RTIH’s biggest retail technology news stories of the week — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

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6. Kingfisher launches new Mirakl powered home improvement marketplace at Castorama France

Kingfisher has announced the launch of a home improvement e-commerce marketplace at Castorama France.

The launch follows marketplaces at B&Q in the UK, Brico Dépôt in Spain and Portugal and its Koçtaş joint venture in Turkey.

Castorama France will introduce over 500,000 new products from verified third-party merchants onto its e-commerce channels. This represents a sevenfold increase in the product choice available for the banner’s customers, complementing the c.70,000 products already available directly from Castorama.

Merchants will benefit from a presence on its website, which attracts between 10 and 15 million visitors per month. They will also be able to access retail media solutions offered by Kingfisher.

The marketplace leverages a scalable Kingfisher technology platform built in conjunction with partners at Mirakl. Kingfisher is preparing to launch a further marketplace harnessing this technology at its Castorama Poland banner later this year.

7. Starbucks bins Odyssey NFT rewards programme but retailer promises more to come from its Web3 adventures

Cast your minds back to 2022 when Starbucks announced it was venturing into the world of Web3 with the beta launch of an NFT rewards programme, Odyssey.

The retailer brought in Adam Brotman, the architect of its Mobile Order & Pay system and app, to serve as a special advisor.

“We have a history of harnessing emerging technology to innovate on behalf of our customers and making it easily accessible and approachable for the mainstream,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

“Our innovative spirit and the desire to continuously exceed the expectations of our customers has led to the launch of Starbucks Odyssey.”

All very cool sounding. But alas, after a barrage of hype, this has remained as a closed, invite only beta. And now Starbucks is quietly binning it.

8. BT Group Adyen partnership enables small business customers to accept contactless payments via iPhones

BT Group’s digital and startup incubation arm, Etc., has announced a partnership with FinTech big hitter, Adyen, to enable small business customers to accept in-person contactless payments with Tap to Pay on iPhone.

This allows merchants to accept physical debit and credit cards, Apple Pay and other digital wallets, removing the need for card readers or extra hardware. 

The BT Tap to Pay app has been created with input and feedback from small businesses, mobile workers and sole traders across the UK.

In addition to enabling in-person contactless payments, Tap to Pay on iPhone and the BT Tap to Pay app includes built-in security and privacy features, the ability to view payment history at a glance, and a simplified refund process.

The partnership combines EE’s connectivity with Adyen’s expertise in mobile payments. Businesses using the service will receive BT Group’s transaction rate of 1.4% on customer payments taken. 

Apple’s Tap to Pay on iPhone technology uses the built-in features of iPhone to keep business and customer data private and secure. When a payment is processed, Apple doesn’t store card numbers or transaction information on the device or on Apple servers.

The BT Tap to Pay app is available to download from the Apple App Store, and UK small businesses and sole traders can login with an EE or BT account to get started within minutes.

9. Waitrose and WRAP tap eye tracking tech and behaviour change science to push loose produce benefits

This Food Waste Action Week (18th-24th March), Waitrose and WRAP are trialling Point of Sale messaging to encourage more customers to buy fresh produce loose to cut household food waste, save money and reduce single use plastics and unnecessary packaging.

This is taking place in Waitrose’s Thatcham store near Reading, with eye tracking software monitoring shopping habits.

Catherine Loader, Sustainability Manager at Waitrose, says: “We are committed to supporting customers in buying what they need, and during Food Waste Action Week we’re running trials to understand how signage and customer communications influences purchase of loose fruit and veg.”

“This trial is part of a wider strategy and pledge to offer more loose fruit and veg in store, which also reduces plastic waste. We’re committed to helping our customers reduce household food waste, with over 100 lines now packaging free.”

“We look forward to sharing the results of the trials and continuing to help our customers choose what they’ll use.”

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