Top Things You Missed IN Retail

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The Kroger Co. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony late last week at a Monroe, Ohio, location to unveil the grocer's “store of the future” featuring KroGo carts—a tech-savvy shopping cart that looks to make checkout-free grocery shopping even faster. KroGo is an enhanced shopping cart that features a built-in scale and camera for shoppers to quickly shop and check out from their cart, through a partnership with startup tech firm Caper.

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Phillips 66 is partnering with floor cleaning equipment and technology company Ice Cobotics to enable branded Phillips 66, Conoco, 76, and Phillips 66 Aviation locations to utilize Ice Cobotics Cobi 18 autonomous floor scrubbers. Cobi 18 robots are designed to clean 5,000 to 7,000 square feet of floorspace per hour and can be deployed multiple times per day to clean floors.

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A global safety footwear brand is creating a 360-degree view of customer data across all channels and divisions. Red Wing Shoe Company is deploying a Semarchy central data hub to better manage increased volumes of customer data generated from substantial growth of the company’s e-commerce sales. Leveraging Semarchy’s unified data platform, Red Wing Shoes intends to deliver a customer-centric retail strategy.

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GoMart tapped Francis Energy to bring greater electric vehicle (EV) charging accessibility to communities throughout West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio. Under terms of the agreement, Francis Energy — which owns and operates the nation's first comprehensive statewide network of public EV fast chargers in Oklahoma, with coverage every 50 miles — will install and operate its EV fast charging stations at 51 GoMart locations.

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When it comes to managing content at scale, L'Oreal has a mammoth task as it currently has 2.2 million assets for 35 brands and more than 10 million services that the brand pushes to consumers.

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PVH Europe, parent company of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, has selected Contentstack as part of what is called “a digital transformation initiative to provide seamless, omnichannel experiences via a MACH-based solution”.

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Distributor United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) is helping grocery retailers serve up shopper saving via a partnership with blockchain-based digital coupon platform CoupDog. CoupDog’s solution integrates a secure, scalable distributed ledger with popular mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, as well as Retailer Load2Card platforms. It also fully supports the new 8112 Universal Digital Coupon (UDC) format, which enables shoppers to redeem coupons from mobile phones instead of having to print or cut out paper coupons.

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C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. has selected RELEX Solutions, a provider of unified supply chain and planning solutions to further strengthen their planning processes.

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About a year ago, Jose Azares of NIDUM reached out to Chris Schricker, Sr. Director of Training, at Dave & Buster’s and asked if the brand would be interested in revamping its onboarding process for new employees. When Azares explained to Schricker that he was a restaurant owner who was fed up with the traditional onboarding process and had created a more interactive, technology-savvy process – Schricker was intrigued.

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A direct-to-consumer apparel brand known for its signature untucked shirts is carefully observing customer behavior in its stores. Untuckit currently operates 86 locations across the U.S., Canada, and U.K. Seeking to improve reduce operating costs, empower associates and managers, and significantly boost customer conversions across its brick-and-mortar footprint, Untuckit is utilizing data analysis technology from RetailNext in its stores.

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Impact Analytics ("Company"), a leading provider of SaaS AI-based solutions for strategic and unified planning for retail, CPG, and supply chain, announced today the closing of a $10-million round in growth financing led by Argentum Capital Partners IV, L.P. This funding is in addition to Argentum's previous led investment of $11 million, secured in February 2021.

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Last year, Walmart launched Walmart Luminate, a system that analyzes data from Walmart’s hub of consumers and offers insights into audience behavior, perception, and channel performance for the various brands at Walmart. Now the retailer said it will be providing a Basic package free of cost to select suppliers. Basic subscribers will gain access to a subset of Channel Performance insights, including the standard operational metrics needed to run their business. Walmart Luminate Basic is expected to become available in 2023.

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Boots has partnered with RangeMe to expand the number of new and diverse suppliers it works with on a goods for resale basis both in-store and online. With over 200,000 suppliers already registered on the platform, the retailer hopes that the RangeMe tie up will be a portal to working with the very best new and emerging brands.

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Minnesota-based Red's Savoy Pizza has built an efficient and savvy tech stack, designing a digital storefront made for success. Red's Savoy switched over to Patronix for its POS system in March of 2020 just as the pandemic hit. "Our numbers shot through the roof," Daniels said. "That was partially because the technology was better. We had a better integrated solution for the guests to get a rewards account to get and redeem their points."

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Hugo Boss has enlisted Adobe to power its strategy around 3D and immersive design. “With Adobe Substance 3D as part of our Adobe Creative Cloud stack, we have a powerful tool that provides hyper realistic renderings of our products. It gives us greater speed in responding to global consumer trends, while helping us experiment with new digital services to drive 3D innovation in fashion.”

