Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have exploded in popularity this year as consumers seek channels that provide more user privacy, and this is a trend marketers must respect, writes Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson. "There must be a clear context for communicating with customers on these channels, and it is imperative that the interaction adds value," she advises.
Augmented and virtual reality have already begun to make an impact in marketing and will be even more prominent this holiday season, as customers use them to try out gifts before buying. Interactivity and mobile access are among the qualities marketers can focus on to make effective use of these technologies.
Luxury jeweler Cartier has unveiled its remodeled London flagship after nine months of construction. The space melds some of the building's historical features with contemporary art and will offer exclusive collections, by-appointment consultations and flexible space for events and parties.
Amazon researchers have developed a natural-language-based scheme that shows the promise of producing 40% fewer errors in Alexa's skill selection. The multistep process combines artificial intelligence with Alexa's natural classification hierarchy to create slot, intent and domain representations.
North purchased the technology of shuttered Intel project, Vaunt glasses, in an effort to bring lightweight wearable smart glasses to market. North's Focals work by using a small laser to reflect images into the user's retina, providing an AR experience through normal-looking glasses.
J. Michael Schlotman will step down as chief financial officer at Kroger next April after two decades in the position. Schlotman will be succeeded by Gary Millerchip, now chief executive of Kroger Personal Finance.
Boston's ban on plastic bags at checkouts has begun going into effect, starting with larger retail locations and being phased in over the next eight months. Retailers can still use recyclable paper, reusable or compostable bags if they charge at least 5 cents for them.
Many independent grocers are finding the right niches for their stores, putting themselves in a position to prosper as the business changes, says John Derderian, president and CEO of Allegiance Retail Services/Foodtown. "Independents can cater to the local population, by tying it to community programs and providing superior service and quality to what most of the major chains could do," Derderian says.