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AMZN vs WMT Weekly: cashier-less racing resumes

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Walmart this week began testing a fully self-serve retail outlet in Plano, Texas as it tries to keep up with Amazon’s ambitions for a cashier-less store amid a labor shortage. sector-wide.

The Texas location isn’t Walmart’s first foray into the self-checkout space – the company opened its first cashier-less supermarket in its home state of Arkansas – but Plano is a bigger market. three times larger than Fayetteville, Arkansas, making it an important test of initiative.

Walmart’s move follows Amazon’s introduction last month of its first full-size Amazon Fresh grocery store with the company’s “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology after using the technology in smaller locations across the country. United Kingdom and United States. The Amazon Fresh store is located in Bellevue, Washington. , just outside of Seattle, the company’s hometown.

Amazon expanded the use of its Just Walk Out technology to other retailers, including airport convenience retailer Hudson, and offered it to Walmart and Target at the start of the pandemic, though neither has expressed interest. Perhaps this is not surprising, as Walmart has gone so far as to resist using Amazon’s cloud services to keep the competitor at bay.

Alexa, get an upgrade

Ahead of CEO Andy Jassy’s first earnings report next week, Amazon is rolling out new features and tools on Alexa for third-party voice app developers, its biggest release of new tools yet as it tries to generate more growth and engagement of the voice assistant.

New features include “Alexa Shopping Actions”, which allows app developers and merchants to sell Amazon products according to their skills. Amazon is also bringing its Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program to Alexa, which will allow application developers to earn a commission on qualifying product referrals; and the introduction of “paid skills” where consumers will pay a one-time fee to access content in a skill.

Jeff Blankenburg, Amazon’s tech evangelist for Alexa, said in a blog post that the company’s vision for Alexa is that she be “proactive, personal and predictable, wherever customers want her to be.”

“It’s our long-term vision, which means there’s a lot of work to be done to make it a reality,” Blankenburg wrote.

Part of that job is getting consumers to use Alexa to shop. According to a PYMNTS study, about a third of consumers own a voice assistant, but only 7% of them have used voice assistants to make purchases while shopping and retailing products. Still, this represents a 45% increase in the number of consumers purchasing items with voice assistants since 2018.

More wine selection

Walmart is adding a new Reserve series to its Winemakers Selection label, featuring five premium grape varieties from some of the world’s most important wine regions. Selections at $ 10 per bottle include Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, French Rosé and Italian Pinot Grigio.

The Winemakers Selection Reserve Series is available at Walmart brick and mortar stores across the country, as well as for grocery delivery and pickup where local and state laws permit. The Winemakers Selection label debuted with buyers in 2018.

The move could be an attempt to strengthen Walmart’s grip on grocery sales, which has worried it in recent months. While Walmart has a 10-to-1 advantage over Amazon in the grocery store, a leaked memo from February shows the box-store giant is concerned about the increasingly competitive space and declining market share.

But while grocery shopping is an important area for Walmart – the retailer relies heavily on grocery sales to increase revenue – the battle for consumer wallets will always be fought and won in retail, where Amazon wins. on the ground for several years. According to PYMNTS analysis, in the first quarter, Amazon accounts for 9.1% of retail consumer spending and 3.5% of consumer spending, and the company will likely become the largest U.S. retailer next year.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: SUPERCONNECTED GENERATION – THE UPCOMING USER AUTHENTICATION CHANGE

About the study: Superconnected consumers use a variety of connected devices to interact, buy, and pay online, but say password authentication is slowing them down. PYMNTS surveyed 2,127 consumers and found that these highly connected and highly desirable customers want financial institutions (FIs) and merchants to ditch the password and provide a better and safer way to authenticate online.


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