Tech Bytes from Retail & Tech No 84

The latest tech news to inform and inspire

 

  • Guerlain’s Cryptobees. Guerlain is to launch an NFT collection in a bid to support sustainability initiatives. The range, called Cryptobees, is housed in the Reaverse, which consists of 1,828 parcels of virtual land hosting a corresponding Cyrptobee NFT. The sale of each digital artwork will go towards partially financing the restoration of 28 hectares of natural reserve in the Millière Valley in France. Each Crytpobee features unique characteristics linked to parts of the valley. For example, some feature one of the 15 varieties of the flowers and plants identified in the area. Additionally, each digital artwork showcases the geographic coordinates of the parcel of land that the NFT supports. The Cryptobees will have a floor price of 20 XTZ which is worth $77 (as of April 4, 2022). XTZ is the cryptocurrency of the Tezos blockchain, which Guerlain claims is one of the most sustainable and energy-efficient blockchains. To purchase a Cryptobee, users must have a cryptocurrency wallet compatible with Tezos. Cryptobee owners will have access to holder-exclusive events, contests, priority in future NFT collection launches and exclusive access to the Reaverse. The collection is set to launch at the end of this month.

 

  • Alibaba’s metaverse. As part of its investment in the metaverse, Alibaba led a $60m Series C funding round for Beijing-based augmented reality (AR) company Nreal last week. Chinese video sharing and livestreaming platform Kuaishou, also recently invested in Nreal. Nreal says it is the only company that has launched consumer AR glasses on a global scale. A key to its sales strategy are its carrier partners, which allows the company to sell its AR glasses. Nreal Light recently began selling its AR glasses in the US in Verizon stores. Nreal has partnerships with 10 carriers and is available in six countries.

 

  • Smart warehouses. Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao has launched smart warehouses for businesses in a bid to their digitalization plans and mitigate the impact of pandemic-related supply-chain issues. The offer will see Cainiao act as a consultant on areas such as hardware installation and the development of intelligent operations platforms. The smart warehousing market size is set to almost double in the next four years, according to a report by ReportLinker.com, from $14.8bn in 2021 to $25.4bn in 2026.

 

  • Creator credit. Influencers are launching their own rewards programs. Financial services company Imprint has partnered with influencer Danielle Bernstein’s WeWoreWhat to launch the WeWoreWhat Rewards Visa Card, which is described as the first creator rewards card. Cardholders can gain access to cashback rewards at WeWoreWhat and at Bernstein’s favorite brands, restaurants and shops. The card offers holders 10% back at WeWoreWhat, 5% at partner brands and 1% everywhere else. Users can sign up for the card by linking to their bank account.

 

  • Abandonment issues. Google has launched a new solution for retailers and brands to combat lost sales that stem from poor search results. The new tool, called Retail Search, aims to enable retailers to offer customers Google-quality search and recommendations on their own digital platforms. Retail Search uses Google’s AI expertise that enables advanced query understanding. This means customers searching on a retailer’s website will find better search results and recommendations from even the broadest queries, including non-product searches. Additionally, retailers can match product attributes with website content for fast, relevant product discovery with semantic search. Some 94% of US consumers abandoned an online shopping session because they received irrelevant search results, according to a 2021 survey conducted by The Harris Poll and Google Cloud. Retailers miss out on $300bn each year due to search abandonment in the US, claims the tech company. Early adopters of the solution, including retailers such as Lowes, Fnac Darty, and Casas Pernambucanas, have reported an increase in sales conversions and basket sizes, in addition to an improvement in customer engagement.

 

  • Online shopping. Online retail is expected to account for almost 40% of global retail sales by 2026, according to the Future of the Digital Shelf Report by software development company Edge by Ascential. The report predicts that $2.4 trillion in gross merchandise value (GMV) will move online worldwide between 2021 and 2026, which is double the amount generated by all of the leading store-based channels. E-commerce is expected to lead the charge with the channel making up 63% of all total GMV growth from 2021 to 2026, outpacing every other store-based retail channel. Most shoppers begin product searches on digital channels, notes the report, with 33% of store purchases beginning online. Meanwhile, during the pandemic in 2020, e-commerce activity increased by 37% worldwide, driving online shopping’s overall acceleration. The report indicates three key areas to selling online: Availability, traffic and conversion. Keeping items in stock is the ultimate precursor to sales and conversion on the digital shelf, in addition to maintaining a top search ranking, notes the report. Clients lose as much as 22% of their weekly sales for every day their product is out of stock, notes Edge. Search is now also the preferred way to shop among consumers and is an entry point for product and brand discovery. For products that are sold online, a product detail page and online packaging are as critical as the packaging and promotional material for products displayed on a physical shelf.

 

  • Lip Comfort Oil. French brand Clarins launched virtual reality and augmented reality initiatives to promote the relaunch of its Lip Comfort Oil. Users can use the tech, which is available on the brand’s website and as a filter on Instagram, to try on product shades. Additionally, a “Natural Beauty” filter sets the product in virtual reality, surrounded by trees and with the Eiffel Tower in the background. It also shows users the ingredients and information regarding the Lip Comfort Oil’s new formula.
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