Retail Technology News: March update

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American Eagle is running Gen Z-themed ads on Snapchat.

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Retailers in March focused technology efforts in areas including artificial intelligence (AI) and social media.

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Here are some of the most noteworthy and innovative technology stories as reported by Chain Store Age in March, starting with the most recent. 

  • Batteries Plus switches to AI-powered marketing platform The consumer and business specialty battery retailer has named SOCi, Inc. as its new omnichannel marketing “platform of record.” Batteries Plus will utilize the SOCi platform and its AI-powered products to provide relevant, personalized communications and website experiences to increase local search visibility, improve conversion rates, and increase lifetime value of its customers.
  • Kroger shuttering three ‘spokes’ in fast-delivery network America’s largest grocery retailer confirmed to Chain Store Age it is closing three cross-docking spoke facilities in its fast-delivery “hub and spoke” model. The Ocado-powered fulfillment centers are in San Antonio and Austin ,Texas, and Miami, Florida.
  • CSA EXCLUSIVE: American Eagle targets Gen Z on Snapchat In a recent discussion with Chain Store Age, American Eagle explained how it utilizes customizable Kargo technology to automate design personalization and create ads tailored for its core Gen Z consumer base that it delivers via Snapchat at scale.
  • Schnuck Markets goes live with AI-based salad bars Schnuck Markets Inc. is rolling out a “smart salad bar” experience with the Picadeli artificial intelligence (AI)-based salad bar solution at 22 Schnucks stores in Missouri and Illinois, as well as its Eatwell Market banner locations.
  • Amazon kicks off spring sales extravaganza Amazon hosted its first-ever Big Spring Sale from Wednesday, March 20 through Monday, March 25. According to Amazon, this event provided customers the “chance to shop great deals on seasonally relevant items.”
  • Marc Lore-led food startup raises $700M; plans 90 stores by 2025 Wonder, the food startup founded by the former head of e-commerce at Walmart, raised $700 million in capital to support  expansion, research and development, as well as drive unit economics.
  • Target setting item limit for self-checkout Following broad usage of its contactless self-checkout terminals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Target ran an express self-checkout pilot with limits of 10 items or fewer at about 200 stores in fall 2023 and found that self-checkout was twice as fast at its pilot stores.
  • Walmart to sell its AI logistics tool to other businesses Walmart Commerce Technologies, the retail giant’s solution provider subsidiary, will sell its proprietary internal AI-based logistics solution called “Route Optimization” to third-party business customers of all sizes on a hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis.
  • House passes bill that could ban TikTok in U.S. The House of Representatives sent a bill that would require TikTok’s Chinese owner to divest the social app’s U.S. operation to the Senate.
  • Michaels pilots third-party handmade marketplace in stores The Michaels Companies is taking its battle for Etsy’s turf into brick-and-mortar space. Since February 2024, Michaels has been piloting an in-store version of MakerPlace by Michaels, an online marketplace offering handmade goods, artist-led classes, how-to guides, and access to Michaels’ assortment of supplies and componentry, in select stores.

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