Last-mile technology, Shoppable ads, and Self-checkout - Weekly Snacks #90

Campaign corner

Reese’s Super Bowl teaser. The announcement of a significant alteration to Reese's iconic peanut butter cups has caught numerous people by surprise. One individual is particularly impacted by this revelation, dramatically exclaiming "NOOOOO!!!" as he stands on a tennis court, amidst a barrage of airborne tennis balls. The specifics of this contentious modification are set to be disclosed during the Super Bowl LVIII broadcast on February 11, 2024.

Ring of taste. Inside the advanced M&M's Lab, a presenter hosts a virtual event to introduce their newest creation: turning M&M peanut butter into luxurious diamond rings dubbed the "Almost Champions" ring of comfort. While the presenter enthusiastically details this innovative technique, the M&M characters participating in the video call are fixated on whether the diamond retains the peanut butter flavor. Their persistent inquiries about taste increasingly frustrate the presenter. The recipient of the unique "Almost Champions" ring will be revealed at Super Bowl LVIII on February 11, 2024.

Retail tech

Last-mile technology. In 2024, Amazon is broadening the investment focus of its $1 billion venture capital fund, targeting startups specializing in last-mile technology and autonomous vehicles, as revealed by the fund's director. Initially established in April 2022 as the Industrial Innovation Fund, it primarily funded robotics and automation startups for warehouse operations. However, Amazon aims to extend its support to transport companies to enhance its extensive logistics network's efficiency.

Self-checkout. Despite some narratives suggesting self-checkout's demise, the technology is far from being abandoned. Retailers globally are not only continuing their use of self-checkout machines but are also expanding their reliance on them, driven by the benefits of labor efficiency and cost savings. The technology faces challenges, including customer complaints and operational issues like shrinkage, but ongoing innovations and improvements are addressing these concerns. Moreover, retailers are implementing strategies to balance self-checkout with traditional checkout options, ensuring flexibility and convenience for customers.

Expertise in retail

Shoppable ads. Do you see ads arriving on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service accelerating the opportunity around shoppable ads? This is the topic that various retail experts discussed in one of Retail Wire’s discussions. Here’s what Neil Saunders mentioned: 

Grocery stores and farmers markets. Considering the growing popularity of local produce and increasing support from supermarkets, how might the future dynamics between retail and farmers' markets evolve? Various retail experts shared their perspectives regarding this topic in one of Retail Wire’s discussions. Here’s what Mark Self stated: 

In other news…

Shake things up. Mid-market retail and consumer packaged goods companies are revising their supply chain strategies significantly, with the majority aiming to diversify suppliers, increase onshoring, invest in supply chain technology, and boost automation, a survey by Carl Marks Advisors reveals. A notable emphasis is on integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into marketing and financial forecasting, deemed essential for staying competitive by Howard Meitiner, the firm's managing director. While sustainability isn't a primary focus, it remains a crucial part of strategic planning. Overall, the sentiment among executives is optimistic, with a minimal percentage anticipating a decrease in sales.

Traditional grocers. Over the last four years, traditional supermarkets have seen a decrease in their market share across various grocery categories as club stores, mass merchants, and other competitors have attracted more customers, according to data from 210 Analytics and Circana. The trend has been driven by consumers seeking better value and being more open to switching stores in response to inflation. Notably, traditional supermarkets have experienced notable market share declines in meat and refrigerated seafood departments since 2019, losing ground primarily to mass retailers, supercenters, and club retailers. 

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