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East Coast supermarket powerhouse Ahold Delhaize USA (ADUSA) is making a bigger play in the retail media game. Peapod Digital Labs, the e-commerce and digital innovation arm of ADUSA, said Wednesday that it plans to grow its AD Retail Media network into an end-to-end, in-house retail media business. That will enable consumer packaged goods (CPG) partners to better leverage the long reach of ADUSA’s grocery retail brands, which encompass more than 2,000 stores, process over 23 million transactions weekly, engage nearly 24 million active loyalty card users and generate more than $51 billion in annual sales.

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Aldi U.S. aims to get more serious with its website — in a big way. The discount grocer’s Germany-based parent company said Tuesday that it’s working with e-commerce specialist Spryker Systems to develop a new online food and grocery shopping experience for the U.S. market, including grocery delivery and/or curbside pickup service.

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Circle K has selected The ai Corporation’s platform, aiEazyFuel, to power its B2B mobile payments app, Circle K PRO. This enables business customers to pay for their fuel and other products via the app. Using ai’s technology, Circle K can authorise, and process transactions initiated from the driver's mobile device.

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The casual-dining concept is allowing another operator in Arkansas to sell its menu items out of its kitchen. The brand is also planning to offer other delivery-only concepts out of its own restaurants.

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Float is a Toronto-based spend-management-software company that is currently experiencing a growth spurt. The one-and-a-half-year-old start-up onboarded more than 70 per cent of its 56-person team—most of whom work remotely across Ontario—in the past six months. In an effort to build a stronger, more connected team, Float hosted a three-day company offsite in June. “We saw an offsite as the perfect opportunity to build camaraderie between our team members,” says Float CEO and co-founder Rob Khazzam.

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Japanese convenience stores are wonderful places, full of all sorts of delicious drinks and fabulous foods, from teas and coffees to onigiri rice balls and desserts. Having something for everyone, though, means that sometimes it feels like everyone is making a convenience store run at the same time as you are.

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With great pride and excitement, I announce that Trigo has raised $100M, reaching a total of $204M raised to date. The investment was led by Singapore state investment firm Temasek (TEM.UL), and 83North. New strategic investors include SAP and existing investors joined the round, including Hetz Ventures, Red Dot Capital Partners, Vertex Ventures, Viola, and supermarket giant REWE Group, one of the world’s leading retailers.

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The drugstore giant and online delivery platform are launching a new initiative to facilitate free home delivery of prescriptions of Paxlovid, an oral COVID-19 medication administered to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death infection. This effort follows a public call from President Joe Biden for consumers and retailers to take action to halt the spread of COVID-19.

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Wayfair Inc. is solving issues such as demand spikes, storage, and on-time fulfillment with artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Chain Store Age recently spoke with Nitin Kapoor, VP of supply chain technology for Wayfair, about how the direct-to-consumer (DTC) home furnishings retailer utilizes leading-edge technology to increase supply chain efficiency and accuracy while reducing costs, in response to the disruption which has occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Two major grocery entities are adding to the functionality of their retail media networks. Both Ahold Delhaize USA and Instacart are building out their existing retail media networks, which enable CPG advertisers to directly target shoppers with personalized, time- and context-sensitive ads and have access to key customer metrics. Following is more detail on each initiative.

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A transformative shopping experience is coming to Corporación El Rosado’s customers in Ecuador. The company is the first in the country to select Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions’ Self Checkout System 7 and will install 400 units in more than 150 stores to usher in the innovative, intuitive and friendly shopper experience for consumers.

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ExxonMobil is riding with Uber. The two companies are working together to provide up to 10% cash back to drivers with the Uber Pro Card.

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A leading meal kit provider is the latest food retailer to launch a retail media network for its CPG brand partners. HelloFresh is partnering with owned media platform Brandcrush to digitize and streamline its media partnership processes. As a result, the company seeks to provide brands efficient access to its consumer base via a single online portal. Leveraging the Brandcrush platform, HelloFresh can now perform media bookings, management, and reporting processes online.

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The company has been routinely assessing readiness and identifying improvement opportunities for decades, but Price Chopper’s old way of conducting audits posed challenges. Then Iannotti discovered MeazureUp. For the past year, Price Chopper’s 130 stores have been using MeazureUp’s AuditApp to manage operational assessments, and Iannotti is happy with the results.

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Tanishq, a leading Indian jewelry brand, has partnered with Inventech, a Laqshya Media Group company, to roll out an experiential holiday marketing campaign that is the first of its kind in the market, including 3D DOOH, 3D social media content and an experiential marketing experience area, according to a press release.

