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Daily QuickWit (10/20) – Top Retail News of the Day

Instacart acquires ‘smart cart’ provider Caper AI

Instacart is continuing its evolution into a technology platform with the purchase of an artificial intelligence-based shopping cart and checkout platform.  This is an interesting move, many predicted Instacart would be moving into becoming a true retailer but this (and some moves earlier this year) would indicate otherwise but becoming even more of a service, and soon to be, a technology provider for retailers.  There seems to be several strategic paths Instacart is pursuing including doubling down on advertising. 

 

As Scooby Doo would say ‘Ruh Roh”  

An investigation published by Reuters last week suggested Amazon India “ran a systematic campaign” of copying other companies’ products and manipulating search results to promote them, now Congress is weighing in.  In response to the accusation a spokesperson for Amazon said.

"Amazon and its executives did not mislead the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question. As we have previously stated, we have an internal policy, which goes beyond that of any other retailer’s policy that we’re aware of, that prohibits the use of individual seller data to develop Amazon private label products. We investigate any allegations that this policy may have been violated and take appropriate action. In addition, we design our search experience to feature the items customers will want to purchase, regardless of whether they are offered by Amazon or one of our selling partners."

Seriously though, has Congress ever walked into an Aldi?  as we stated last week, a retailer copying national brands is and has been the norm for decades; even though we believe knock offs is an antiquated private label strategy.

Walmart takes on Kroger with next-gen grocery fulfillment center plans

Walmart  said it will build a high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries in Spartanburg County, S.C. Set to open in 2024, the new 720,000-plus-sq.-ft. facility will rely on a combination of human associates, automation technology, robotics, and machine learning to process grocery perishables – such as produce, eggs, dairy, flowers and frozen goods – and deliver them to nearby stores. The high-tech facility will move two times more product than a traditional Walmart grocery hub.

Will the next battle of the Grocery Giants be fought on the automated warehouse battleground, Brittain Ladd sure thinks so, and we tend to agree – but it is a multi front war, focusing only on one will be a losing proposition.  

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