Top Things You Missed IN Retail

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El Pollo Loco, a Mexican restaurant chain based primarily in the southwestern U.S., has launched digital signage menu boards powered by Navori QL digital signage software at 150 locations, according to a press release. The software is deployed on screens via Navori QL StiX media player dongles.

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Hudson, a Dufry company,has been awarded two stores at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal 3.As part of a 10-year agreement with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), Hudson will open a store in its "Hudson Nonstop" format and a store in its "Evolve by Hudson" format in Delta Air Lines’ concourse, becoming one of the first retailers to operate in Los Angeles World Airport’s (LAWA) new terminal.

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Menuboards are better and smarter than ever, whether it is through visual upgrades, with eye-popping animation and colorful digital displays; auditory advances, thanks to speaker and microphone upgrades; and artificial intelligence developments.

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Athleta is diving deeper into resale. The women’s athletic apparel brand, a division of Gap Inc., is entering into a new resale partnership with ThredUp, and also opening an online storefront with Shop Premium Outlets. Athleta says it intends both partnerships to deliver new value to customers shopping in stores and online. Following are overviews of each collaboration.

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Charleys Philly Steaks is expanding their delivery capabilities to include drone services in Durham, North Carolina. Under the new initiative, orders are placed through an app and delivered via drone with an average flight time of three minutes.

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iRely, LLC, an innovative partner providing enterprise software for the energy and soft commodities industries, announces Childers Oil has selected iRely as their partner of choice for its Wholesale and ERP software solution.

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L’Oreal is doubling down on building out tech that could transform the future of beauty. As part of this strategy, it is investing $140 million in a research and innovation center in Clark, New Jersey that will be fully operational by 2024.

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LaGree's Food Stores, a second-generation, family-owned independent retailer based in Pueblo, Colo., is pilot testing universal digital coupons to provide a simpler redemption process for consumers and a lower fraud risk and better tracking for its business. The trial is being conducted by clearing and settlement services provider nData Services with Blue Bunny parent company Wells Enterprises, Fobi/Qples, SMS Promotions, The Coupon Bureau and IT Retail.

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As CEO Larry Ryback explains, Jim ‘N Nick’s wants to join the quick-service space, but nothing that resembles the typical assembly line format. Yes, the chain rearranged its layout to include POS terminals, an ordering queue, and a self-service beverage station, but after that is where the “plus” comes in.

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Selco Builders Warehouse, a leading provider of trade services, building products, and materials to tradespeople across the UK, will partner with RELEX Solutions, provider of unified supply chain and retail planning solutions, to optimise their supply chain and space planning operations.

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India’s leading omnichannel technology company for brands and retailers, Ace Turtle has partnered with Wildcraft to strengthen its e-commerce business. Wildcraft is India’s well-known outdoor brand with the largest portfolio of trek-to-travel solutions. Ace Turtle’s unified commerce platform Rubicon will enable Wildcraft to expand its e-commerce business in India by driving seamless customer experience at scale.

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Affirm today announced the expansion of its relationship with Amazon to Canada, bringing increased payment flexibility and transparency to customers shopping on Amazon.ca. This payment option will be available during checkout to all eligible customers in both English and French within the next month.

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Dippin’ Dots is launching a new e-commerce site designed and built by Groove Commerce, a partner of e-commerce platform BigCommerce. The company’s products must be stored at extremely cold temperatures which are lower than a standard freezer can provide.

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Adore Me, the women’s intimate apparel brand, is turning 10 years old this year. In that time, the company has reflected heavily on its values, its core needs, and its efficiency. One of the challenges it has solved in that time relates to copy, and now the brand has seen significant results by leveraging artificial intelligence.

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Amazon's Just Walk Out technology, a checkout-free experience, is up and running at a concessions store at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The store, operated by Star Concessions Ltd. and called Grab & Fly, allows travelers to buy needed products without having to check out. Snacks, accessories, electronics, drinks and souvenirs are available in the store.

