Start-ups to the rescue - Walmart is stepping up its virtual reality initiatives by purchasing boutique firm Spatialand and meat giant Tyson pursues a collaboration with Tovala, which branded itself as a "Netflix of food". Across the Atlantic, Marks & Spencer partnered with data company Starcount to improve customer insight. Enjoy the read!




Wednesday, 07 February 2018





Hello ,

Start-ups to the rescue - Walmart is stepping up its virtual reality initiatives by purchasing boutique firm Spatialand and meat giant Tyson pursues a collaboration with Tovala, which branded itself as a "Netflix of food". Across the Atlantic, Marks & Spencer partnered with data company Starcount to improve customer insight. Enjoy the read!

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US & Canada


Tech addition ▪ Walmart is purchasing Spatialand, a small virtual-reality shop that will work with the company's technology incubator, called Store No. 8. The boutique firm is described as a revolutionary VR design platform that let creators transform existing content into immersive, virtual reality experiences.



Food investment ▪ Chicago-based Tovala, a start-up that makes smart countertop steam ovens with fresh ready-to-cook meals, has signed an agreement with Tyson Foods that will support the former financially as the two companies are pursuing collaborations on Tyson-branded Tovala meals.



Customer service ▪ Discounter Target is promising that shopping will get easier as same-day delivery service will be available throughout the country by end 2018. Meanwhile, supermarket operator Weis Markets has upgraded its rewards programme to offer discounts on different private label products.



Store decisions ▪ Seattle-based department store chain Nordstrom will debut with a stand-alone men's store in New York, and close its location in Salem, Oregon. Over in Canada, Circle K, a unit of convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard, has signed its first franchise agreement in Ontario.




Europe


Transformation continues ▪ Marks & Spencer has announced a partnership with data science company Starcount to help it better understand the needs of its customers as it ramps up its five-year transformation plan. The initiative will utilise customer data from M&S’s loyalty scheme Sparks, which currently has over 6 million members.



Delivery promises ▪ Just like Amazon, German retailer Edeka's online supermarket has partnered with start-up Cary to deliver groceries straight into customers' fridge with a Smart Lock system. In the UK, upmarket grocer Waitrose will end its "pick your own offers" loyalty scheme due to complaints that it was too confusing.



Strategy alignment ▪ Aldi Süd is replacing automated baking ovens in all its German stores with self-service counters, which means manual baking by the store staff and transparent product presentation. Competitors of the discounter have already introduced similar concepts by adding freshness and service.




Asia & Australia


Ambitious goals ▪ JD.com has teamed up with Fung Retailing, an operator of about 3,000 stores globally, to develop artificial intelligence projects. The Chinese online powerhouse is also ready to conquer Europe and will launch its platform in France next year, with Germany and the UK to follow.



Woolies thrives ▪ The Australian supermarket giant is ahead of its competitors Aldi and Coles after analysts upgraded their outlook for the retailer. The company is one of the main tenants of Shopping Centres Australasia, which reported better results thanks to Woolies' performance.




Keep an eye on


Record pay claim ▪ Tesco is facing a demand for up to GBP 4 billion in back pay from thousands of mainly female shop workers in what could become the UK's largest ever equal pay claim. A law firm has launched legal action on behalf of nearly 100 shop assistants.



Wider website access ▪ The EU has approved rules that put an end to geoblocking on e-commerce websites in Europe. As a result, online shoppers will have wider cross-border access to goods and services and no longer be blocked or re-routed to a local website. But critics say it’s not quite as great as it sounds.