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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    April 8- 14, 2024

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    The Week In News, But Shorter
    April 8- 14, 2024

    An article in RetailDive captured sentiments similar to ours in our newsletter last week, which is that more tech doesn’t necessarily mean fewer workers. If you are a regular reader of our newsletters, you will know that we are fairly big on balance overall – whether it’s between digital and physical, property owner and retailer, or anything else really, and this is just another example of that. Yes, there are more and more technologies that can make a retail experience more enjoyable, more cost-effective, and net better results, but none of this means that we can do away with human employees. Retail and dining are by definition customer-centric, and customer satisfaction is paramount, and unfortunately, technology will not always be the solution for customer service. This is true for property owners too – sure technology can help with things like parking, wayfinding, advertising, and engagement, but a human element will remain crucial. Need help finding balance? #LetsChat.

    In other news, laws in California are having an impact related to the topic above, ghost kitchens continue to go through an evolution, and luxury retail is driving high street real estate. How do you like the new format of our newsletter? Let us know over on LinkedIn 

    Digital Meets Physical

    California just hiked minimum wage for fast food workers. Some restaurants are replacing them with kiosks [CNNCalifornia just raised the minimum wage for the state’s fast food sector workers by $4 to $20. As if on cue, it raised a familiar refrain that those workers would be replaced by technology, such as self-service kiosks. 

    How fast food is becoming a new surveillance ground [Fast CompanyTech companies have led the way in consumer surveillance, and fast-food chains and vending machine companies alike are taking note. Whether we like it or not, the technology-creep in restaurants has crossed the social chasm, and it’s affecting service and our privacy. While we eat these vending machines’ and restaurants’ food, they eat our data.

    Convenience Retail Giants Embrace Click-and-Mortar™ Tech to Bridge Digital-Physical Gap [PYMNTSMany consumers are merging their digital and physical retail journeys. The PYMNTS Intelligence study drew from a survey of more than 2,400 United States consumers. It found that across retail, 31% of shoppers fall into the Click-and-Mortar™ category. Specifically, approximately 1 in 5 shops in stores with the assistance of digital technologies, and 11% make purchases digitally for in-store pickup.

    Delivery-Only Restaurants, Once Pandemic Successes, Face Uncertainty [The New York TimesGhost kitchens and virtual brands became a way for idle restaurant kitchens to generate revenue. But as consumers return to in-house dining, many of those concepts are disappearing.

    Why more tech in stores shouldn’t mean fewer workers [RetailDiveSince the height of the pandemic, store operations have grown more complex, as omnichannel services like online fulfillment, pickup and delivery have become entrenched. Hiring in many areas is tougher, as wages have risen and unemployment has fallen. And some retailers, facing threats to margins and profits, have slashed their expenses, including their workforces, often replacing humans with tech.

    Best Buy to use generative AI for virtual assistant, customer support experiences [RetailDiveJoining the generative AI wave, Best Buy has partnered with Google Cloud to introduce a generative artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant late this summer. With the assistant tool, customers can troubleshoot product issues; reschedule or combine order deliveries; and manage their software, Geek Squad subscriptions and Best Buy memberships. The company is also deploying generative AI to assist its customer care agents.


    How Netflix, Shein, and Skims are bringing malls back from the dead [eMarketerWithin retail, brands are rethinking the traditional mall model, experimenting with short-term leases and pop-up events to pique consumers’ curiosity and sense of urgency.

    How Hudson Yards Defied Its Haters and Became New York’s Top Mall [Business of Fashion] Despite a bumpy debut, Hudson Yards has become a top shopping destination. Last year, average monthly visits increased 19 percent year-on-year, far outpacing growth at other top malls, such as Bal Harbour Shops in Florida and the Mall of America in Minnesota. Its developer Related Companies has continually refreshed the balance of retail, food and entertainment, creating a mix of accessible offerings.

    Inside Westfield Century City’s Infrastructure Supporting Experiential Retail [Retail TouchpointsWestfield Century City underwent a $1 billion redevelopment project in 2017 to modernize the Los Angeles shopping center and enable more interactive and experiential shopping with pop-ups, brand activations and events. 

    Luxury Brands Go Shopping for Upmarket Boutiques [The Wall Street JournalThere’s no commercial real estate crash on New York’s Fifth Avenue or the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Luxury brands are racing to buy properties on the world’s most famous shopping streets. 

    Shoptalk 2024 Wrap-Up: AI “Hype” and Back to Retail Basics—Loyalty, Physical Stores and More [CoresightIn this report, we present our top insights from Shoptalk 2024, centered around five key themes, as identified by Shoptalk: creating unified retail experiences; employing AI to transform your business; harnessing brand power and generating brand trust; building loyalty via seamless customer journeys; creating unified retail experiences and navigating changing industry relationships. \

    Electric Vehicle Sales Boom Drives Demand for Apartment Charging Solutions [PropmodoThe rapid transition to electric vehicles in the U.S., driven by government incentives, consumer sustainability demand, and rising gas prices, is increasing the need for EV charging stations, making them essential amenities for apartment communities.




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