Walmart goes live
Walmart has officially gone live with voice shopping on the Google Homeplatform.
As it was announced back in August, the discounter is partnering with Google to allow its customers to shop for Walmart items through voice via Google Assistant, the search giant's online shopping platform that lives on its smart speaker. On Wednesday, the partnership went live, with more than two million Walmart items available through voice.
(Read more about the partnership here.)
In addition, Walmart noted in a blog on its website that Google is launching the Google Home Mini, a voice-activated speaker that sells for only $49.
"Everyone should have access to a virtual assistant, especially when it can be a tool to help make shopping more convenient," Walmart stated. "That’s one of the reasons why we’re excited about the launch of the Google Home Mini. With a price tag of $49, it offers an affordable option for consumers who want to experience how a voice assistant can help them with everyday tasks – from getting answers to hands-free shopping.”
Walmart is offering an incentive to encourage shoppers to use voice shopping. Any customer who buys a Google Home or Google Home Mini from Walmart will receive up to $25 off (Between Oct. 4, 2017 and Jan. 15, 2018) a Walmart order when they link their Walmart account to Google Express. By linking their accounts, customers save time and money by receiving recommendations based on their previous purchases made in Walmart stores and on its website, the retailer said.
Great move. I will buy one at this discounted price and stop writing paper store list.
Cloud-based platform puts Jonathan Adler on fast track
A home furnishings brand is in rapid expansion mode — something that wasn’t possible five years ago.
Through the use of Oracle’s NetSuite platform, Jonathan Adler has increased the number of its company-run retail stores from 18 to 26, including two in the U.K. grown its e-commerce site, and expanded its SKU volume from 12,000 to 33,000. The company has also increased its retail partners from 500 to more than 1,000 across 30 countries, including such top names as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Harrod's and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The brand credits this upward expansion — which has occurred over the last five years — to the adoption of Oracle’s cloud-based platform. This unified foundation integrates accounting, order management, inventory management and order processing – key elements in customer-centric omnichannel retail operations and B2B distribution.
The architecture replaces disparate, inefficient software systems that offered limited visibility into the business, and supported manual data management and reporting — factors that contributed to a fragmented environment. Worse, the outdated systems couldn’t be upgraded without significant spending and business disruption.
These issues pushed the company to search for an agile, scalable platform that would support its expansion plans, and keep mission-critical information centralized in one place. Specifically, NetSuite feeds nightly catalog updates to Jonathan Adler's e-commerce site, while the marketing platform triggers and delivers timely, personalized communications to customers and fans.
The centralized platform also enables Jonathan Adler to set up new stores within hours, unlike the previous scenario that required weeks of provisioning on-premise software and systems, according to the company.
"NetSuite has made us smarter, faster and more capable," said Damen Seminero, Jonathan Adler’s CTO.
“It is our central nervous system and the single data source for our financials, inventory and customers," he added. "NetSuite has taken us from guesswork to having real-time numbers and information in one location, and there's no greater benefit than that. It has allowed us to grow and add new locations without ever pausing.”
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Online giant now owns a 3D body scanning startup
Amazon’s newest acquisition could give a boost to the company’s fashion category — including its growing private-label apparel business.
The online giant has acquired Body Labs, a 3D scanning platform that uses artificial intelligence, computer vision, and body modeling to accurately create an avatar-like image of a customer’s dimensions. The 3D platform provider announced the news on its website.
While Body Labs declined to share details about the transaction, the deal is anticipated to be between $50 million and $70 million, according to TechCrunch, which initially broke the story.
The digital platform captures 3D body motions and shapes, and models can be applied to numerous industries, including gaming and apparel, according to Body Labs’ website. This is a natural fit for Amazon, as it could streamline how online shoppers virtually try on clothes prior to making a purchase, as well as reduce merchandise returns.
For example, Amazon continues to roll out new private label lines across men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, men’s and women’s shoes, lingerie and underwear categories. The company also operates its “try before you buy” Prime Wardrobe service — a subscription-based program that enables Prime members to order (and try on) from three to 15 items of clothing before they actually buy any of the items.
By integrating 3D modeling across both categories, more accurate fittings supported by Body Labs could reduce the rate of returned merchandise — as well as operating costs associated with excess returns, according to TechCrunch.
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