TECHNOLOGY

Target partners with start-up for new type of wedding registry experience

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. is teaming up with a company that landed a deal on “Shark Tank” to offer an updated take on the wedding registry.

Target is partnering with honeymoon registry startup Honeyfund to allow soon-to-be married shoppers the chance to register for honeymoon experiences, flights, dinners and more as they sign up for mixers, dishes, and other traditional household items — all on the Target site.

“Wedding registry expectations have changed over time,” said Dawn Block, Target senior VP of digital. “Guests are looking for a complete registry experience, including product and honeymoon options, and Target is the first retailer to be able to offer all of this in one place on Target.com.”

Target has updated its registry (wedding and baby) in other ways also. It has added visual search technology to the registry app in partnership with Pinterest whereby the guest takes a picture of an item she likes and the retailer’s app will instantly recommend Target products resembling the photo to add to any registry, from wedding to baby.

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Sears to add new twist to its loyalty program

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sears is giving its Shop Your Way members another way to earn points.

Through a partnership with sports-focused live streaming TV provider fuboTV, the department store is expanding its Shop Your Way loyalty program into a new category: live streaming video services. The agreement gives Shop Your Way members access the video service, which includes more than 65 channels of live sports, entertainment and news content.

In addition, members who subscribe to the Fubo Premier package will receive “Cashback” in Shop Your Way points. These will total the first month of paid subscription fees, plus additional Cashback points every month during the first year of paid service, according to Sears.

Subscribers can earn $20 Cashback points for the first full paid month of service after the seven-day trial, or $3 Cashback points per month for the next 11 months of paid service for the first year fulfilled subscription term. These points can be used on “millions of items” from Shop Your Way partners, such as Sears, Kmart, Lands’ End and on the Shop Your Way website, Sears reported.

“We’re giving members 100% of their first month of paid service Cashback in Shop Your Way points after they sign up,” said Robert Naedele, chief commercial officer, Shop Your Way. “This partnership offers members new flexibility and personalization to their entertainment options with the everyday value they’ve come to expect from Shop Your Way.”

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Report: Alibaba plans to invest in Chinese retail data firm

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

China’s largest e-commerce player is making a move that could strengthen its offline endeavors.

Alibaba Group will invest $486 million (U.S. dollars) for a stake in a Chinese big data firm focused on hotels and retail. The investment will support the e-retailer’s offline operations, according to Reuters.

According to the report, a filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday revealed that Alibaba will buy a 38% stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology Co., via its subsidiary Alibaba Investment Ltd. The technology company provides software and data systems to retailers, such as Starbucks Corp., as well as hotel firms and entertainment companies.

The deal follows the lead of Alibaba subsidiary, Taobao (China) Software Co Ltd, which took a roughly 15% stake in Beijing Shiji Information in 2014. The move helped to bolster its online travel business, according to the report.

Alibaba’s newest deal coincides with the company’s “New Retail” strategy, which is focused on combining online and offline stores. According to Reuters, Alibaba’s new investment will enable the e-retailer to leverage big-data to “shake up China’s huge but stalling retail market.”

This is Alibaba’s latest initiative to boost its physical retail presence. For example, the company operated 25 Hema fresh grocery stores as of December 31, 2017. In November 2017, Alibaba formed a strategic alliance with Sun Art Group Limited, a leading Chinese hypermarket and supermarket chain with over 440 stores nationwide.

Overall, Alibaba has more than $10 billion of investments into brick-and-mortar outlets, Reuters added.

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