TECHNOLOGY

Amazon expands free ultra-fast grocery delivery

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon and Whole Foods Market are adding four more markets to their two-hour grocery delivery program.

Starting June 12, the online giant launched free two-hour delivery of products from Whole Foods through Prime Now in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Richmond. The service first launched in February, and was available in seven cities by April.

With the additional markets, the service is now available in 14 cities. Amazon plans to continue expanding the service across the United States throughout the rest of the year, the company said.

The service extension comes on the heels of another program expansion across the Whole Foods Market chain. Starting this week, Amazon will introduce its Prime discounts program to Whole Foods stores across 10 additional states, a move that gives members an extra 10% off sale items.

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TECHNOLOGY

Sears revs up Auto Centers partnership with Amazon

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sears is going in deeper with Amazon.

The department store retailer is expanding a partnership with Amazon that enables customers to receive full-service tire installation and balancing at Sears Auto Centers for any brand of tires purchased on Amazon. The program, called Ship-to-Store, was introduced in 47 stores in May. It is now being rolled out to an additional 71 locations, bringing the total to 118.

“Amazon customer reviews have been very positive and we are two months ahead of schedule,” said Mike McCarthy, VP and general manager of Sears Automotive. “Customers are taking advantage of additional services during the tire installation process, such as oil changes and alignments. We are meeting our 60-minute tire installation commitment, and over 90% of the Amazon customers are new Sears Automotive customers.”

The Ship-to-Store tire installation service will continue to roll out to customers across the United States over the coming weeks, according got Sears.

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Guess, Express join data consortium to speed up engagement efforts

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Two fashion retailers are taking a new approach to better engage customers throughout their shopping experience.

Guess and Express have joined forces with OneMarket, formerly Westfield Labs, a retail technology network focused on uniting retailers, shopping venues and technology companies. Through the partnership, the retailers can collaborate with other companies to leverage the network’s customer data and innovative technologies to further improve the shopping experience.

The platform specifically focuses on consumer insights, consumer engagement and advertising. Since all three processes typically require significant capital investments and the time to implement the related solutions, the platform allows participants to implement technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), artificial reality, and natural language processing, at scale more quickly through a smaller individual investment. This enables participants to drive consumer adoption and engagement, and deploy familiar yet seamless experiences, according to OneMarket.

“We all have to urgently re-think our approach to retail if we want to win in the marketplace of today, and more importantly tomorrow,” said Don Kingsborough, CEO of OneMarket. “Collaboration, collective investment in technologies, higher industry standards, and a seamless, standardized way to shop for the consumer – this is just the beginning. Being united on a single platform will forever change the way we interact with our consumers and succeed as an industry.”

Along with Guess and Express, New Stand, as well as shopping center owners/operators Macerich, Taubman and Steiner + Associates also joined the platform.

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