovative, practical products that make customers’ lives easier, leading to inventions like the Roomba and iRobot OS,” said Angle. “Amazon shares our passion for building thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home, and I cannot think of a better place for our team to continue our mission. I’m hugely excited to be a part of Amazon and to see what we can build together for customers in the years ahead.”

08/05/2022

Sweetwater Enters Resale With The Sweetwater Gear Exchange

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Sweetwater is getting into resale with the launch of The Sweetwater Gear Exchange.

The move allows musicians to get equipment and instruments by buying and selling gently used gear in a safe and cost-effective way through a retail partner. Through Gear Exchange, there are currently zero seller fees incurred when the seller chooses a Sweetwater gift card as the form of payment.

Gear Exchange sellers have the opportunity to create their own customized storefront, including setting a store address, outlining policies for returns, and adding a bio to let people learn more about them. Sellers can create listings that include photos of the instruments and gear they no longer need or want.

“Being avid music makers ourselves, we know how real the connection can be between the

musician and their gear,” said David Stewart, CMO at Sweetwater. “It goes beyond just being an instrument and becomes an extension of the artist. Whether it’s someone’s first guitar or an old recording interface, every piece of gear has a story. The Gear Exchange provides music makers and gearheads the opportunity to find a common place to buy and sell items, sharing the remarkable stories behind each unique piece,” said David Stewart, CMO at Sweetwater. “We are excited to provide a new forum for artists to find the perfect equipment to make the music they love.”

To maintain safety, Gear Exchange has implemented tight fraud prevention measures including requiring photos of the exact item listed. There will be badges available on the storefront pages showcasing how long Gear Exchange sellers have been verified Sweetwater customers.

Additionally, there will be a full team of administrators monitoring the marketplace for any potential security risks.

Shipping labels for sellers can be purchased directly through The Gear Exchange, utilizing Sweetwater’s great rates. The cost of the labels can be subtracted from the payout so sellers don’t have to pay shipping bills until they get paid.

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08/03/2022

Kroger Delivery Expands

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The Kroger Co. is expanding Kroger Delivery into the Greater Louisville area. 

The grocer has opened a new spoke location in Louisville, Kentucky. The 50,000 square-foot facility will collaborate with the Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in Monroe, Ohio, and will serve as a last-mile cross-dock location that expands Kroger Delivery's ability to serve more customers in the Greater Louisville area.

"Kroger Delivery is part of our rapidly expanding seamless ecosystem that provides customers with fresh and quality products – anytime and anywhere," said Bill Bennett, Kroger vice president and head of e-commerce. "We are thrilled to expand Kroger's offerings to more Louisville customers with a truly differentiated customer experience. Local Kentucky residents can use Kroger.com or the Kroger app to check the weekly circular, select personalized digital coupons, search products by dietary preference and ultimately place their order. Customers will enjoy receiving their orders directly from our refrigerated trucks and delivered by trained Kroger uniformed associates, giving customers an unparalleled first-class delivery experience."

The spoke facility will employ up to 161 full-time associates. Also, as part of Kroger's commitment to end hunger and eliminate waste through its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social environmental impact plan, the site will use recyclable bags and is working to partner with local food banks.

Local shoppers also have access to the newly launched Boost by Kroger annual membership program. For either $59 or $99 per year, Boost provides customers with benefits like unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 or more and two Fuel Points for every $1 spent on groceries and general merchandise purchases through Delivery, Pickup and in-stores. Kroger estimates the membership can save customers more than $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery.

"Louisville has long been a driver of innovation in the logistics and in the food and beverage industries, and as such, Louisville is uniquely poised to fuel the workforce and innovation demands necessary to drive these industries into the future," said Mayor Greg Fischer. "I am excited to join our partners at Kroger to celebrate this new dynamic facility that will drive high-quality customer service."

Kroger Delivery Explained
The expansion in Louisville represents an extension of a partnership between Kroger and Ocado. In 2018, the companies announced a collaboration to establish a delivery network that combines artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and automation.

