Tech Bytes from Retail & Tech No 29

The latest tech news to inform and inspire


  • Personalized online shopping. Google Cloud has launched three e-commerce tools aimed at providing more personalized online shopping experiences. The Recommendations AI tool uses a customer’s shopping history to deliver customized product recommendations. The Vision API Product Search claims to help retailers adapt to how shoppers find products, whether from a retailer’s site or a social-media platforms. It allows shoppers to search for products with an image and provides a ranked list of visually or linguistically similar items. Lastly, Google Cloud Search for Retail offers advanced search capabilities.


  • Sustainable shipping. Given the rise of e-commerce, more companies will need to show their online business is sustainable. E-commerce solutions company ITinSell has launched a service aimed at reducing the amount of packaging for e-commerce orders. The service forecasts and manages packaging stock based on current orders and order history and calculates the amount of packaging needed for each order according to dimensions, weight and fragility. ITinSell says packaging is on average 45% too large for the order and emissions linked to the maritime transportation of empty packaging space within containers is equivalent to nearly 122 million tons of CO2 per year globally, according to a study by packaging company DS Smith. Overusing packaging materials and transportation of this “empty space” results in losses of $146bn globally for e-merchants, according to DS Smith.


  • Heybox expands services. Alibaba’s dedicated channel for product launches Tmall Heybox said it is looking to better support brands’ product launches on the marketplace. One way of doing so is through featuring more brand-produced livestreams. The Alibaba service will recruit influencers for livestreaming and roll out more customized launch solutions for brands looking to expand into new categories or trying to reach specific consumers. More than 200 million new products launched on Tmall last year, almost double that in 2019. More than 1,000 brands generated over Rmb100m ($15.4m) last year from sales of new releases alone. Alibaba Group says it will host 10,000 new products this year, each with a potential of generating over Rmb10m ($1.5m) in gross merchandise volume. Alibaba launched Tmall Heybox in 2017 to help international brands market new products to Chinese consumers. The platform launched allowing shoppers to “unbox” personalized, new-product recommendations on their phones. Some 180 million users visit the channel each month.


  • Collaborative delivery. France-based Shopopop is looking to overcome the problem of ensuring quick delivery of e-commerce purchases. The company, which exhibited at the NRF Retail Big Show event, describes itself as a peer-to-peer delivery platform that connects retailers to individuals for quick, “last mile” shipping in exchange for a small payment. It connects retailers to a community of people who can drop off orders on their daily commute. Shopopop says it is geared towards retailers looking to deliver orders under two hours, usually within a 15 kilometer (9.3 miles) radius. While the company initially focused on supermarkets, it is now branching out into new sectors. The system is used in more than 1,000 shops in France and by major French grocery retailers. The company has launched operations in Italy, Belgium and Portugal. Shopopop also says it is an eco-friendly delivery option since it does not add extra cars to the road.


  • Integrated live shopping. As livestreaming selling heats up in the West, more solutions are emerging to incorporate the livestream feature into a retailer or brand’s website. One is Caast.TV (which also exhibited at the NRF Retail Big Show), which claims that its widget can be integrated into a product or category page on an e-commerce website in less than 30 minutes. The company says that the solution increases conversion by between 200% and 500% the day of the live event, and up to 100% permanently after the livestream through replays that remain on the product page. During the livestreams, viewers can ask questions to the retailer or brand directly on the product page via a chat function. The replay and Q&As remain on the product pages after the live event. The company also offers Caast Analytics, which allows retailers or brands to access audience and conversion rates.


  • Beauty Tech Live. BW Confidential is pleased to announce that Jean-Denis Mariani, Coty Chief Digital Officer, is to be a speaker at the new Beauty Tech Live virtual event set to take place from April 12-16, 2021.Mariani oversees Coty’s digital agenda, including growing the company’s global e-commerce and accelerating the Direct-To-Consumer business.

    Other executives to speak at this pioneering event, including Lubomira Rochet, Chief Digital Officer at L’Oréal, Malina Ngai, Group Chief Operating Officer of A.S Watson Group and Chief Executive Officer of A.S. Watson (Asia & Europe), Javier Bach, Chief Operating Officer of Puig, Dr Wolfgang Baier, CEO of Luxasia and Adrien Geiger, L’Occitane Group Sustainability Officer and Director of the L’Occitane en Provence brand.

    Beauty Tech Live is the first B2B Virtual Expo & Conference that will bring together tech products, solutions and services for the beauty industry in one place. It will also be a forum for executives to share new ideas, inspiration and experiences in the area of beauty tech. The event is organized by BW Confidential in partnership with the Moodie Davitt Virtual Expo Company.