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The latest in retail and loyalty, November 2019

Voice-enabled purchasing on the rise in the USA

Out of the 27% of American shoppers who owned voice-enabled devices last year, 28% of them used the technology to make purchases. This year,
31% of shoppers have voice-enabled devices, and 31% of them use the technology to buy goods, according to a new report.

Walgreens US completes first drone delivery

Walgreens is officially in flight with a pilot of on-demand drone deliveries in the USA. The drugstore giant went live with a trial of ‘store to door’ delivery of health and wellness, food and beverage and convenience items via drone delivery. Eligible FedEx Express customers, who live within designated delivery zones can receive select packages via delivery drone. Launch of the pilot makes Walgreens the first retailer to offer on-demand drone delivery service in the USA.

Magnit plans to equip two more stores in Russia with ‘Selfie to Pay’ technology (face-to-face payment). Magnit has been testing ‘Selfie to Pay’ since March 2019. The technology allows users to purchase goods via a payment terminal that scans the face of the buyer - without the use of cash, a credit card or mobile phone.

Magnit expands test of facial recognition payment

India’s Flipkart to enter food retailing by launching private label

Walmart-owned Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart is launching a food retail business. The new initiative will see the firm release its own private label, Flipkart Farmermart, as well as a grocery supply chain and potentially physical stores. The firm plans to leverage parent company Walmart’s experience in the cash-and- carry sector in the territory, which has helped build connections in the farming industry for grocery and food produce.

Sobeys tests smart shopping cart that scans and checks out

Sobeys has begun testing an “intelligent” shopping cart from Caper Inc. that keeps track of groceries that customers select and enables them to pay without having to go through the checkout lane. Branded as the Sobeys Smart Cart, the high-tech unit uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to scan and weigh products as customers put them in the cart. A touchscreen near the cart’s handle displays a running tally of items selected, and
an attached point-of-sale card terminal allows customers to pay for their purchases right on the cart. Shoppers bag their own groceries, and once payment is completed, they can exit the store. The Smart Carts are retrieved and returned inside the store.

Edeka opens first organic food stores in Germany

With the opening of its own Naturkind organic specialty stores, Germany’s largest food retailer Edeka has entered the growing organic business. The company states that many shoppers interested in organic products buy specifically at specialty stores. Therefore, Naturkind can reach a new shopper base. According to the German Federal Organic Food Industry, last year, Germans spent almost 11 billion Euros on organic food, 5.5% more than in the previous year.

Clubcard Plus: Tesco unveils next steps for loyalty scheme

Tesco is launching a subscription scheme centered around the big basket shop as it overhauls its Clubcard loyalty programme to better integrate its grocery, mobile and banking businesses. Clubcard Plus, which will launch towards the end of the year, will cost £7.99 a month and offer shoppers 10% off two big shops worth up to £200 each in store every month (a saving of up to £40 a month). Alongside this, an “always on” 10% discount will be available on a selection of Tesco exclusive brands, including in clothing and homeware.

Checkers launches new rewards programme

Checkers has launched a new rewards programme, called Xtra Savings. The programme is an answer to Pick n Pay’s SmartShopper and Woolworths’ WRewards but aims to reverse the typical reward trend. While most rewards schemes are based on earning points and earning loyalty rewards or being placed into different tiers based on spending habits, Xtra Savings opts for delivering “instant cash savings” on items purchased. Checkers said that it is partnering with brands, which will deliver specific discounts or cash values on purchases.

At its French headquarters in Massy, Carrefour has opened a fully automated store named Flash. The store can automatically identify shoppers’ selections using a combination of sensors, smart cameras and AI algorithms. Carrefour intends to test the store for a period of six months before planning further rollout of the concept.

Carrefour France trials fully automated store

IKEA opens their first new food concept in Amsterdam


IKEA Amsterdam opened its completely rebuilt restaurant. It is the first IKEA world-wide that applies the new concept. The format uses a different set-up and new dishes should inspire shoppers to eat healthier and more sustainable. Because dishes are freshly prepared, there is more attention for contact between shoppers and employees. IKEA says that want to keep investing in physical stores as the most important meeting place for shoppers.

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