TECHNOLOGY

Kay Jewelers partners with Snapchat

BY Marianne Wilson

Kay Jewelers is showcasing its brand on Snapchat via augmented reality.

In a first for the jewelry category, the retailer has launched a custom “world lens” on Snapchat that prompts users to “try on” several Kay styles. The lens extends Snapchat’s popular face-altering filters to objects in the real world through the Snapchat app and the smartphone camera, allowing users to explore the animated virtual objects from all sides.

Here’s how it works: In selfie mode, users can tap to try on three different sets of layered necklaces in rose, yellow or white gold. This lens incorporates the iconic Kay “kiss” through a secret prompt, and features Snapchat’s AR technology.

When the camera is flipped to the rear, world-facing view, users can play an interactive game to catch and stack falling rings and bracelets for the chance to see a fun visual surprise at the end.

“We are always looking for new ways to engage our audience and we are very excited to be introducing this first-to-market, custom Lens with Snapchat,” said Kim Kanary, VP, public relations and social media, Kay Jewelers. “We know that consumers like to browse and research jewelry selections digitally, but still value the opportunity to experience the physical try-on in store. With this custom Lens we are able combine those behaviors in a fun and interactive experience that we believe users will really enjoy.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Report: All systems go for Amazon in the land Down Under

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon is launching in Australia.

The online giant alerted Australian sellers that they should be ready to take orders as of Thursday, Nov. 23, according to Reuters. The new operation gives Australian shoppers the opportunity to buy merchandise locally, rather than place orders on Amazon’s Marketplace — a global marketplace for third-party sellers.

Currently, more than 1,000 Australian companies sell their wares on the platform. However, shoppers can wait up to 12 days to receive merchandise — and be subject to hefty shipping fee, the report said.

In addition to shipping merchandise out of its new Australian warehouse, Amazon will continue hosting third-party retailers on its online marketplace.

To read more, click here.

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TECHNOLOGY

Report: New app streamlines Amazon’s truck drivers’ deliveries

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is speeding up truck drivers’ warehouse visits.

The online giant quietly rolled out its new “Relay” app, a move that the company expects to help automate the truck delivery process. Amazon introduced the app last month, according to CNBC.

The free app enablers truck drivers to pre-register their loads, and receive a digital gate pass that is saved within the app. It is available for iOS and Android devices, according to the app’s description on Google Play.

Here’s how it works: Once drivers download the Amazon Relay app, they can enter load information when picking up or dropping off at Amazon facilities. Once the load information is entered, they receive their gate pass, which is embedded with a QR code. As drivers arrive at the gate, they can scan gate pass, streamlining their check-in to the facility.

Participating facilities also feature designated Amazon Relay Lanes reserved for drivers with gate passes, according to Google Play.

While CNBC reported that Relay is Amazon’s first attempt at automating the truck delivery process, the online retailer may still need some time to work out some kinks. Users have only given the app a 3.3-star rating out of five, with some users describing the app as “useless,” riddled with “a lot of glitches,” and time-consuming compared to interacting with a guard, according to reviews.

There have been between 1,000 and 5,000 downloads to date, according to the app page.

This program is just Amazon’s latest attempt at making its supply chain more efficient. Recently, the online giant established its “Amazon Logistics” operation, a cross-border service currently available to sellers listing on the Amazon platform. The retailer also continues to develop its air freight solutions and services, and plans “to quickly introduce it to a large number of our sellers,” according to the Amazon Logistics website.

Earlier this year, Amazon announced it would build an air cargo hub in Kentucky, which will be home base for its leased air fleet of 40 Boeing cargo jets — a program it calls Prime Air.

Meanwhile, Amazon dipped its toe into the freight forwarder waters in January, a move that allows Amazon to control shipments between manufacturers and distribution points.

In November 2015, the company purchased thousands of trailers pulled by tractor trucks provided through partnerships with third-party transportation firms. These vehicles shuttle inventory throughout the supply chain.

The company is also in the midst of testing delivery drones.

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