News Briefs

09/28/2022

Autonomous Delivery Robot Ottobot Simplifies Travel Retail

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autonomous delivery robot

Shopping while traveling just got a little simpler with the launch of a new autonomous delivery robot which will be located at pier A of Terminal 1 in Rome’s international airport.

Ottobot 2.0 allows passengers to scan a QR code to purchase food and beverages and retail items at the airport and have them delivered directly to their gate. Ottobot can navigate completely autonomously through crowds and complicated environments. 

According to the company, this latest generation is fully customizable and its modular design will provide increased access for customers and directional mobility. 

[Read more: Levi’s Works Smarter With Automation Bots, Shrinks Manual Workload]

The proprietary technology comes from Ottonomy, one of ten startups selected to participate in an acceleration program, Runway to the Future. The program — the first industrial incubator inside an airport — was established by Rome International Airport along with Plug & Play Tech Center, LVentureGroup, and PWC. 

"We chose automation as one of our topics for our first call for ideas because we truly believe in enhancing passenger experience with a continuous improvement approach that has led FCO in its path of quality excellence and innovation since 2016," said Emanuele Cala, VP of innovation and quality at Aeroporti di Roma.

Ritukar Vijay, CEO of Ottonomy.IO, said the company is actively working with global organizations to implement its autonomous robots, allowing them to become more sustainable.”

"We are seeing growing interest in our technology in a variety of industries including travel, retail, and hospitality,” added Vijay. “The launch of Ottobot 2.0 for ADR's acceleration program is another milestone in the adoption of autonomous robots and how they fit into our daily lives."

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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.

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.

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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.

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.”