Walmart has filed two patent applications for virtual reality technology that would allow customers to shop virtual showrooms and 3D versions of Walmart stores from home. Users would wear headsets and sensor gloves to virtually stroll store shelves and select items to be shipped from fulfillment centers.
Following a breakdown in merger plans, both Albertsons and Rite Aid must find ways to stimulate growth and economies of scale on their own, Russell Redman writes. Albertsons has some innovative ideas but also substantial cost challenges, Redman writes, while Rite Aid faces continued issues with geographic scale.
Nordstrom has made the Los Angeles market a testing ground for innovations designed to further expand the upscale department store's omnichannel efforts. The retailer's shoppers spend five times more when they buy both in-store and online, and the Los Angeles market generates about $1 billion in full-price sales.
Instagram is changing the way brands use video ads to connect with audiences, from different frame formatting and video captions to celebrity partnerships and creative content, Fandango's Eileen Rivera says. Instagram has shown the biggest growth for Fandango, she says, especially with added features such as IGTV and Stories.
Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons will customise its menu to fit Chinese tastes as part of a push to open 1,500 new locations in Asia in the next 10 years, company President Alex Macedo said. Tim Hortons aims to stand out from the competitive coffee market in China with menu items such as matcha and congee.
The search for transparency in products has extended beyond food to cleaning supplies and personal products, according to Nielsen, and customers are increasingly analyzing ingredients in more detail. "Consumers are reading ingredients and analyzing them in different ways -- so it's not necessarily 'what's the protein here, what are the carbs and fat' -- they're bringing it down to a different level," said Megan Reamer of Jackson's Honest during a panel at the recent GMA Leadership Forum.
Social media posts have the power to persuade audiences, with 14% of US adults stating they changed their opinion on something after seeing a post on social media, a Pew Research Center survey found. Influencers also have an effect on consumers, with 41% of men and 30% of women saying influencer posts affected purchase decisions, according to a GlobalWebIndex survey.
Industrial lease rates in Vancouver, Canada, grew 29% in the first quarter over the same period last year, as e-commerce drove demand for warehouse and fulfillment center space, according to CBRE Group. IKEA and Amazon are high on the list of retail companies that have leased some of the area's largest spaces.
Google intends to release a smart speaker similar to the Echo Show, with an aggressive plan to ship an initial batch of 3 million, per industry rumors. The device will likely use some voice control features and will allow users to check calendars, view maps and watch YouTube videos, among other skills.
Tyler Bushnell, son of Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, has created a new company, Polycade, to produce retro arcade machines. He and business partner Jake Galler have developed a machine with a 28-inch LCD screen and two multidirectional joysticks; it allows users to play a variety of games.
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