The delivery network relies on highly automated fulfillment centers. At the hub sites, more than 1,000 bots move around giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary control systems. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders. As customers' orders near delivery times, bots retrieve products from The Hive and present them at pick stations for items to be sorted for delivery, a process governed by algorithms that ensures items are intelligently packed. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the lowest number of bags, reducing plastic use. Bags are also recyclable, reflecting Kroger's commitment to its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment to rid its communities of hunger and waste.

Kroger's end-to-end cold solutions keep groceries fresh once loaded into customized refrigerated delivery van, which can store up to 20 orders. Powerful machine learning algorithms optimize delivery routes, considering factors such as road conditions and optimal fuel efficiency. Vans may travel up to 90 miles with orders from the hub and spoke facilities to make deliveries. Associates at the spoke facility will deliver orders within their service area, adding ZIP codes as demand grows.

Kroger currently operates customer fulfillment centers in Monroe, OH, Groveland, FL, Forest Park, GA (Atlanta), Pleasant Prairie, WI, Dallas, TX and Romulus, MI (Detroit), with additional customer fulfillment centers slated for California, Frederick, MD, Phoenix, AZ, Cleveland, OH, Charlotte, NC, Aurora, CO (Denver), as well as South Florida and the Northeast.

08/01/2022

Walmart Makes Refurbished Shopping Simpler

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Walmart is making it easier for shoppers to purchase refurbished items.

Its new program, dubbed Walmart Restored, seeks to help customers discover refurbished products on its website. Online now and in select stores later this fall, the program also gives customers a choice and an opportunity to extend the life of a product.

Walmart already works with sellers and suppliers on Walmart.com who refurbish products and prepare them for a new home at a fraction of typical costs. But now those items will be easier to find and shop with the Walmart Restored program designation. Consumers can visit the Walmart Restored section of Walmart.com or see items pop up in search.

Refurbished items feature brands like Apple, Samsung, KitchenAid and more. When customers buy a product in the Walmart Restored program – whether it’s a laptop or a kitchen appliance – they can be confident they are buying from top-rated performance managed sellers and suppliers, the retailer said. All products listed on the site have been professionally inspected, tested and cleaned, and if for any reason a customer isn’t satisfied, Walmart offers 90-day free returns.

08/01/2022

DICK’S Sporting Goods Enters the Metaverse

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DICK’S Sporting Goods has entered the Metaverse just in time for back-to-school season. 

School of Sport,” an interactive experience on the Roblox platform that infuses sport and style and gives users a chance to compete in a variety of challenges, quests and obstacle courses.

Consisting of six virtual spaces, “School of Sport” takes place at DICK’S Sporting Goods High and mimics the characteristics of a real-world high school, bringing the most compelling aspects of back-to-school onto Roblox.

“It is important for us to continue evolving the way we engage with consumers. We are excited to make our entrance into the Metaverse with ‘School of Sport,’ creating a space to share sport and style while also connecting with our younger athletes,” said Ed Plummer, chief marketing officer at DICK’S Sporting Goods.

[See also: Back to School: Tips, Trends, and Predictions]

DICK’S Sporting Goods is launching the brand’s larger Sport Your Style back-to-school campaign, which is focused on versatility and encourages teens to own their individual style. While this theme is woven throughout the “School of Sport” experience, it is most prominent in the Roblox experience’s first environment, The Locker Room, where the transition from sport to style commonly occurs in real-world school.

Users enter the experience through The Locker Room where they will receive information on how to navigate DICK’S Sporting Goods High. Each player will have a personalized locker containing The Store where they can use style points, the in-experience currency, to purchase shoes, apparel and accessories to outfit their avatars.  

As users freely explore DICK’S Sporting Goods High, they can socialize with other users and collect stickers, badges and style points by competing in quests, and challenges throughout the experience environments: The Field, The Hallways, The Gymnasium and The Outdoor Cafeteria. There is an additional hidden environment within the experience that visitors must discover on their own.

In addition to using style points to unlock access to the latest back-to-school gear, community members can also view their rankings on the leaderboard and personalize their virtual school supplies (notebook, waterbottle, etc.) with stickers they’ve collected throughout the school.