TECHNOLOGY

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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TECHNOLOGY

Walmart pulls the plug on self-checkout app

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart customers can no longer use their smartphones to pay for their order and skip the checkout line.

Despite a successful rollout across its Sam’s Club warehouse chain, Walmart is discontinuing is Scan & Go mobile checkout app across its retail stores. The deciding factor was that too many customers found the process too cumbersome, especially when it came to bagging, weighing and then scanning items, including fresh fruit and vegetables, according to Bloomberg.

The technology was initially introduced in a few select markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Orlando, Florida, and Northwest Arkansas. In January, the discount giant announced that the app would be expanded to 100 stores in 33 states across the country. However, Walmart reported that the app was considered “a test,” according to Ragan Dickens, spokesman for Walmart.

“We’ve completed the test, and will use the information we learned from customers and associates as we continue to create a better, easier shopping experience in our stores and online,” he told Chain Store Age.

While the program will be pulled out of approximately 150 Walmart stores, the service will remain at Sam’s Club, where its usage doubled last year, Sam’s CEO John Furner said in the Bloomberg report.

One potential replacement is the company’s “Check Out With Me” service. The program outfits associates with mobile devices and Bluetooth printers that enable them to check out customers, and provide them with a receipt on the spot. The discount giant is testing mobile technology in its Lawn & Garden Centers across more than 350 stores.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon reportedly dropping local third parties from fresh grocery program

BY CSA Staff

The Amazon Fresh program is phasing out its local partners.

Amazon’s Fresh service, which enables shoppers to order from a selection of fresh and frozen foods, and some general merchandise, is dropping local third-party vendors from the platform. The program closes on May 30, according to Business Insider.

Vendors were previously allowed to enroll in Amazon Fresh’s Local Market Seller initiative, which supplemented Fresh’s offerings with locally sourced items. Instead, the program will be more retail-based, with Amazon buying product wholesale and selling it to consumers, much like a typical store, the report said.

According to a source Business Insider only identified as “Freddy,” the change was disclosed in an email to vendor partners on May 11.

Amazon declined to comment on the business change.

To read more, click here.

 

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