last week’s most read retail technology articles — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

These are the RTIH articles that caught your fancy last week, including Nike, Alibaba Group, Walmart, Wegmans, Ikea, Trigo, and Swiftly.

Alibaba Group announces luxury shopping experience in the metaverse

Alibaba Group’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion platform has hosted an augmented reality fashion show and introduced a Meta Pass, which confers priority digital access to brands’ products.

In recent years, the platform has deployed 3D shopping, augmented reality and virtual reality try-ons for products, digital avatars and digital collectibles.

Also this month in Shanghai, luxury executives attended an awards ceremony and an exhibition on extended reality.

“Before the metaverse became a buzzword, we had already transformed this buzzword into a commercial reality,” says Janet Wang, Head of Alibaba’s luxury division.

Walmart makes livestream shopping move with Firework

Firework has signed a partnership agreement with Walmart Connect, a closed loop omnichannel media business of Walmart, to bring livestream and premium shoppable video content to the retail giant’s offering.

Walmart Connect is aiming to bring shoppable, short form, social media style videos to its own digital properties while also making them available to advertisers.

Last week’s biggest retail technology plays at a glance

RTIH rounds up the stand out retail systems deals, deployments and pilots from the past seven days. Featuring Shopify, Walmart, Starbucks, Aldi, ASICS, Bloomingdale’s, and JCPenney.

Wegmans was right to pull its scan and go mobile app. here’s why

American supermarket chain, Wegmans Food Markets, pulled its in-store scan and go app on Sunday, 18th September.

It’s a wise move, according to Brendan Witcher, VP & Principal Analyst, Digital Business Strategy, Forrester Research.

In a LinkedIn post, Witcher said: “As Nelson Mandela once said, “I never lose. I either win or learn.” You may find this odd, but I applaud this move by Wegmans.”

“Why? Because the three mistakes companies make when investing in something new and innovative are 1) bake the initiative so deep into their business model that what’s been done can never be undone, 2) fail to set up metrics to assess total business impact, and 3) continue the initiative out of pride even though it makes no business sense.”

He concluded: “Wegmans, on the other hand, produced and executed this correctly from start to finish.”

The Wegmans SCAN app launched in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. It allowed users to scan barcodes and pay for items quicker at self-checkouts.

Ikea tackles food waste problem with Winnow AI technology

Ingka Group says that it has reduced food waste by 54% in its Ikea stores.

That translates into more than 20 million meals saved and 36,000 tonnes of CO2e that have been avoided.

This results from more than 20,000 Ikea food co-workers who were trained to use Winnow’s AI technology in their daily routines.

Trigo launches EasyStock shelf and inventory management software

Autonomous stores specialist, Trigo, has designed what is pitched as “a new way to manage in-store inventory”.

EasyStock uses its existing sensing infrastructure to automatically provide real-time on-shelf availability in order to accelerate the shelf replenishment process and reduce out-of-stock rates.

Celia Van Wickel departs Kantar for Mars Wrigley Confectionery

Celia Van Wickel has taken on the role of Global Director and Head of Omnichannel Analytics at Mars Wrigley Confectionery.

She joins from Kantar where she served as Senior Director, Digital Commerce.

Prior to that, she was Senior Manager, DTC & E-commerce Shopper Insights at The Coca-Cola Company.

Grocery retail technology startup Swiftly bags unicorn status

Swiftly has announced a $100 million Series C funding round led by BRV Capital Management, bringing the company’s total valuation to more than $1 billion.

This marks Swiftly’s second $100 million financing round in less than six months.

The startup provides bricks and mortar grocers with branded phone apps designed to help retailers gather high customer data and earn advertising dollars, while shoppers can find what they’re looking for in the aisles, recall past purchases and skip lines by scanning products and paying with their phones.

Nike teams with Ant Group for Recycle-A-Shoe program on Alipay platform

Nike has joined the Ant Group’s Green Energy Initiative and launched an official mini program on Alipay to encourage more consumers to recycle worn out shoes.

Chinese shoppers can search Recycle-A-Shoe in the Alipay app and have old Nike shoes collected for recycling.

These will then be dismantled and re-processed to make sustainable sport courts through Nike Grind technology.

By doing so, consumers will receive virtual green energy points in Alipay Ant Forest, a green mini programme.

These can be used to support tree planting, ecological restoration or bio-diversity conservation projects.

M&S enlists Tata Consultancy Services for space, range and display project

Marks & Spencer has partnered with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to upgrade its in-store space, range and display (SRD) capabilities.

The retailer was facing multiple operational challenges created by a lack of technology investment.

TCS developed and implemented a cloud-based SRD platform using Blue Yonder Category Management and Azure Data Bricks with the aim of optimizing store space, improving stock management efficiency, addressing the company’s GSCOP (Grocery Suppliers Code of Practice) ranking and enhancing the customer experience.

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