It’s Friday, the week is almost done, so let’s kick back and reflect on another eventful week for the retail systems space. Here’s your briefing on the most important stories from the past five days, including Carrefour UAE, Amazon, Gopuff, and Starship Technologies.
1. Carrefour taps green retail technology for first BIO store in UAE
Carrefour has opened its first BIO store in the UAE, featuring the retailer’s first ever café and an in-store hydroponic farm.
With over 3,000 items to choose from, the store specialises in healthy and organic products spanning from food and beverages to beauty, personal, and home care items.
2. Starship Technologies raises $100m as demand for autonomous delivery service increases
Autonomous delivery services specialist, Starship Technologies, has raised $100 million in the last 30 days, including a new $42 million Series B funding round led by the Japanese-Nordic VC firm NordicNinja and Estonia’s Taavet+Sten.
The Series B cash will help Starship further scale its service and launch in new cities in North America and Europe, including university campuses in the US.
An undisclosed amount of funding is also being donated directly to the Red Cross in Ukraine.
3. Fast fashion giant Asos keeps faith with Microsoft Cloud platform
Asos has signed a new agreement with Microsoft that will see the fast fashion giant continue to use Microsoft Cloud as its preferred cloud platform for the next five years.
The retailer taps Microsoft Azure and its AI capabilities to power its digital platforms and support new data led workstreams.
Through the renewed partnership, it will work with Microsoft to launch new projects to support and accelerate its strategic growth plans.
These focus on unlocking new customer experiences and business capabilities, such as Asos’ Partner Fulfilment programme, which aims to expand the range and availability of products, and maximise demand conversion, customer choice and stock availability.
4. Walmart launches Zeekit virtual fitting room technology
Following its acquisition last year of Zeekit, creator of a virtual fitting room platform, Walmart is rolling out the venture’s tech, starting with a Choose My Model feature, to users of the retailer’s app and website.
Its customers are able to select from 50 models at launch, based on their height, body shape and skin tone, to have a better sense of how clothing will look on them.
“One of the most frustrating aspects of shopping for clothes online is understanding how an item will actually look on you,” says Denise Incandela, EVP of Apparel and Private Brands, Walmart U.S.
“With Zeekit, our goal is to deliver an inclusive, immersive and personalised digital experience that will better replicate physical shopping.”
5. Amazon pulls plug on physical book stores and 4-star locations
Amazon is planning to close all 68 of its physical book stores, pop up shops and 4-star locations in the United States and United Kingdom.
The e-commerce giant told Reuters that physical retail remains an important way for it to reach shoppers.
It will continue to work on other concepts, such as its recently announced fashion location in greater Los Angeles and checkout-free grocery stores.
Amazon only opened the doors to the first Amazon 4-star store outside of the US during October of last year.
6. Gopuff follows UK launch with France debut
US-based quick commerce startup, Gopuff, has announced its official launch across France, building on a roll-out last year in the UK.
The venture now serves all of Paris and the majority of Île-de-France, as well as parts of Marseille, Lille and Toulouse, with plans to expand across the country.