ECOMMERCE

Online giant explores ‘mobile’ drone launch pad

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon has lots of ideas about how drones can improve package deliveries, but they also need supportive facilities and operations.

In hopes of getting the ball rolling, the online giant has filed a patent application for “ground-based mobile maintenance facilities for unmanned aerial vehicles.” Simply put, these hubs would be dedicated to accommodating, loading, launching, receiving and maintaining the delivery drones.

According to a patent filing, which was recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Center, intermodal vehicles could be linked to locomotives, container ships, road tractors or other vehicles, and equipped with systems for loading one or more items onto the aerial vehicle. These hubs could also launch or retrieve drones while the vehicle is in motion.

The application also defines how these hubs will help maintain the delivery devices. For example, drones may be loaded with replacement parts and/or inspection equipment. They could also be configured to conduct repairs, servicing operations or inspections on drones within the intermodal vehicles while the train, ship or another hosting vehicle is in motion, according to the filing.

Amazon is not the first company to explore the concept of mobile hubs or launch pads. In February, UPS tested a program in Lithia, Florida, that launched an “octocopter drone” from atop of a UPS package car. The device was programmed to autonomously deliver a package to a home, and then return to the vehicle while the driver continues along the route to make a separate delivery.

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ECOMMERCE

Report: Online giant operates 19 private-label brands

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon has a stronger foothold in the private-label market than some may realize.

Besides its AmazonBasics house line, which includes small items from iPhone chargers, to batteries, power strips, the online giant is selling products across a wide array of categories. Specifically, Amazon features approximately 19 company-owned brands that are exclusively available on Amazon, reported Quartz.

According to the report, the lines span men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, men’s shoes, cosmetics, tools, tech accessories, fresh and frozen food, lingerie and underwear, baby goods, consumer goods, linens, spare parts and furniture. However, only one brand — Pinzon, a bedsheets and towel brand — reveals that it’s an Amazon product. The only indication that these other “secret” brands might have an affiliation with Amazon is that they are “exclusively for Prime members.”

Amazon also has at least 10 more trademarks in the works — meaning other private label lines may be on the way. These include household goods, leather goods, baby products, car products, makeup, motor homes and music services, the report said.

According to Quartz’s list, there are also trademarks for handbags. Products under this pending trademark could coincide with Amazon’s new private label shoe and handbag line. Called The Fix, the line comprises trendy designs, including satin slides, colorful sneakers and mules, studded flats, and floral-embellished boots, among other looks.

To read more, click here.

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Abercrombie & Fitch continues rollout of new store prototype

BY Marianne Wilson

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has brought its updated store environment to Tysons Corner Center, Tysons, Va.

The location is one of seven new concept stores the retailer will open by yearend. Abercrombie debuted the new look in February, at Polaris Fashion Mall in Columbus, Ohio. It has also opened at Lenox Square, Atlanta, Georgia, and at Somerset North, Troy, Michigan (Somerset North).

The new Abercrombie prototype was designed with the best customer experience in mind, and to encourage the discovery of the brand`s new collections. The fitting rooms are outfitted with such amenities as separate controls for light and music, as well as a phone charging dock.

Select fitting rooms comprise of two individual capsules within a larger, private suite, allowing for sharing new looks with a friend or family member, while also enjoying privacy. In other features, cash wraps are placed throughout the space, enabling a quicker and more accessible checkout experience.

Abercrombie is also updating select existing stores with a refreshed in-store design, including most recently, its location at Memorial City Mall in Houston, Texas. The updated store incorporates elements of the prototype, including the refurbished logo from 1892, the open concept layout, and the runway for customers to have better visibility to the product.

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