Top Things You Missed IN Retail

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Chipotle Mexican Grill is piloting two technologies to deliver better forecasting, optimal quality and increased convenience for digital guests. One is a cook-to-needs kitchen management system and the second is a location-based technology to enhance mobile app functionality, according to a company press release.

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Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), operator of a brand portfolio including Hudson’s Bay, The Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th, is deploying the Veeam Availability Suite to centralize data protection. The company seeks to ensure business continuity, meet internal governance compliance requirements, and protect against ransomware.

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Adyen announces that it has become the payments partner of Swire Hotels, the hospitality group with two brands including The House Collective and EAST, to enhance payments and optimize the guest experience for the hotelier’s properties in Hong Kong.

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The tween and teen extreme-value retailer is now offering customers nationwide the option to buy online and pick up orders in-store (BOPIS). At all of Five Below’s more than 1,250 stores located across the U.S., this new buying option applies to the entire $1-5 extreme value assortment of products including games, tech, arts & crafts, candy, snacks, and beauty; as well as the company’s “Five Beyond” premium section with slightly higher prices.

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Kwik Trip, a leading convenience store chain in the US, will partner with RELEX Solutions, provider of unified retail planning solutions, to implement automated planograms, floor planning, and supply chain optimization solutions.

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ToolsGroup, a global leader in AI-driven retail and supply chain planning and optimization software, in collaboration with IHL Group, a global research and advisory firm for the retail and hospitality industries, today released a study on the role of inventory in consumer loyalty and what retailers can do to win and keep customers.

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Best Buy is expanding its retail media network to run ads on third-party websites as the first official partner of Criteo’s new demand-side platform.

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The Kroger Co. has piloted a temperature-controlled cart that houses curbside pickup grocery orders for self-service customer retrieval. General Motors subsidiary BrightDrop said this week that Kroger will be the first customer to introduce the Trace Grocery eCart into its e-commerce operations, starting this year. The electric-powered cart enables store associates to put orders directly into the unit and station it curbside for customers to pick up their groceries. After providing digital verification, customers open the designated drawer and take their items.

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Givex Information Technology Group Ltd. announced today the continued growth of its Hong Kong office, which recently signed agreements with multi-unit restaurant chains to utilize its industry-leading gift card program, as well as its Customer WebSuite (CWS) to sell digital gift cards online.

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Voyager and Hilton will partner in the areas of architecture and design, leveraging Hilton’s creative design and innovation experts, to develop Space Hospitality crew headquarters aboard Starlab, including communal areas, hospitality suites and sleeping arrangements for the astronauts.

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Asda has selected Dassault Systèmes’ planning and optimisation solutions for its in-house transport operations. The grocery giant will deploy Perfect Logistics, which leverages DELMIA Quintiq applications to optimise the flow of goods between its suppliers, distribution centres and stores.

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Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. is relaunching its e-commerce website and enhancing its omnichannel, marketing and loyalty capabilities. The specialty retailer is undergoing a multifaceted digital transformation that includes revamps to its e-commerce, loyalty and marketing offerings. Following are highlights from each area of Build-A-Bear’s enterprise upgrade.

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Customers selected for robotic delivery will be able to use the Pizza Hut app to track the robot's location as their order approaches and will receive a unique, one-time pin to retrieve their order from the robot's secure compartment.

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Shell Philippines announced it will open retail stores and restaurants inside a third of its gas stations by 2025, reports Inside Retail Asia. The retail and restaurants include Starbucks, Adidas, McDonald’s and Jollibee and are slated to open in 550 of 1,400 Shell Philippines’ stations across the country.

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Walmart is launching two new immersive experiences on the Roblox metaverse platform: Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play.

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The grocer partnered with large charging network EVgo to install the first EV-charging station at a WinCo in Nevada.

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Good afternoon, everyone. So I’ve got 12 minutes. Reminds me of Springsteen’s Super Bowl halftime show a few years ago — 12 minutes to rock the audience. Well, I’m no rock star, at least not since I cut my really long COVID hair off my shoulders, after a year. They asked me not to tell you things you already know. So, in our 12 minutes together, I’m going to share 12 things you might not know about the economy and our strategic landscape.

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The American Eagle Outfitters-owned last-mile delivery provider Quiet Platforms is tracking the status and movement of products. Quiet Platforms, which AEO acquired at the end of 2021 (when it was known as Quiet Logistics), is partnering with supply chain platform FourKites to provide enhanced supply chain visibility to all of its retail customers.

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Asda is expanding its trial of new technology which will make it easier for blind and partially sighted customers to navigate their way through the store whilst they do their shopping. Following an initial trial at Asda’s designated Technology-Innovation store in Stevenage, the supermarket is integrating a further 10 stores into the GoodMaps smartphone app.

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BurgerFi is improving store operations while ensuring positive customer interactions. The premium fast-casual hamburger chain is leveraging the Oracle Micros Simphony Cloud POS solution as a restaurant hub. BurgerFi is implementing new technologies on the platform such as customized tablets, contactless payments, and tabletop and kiosk ordering to enhance its in-store dining experience.

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Chipotle Mexican Grill is piloting advanced technologies to automate kitchen workflows and mobile-enable the store experience for customers. The fast-casual restaurant chain is proceeding with tests of an artificial intelligence (AI)-based robotic kitchen assistant, an in-store customer experience enhanced with real-time data and mobile interaction, and an automated kitchen management system.

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Charles and Victoria Holden, owners of a Cicis Pizza franchise restaurant in Orlando, have reported a 200% sales increase after installing a Sacoa cashless payment system and a Sacoa EZ kiosk this summer to improve security and boost revenue, according to a press release.

