TECHNOLOGY

Amazon setting up shop—inside model homes

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon wants to show prospective home owners just how its Alexa device and other solutions can fit into their everyday lives.

The tech giant announced it is opening “Amazon Experience Centers” within select Lennar model homes across the United States. The homes will be Alexa-enabled, which means customers can ask Alexa to control the television, lights, thermostat, shades, and more.

Customers can experience just how easy it can be to reorder household essentials with a press of an Amazon Dash Button, listen or watch Prime content with Fire TV or schedule on-demand home services through Amazon Home Services, according to Amazon. The centers are now open in Lennar model homes in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., with more to be added.

“We wanted customers to experience a real home environment that showcases the convenience of the Alexa smart home experience, great entertainment available with Prime, and Home Services,” said Nish Lathia, general manager, Amazon Services.

In the Lenar model-home setting, customers can experience how Alexa, Prime, and Amazon services come together to help them:

• Control smart home devices with just their voice;
• Control smart home devices with just their voice;
• Incorporate entertainment into their daily lives, and
• Save time by putting their home on auto-pilot.

The centers, which feature the latest products and experiences, are set up by Amazon experts, who are described by the company as employees specially trained on the latest technology and passionate about helping customers.

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Online grocery sales on the upswing, but sector needs to improve

BY Marianne Wilson

E-commerce grocery sales in the United States are projected to grow 10-times faster than in-store sales.

That’s according to Brick Meets Click’s newest sales forecast, which projected online as a percentage of total grocery sales will climb from under 5% at the end of 2017 to over 8% by the end of 2022. From a compound annual growth rate perspective, online grocery sales will grow 13% as compared to 1.3% for in-store sales (excluding the effects of inflation).

The report noted that while online grocery shopping promises to improve shopper outcomes in various ways, fulfilling the promise is still very much a work in progress, which creates challenges for growth.

For example:

• One-in-five online shoppers can’t find everything that they want to buy. In-market performance trails pure-play providers in this area slightly, but that’s likely because in-market basket sizes are considerably larger.

• What’s worse is when a customer puts an item in the cart, checks out, and expects to receive everything ordered only to find out something is out of stock. Reducing the difference between what’s ordered and what’s received is critical, especially for in-market providers, given the high frequency with which this occurs.

• Other factors also affect shopper satisfaction, including the direct and explicit cost related to using online shopping options.

For the online grocery format to grow, shopping experiences need to improve so that active online shoppers recommend these alternatives to others, Bricks Meets Clicks advised.

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Report: Walmart ends grocery delivery partnerships with ride-hailing services

BY CSA Staff

Walmart, Uber and Lyft are going their separate ways.

The discount giant has ended its two-year online grocery delivery partnership with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. Uber plans to shutter the program by the end of next month, according to Reuters.

According to the report, the abrupt decision stems from difficulty to uphold the shared-ride companies’ vision to efficiently deliver anything on-demand, including people and cargo. Walmart announced in March it planned to use Uber to deliver groceries to more than 40% of the country.

While this could potentially stall Walmart’s goal to expand its grocery home-delivery service to more than 100 metropolitan areas this year, the discounter is forging ahead.

Walmart plans to continue scaling its grocery delivery service with other delivery providers in the markets previously served by the ride hailing companies. This includes four markets served by Uber, and Lyft’s test market of Denver, Reuters reported.

To read more, click here.

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