Collectable "Cryptokitties" could drive the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain, as the digital cats are traded and bought via those means. The company received $12 million in investments during a Series A round in March and has been using the funds to expand into Asia.
Logitech has unveiled an ergonomic mouse dubbed the MX Vertical; the company reports that the device is designed to simulate a "natural handshake position." Through use of this mouse, the company reports a 10% reduction in muscle strain by reducing forearm tension.
Walmart is developing a virtual reality-based shopping experience, based on two patents filed by the company for the creation of virtual showrooms. The service would allow users to browse aisles with VR headsets and then have the items picked up and shipped to them from fully automated distribution centers.
The opening of a Cash Saver store has offered shoppers in the Tennessee community of South Memphis, an alternative to a series of bus rides to reach a full-service grocer. "That look on people's faces when they walk into the store, and to realize that particular burden has been lifted, and they have a store of their own again, that's rewarding to me," said grocer Rick James.
Changes made at two former Sam's Club locations to become distribution centers could point to the future for more shuttered or struggling retail sites, Warren Shoulberg writes. With e-commerce growing, warehouse-style shopping locations could be more useful to merchants as true warehouses, he writes.
Stefan Kaluzny of Staples wrote last week to Essendant CEO Richard Phillips urging an acquisition deal between Essendant and Staples. Essendant says it is moving ahead on a merger with Genuine Parts' S.P. Richards business.
Unstructured data such as text files, spreadsheets and emails often account for most of a company's data and can offer valuable insight into operations, writes Bridget McCrea. "For example, if an electrical distributor looks deep into the customer support data (from call centers, support tickets, emails, etc.) that it has collected over the years, it will actually find patterns of customers' general problems or what prompted a call," says Opinosis Analytics founder Kavita Ganesan.
UK retail sales rose 0.7% in July from the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics, beating a forecast for 0.2% growth. Apparel, food and online sales fueled the increase.
Fashion retailers are finding new ways to combine human talent and technology to help shoppers put outfits together. Japan-based Uniqlo has created a chatbot using people's suggestions, and Amazon has enhanced its proprietary software using input from fashion and retail specialists.
Walmart's procurement department asked beauty product vendors earlier this month to look to countries other than China for sourcing, a move that signals a plan to combat pending tariffs. A list of proposed new US tariffs on Chinese imports includes several beauty items including shampoo, lipstick and eye makeup.