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Both retailers and manufacturers must comply with literally thousands of regulations tied to the managing and disposing of consumer products. So when it comes to recycling or repurposing products, rather than face even more regulations, they often just trash them. That’s where Smarter Sorting enters the picture by offering a way to reduce regulatory costs by showing companies exactly what is in their products, through an enormous and constantly growing database of ingredients.

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In today’s volatile CPG environment, is there anything more important for consumer goods companies than getting pricing right? Not likely. When Anheuser-Busch InBev wanted to better understand the impact of its price elasticity decisions — and do so quickly — it faced a daunting task. For one thing, the massive global company operates in more than 50 countries, each with varying levels of digital maturity. For another, government regulations surrounding the alcohol beverage market turn pricing into a comparatively complicated affair on a good day.

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The Kroger Co. is building an omnichannel enterprise with the goal of connecting the customer experience across all touchpoints. In a presentation at the Groceryshop 2022 conference in Las Vegas, Yael Cosset, CIO and senior VP, Kroger, explained the details of the seamless customer experience strategy America’s largest grocer is following.

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The Timpson Group, a U.K. and Irish retailer with a portfolio of more than 2,100 stores, has teamed with Position Imaging Inc., a provider in package logistics and asset tracking, to offer self-service package pickup kiosks in stores to address rising package delivery volume, according to a press release.

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Chico’s FAS Inc. is cloud-enabling its e-commerce platform. The specialty women’s apparel and intimates retailer is launching a microservices-based “composable commerce” model to support omnichannel customer engagement.

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Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has activated NCR’s Allpoint ATM Network at more than 3,500 Circle K convenience stores across 30 states. Circle K and NCR’s expanded relationship creates another financial destination for the more than 60 million cardholders who have Allpoint access across digital, traditional and neo-bank issuers.

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Coborn's, Price Chopper and Roche Bros. enlist Invafresh to sharpen fresh food forecasting, department management

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A leading meal kit provider is transforming its customer contact center experience with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven speech analytics. HelloFresh is implementing the Medallia Contact Center suite in an effort to better understand and manage structured and unstructured customer service data. The company seeks to improve its U.S. contact center experience and ultimately, the overall customer experience.

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Emarsys has announced a partnership with Huel. It says that the agreement equips the meal replacement brand with “a single source of truth for a 360-degree view of each customer, impacting everything from marketing material to customer service route”.

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To accelerate food and beverage revenue recovery, properties such as Morongo Casino Resort and Spa are turning to innovative technology that enables guest self-service dining reservations and payment around-the-clock every day to stimulate increased revenue through additional availability and frictionless service. Agilysys self-service kiosk technology now enables Morongo’s latest all-you-can-eat dining concept The Marketplace by Fabio Viviani.

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The debate over whether robots could one day take over creative jobs has been raging for years now, but recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) art has opened up a new playground for advertisers. Earlier this year, Heinz made waves when it used research group OpenAI’s machine learning algorithm, Dall-E 2, in a marketing stunt. The food company fed generic ketchup-related prompts into the art generator and it conjured up images of Heinz bottles, demonstrating the ubiquity of the brand.

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Papa Gino's has selected ConverseNow, a voice AI technology platform, for a trial run. The 81-unit brand is based in New England and will test ConverseNow's new Fast Track program, which will handle their phone orders across multiple pilot locations to enhance guest experience, staff productivity and store performance, according to a press release.

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Sam’s Club will develop a design studio at its Bentonville, Ark. headquarters to support design thinking for all employees, with a focus on facilitating cross-functional team collaboration across engineering, product management and design departments. The neutral space also will allow these internal teams to work with external partners in a workshop environment that focuses on creation.

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At Home is streamlining the process of obtaining a branded credit card and increasing the money it gives back cardholders on purchases. The value home décor retailer is partnering with consumer financing company Synchrony to streamline its branded credit card application process with mobile technology in an effort to create a better, more efficient experience for customers. By launching QR codes in-store, the retailer will simplify how customers can apply for and understand their financing options.

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BP is teaming up with Hertz to develop a national network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations powered by BP Pulse, the company's global electrical and charging solution brand.

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Designer fashion boutique Intermix has formed a partnership with buy now, pay later (BNPL) provider Affirm, giving customers the option to pay for clothing in installments. By choosing Affirm at checkout, approved Intermix customers can pick the payment option that works best for them, ranging from four interest-free biweekly payments to month-to-month installments.

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More companies are turning away from traditional market research datasets, looking toward more specialized alternatives that provide deeper, localized benefits. Yum Brands and Mars, for example, are leveraging spatial analytics to lead a massive international expansion and zone in on behavior and location insights to plan their growth strategies.

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Whether it's a bakery, a gift store or even a dry cleaner, hardly a day goes by that some retailer or brand doesn't announce a self-service offering. Self-service concepts attesting to the growing importance of this consumer demand include "smart" coolers, biometric identity verification scanners and mobile delivery robots, to name a few.

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Getting products to online customers in a profitable way is a challenge for California-based Raley’s, Zachary Wilson, the grocery company’s head of e-commerce, said at a Wednesday Groceryshop session. But the company is leveraging a variety of efforts — what Wilson called an “e-commerce flywheel” — to aim for e-commerce profitability, and he urged other regional and independent grocers to focus on boosting their omnichannel strategies as well.

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Curbside returns and return pickups from home for Walmart+ members are among the new services, savings, and gift assortments being introduced by Walmart for the holiday season.

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One client example that came to Givex for its scalability is casual seafood restaurant chain The Captain’s Boil, which was using various POS systems across its 20+ units and in need of an end-to-end technology partner to manage its growing franchise system. The Captain’s Boil now employs the full suite of Givex technology, including point-of-sale (POS), kitchen display system (KDS), gift cards, online ordering app and loyalty and inventory control.

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