AmazonFresh enters meal kit market with Martha Stewart | Amazon opens Alexa to developers in bid for voice-directed dominance | Lazada launches a loyalty program with perks from US partners
April 21, 2017
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AmazonFresh enters meal kit market with Martha Stewart
AmazonFresh enters meal kit market with Martha Stewart
Stewart (Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
AmazonFresh shoppers can now purchase meal kits from Martha Stewart's Martha & Marley Spoon brand in New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Southern California. The service, which looks to capitalize on the $1.5 billion meal kit market, is different from rivals such as Blue Apron in that shoppers can purchase one meal at a time, rather than committing to buying a specific number or placing their orders in advance.
The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Cincinnati (4/18) 
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Companies in the News
Amazon opens Alexa to developers in bid for voice-directed dominance
Amazon is opening the door to developers to incorporate its Alexa voice assistant in their own apps in a bid for dominance in the chatbot field. The move puts Amazon in direct competition with Google and Apple in the rapidly developing field of voice-directed computing.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/Reuters (4/19) 
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Lazada launches a loyalty program with perks from US partners
Singapore-based e-commerce company Lazada Group has teamed with US companies on a loyalty program in which members will pay $20 per year for perks such as discounts on Netflix streaming and Uber rides. Alibaba Group Holding bought a majority stake in Lazada last year, so the loyalty program also includes free delivery on purchases made on Alibaba's Taobao marketplace.
Bloomberg (4/20) 
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Indochino CEO sees an IPO in future
Vancouver, Canada-based suit maker and retailer Indochino is exploring options for going public at some point, although it hasn't set a timetable yet, said CEO Drew Green. Indochino launched a decade ago as a pure-play online retailer and eventually expanded to 12 stores, with plans to grow to 150 in the US and Canada by 2020.
Metro (Canada)/The Canadian Press (4/19) 
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Consumer Engagement
April the Giraffe gets Toys R Us social channels buzzing
Toys R Us began a partnership with Animal Adventure Park after the park's contract with its previous sponsor ran out, and the company maintained the live stream of April the Giraffe during her last month of pregnancy. After Toys R Us' logo was added to the stream, it garnered more than 300 million views, 45 million of which occurred during the birth last weekend, and Toys R Us saw a 2,000% uptick in engagement on its social channels thanks to the partnership.
PRWeek (4/18) 
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KIND unveils Facebook app to burst social bubbles
Healthy snack brand KIND and its foundation have launched a "Pop Your Bubble" campaign, encouraging consumers to venture out of their social media bubbles and try to better understand other people's points of view. A Facebook app helps users connect with people outside their usual social sphere.
Chief Marketer (4/18),  BrandChannel.com (4/19),  Fast Company online (4/18) 
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Online Retail Trends
Secure checkout can grow online sales
Companies that offer a secure checkout process will outperform those that do not offer security to their customers, writes David Jeffery. Businesses should show their security credentials on their websites and watch for issues within their sales systems that could point to fraudulent activity, Jeffery writes.
RealBusiness.co.uk (U.K.) (4/19) 
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Emerging Technology
Retail doors open wide for talented techies
Retailers are rapidly creating new opportunities for employees with high-tech skills in an industry that offers better work-life balance than traditional tech jobs, along with opportunities to grow and make meaningful contributions, NRF's Ellen Davis writes. "Those who choose retail will shape the future of an industry that has embraced constant change and continues to transform in the most amazing ways," she writes.
LinkedIn (4/20) 
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Shop.org Spotlight
How one entrepreneur's simple idea is reducing food waste
With more than one-third of the world's food supply lost to spoilage, food waste is a big environmental problem. FreshPaper founder Kavita Shukla -- a "Dreamer" on NRF's The List of People Shaping Retail's Future 2017 -- is making a product that helps food stay fresher longer in an effort to solve that problem. Read more.
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Shop.org SmartStat: April 21, 2017
Half of retailers face challenges when optimizing store strategies and operations due to their inability to predict on-site customer traffic. Source: EKN Research via Cloud4Wi white paper.
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Grocery retailer Ahold USA streamlines its currency management
Cash remains a favored form of payment, but it is important for companies to streamline their cash-handling practices. Grocery retailer Ahold USA turned to software platform VeriBalance to integrate its retail systems and devices at the store level -- giving the corporate office real-time analytics of cash flow from its multiple brands. Read more from STORES.
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