TECHNOLOGY

The states that came out to spend during Wayfair’s shopping holiday were…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Shoppers in the nation’s top six most populated states drove spending on Wayfair’s first online shopping holiday.

The online furniture retailer launched Way Day on Wednesday, April 25, an event that featured Black Friday-level prices for 24 hours on 70,000 products across the home furnishings, décor and home improvement categories. Shoppers across New York, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Florida and Texas lead the charge in order volume, according to data from Edison Trends. The study evaluated aggregated e-receipts from more than 2.9 million users in the United States.

According to the data, spending across New York jumped 399% on Wayfair’s inaugural Way Day sale. In Pennsylvania, spending spiked 299%, and by 298% in California. Illinois, Florida and Texas followed with increases of 210%, 110% and 101%, respectively.

Overall, the online furniture retailer’s total sales jumped 400% on Way Day, compared to the average amount of daily sales over the previous 30 days prior to April 25. Wayfair also saw four times more unique shoppers that visited and bought goods on April 25, compared to last month, according to the study.

Despite these gains and attracting more shoppers to the site, the sale failed to increase average order spending. On Way Day, customers spent an average of $276, compared to $275 in March.

“The retail market is saturated with fierce competition during Black Friday in November, so retailers are increasingly looking for ways to stand out,” said Hetal Pandya, co-Founder of Edison Trends.

“Wayfair’s strategy of putting a similar type of Black Friday sale in the beginning of the year instead — during Spring time when household goods are in demand — combined with being an event exclusive to their brand, was an effective method of drawing in more shoppers and increasing sales,” Pandya added. “We believe more retailers may take this approach following Amazon’s example of introducing Prime Day, and now Wayfair’s success with Way Day.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Wendy’s customer evaluations go mobile

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Wendy’s Company wants to make it easier for restaurant managers to pinpoint how to improve food quality and the overall restaurant experience.

The fast-food retailer added a mobile data collection platform from WorldApp called form.com, to improve how it collects customer experience evaluations in its restaurants. The company will use the platform to collect customer feedback, then measure responses to improve quality, food safety, and consistency in the field.

The solution, which was integrated in just over three months, provides company users with real-time operational data. Wendy’s leadership analyzes data gathered from the evaluations, then uses the details to create strategies that improve experiences at individual locations. The company will also use this data to make continuous improvements.

“We’re always looking for new ways to create a better experience for the customer, and I believe that starts by providing franchise and company operators with the tools they need to accurately evaluate and coach their restaurant teams to drive operational excellence,” said Frank Leary, VP of customer experience, The Wendy’s Company. “We’re excited to leverage the flexibility and value of the platform to find new and interesting ways to communicate with Wendy’s restau-rant operators, and affect change on a restaurant-by-restaurant basis.”

In addition to being a step in modernizing how it collects, analyzes, and acts on operational data, Wendy’s Company expects the technology to further streamline internal operations, Leary added.

Wendy’s Company operates approximately 6,600 franchise and company-owned restaurants in the United States, and 30 countries and U.S. territories worldwide.

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Ahold Delhaize launches AI-based tech lab

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new partnership is putting Ahold Delhaize on the ground floor of artificial intelligence (AI) technology development.

The international supermarket retailer is teaming up with the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI), a Netherlands-based firm that jointly develops AI technology through industry labs with the business sector, government and knowledge institutes. The duo’s first order of business was to launch a lab committed to developing AI technology.

The ICAI-Ahold Delhaize industry lab, called AIRLab, features seven engineers that will research socially responsible algorithms that can be used to make recommendations to consumers and into transparent AI technology for managing goods flows. In addition, AIRLab will focus on talent development tracks. Research will be applied at Ahold’s Albert Heijn and bol.com banners.

“Artificial Intelligence offers countless possibilities for the retail industry, the consumer and society at large,” said Frans Muller, deputy CEO, Ahold Delhaize. “With this partnership, we want to further develop our ongoing initiatives and learn how AI can be used to better serve the interests of our customers.”

Specifically, the retailer plans to explore how AI can further optimize Albert Heijn’s supply chain. “We want to improve the availability of goods, for example, by taking into account local weather conditions,” Muller explained. “Also, we will investigate ways to make the assortment of bol.com even more accessible to customers. These insights and knowledge can be applied to our brands in the United States and Europe.”

Both partners set up shop in the Netherlands in hopes of leveraging the country’s “long tradition in AI education.” For ICAI, it is a chance to leverage resources outside of the traditional technology segment.

“The Netherlands has all the resources to take a prominent position in the international AI landscape – top talent, innovation strength and research at world-class level,” said Maarten de Rijke, director of ICAI, and professor of Information Retrieval at the University of Amsterdam. “AI will influence every sector of society. The partnership with Ahold Delhaize is of major importance because with it we are making a serious investment in the development of AI talent and technology outside of the traditional technology sector.”

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