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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    August 28 - September 3, 2023

    The Week In News, But Shorter
    August 28 – September 3, 2023

    We hope our U.S. readers enjoyed a long Labor Day weekend! In our recent LinkedIn article we talked about some practical applications of ChatGPT for commercial real estate, and this week an article in The Wall Street Journal discussed a very practical application for artificial intelligence (AI) – helping buildings reduce their carbon footprints. The benefits here are vast. Data shows that eco-friendly buildings get away with charging higher rents and are on the market for less time. Reducing a carbon footprint also typically means reducing waste, which ultimately also means cost savings. While there might be an initial cost to set up sensors and collect data, the long term benefits are undeniable. 

    This week we saw some predictions around peak shipping cycles, how ghost kitchen learnings are finding their way to traditional restaurants, and an inverse trend around store size compared to what we’ve been seeing with department stores. Have you visited us on LinkedIn? Check out our recent posts and drop a comment.


    Digital Meets Physical

    Walmart rolls out generative AI-powered assistant to 50K employees [RetailDiveWalmart rolled out My Assistant, a generative AI-powered tool, to all non-store U.S. employees. The feature is available to 50,000 employees in a desktop and mobile app interface within Me@Campus, the company’s employee app. The tool can accelerate draft writing, act as a creative partner or summarize large documents, according to Walmart. 

    Artificial Intelligence Steps In to Lower Carbon Footprint of Buildings [The Wall Street Journal]
    JLL has been making a string of investments to bring AI systems to companies looking to cut their emissions. The business case: Eco-friendly buildings charge higher rents and are on the market for less time. JLL says it expects 56% of organizations to pay a premium for sustainable spaces by 2025.

    AR in Retail Will Be the Norm Sooner Than You Think [RetailWireEven though there are critics who dislike the perceived complexities of virtual shopping, according to PYMNTS, retailers are still searching for innovative and efficient ways to improve the shopping experience. Augmented reality (AR) is turning out to be just that.

    Micro & Last Mile Fulfillment

    Amazon raises free shipping minimum to $35 for some customers who don’t have Prime [CNBCAmazon  has started increasing the free shipping minimum to $35 for non-Prime members in some markets, according to notices on its website, as the company looks for more ways to cut costs. Until now, the minimum purchase for free shipping has been $25. 

    Instacart IPO Isn’t Offering Empty Calories [The Wall Street JournalHave investors really shifted their focus from growth to profits? Instacart might prove the truest test of that theory. The online provider of grocery-delivery services filed papers for an initial public offering. That filing showed a surprisingly decent bottom line—and not one pulled in the nick of time ahead of the listing.

    Where Peak-Season Shipping Is Headed, In Charts [The Wall Street JournalThe period from late summer into fall is usually the busiest time of year in supply chains, as retailers rush clothing, electronics and holiday-season decorations to consumer markets and freight operators look to boost profits on the surging demand. This year’s peak shipping season is arriving with a whimper, however, as merchants and consumer-goods suppliers continue to burn off excess inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic and logistics companies cope with tepid volume and freight rates far below year-ago levels.

    Restaurants & Ghost Kitchens

    DoorDash launches AI-powered voice ordering technology for restaurants [TechCrunchDoorDash is launching AI-powered voice ordering technology that will allow restaurants to increase their sales by answering all of the calls they receive. The system will also provide customers with curated recommendations to complement their meal.

    Subway’s flying restaurant will serve sandwiches 1,000 feet in the air: How to book your free ride [CNBCDubbed “Subway in the Sky,” and is an 180-foot blimp that will carry diners into the air to try the chain’s sandwiches. The aircraft is designed to look like one of Subway’s new menu items, complete with assorted meats, cheese and veggies.

    Restaurants Harness Ghost Kitchen Learnings to Boost Omnichannel Performance [PYMNTSMoves to leverage the learnings of ghost kitchens in service of omnichannel brands come as consumers grow frustrated with the ghost kitchen boom. According to data from PYMNTS’ exclusive study which found only 48% report being interested in virtual kitchens. The majority, conversely, are not interested in restaurants unless they have physical locations.

    Mall Talk

    What to Watch: Behold the Super Mega Flagship Store [WWDFor luxury brands in search of retail magic, bigger is definitely better. Dior Paris 30 Montaigne and Tiffany & Co.’s Landmark store in New York are setting the pace as luxury temples that are also full-fledged tourists attractions with cultural, hospitality and experiential elements galore.

    J.C. Penney announces $1B turnaround plan [RetailDiveJ.C. Penney on Thursday announced plans to put more than $1 billion by fiscal 2025 toward improving its operations and customer experience. The department store will invest in digital capabilities, in-store upgrades including tech, and merchandising and supply chain improvements. Plans also entail boosting the retailer’s appeal through inclusive and affordable merchandising, customer service and local community engagement.

    Consumers Are Spending Like It’s 2019 [The Wall Street JournalShoppers have shifted their spending habits in a post pandemic world, leaving retailers in the lurch. Major retailer’s lackluster results offer more evidence that strained consumers feeling the weight of higher debt and increased prices are redirecting their discretionary spending away from certain products and goods.

    Brilliant Earth opens another 3 stores, this time in shopping malls [GlossyDiamond and jewelry brand Brilliant Earth is continuing to expand its IRL showrooms. In the span of a month, it’s adding three new locations to the previous nine it opened this year, bringing its total number of physical stores to 37. But these three new locations are different from the ones before. All three are located in shopping malls, a first for the brand.

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