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Panda teams up with Kroo to be a community hub and deliver connectivity to underserved communities, furthering the restaurant brand’s commitment to build positive and meaningful connections with its guests.

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Walmart is joining Premium Payback, a real-time rewards redemption network from FinTech big hitter FIS. This will give consumers the opportunity to redeem their credit card rewards points for real-time discounts at more than 4,700 Walmart stores across the US.

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Walmart is partnering with a financial services technology platform to let shoppers redeem credit card rewards points at its stores. The discount giant is joining the Premium Payback real-time rewards redemption network offered by fintech provider FIS. As a result, Walmart customers are now able to redeem their credit card rewards points for real-time discounts at more than 4,700 Walmart stores across the U.S.

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7-Eleven Inc. is aiming to target consumers more effectively with the launch of Gulp Media Network. According to 7-Eleven Director of Brand and Customer Insights Ben Tienor, Gulp differs from many retailer media networks in the market as the c-store retailer focuses more on fulfilling immediate consumption purchase occasions vs. stock-up trips, reported Convenience Store News sister brand Path to Purchase Institute (P2PI).

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At Taco Bell, a computer server at each location retrieves data from in-person and digital ordering and customer loyalty accounts as well as kitchen operations, and uses custom algorithms to make decisions to tell employees in the fryer. When to ask for a sinking potato nacho fries order so they’re warm when the delivery driver arrives for pickup, Mr. Parijer said.

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Marks & Spencer's Chief Executive, Stuart Machin, is working on a blueprint to ramp up the retailer’s Ocado food delivery operation.

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Cloud4Wi has been selected by RaiaDrogasil, the largest drugstore company in Latin America in revenue and market capitalisation, to deploy location-based marketing technology across its 2,500 Brazilian stores.

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Midwest grocery retailer Schnuck Markets is expanding into e-commerce, teaming up with Instacart to introduce a quick turnaround grocery delivery service called Schnucks Now.

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The U.S. hospitality market gained a powerful new AI tool to fix the broken direct hotel booking model, with the launch of allora.ai, a highly advanced booking platform which personalizes every aspect of a guest's online booking experience at a hotel website, from first click to check-in. Designed to help independent hoteliers gain a competitive advantage, it leverages learnings from more than 400 million online booking journeys and continually assesses thousands of data points to increase the volume and value of confirmed bookings while significantly lowering cancellation risk.

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Expanding its reach into social commerce, Walmart on Tuesday announced the beta release of its Walmart Creator platform, according to a press release. The portal allows content creators to make a commission — with no limit — on Walmart product links shared on any social media platform. Walmart Creator provides users with performance data as well as product recommendations based on their interests, per the release.

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Its payment orchestration platform (POP) technology will power Woolworths Group’s Wpay platform.

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Amazon is accepting a major new form of digital payment on its e-commerce site and app. The e-tail colossus is offering Venmo as a digital payment solution to select online customers beginning Tuesday, Oct. 25, with a gradual rollout to all U.S. digital shoppers by Black Friday (Nov. 25).

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An independent furniture retailer is streamlining employee communications with a mobile platform. Operating 125 stores and four distribution centers and employing 4,000 workers throughout the Midwest and Eastern U.S., American Signature Inc. (ASI) found its previous task management solution to be inefficient for communication and execution.

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The consumer electronics titan is partnering with BNPL platform Citizens Pay to offer Upgrade+, which enables customers to purchase and upgrade to the latest Mac laptops with Apple silicon, including MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

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CTO Curt Garner fortified the fast-casual chain’s digital aspirations with an all-in push for the cloud, providing a foundation for innovations aimed at improving customer experience and restaurant operations.

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Engrotuš d.o.o., a Slovenian grocery retailer, will partner with RELEX Solutions, provider of unified supply chain and retail planning solutions, to optimize planograms and floor planning for their full assortment. The RELEX solution will service Engrotuš’ 150 stores throughout Slovenia, driving improved availability and optimized space management.

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Mall of the Emirates, which is owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim, has launched a new digital concierge service as part of an omnichannel experience push. This will enable consumers to shop over 350 international and home grown brands and luxury designers, via WhatsApp, from the comfort of their homes.

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Ocado has entered a multi-year partnership with Centrical that aims to boost staff engagement and improve the frontline, back office and support employee experience.

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Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is working with Sainsbury’s as the UK grocery giant looks to accelerate its cloud first strategy. TCS has been a strategic partner to Sainsbury’s for over a decade. As a part of a new multi-year deal, it will consolidate and modernise the retailer’s IT infrastructure landscape into a hybrid cloud stack using TCS Enterprise Cloud.

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Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart, has announced the completion of a US, chain wide roll-out of Inventory Scan towers that have been added to its existing fleet of robotic scrubbers in partnership with Brain Corp.

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