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San Francisco-based Ike's Love & Sandwiches has converted two traditional drive-thru lanes in Mesa and South Tempe, Arizona, to digital pick-up-only lanes, where guests may order ahead on Ike's App and grab their orders without leaving their cars.

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Loblaw Companies Ltd. is partnering with autonomous “middle mile” logistics technology provider Gatik to transport orders for its PC Express buy-online-pickup-in-store ((BOPIS) service using multi-temperature autonomous box trucks, without a human safety driver.

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Swedish fashion retailer H&M is getting ready to pilot a return fee strategy in some of its markets. The fee would only apply to online returns, according to a CNN report.

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McDonald’s is now accepting Bitcoin as a payment method in the city of Lugano in the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. A video of someone ordering food on a McDonald’s digital kiosk and then paying for it at a regular checkout with the help of a mobile app was uploaded on Twitter by Bitcoin Magazine.

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Walgreens is expanding a system of huge fulfillment centers — some as large as a city block — where robots package prescriptions for patients. The system cuts the workload on pharmacists by about 25% and will save the company about $1 billion annually, the Journal reported. According to the Journal, the changeover will let pharmacists engage in more-profitable activities such as reaching out to patients and giving vaccinations.

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Walmart is creating a new digital experience surrounding limited-edition figures and collectibles that can be purchased, sold, and traded on a dedicated platform. The brand is partnering with NECA (the National Entertainment Collectibles Association) for the experience, which can be found on Walmart.com and in stores. The platform, called AutoT, allows consumers to purchase an AutoT box and then enter a digital code found on their Walmart receipt to reveal which collectible item they received. The collectible is redeemable by creating a personal account at AutoTVault.com.

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The upgrade will see the retailer’s two digital apps integrate into one shopping platform, with a key focus on offering customers an "elevated and richer one-stop shopping experience" through a single touchpoint, the retailer said, describing itself as the "first retailer in South Africa to offer an integrated omnichannel shopping experience through its app".

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Fanatics is expanding its online delivery capabilities. The licensed sports merchandise retailer and digital sports platform is partnering with delivery platform Roadie, which uses an “on the way” delivery model that places deliveries in passenger vehicles already heading in that direction, to enable local next-day delivery in select U.S. cities.

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HelloFresh revealed this week it is teaming up with enterprise experience platform Medallia, Inc. to transform its contact center. The partnership will allow the company to optimize speech analytics, frontline engagement and quality monitoring as ways to ensure positive interactions with consumers.

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Actabl, an integrated hotel operations, business intelligence and labor management solution platform, announced that it has been selected by Highgate as the preferred provider of asset management solutions to its global portfolio of properties, which includes over 530 properties comprising over 87,500 owned and/or managed hotel rooms across the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

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In a deal estimated at nearly 30 million Danish kroner (about $3.9 million), McDonald's will upgrade drive-thru menus at more than 80 locations in Denmark using digital signage provided by Visual Art, according to a press release. The signs are designed to display dynamic information that changes depending on the time of day, and the display self-optimizes for brightness and visibility conditions throughout the day.

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Paytronix Systems, Inc. announced today that Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop, a fast-growing chain across California and Arizona, has deployed the full Paytronix Platform to remake its online image and streamline its full guest experience. Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop launched Paytronix Loyalty, Order & Delivery, Mobile, and Gift at its 46 locations creating symmetry between online ordering and physical locations.

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Midwest grocer Schnuck Markets, Inc. has introduced the “Schnucks Flexforce” employment option at select St. Louis-area stores. This flex assignment perk allows associates to optimize their work schedules by selecting shifts and store locations that best fit their personal schedules while creating opportunities for growth and learning at a pace determined by the teammate.

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Valora Group, a Switzerland-based convenience store chain, has introduced a kiosk that sells bitcoin at the company's k kiosk, Press & Books and avec stores, according to a press release. The company has partnered with Smart2Coin, a bitcoin wallet, to allow customers to buy bitcoin at the current daily price.

