TECHNOLOGY

Online furniture retailer debuts ‘mixed reality’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Wayfair is offering a new kind of immersive shopping experience.

Through a partnership with Magic Leap, the online furniture retailer is launching a mixed-reality (MR) commerce experience. Using what the company describes as the first-ever spatial computing web browser, called Helio, Wayfair is creating a new visual environment that integrates physical and digital objects in real-time.

The technology will be a featured bookmark within the Magic Leap One, Creator Edition computing platform. Shoppers can also access the Wayfair MR experience by visiting next.wayfair.com in the Helio browser. As customers launch Helio, they can place the browser anywhere in their space, and then launch Wayfair’s MR experience. Shoppers can interact with and view true-to-scale products, then pull items into their physical space. Merchandise can be moved and rotated, to see how products fit into their living space.

“We are setting a new precedent for a truly immersive shopping experience leveraging the power of mixed reality and the ease of Web,” said Steve Conine, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair. “Together with the MR experts at Magic Leap, Wayfair has developed a completely new way to shop for home with a spatial browsing experience that will shape the next evolution of retail.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon adds a twist to its Whole Foods Market grocery delivery service

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon just made a big move in the grocery deliver battle.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, the online giant launched grocery pickup, a service that enables Prime members to pick up their order at a local Whole Foods Market store within an hour — without leaving their car. The program is currently offered in Sacramento and Virginia Beach. More cities will be added throughout 2018.

Prime members place their order via the Prime Now app and choose the pickup option at checkout. Customers use the app to alert their local store that they are on their way, and associates begin preparing the order. Upon arriving at the store, customers park in a reserved pickup spot, and a Prime Now shopper will place groceries into their car within minutes.

Customers can choose free pickup within an hour on orders of $35. A $4.99 fee applies orders ready within 30 minutes.

“Amazon, synonymous with home delivery, is leveraging its grocery brick-and-mortar investment as it battles for a greater share of wallet,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus, a provider digital grocery solutions.

Curbside delivery is another option Amazon is using to get groceries into shoppers’ hands faster. The online giant also offers free two-hour deliveries from Whole Foods stores in 24 cities.

The curbside service also takes a swipe at rivals Walmart and Target, as well as supermarket operators, including Kroger, Publix and H-E-B, which also offer drive-up grocery pickup options.

“Not only at Amazon and Whole Foods, but among grocery retailers in general, there’s a great deal of experimentation going on to see what sticks with consumers,” added Mercatus’ Perrier. “What’s becoming clear is there’s no one path to retaining customer loyalty. To compete today, grocers need to offer a selection of services and fulfillment options that cater to a variety of shopper preferences.”

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TECHNOLOGY

DTLR takes the next step in its cloud-based transformation

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

DTLR is standardizing its technology infrastructure to drive a more unified commerce experience.

Following its merger with Sneaker Villa (known as Villa) in August 2017, DTLR (formerly known as Downtown Locker Room) has been working toward streamlining and standardizing its technology infrastructure. By extending its partnership with Aptos, DTLR is now ready to enhance its omnichannel operations and provide a differentiated shopping experience to its growing customer base.

The urban-focused athletic footwear and apparel retailer’s existing cloud-based solutions will seamlessly integrate with new Aptos on-demand solutions, a move that will accelerate implementations, increase speed-to-market and improve its agility. For example, a new order management system will integrate with DTLR’s existing point-of-sale solution, delivering a unified view of all in-store and digital touch points.

The order management system will also act as a centralized commerce hub to profitably manage all orders throughout their lifecycle. The configuration also allows DTLR to introduce advanced omnichannel shopping scenarios, including buy-online, pick-up-in-store and ship-from-store capabilities.

“DTLR takes great pride in offering customers an authentic experience every time they interact with our brand,” said Glenn Gaynor, DTLR CEO. “To continue to provide this, we have renewed and standardized our investment in Aptos technology, including adding the powerful Aptos Enterprise Order Management solution. We’re confident in Aptos’ ability to support our brand as we enhance customer loyalty in communities nationwide.”

DTLR operates 237 stores in 19 states and Washington, D.C., as well as e-commerce websites for the DTLR and Villa brands.

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