TECHNOLOGY

Drug chain accepts Apple Pay online

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Rite Aid Corp. is accepting mobile payments online.

The chain’s customers can now use Apple Pay to make online purchases. Rite Aid is the first pharmacy to accept this mobile wallet online.

When using their Apple device to shop the nearly 12,000 items available on Rite Aid’s online store, customers select the Apple Pay button during checkout. The transaction will be processed in a manner similar to when Apple Pay is used in-store, according to Rite Aid.

“Mobility is critically important to our customers and patients. With our transactions growing on smartphones every week, adding Apple Pay, the most popular digital wallet, will be a welcome enhancement,” said David Abelman, Rite Aid executive VP of marketing.

“More than half of all visitors to RiteAid.com use their mobile device and the majority of our customers use their iPhone,” he added. “By accepting Apple Pay as a form of payment online, we’re staying true to our promise of making it easy and convenient for our customers to shop at Rite Aid.”

In addition to its e-commerce site, Rite Aid operates 4,507 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

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TECHNOLOGY

Discount giant’s innovation gala presented a glimpse into the future of retail

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Virtual reality (VR) was the star of Walmart’s Store No. 8 inaugural innovation gala — an event that exhibited how the technology will shape retail shopping.

Store No. 8, Walmart’s technology incubator focused on ideas that will transform the future of commerce, held its first innovation gala on Wednesday. Store No. 8 works with startups that specialize in areas that include robotics, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence. This event however, gave put the spotlight on the value of VR.

The gala, which took place at a private residence in Hollywood Hills, California, invited top brands, technology companies and venture capitalists to see how VR will impact how customers shop in the future. Each exhibit encompassed Store No 8, Thrive Global and Accenture’s vision for the future of VR.

The concepts came from five early-stage VR developers that Store No 8 chose from an open call it hosted over the summer. These winners received funding to develop a proof of concept for an immersive retail experience. Guided by executives from Store No. 8, and brands like Modcloth, Bonobos and Rebecca Minkoff, their ideas were brought to life at the gala.

“Innov8 is our opportunity to support and elevate the incredible pioneers of virtual reality who share our mission to explore nascent innovations that will emerge not in coming years but over the next decade,” said Katie Finnegan, principal of Store No 8. “During this process, our five Innov8ers have uncovered radical new technologies, approaches and applications across the virtual retail experience, that we know will play a major role in driving commerce forward at a time when technology influences all aspects of consumers’ lives.”

Among the winners highlighted at the event were a 3D image solution from 8i that enables customers to interact with a Bonobos Guide, select virtual shirts from a rack and understand fit on a hologram model. A 3D image solution from Fyusion created curated Modcloth products in a manner that gives shoppers more insight into merchandise before they make a purchase. A company called Obsess recreated a virtual Rebecca Minkoff store.

Innov8’s board of judges included Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, Marc Carrel-Billiard, senior managing director of Accenture Labs, Jason Welsh, managing director, Accenture Interactive, Kirsten Green, general partner of Forerunner Ventures, Tipatat Chennavasin, general partner of the Virtual Reality Fund, Jeremy Welt, President, Invisible Robot Corp., Store No 8’s Finnegan, and Marc Lore, president and CEO, Walmart U.S. eCommerce and founder, Jet.com.

The event was sponsored by key brands and organizations in the technology and retail industries, including HP, Silicon Valley Bank, and Microsoft.

To read more details about the highlighted VR innovations, click here.

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TECHNOLOGY

The world’s most ‘authentic’ brand is…

BY Marianne Wilson

Tech brands topped an annual ranking of the world’s 100 most authentic brands, with an online giant taking the top spot.

Amazon was voted No. 1 in Cohn & Wolfe’s 2017 Global Authentic 100, which examines the role of authenticity in business.  Other brands in the top ten include Apple, Microsoft, Google, PayPal, Adidas, Intel, Lego, BMW, and HP. The only traditional retailer to crack the top 25 was Ikea, at No. 24.

For the past five years, Cohn & Wolfe has surveyed consumers across international brands to examine the impact of authenticity on the behaviors and attitudes of consumers, employees, and investors. This year, over 15,000 consumers in 15 markets were surveyed.

Cohn & Wolfe’s analysis has identified three key drivers of authenticity:

• Reliable: Consumers rate brands as authentic when they “deliver on promises” and are of “high quality.”
• Respectful: These brands “treat customers well” and “protect customer data and privacy” – a key concern for consumers across markets.
• Real: Brands that rate high on this driver “communicate honestly” and “act with integrity.”

To see the full Athentiv 100 list, click here.

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