A tie-up between eBay and Facebook highlights the move by retailers to utilise messaging apps, which are proving particularly popular among consumers. eBay is using Facebook Messenger to alert shoppers when an auction for an item they are bidding for is ending. Additional bids can then be placed directly through the Messenger notification.
Online store Snap Fashion enables fashion followers to take a photo of any item they spot, and for something similar to be found for them. The visual search technology quickly finds the relevant items from within the collections of many brands. The Snap Fashion catalogue has products from 250 brands and retailers.
Knitwear brand Unmade opened a pop-up shop in Covent Garden to offer customers the ability to design a piece of knitwear via a tablet and then have it made for collection shortly afterwards. This ‘3D printing for fashion’ allows dynamic changes to be made to what was a static process – without any dramatic increase to the cost.
Online clothing marketplace Fittery has reduced the levels of returns to less than 0.5% through its FitMatch system that ensures shoppers select the correct size of products. When first using the store customers are asked for measurements as well as preferences, this information is matched to the precise sizes of garments.
Amazon is edging closer to operating a full end-to-end retail model as it beefs up its logistics operations with the ultimate aim of reducing its reliance on delivery companies. It has leased 20 Boeing 767 freighter planes for use in the US and it is among the bidders for Hahn airport in Frankfurt, providing them with a European logistics hub.
Unlike the majority of food delivery businesses, which are purely online marketplaces for takeaway restaurants, Deliveroo also handles the delivery aspect of the process. This is a key component of its proposition because it partners with premium restaurants that don’t typically provide a delivery service.
The Dash service from Amazon involving a button that is branded to an everyday item that customers press to order the product from the retailer. The company has teamed up with various appliance makers including GE and Whirlpool to incorporate automatic reordering into their products.
Starbucks has been experiencing significant growth from its Order + Pay app that has recently been rolled out to all UK stores. It enables customers to order food and drinks before they arrive at the store and to pay through their device. Usage of the app has doubled to now account for eight million transactions per month.
Google has developed a hands-free app for in-store purchases. Shoppers create a profile requiring photo ID and credit/debit card details. When purchasing through Hands Free, the cashier confirms identity with the customer’s initials and profile photo using an in-store camera - which then immediately deletes the images from the system.
Looking like a wireless speaker, which now comes in three formats, it is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, ordering goods, setting alarms, as well as providing weather, traffic and other real-time information. It can also control several smart devices. Amazon is undoubtedly learning an incredible amount about the lives and behaviours of the growing number of people who have an Echo device sitting in their homes.