last week’s most read retail technology articles — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

These are the RTIH items you liked last week including Nike, Alibaba Group, Walmart, Wegmans, Ikea, Trigo and Swiftly.

Alibaba Group Announces Luxury Shopping Experience at Metaverse

Alibaba Group’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion platform has hosted an augmented reality fashion show and launched a Meta Pass that grants priority digital access to the brands’ products.

In recent years, the platform has used 3D shopping, augmented reality, and virtual reality fittings for products, digital avatars, and digital collectibles.

Also this month in Shanghai, luxury industry executives attended an awards ceremony and explored an augmented reality exhibition.

“Before metaverse became a buzzword, we had already turned that buzzword into a commercial reality,” said Janet Wang, head of luxury at Alibaba.

Walmart is moving livestream shopping with Firework

Firework has signed a partnership agreement with Walmart Connect, a closed-end omnichannel media company of Walmart, to bring live stream and premium video shopping content to the retail giant’s offering.

Walmart Connect aims to bring shoppable short-form social media-style videos to its own digital properties while making them available to advertisers.

At a glance, the biggest tech games in retail over the past week

RTIH rounds up the outstanding deals, deployments and pilots for retail systems over the past seven days. Featuring Shopify, Walmart, Starbucks, Aldi, ASICS, Bloomingdale’s and JCPenney.

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Wegmans was right about removing its Scan and Go mobile app. Here’s why

American supermarket chain Wegmans Food Markets discontinued its in-store scan-and-go app on Sunday 18 September.

It’s a smart move, according to Brendan Witcher, VP & Principal Analyst, Digital Business Strategy, Forrester Research.

In a LinkedIn post, Witcher said, “As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘I never lose. I win or I learn.” You may find this odd, but I applaud this move by Wegmans.”

“Why? Because the three mistakes companies make when investing in something new and innovative are 1) building the initiative so deep into their business model that what’s been done can never be undone, 2) failing to do so to establish metrics to assess overall business impact, and 3) proudly continue the initiative even when it doesn’t make commercial sense.”

He concluded, “Wegmans, on the other hand, approached and executed this correctly from start to finish.”

The Wegmans SCAN app was launched in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. It allowed users to scan barcodes and pay for items faster at self-checkouts.

Ikea tackles food waste with Winnow AI technology

Ingka Group says it has reduced food waste by 54% in its Ikea stores.

That means more than 20 million meals saved and 36,000 tons of CO2e avoided.

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This is the result of more than 20,000 Ikea Food Coworkers trained to use Winnow’s AI technology in their daily routine.

Trigo launches EasyStock shelving and inventory management software

Autonomous store specialist Trigo has developed what it calls “a new way of managing inventory in stores.”

EasyStock leverages its existing sensor infrastructure to automatically provide real-time shelf availability to speed up the shelf replenishment process and reduce out-of-stock rates.

Celia Van Wickel is leaving Kantar for Mars Wrigley Confectionery

Celia Van Wickel has assumed the role of Global Director and Head of Omnichannel Analytics at Mars Wrigley Confectionery.

She comes from Kantar, where she served as Senior Director, Digital Commerce.

Prior to that, she was Senior Manager, DTC & E-Commerce Shopper Insights at The Coca-Cola Company.

Grocery retail tech startup Swiftly achieves unicorn status

Swiftly has announced a $100 million Series C funding round led by BRV Capital Management, taking the company’s overall valuation to more than $1 billion.

This is Swiftly’s second round of funding of $100 million in less than six months.

The startup provides brick-and-mortar grocers with branded phone apps designed to help retailers collect high-level customer data and earn ad dollars while shoppers can find what they’re looking for in the aisles, remember past purchases and skip lines by scanning products and pay for their phones.

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Nike partners with Ant Group for Recycle-A-Shoe program on Alipay platform

Nike has joined Ant Group’s Green Energy Initiative and launched an official mini-program on Alipay to encourage more consumers to recycle worn-out shoes.

Chinese shoppers can search Recycle-A-Shoe in the Alipay app and have old Nike shoes collected for recycling.

These are then disassembled and reprocessed to create sustainable sports pitches using Nike Grind technology.

In this way, consumers receive virtual green energy points in Alipay Ant Forest, a green mini-program.

These can be used to support tree planting, ecological restoration or biodiversity conservation projects.

M&S engages Tata Consultancy Services for a space, assortment and display project

Marks & Spencer has partnered with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to improve its in-store space, assortment and display (SRD) capabilities.

The retailer faced several operational challenges created by a lack of investment in technology.

TCS designed and implemented a cloud-based SRD platform using Blue Yonder Category Management and Azure Data Bricks with the aim of optimizing store space, improving inventory management efficiency, achieving the company’s GSCOP (Grocery Suppliers Code of Practice) ranking into account and improve the customer experience.