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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    April 1- 7, 2024


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    The Week In News, But Shorter
    April 1- 7, 2024



    Just last week Amazon shared news that they were expanding Just Walk Out technology to Australia and Canada, and yet this week they announced they would be removing the technology all together from its Fresh grocery stores. While it’s surprising that Amazon is ditching this technology at one of their marquee physical locations, what’s maybe even more surprising is speculation that the technology, while seemingly relying on only sensors and cameras to work, was possibly relying on 1,000 workers in India who “watch” shoppers. Our guess? It’s some combination of the two, as most good innovations are. Sure, we see headlines every day about how technology is going to displace human workers, especially when it comes to AI capabilities, but the truth is – for the foreseeable future, some level of human involvement is going to be crucial to success. Let’s just agree to be honest about that, and avoid the smoke and mirrors (aka cameras and sensors) from here on out? What are your thoughts on this? Please share over on our LinkedIn or reach out for a quick chat.

    This week Amazon had additional news about improvements in its Amazon One app, and we caught up on more news about the battle for same-day delivery types. We also dug into an article speculating about the future of malls , especially in our home state of California, and lastly enjoyed an article about how restaurants are employing AI technology. 

    Digital Meets Physical

    Uber expands autonomous delivery with Waymo pilot [Chain Store AgeUber’s latest test of driverless delivery vehicles is a partnership with Google’s self-driving car subsidiary. The Uber Eats on-demand delivery subsidiary of Uber is building on what it says is a successful test of autonomous “robotaxis” provided by Waymo (a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet) in Phoenix with the launch of Uber Eats deliveries via Waymo vehicles in select Arizona communities.

    Amazon ditches cashierless checkout system at its grocery stores [CNBCAmazon is removing cashierless checkout from its Fresh supermarkets in the U.S., the company confirmed. It will instead rely more heavily on Dash Carts, which track and tally up items as customers shop.

    More than half of shoppers would use generative AI for clothing purchases: Adobe [RetailDiveAs more retailers experiment with AI, nearly six in 10 (58%) respondents to an Adobe survey said that generative artificial intelligence has already improved their online shopping experience. Two-thirds of respondents said they want brands to analyze their previous purchases and other customer information to tailor the shopping experience to their needs.

    Amazon One launches new app to scan your palm for checkout [TechCrunchAmazon announced Thursday the launch of its new app for Amazon One, its contactless palm recognition service that allows customers to hover their palm over a device in order to purchase from select places, including more than 500 Whole Foods Market stores, Amazon stores and more than 150 third-party locations.

    Exclusive: Delivery Collective raises $3.8M for white-label delivery [AxiosLast-mile delivery software company Delivery Collective raised $3.8 million to help small businesses avoid exorbitant delivery fees, CEO Bala Subramaniam tells Axios exclusively. The company offers restaurants white-label technology and operational infrastructure to deliver products to their customers.

    Chick-fil-A via drone delivery? How the fight for sky dominance is heating up [USA TodayIn the not-too-distant future, in a city, town, or even remote village near you, the tap of an app could summon on-demand drone delivery to your doorstep in less than 30 minutes. According to three of the largest drone delivery companies in the U.S.,DroneUp, Zipline, and Wing, it’s not a matter of if, but when, drone deliveries reach skies near you. 

    PropTalk

    Malls were a dirty word in commercial real estate. Now retail is a bright spot. [MarketWatchFoot traffic at U.S. shopping centers has been staging a comeback since the darkest days of the pandemic, with visits last year only 2.3% below 2019 levels, according to Placer.ai, a data platform focused on commercial real estate. Open-air centers have seen the biggest rebound in foot traffic since the pandemic hit four years ago, followed by the broader shopping-center industry, indoor malls and outlets. 

    Navigating today’s restaurant technology landscape [SmartBriefThe National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Technology Landscape Report 2024 gives insight into how customers and operators are approaching technology in the foodservice industry.

    California malls as we know them are dying. Here’s what comes next. [SFGateThe “dead mall” (also known as a ghost mall or a zombie mall) has even become a sort of local fascination. When Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield announced in an earnings report in 2021 that it was effectively shutting down operations in the U.S., these institutions hit yet another tipping point. So what comes next for these giant mausoleums of the American dream? 

    Chick-fil-A opens its first-ever mobile pickup-only restaurant [Chain Store AgeChick-fil-A is opening two digital-focused test concepts this year — with the first now open in New York City. The quick-service powerhouse has opened a mobile pickup-only restaurant on the Upper East Side of New York City. 

    Retail occupancy levels at five-year high — so are costs [Chain Store AgeRetail occupancy levels hit a five-year high in 2023 at 88.4%, according to Datex Property Solutions’ recent 2024 Market Outlook report. When spaces do become vacant, the time to re-lease that space is shrinking, with the average number of days to fill a vacancy last year coming in at 95 days, a decrease of 18% from 2022, and a 24% decrease compared to 2021.

    Yum! Brands Embarks on AI-First Strategy for Fast-Food Restaurant Innovation [Restaurant Technology NewsYum Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Habit Burger Grill, is pioneering an “AI-powered” future for its fast-food operations under the leadership of Joe Park, the Chief Digital and Technology Officer. With a large portion of its sales now digital, Yum is doubling down on technology and automation to enhance every aspect of its restaurant operations.

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