(Author : Caroline Baldwin)
Pizza Express has launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot, allowing customers to book a table at their local restaurant by having a conversation with AI technology.

Pizza Express launches chatbot for table bookings

The pizza chain claims to be the first UK restaurant providing customers with this booking option. Customers using the social media channel can book a table without leaving the Facebook app. The chatbot is integrated with liveRES, so bookings made through the new platform are entered into Pizza Express’ back-end system in the same way as a booking is made online.

“We’ve been watching recent advancements in Messenger with great interest, and the PizzaExpress bot will provide a huge opportunity for our customers to interact with us and book a table wherever they are, whenever they need us,” said Tim Love, senior social media manager at PizzaExpress.

“Our mission is, naturally, to make life as easy as possible for our customers; so given that a large proportion of our fan base is very active on Facebook Messenger, they can now directly interact with us without even needing to leave the platform.”

Source : essentialretail.com

(Author : Springwise)
Waitrose, in partnership with CNG Fuels and Scania, have introduced 10 trucks that run on biomethane, which produces 70 percent less pollution than diesel.

UK supermarket debuts delivery trucks fueled by food waste

Waitrose’s 10 new delivery trucks are fueled by biomethane, a renewable fuel made from food waste. Supplied by CNG Fuels, the trucks are able to cover 500 miles without refueling, which is 200 miles more than previous capacity allowed. Swedish transport company Scania and the United States’ Agility Fuel Systems designed a new carbon fiber fuel tank that is not only lighter than previous versions, it is able to hold more fuel.

Biomethane gas is a much more environmentally friendly option than diesel and costs up to 35 percent less while emitting 70 percent less carbon dioxide. Previously, biomethane-powered vehicles had much lower ranges than traditionally powered cars and trucks, making transport businesses less interested in using them. Now, the latest versions of biomethane trucks could generate up to GBP 100,000 savings over five years of use.

Finding ways to make transport work harder by introducing dual functionality is one way to improve its sustainability. Trucks in Germany use e-ink signs on the backs of trailers to display local ads, road information and weather updates. And office shuttle buses in Belgium turn commutes into work opportunities.

Source : springwise.com

(Auteur :  Katherine Pendrill )
In an effort to combine art and retail in one whimsical space, a group of entrepreneurs have opened a new concept store in Mumbai, India, called ‘Wishbox.’

Mumbai's 'Whishbox' Store Combines Art and Retail in One Space

With a growing number of young consumers seeking out artisan products that afford a sense of uniqueness and exclusivity, this design-forward shop is sure to be a hit among millennials.

Wishbox is a concept shop located in Mubai’s Peninsula Corporate Park. The store is the brainchild of a group of storytellers who wanted to create a space that made art and artists the main attraction. To achieve this goal, the team reach out to local artisans from across the country to help them display their goods in the store. As a result, the shope is a bright and whimsical space stocked with everything from women’s clothing to home decor and furniture.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : Laura McQuarrie)
Rebecca Minkoff’s Self-Checkout Solution is Powered by QueueHop.

Mobile Self-Payment Systems

Affordable luxury fashion label and leader in digital innovation Rebecca Minkoff, recently launched a self-checkout system in its SoHo flagship store as of the first of December in 2016.

The self-serve checkout experience has been completely redesigned with QueueHop, a “RFID-enabled apparel security tag that disables anti-theft security after mobile payment.” For the project, QueueHop worked exclusively with Rebecca Minkoff’s design and technology teams.

Rebecca Minkoff’s Store of the Future concept originally launched in 2014, with plans to eventually introduce a self-checkout option. While self-checkout technology is commonly seen at grocery stores and other retail environments, part of the challenge of implementing it across fashion stores has been the potential for theft. QueueHop gives shoppers, particularly Millennials, complete control of their shopping experience, while also prioritizing loss prevention.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : Paul Skeldon)
Jaguar drivers can now use their car’s touchscreen to pay for fuel with a new cashless payment app at Shell service stations in the UK.

Jaguar and Shell put mobile into mobile payments with touchscreen in-car fuel payments with PayPal

Rather than using a card at the pump, or queuing in the forecourt shop, Jag owners who install the Shell app can simply drive up to any pump at a participating Shell service station in the UK and use the vehicle’s touchscreen to select how much fuel they require and pay using PayPal or Apple Pay. Android Pay will be added later in 2017.