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The discount giant, which has been enhancing its e-commerce site and mobile app for holiday shoppers and officially launches holiday deals on Saturday, Oct. 1, is highlighting efforts it is making to ensure optimal holiday supply chain operations.

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Cart.com, which enables retail brands to quickly scale their businesses and easily sell across every channel, today announces the relaunch of Overlander.com. The outdoor brand’s new storefront was custom-built to allow for expanded product categories and advanced search, with first-of-its-kind UX and design enhancements built to deliver a premium shopping experience for customers and frictionless checkout.

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Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles is gearing up to launch two new grab and go locations powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

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Infor announced that Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a vertically integrated 67-story hotel, gaming, entertainment and meeting destination conceived by Fontainebleau Development, will partner with Infor to implement key front- and back-of-house hospitality solutions to automate critical business functions.

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The consumer goods multinational company, with help from Microsoft, is adopting the industrial internet of things, digital twin, AI, and machine learning to transform manufacturing at scale.

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Beauty retailer Sephora has implemented a new distributed Order Management System (OMS) from Fluent Commerce. The platform, deployed in partnership with Accenture, has been launched in Australia, marking the start of a broader roll-out across the rest of its markets in Southeast Asia and Oceania.

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Shiji Group and Sunway City Kuala Lumpur Hotels have successfully grown their partnership as the hospitality technology company has completed the implementation of its product Infrasys Cloud POS in all the F&B outlets within Sunway Resort, Sunway Hotel Pyramid and Sunway Hotel Clio, which includes Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill.

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Walmart is debuting a proprietary supply chain automation system in its new high-tech fulfillment center. Located in Joliet, Ill., and described as the "first-of-its-kind" for Walmart, the 1.1 million-sq.-ft, high-tech facility is the first of four state-of-the-art fulfillment centers dedicated to e-commerce that Walmart plans to open during the next three years. It will store millions of items available on Walmart.com, that are then picked, packed and shipped directly to customers.

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Wendy’s is adding technology to ease the delivery process at thousands of restaurants. The burger chain is partnering with order integrator ItsACheckmate at all of its more than 6,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Checkmate’s software will connect Wendy’s third-party delivery channels directly to its POS system, sending all incoming orders to the same place and making it easier to update menus and prices across channels.

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Ann Taylor and LOFT have launched StyleRewards, a revamped multi-tender loyalty program that lets shoppers earn benefits across Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory and LOFT Outlet. The program has a tiered structure and was designed to emphasize a customer-first loyalty approach.

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Woodie’s, a DIY, home and garden retailer, is partnering with same-day delivery platform buymie.

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Tire and wheel retailer Discount Tire has introduced “Pit Pass,” a concept store designed to help customers get serviced faster in a “drive-thru experience.” The new store, based in the Atlanta area, allows consumers to wait in their cars or spend time shopping for tires while their vehicles are serviced.

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Lucky Charms, owned by General Mills, is coming to life through magic…or rather, augmented reality (AR). The cereal brand has launched its first AR game, “Journey to the Magic Gems,” which transforms real-life parks into Lucky the Leprechaun’s world.

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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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MAXIMA GRUPĖ, one of the leading retail chains in the Baltics, today announced the expansion of their partnership with RELEX Solutions. Since 2012, RELEX has provided MAXIMA with on-premise space and merchandising solutions for their 513 stores throughout the Baltics.

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UK-based online marketplace, OnBuy, is using Oracle NetSuite to improve financial operations and reporting and support its growing customer base which is now served by more than 11,000 retailers hosting over 36 million products.

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Fast-casual brand Panera Bread, which has more than 2,100 locations across the United States and Canada, is joining the ranks of restaurants expanding their audiences with cross-brand partnerships. American Express announced this week in an emailed press release that it is offering four-month subscriptions to Panera's Unlimited Sip Club beverage program to consumers and corporate card members for a limited time.

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The discount warehouse club retailer is partnering with Amaze Software to provide a new online member service enabling the creation of custom apparel and photo products. The platform includes updated product editors, AI-enabled technology, and a personalized product library intended to shorten design and creation time.

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