TECHNOLOGY

Report: Amazon has visited all contenders for new HQ

BY CSA Staff

Amazon is getting closer to naming the hosting city of its new corporate headquarters, dubbed HQ2.

The online giant visited all 20 finalist locations, a move that indicates the company is closing in on the site of its new headquarters, reported NBC News. There is no indication if list has been narrowed down, or if there is a leading contender, according to the report.

The final 20 contenders are Toronto, Canada; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Chicago; Denver; Nashville; Los Angeles; Dallas and Austin, Texas; Boston; New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; Montgomery County in Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh, North Carolina; Northern Virginia; Atlanta, and Miami, Florida.

The report noted that several cities in the top 20 have experienced an uptick in interest from other companies by just making it onto Amazon’s list.

To read more, click here.

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Walmart goes upscale online—in partnership with Lord & Taylor

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is looking to appeal to upscale, fashion-minded customers with its new online initiative.

The discount giant, in partnership with Lord & Taylor, is launching a new online store on Walmart.com that will offer more than 125 brands sold by the department store retailer, ranging from Vince Camuto to Tommy Bahama to Miss Selfridge. The new section, which Walmart described as a “flagship store,” will be rolled out in stages during the coming weeks. It will be integrated within Walmart’s redesigned e-commerce site.

“As part of the Walmart.com redesign, and our commitment to establish Walmart.com as a destination for fashion, we recently relaunched our new fashion shopping experience,” said Denise Incandela, head of fashion, Walmart U.S. e-commerce. “The new experience is aligned with how customers shop the category, with editorial elements that inspire customers to browse and buy, and has already generated positive customer response. The next step is the launch of the Lord & Taylor flagship store, which introduces exciting new premium brands to our customers.”

The new online Lord & Taylor store will features clothing for men, women and children, accessories, and jewelry. Customers can shop by category, shop by brand, or draw inspiration from editorial stories, Walmart said. A header saying, “Premium Brands from Lord & Taylor,” will run across each premium brand page to distinguish the store from Walmart’s “everyday” section.

The partnership between the two retailers was announced last November. It comes as Hudson’s Bay Co. is working to turnaround the performance of its 50-store Lord & Taylor division.

“This innovative flagship on Walmart.com is an entirely new model for us and demonstrates the evolution of Lord & Taylor, and our commitment to advancing our digital presence,” said R.J. Cilley, senior VP of digital, Lord & Taylor. “We are excited for the opportunity to serve exponentially more customers with our premium fashion offerings, including our famous dress selection and many stylish brands.”

The Lord & Taylor online flagship also coincides with Walmart’s redesigned website, which features more personalization and specialty experiences. These range from a personalized home page, which showcases the top-selling items in a customer’s location, to specialty shopping experiences, such as Walmart’s digital home shopping experience, which streamlines how customers browse and purchase merchandise across the category.

For a look at the new Lord & Taylor online store, click here.

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Target’s beauty experience gets a digital makeover

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Target is blending its physical and digital beauty experiences.

In effort to streamline how its customers navigate its cosmetics offering, which consists of more than 1,000 brands, Target is testing an augmented reality solution online and through its mobile app. The discounter introduced the Target Beauty Studio, a solution that merges augmented reality, artificial intelligence and real-time facial mapping technology to enable customers to virtually try on makeup.

Customers can also use the technology in-store by using dedicated digital screens in the beauty department. Currently, 10 stores are testing the technology, and more stores will add the solution later this year, according to the company.

Separately, Target is giving shoppers access to its in-store beauty concierge representatives via a new text service that delivers real-time advice, from tracking down a specific product to choosing between two shades of a product. To receive responses from a beauty consultant, customers just text “BeautyChat” to “Target” (827492).

Taking this service one step further, the discounter is preparing to launch an online beauty chat service. As customers browse Target’s cosmetics or skin care pages, a chat icon will be displayed. By clicking on the icon, customers can type their question and a beauty consultant will provide answers in real time.
“When it comes to shopping beauty, our guests love to explore,” said Christina Hennington, senior VP of beauty and essentials at Target. “With the introduction of these new initiatives, which blend physical and digital to create an enhanced experience, we’re giving Target’s guests even more convenient options to find the perfect beauty items for their unique needs.”

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