Walmart, Target compete for online pet-product shoppers | AccorHotels turns shipping containers into hotel rooms | Casper aims to grow with a focus on all things sleep
May 8, 2019
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Walmart, Target compete for online pet-product shoppers
Walmart's launch of an online pet pharmacy and Target's monthly curated boxes of pet products and in-store offerings from direct-to-consumer brand Bark reflect mass retailers' efforts to court the growing ranks of millennial pet owners. About 40% of pet owners bought products online in 2017, according to a Packaged Facts survey, and Amazon has expanded its branded and private-label pet offerings.
Digiday (free content) (5/8) 
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AccorHotels turns shipping containers into hotel rooms
France-based AccorHotels has created a mobile hotel concept called the Flying Nest, which is made from shipping containers and can be installed in half a day to provide more capacity at overbooked hotels. Read more.
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Company watch
Casper aims to grow with a focus on all things sleep
Online mattress seller Casper is focused on innovation to stay ahead of the growing competition. "What Nike did for exercise and what Whole Foods did for organic, we want to do for sleep," co-founder and CEO Philip Krim said.
Forbes (5/7) 
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India's Future Group goes big on Amazon platforms
India's Future Group now offers almost all its grocery products, electronics and apparel brands on Amazon, and the companies have been collaborating on plans regarding logistics, developing special products and warehousing, sources said.
The Economic Times (India) (5/6) 
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Customer engagement
Viral coffee cup on "GoT" gives Starbucks $2.3B free advertising
Fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones" spotted what they thought was a rogue Starbucks cup in the show's latest episode and the discovery went viral on social and resulted in an estimated $2.3 billion in unpaid advertising for the chain -- which doesn't even take into account the social word-of-mouth impact, says Hollywood Branded CEO Stacy Jones. The cup, which was subsequently edited out by HBO, didn't even belong to Starbucks and Jones described the social fervor as "a once-in-a-lifetime collision of opportunity for Starbucks."
CNBC (5/7),  Variety online (5/6),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (5/6) 
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Why video chat is the future of customer experience
Why video chat is the future of customer experience
TurboTax and CVS are among brands offering live video chats with experts to take customer experience to the next level by offering personalized support, advice and product recommendations in a way that not only provides convenience but also comfort, Ian Dailey writes. "By this time next decade, nearly every company will be doing the same thing, and we'll look back at these brands as customer experience pioneers," he writes.
SmartBrief/Marketing (5/8) 
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How Americans feel about influencers
This infographic from Toluna shows that 49% of Americans follow influencers on social, 56% believe influencers affect the way they live their lives but only 44% trust influencer recommendations. Almost 55% of respondents say they follow influencers to discover new things and 33% say that artificially intelligent influencers like Lil Miquela have a future.
Adweek (tiered subscription model) (5/5) 
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Walmart, Madewell, others use stores to boost online sales
A growing number of retailers are using their brick-and-mortar stores to drive traffic to their e-commerce sites. Walmart encourages customers to grocery shop online and then head to a store to pick up their purchases, and Madewell advertises its shopping site for sizes and styles that aren't in stock at its stores.
Digiday (free content) (5/7) 
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Logistics startups grow along with demand for speedy delivery
Flexe, a Seattle startup that works with retailers to fulfill online orders and warehouse goods, has received $43 million in a new funding round. Retailers' efforts to stay competitive as Amazon ramps up next-day delivery are boosting the fortunes of Flexe and other firms that provide logistics services to retailers.
Fortune/Bloomberg (5/7) 
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