Lowe’s Companies Inc. is expanding its use of augmented and virtual reality to help customers truly “visualize” home improvement projects.
Lowe’s is partnering with Microsoft to let shoppers use Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headsets to view 3-D representations of kitchen remodel design elements in empty in-store showrooms. In select pilot stores, HoloLens lets customers visualize realistic, scale-size, interactive holograms of options for kitchen cabinetry, countertops, appliances and features like backsplashes. Customers can also instantly adjust finishes and options, as well as share design ideas online. A miniature hologram kitchen allows for a bird’s eye perspective of the project.
A new collection of five emojis created by Facebook gives users of the social media platform new ways to express themselves that could have huge implications for retailers.
Facebook has released “Reactions,” a set of five emoji that expand upon the “Like” button. The new emoji are small icons representing love, haha, wow, sad and angry. Users will be able to respond with the expanded set of emotions to all posts, including advertisers, pages and accounts. The emoji will not be placed in Facebook-owned social products such as Instagram, at least for the time being.
Reactions will work on both the mobile and desktop versions of Facebook. Mobile users will see the emoji pop up when they touch the Like button, while desktop users will see the emoji when they hover over the Like button or click on it. Interestingly, one emoji that was piloted, “yay,” did not make the final cut.
As reported in Retailing Today. Read the article here.
Chamath Palihapitiya is a famous startup investor who runs his own venture-capital firm, Social Capital. He was an early Facebook employee and is now estimated to be worth over $1 billion.
Because Palihapitiya is a VC, he gets to invest in a lot of different companies. But if he had to put his entire capital in a single company and hold it for the next 10 years, Palihapitiya knows where his money’s going: Amazon.
On the heels of announcing it would close more than 150 stores in the United States, Walmart says it will open 15 supercenters this month in Canada.
These grand openings bring Walmart Canada’s total store count to 400 stores, including 312 supercenters and 88 discount stores. The company says its 15 supercenter projects represent an investment of more than $100 million and have generated approximately 700 new store jobs and 1,450 construction and trade jobs in that nation.
“We’re thrilled to open our 400th location in Canada this month, as well as our 300th supercenter,” said Preyash Thakrar, senior vice president, strategy and real estate. “These supercenters will provide even more Canadian communities with affordable access to quality fresh groceries and one-stop shopping, while also saving them money.”
In November, Amazon opened its first bookstore, and reports from the CEO of one of America’s largest shopping mall operators Tuesday afternoon suggest that the company is prepared to open several hundred new ones across the country. This prompted many to ask why the company that destroyed the physical bookstore industry would possibly want to operate a physical bookstore.
Part of the answer is that, as the announcement of the original store location said, “At Amazon Books, you can also test drive Amazon’s devices,” meaning Kindles, Echos, Fire TVs, and Fire Tablets “are available for you to explore, and Amazon device experts will be on hand to answer questions and to show the products in action.” Apple has physical retail stores for its digital devices, as do (albeit less successfully) Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung. Since Amazon makes Amazon-branded devices, why shouldn’t it have a store too?
Who do you trust? A recently released survey showed which brand name products reign supreme among American shoppers.
BrandSpark International determined the most trusted brands in America by asking American shoppers about their favorites. The market research firm surveyed 38,000 people between Oct. and Dec. 2015 and recorded their “top of mind” answers. “The annual BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards honors the brands Americans trust most, those they would recommend to friends and neighbors,” president and CEO Robert Levy said in a press release. “This award boosts shoppers’ confidence when making a purchase decision in store aisles.”
Home Depot is replacing its US stores, Marc Powers, with another company veteran, becoming the latest major retailer to change the leader of its store operations. The spokesman said Mr. Powers wasn’t available to comment.
Home Depot is the 3rd big US chain this month to change the executive in charge of its stores, as retailers grapple with what role their bricks and mortar locations should play while more shopping takes place online.
As reported in NASDAQ – Read the rest of the article
Walmart said it will close 269 stores worldwide this year, including many of its smallest stores, in an unprecedented move CEO Doug McMillon characterized as being more disciplined about growth.
Plans call for the company to close 154 locations in the U.S., including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, Walmart Express, which had been in pilot since 2011. Walmart said it will focus on strengthening its large format supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets which average about 40,000-sq.-ft., growing the e-commerce business and expanding pickup services for customers. In terms of closures by format type, the company said the 154 U.S. locations consist of 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers and four Sam’s Clubs.
As reported in Retailing Today – Read the rest of the article
Macy’s said warm weather took a huge toll on holiday sales, which were much worse than expected, prompting the company to announce major cost-cutting moves.
During November and December, a period characterized by unseasonably warm weather, Macy’s said its same store sales declined 4.7%. Excluding the performance of leased departments, the comp decline was a more extreme 5.2%. Business conditions are not expected to improve with one month to go in the company’s fourth quarter period, with Macy’s forecasting comps for the full quarter will decline 4.7% compared to earlier guidance which called for a decline of 2% to 3%.