An electronic receipt will be displayed on the touchscreen, so customers can leave the forecourt confident of having paid. A receipt will also be sent directly from the pump to the driver’s email address so it can be added to accounting or expenses software.

Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Connected Car and Future Technology, explains: “In a world where cash is no longer king, customers are increasingly using electronic payments and contactless cards. Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refuelling quicker and easier. With this new system you can choose any pump on the forecourt and pay for the fuel even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card.”

“You will save time because there’s no more queuing to pay in a shop, and for drivers with children, it won’t be necessary to wake them up, or unstrap them from their seats to take them into the shop. Expenses and tax returns will also be made much simpler, with no receipts to lose as these will all be sent electronically.”

Unlike current phone-based payment methods, Shell and Jaguar Land Rover have created a simple but secure customer experience that uses geolocation technology and a cloud based pre-payment check with the PayPal or Apple Pay wallet.

David Bunch, Global Vice President Shell Retail Marketing and Chairman, Shell Brands International, said: ““As the world’s number one global fuels retailer, this e-commerce collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover is part of Shell’s commitment to continuously improve the digital experience for our customers at the forecourt. In 2015 Shell introduced mobile payments at the pump in the UK. Today we are proud to offer the next step in cashless motoring, with Jaguar and Land Rover customers in the UK paying for their Shell fuel using the car’s touchscreen. With around 30 million customers every day, we have a mission to continuously find ways to make our customer’s journey’s better. We look forward to further exciting developments like this across our 43,000 sites around the world soon.”

The Shell app with in-car cashless payments will be available to download from 15 February in the UK and will be rolled out in additional markets across the globe during 2017.

Virk adds: “We are working with leaders in e-commerce such as Shell to enable our customers to enjoy cashless motoring via their car’s touchscreen.Whether it’s paying for fuel, parking, tolls, or even at a drive-through restaurant, the aim of cashless motoring is to make life easier for our customers.

“Our technology allows users to put their phone away out of sight and use it via the touchscreen in the car, because as the car becomes more connected to the Internet of Things, we will always be guided by what is appropriate and safe to do while driving. So in-car payments would only be enabled when it is safe to do so, preventing unnecessary driver distractions.”

Source : internetretailing.net

(Author : Marianne Wilson)
Walmart has added another online asset to its battle against Amazon.

Walmart acquires specialty outdoor retailer
The chain announced it has acquired Moosejaw, an outdoor retailer know for its social media marketing expertise and strong online following among younger consumers, for approximately $51 million. The acquisition, which closed on Feb. 13, is Walmart’s second acquisition in less than two months. In late December, the chain’s Jet.com unit acquired online footwear retailer ShoeBuy.
Founded in 1992 and based in Madison Heights, Michigan, Moosejaw has a significant web presence and also operates 10 stores. It carries more than 400 brands, including such higher-end labels as Patagonia, The North Face, Marmot, and Arc’teryx.
Walmart said that Moosejaw will continue to operate its site and stores as it has in the past, and will be run as a standalone and complementary brand to the discounter’s other e-commerce sites.
“Moosejaw CEO Eoin Comerford, his executive team, and Moosejaw’s 350-plus employees will continue to be based in Michigan, and will join our new U.S. e-commerce retail organization,” Walmart stated.
Walmart also noted that Moosejaw suppliers “that are interested in expanding their consumer reach will now have the opportunity to serve more customers through Jet.com and our other e-commerce sites.”

(Author : Jana Pijak)
Walmart’s Holiday Helper Staff Aimed to Speed Up Checkout Times.

Department Store Holiday Helpers

Walmart’s in-store holiday helpers were stationed in stores across America this past December in an attempt to speed up checkout times while providing customer service in the process.

Wearing bright yellow uniforms and holding signs that read “S’no line here!” the helpers aided department store visitors with wayfinding, leading them straight to checkout lines that were made speedier and more efficient with their presence — easing the stress of consumers who are used to more hectic holiday shopping experiences.

While simple, Walmart’s decision to hire holiday helpers was one that eased the lives of those doing their holiday shopping, a task that is synonymous with long in-store lineups and massive crowds. This marketing tactic not only improved consumer engagement but also ensured that Walmart’s in-store transactions were handled more efficiently internally.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : fashionnetwork)
German discount supermarket group Lidl will open its first stores in the United States ahead of schedule this summer, it said on Wednesday, with plans for up to 100 stores within a year in a move that could shake up U.S. retailers.

