New York City is working with Amazon and delivery services UPS and DHL to launch a fleet of 100 cargo bikes in an effort to ease road congestion during the busy holiday season and beyond. Amazon already uses electric bikes to deliver to Prime Now grocery customers in parts of the city.
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Crate and Barrel's sibling brand CB2 worked with tech firm Vertebrae to create tech that uses augmented reality and interactive 3D technology to give customers a clearer virtual picture of how furniture will look in their rooms. The project launched with 160 pieces and will expand to include about 500 more. Read more.
Amazon has released a device that's designed to make Alexa and most of its functions portable. The Echo Input Portable, whose battery lasts 11 hours, lacks line-out capabilities and is initially available only in India, but it will eventually make its way to other markets.
DevaCurl is expanding its focus on e-commerce to grow sales of its products made for curly hair, with a revamped website featuring videos and photos of about 4,000 real-life users of its products. The brand has also beefed up content on the site to feature stylists who use the products in their salons.
Instagram is encouraging sports teams to experiment with its shopping tags and checkout tools to expand their e-commerce footprint, and many are reaping the rewards such as the S by Serena brand, which attributes the platform to driving more than 50% of its sales following the launch of a jacket. Instagram's Dev Sethi says the platform has room to grow in this space, pointing to athletes such as Serena Williams, Tom Brady and NBA players who have fashion brands, and noted, "Shopping as a feature is a main priority for Instagram Sports."
Melanie Cohn, Dunkin' Brands' senior brand engagement manager, discusses video content produced by influencers and how the company is increasing engagement on YouTube and Instagram. She also talks about brand safety as a priority and the emergence of newer players, such as TikTok, Facebook Watch, IGTV and Snapchat.
Online commerce presents challenges to the customer experience, says Payrix President Bob Butler, but digital advances can help customers feel connected. Butler suggests trying to eliminate points of friction, such as having to re-enter payment data or being surprised by refund policies.