Walmart has filed two patent applications for virtual reality technology that would allow customers to shop virtual showrooms and 3D versions of Walmart stores from home. Users would wear headsets and sensor gloves to virtually stroll store shelves and select items to be shipped from fulfillment centers.
Following a breakdown in merger plans, both Albertsons and Rite Aid must find ways to stimulate growth and economies of scale on their own, Russell Redman writes. Albertsons has some innovative ideas but also substantial cost challenges, Redman writes, while Rite Aid faces continued issues with geographic scale.
Nordstrom has made the Los Angeles market a testing ground for innovations designed to further expand the upscale department store's omnichannel efforts. The retailer's shoppers spend five times more when they buy both in-store and online, and the Los Angeles market generates about $1 billion in full-price sales.
The search for transparency in products has extended beyond food to cleaning supplies and personal products, according to Nielsen, and customers are increasingly analyzing ingredients in more detail. "Consumers are reading ingredients and analyzing them in different ways -- so it's not necessarily 'what's the protein here, what are the carbs and fat' -- they're bringing it down to a different level," said Megan Reamer of Jackson's Honest during a panel at the recent GMA Leadership Forum.
Google intends to release a smart speaker similar to the Echo Show, with an aggressive plan to ship an initial batch of 3 million, per industry rumors. The device will likely use some voice control features and will allow users to check calendars, view maps and watch YouTube videos, among other skills.
Tyler Bushnell, son of Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, has created a new company, Polycade, to produce retro arcade machines. He and business partner Jake Galler have developed a machine with a 28-inch LCD screen and two multidirectional joysticks; it allows users to play a variety of games.
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.
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