German discounter Lidl readies for first U.S. stores

The group plans to open its first 20 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, it said in a statement. Lidl, which runs more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries in Europe, is in the midst of a recruitment drive in the United States and had not been expected to launch there until late 2017 or 2018.

Wary of the impending arrival, U.S. retailers had already been taking action.

Kroger, the second-biggest U.S. grocer after Wal-Mart, has been expanding its own discount format – Ruler Foods, while organic grocer Whole Foods last year launched a lower-price store concept named “365”.

“Retailers are preparing themselves for Lidl’s market entry. They are not falling asleep. They really take it seriously,” said Milos Ryba from retail analysis firm IGD, speaking before the timing of the Lidl openings were announced.

The German discount formula is not new in the United States - Aldi opened its first U.S. store in 1976 and now runs 1,600. Aldi U.S. is owned by Aldi South, while its German sister company Aldi North runs 460 Trader Joe’s stores in 41 states. Last week Aldi announced it would invest $1.6 billion in its U.S. stores, planning to remodel and expand more than 1,300 stores by 2020.

However, Lidl is seen as potentially more of a threat as it has moved away from Aldi’s hard discount formula in recent years, introducing more brands, fresh produce and in-store bakeries, as well as sprucing up its stores and experimenting with e-commerce.

That could make it more appealing in the United States, where customers tend to prefer branded goods to private labels.

Lidl and Aldi have already shaken up the British supermarket sector in recent years, winning share from Britain’s traditional “big four” grocers, putting increased pressure on them to lower prices and raise their game. The chain also debuted a fashion collection in February to compete with low-price apparel stores.

Based in Neckarsulm in southern Germany, Lidl had sales of 64.6 billion euros ($68 billion) in the year to end February 2016. The group is owned by Dieter Schwarz, who is Germany’s richest man according to several international rich lists, and is the son of Lidl’s founder Josef Schwarz.

Source : us.fashionnetwork.com

(Author : retail in asia)
British-owned Superdry has opened a new store in Beijing, unveiling its Superdry snow and sports collections in China at the same time.

Superdry opens new Beijing store, debuts ski collection in mainland China

The new store opening is in Sanlitun, an area of the Chaoyang District containing popular bar streets and international stores. The store interior hosts Asian hand-painted pieces mixed with American-style retro features, which can be seen upon entering the store. At the entrance, Superdry’s neon logo shines over the store’s steel and metal pipes with exposed ceilings and concrete floor offering a modern industrial feel. Walls are made of oak and light is warm and retro-rock themed. The store also carries the concept of the socket wall (an industrial bolt-on display wall), a flexible space to showcase Superdry’s unique British tailoring.

But Superdry’s snow and ski collection at the new China store is the country’s first, offering performance and leisure apparel for the winter season. To celebrate the opening of the new store, the Superdry held a three-day celebration, to give back to customers a full range product experience. In addition, the graffiti creative team Color were also invited providing consumers with custom t-shirt graffiti printing.

Superdry is owned by SuperGroup, which turned in an impressive set of half-year results when it reported back in November 2016. Group revenues rose 31.1% to £334m and e-commerce sales rose by 25% to £215.2m. Wholesale also surged, with a 43.8% rise to £118.8m and like-for-like sales rose 12.8%. That figure was lower than the 17.2% increase of a year ago, but felt viable considering the difficult trading conditions seen in fashion in 2016.

Source : retailinasia.com

(Author : Joey Haar)
Alibaba Buy+ is a new e-commerce concept from the Chinese retail giant that has the potential to completely revolutionize how people shop for products. 

Alibaba Buy+ is a Virtual Mall Showcasing the Company's Products

Due to its ability to create immersive private worlds for each user, VR has an unlimited amount of potential in a variety of fields. Alibaba’s new technology is the natural extension of how VR will come into play in the world of digital retail.

Alibaba Buy+ is a virtual reality shopping mall. By donning just a VR headset (with the option to add two handheld remotes for HTC Vive owners,) consumers can walk through the virtual space of the mall, visit various stores, and make purchases that will then be delivered in the real world. The program is currently available in beta only.

Source : trendhunter.com