March 15, 2019 by Sujay Seetharaman

1. Kroger expands autonomous grocery delivery with Nuro

Kroger and robotics company Nuro are reportedly expanding their autonomous grocery delivery pilot to Houston, Texas. The delivery service will be available through two Kroger stores, reaching customers residing in four zip codes. Kroger and Nuro have together successfully completed thousands of deliveries to customers in Scottsdale, Arizona. Houston marks the next phase of the pilot, where Kroger owns about 102 stores.

2. Canadian furniture brand expands US footprint

Canada-based manufacturer and retailer of modern furniture and home decor, EQ3 has opened a store in downtown Chicago with another two openings reportedly due this year. EQ3’s latest store is designed to create a residential feeling, with a layout that encourages a “meaningful meandering” throughout the space. The in-store displays highlight the stories behind the products and their designers, and how the merchandise can be customized to suit a customer’s home. It has around eleven stores across Canada, three in the US, in addition to a wholesale and eCommerce presence.

3. VSP Global to open brick-and-mortar stores

VSP Global, a vision benefits company providing eye care to 88 million people through a network of 40,000 providers, is reportedly moving into brick-and-mortar eyewear retailing. Eyewear retailers that began as digitally native players have moved into brick-and-mortar in recent times, most notably Warby Parker, which now operates nearly 100 stores across the US and Canada. But for a vision services provider such as VSP to operate its own branded brick-and-mortar locations would be a first.

4. Target debuts ‘clean’ label across product lines

This week, Target announced its ‘clean icon’ label for a series of products spanning household essentials, beauty, and personal care and baby care products. In its press release, Target said “it’s the latest step toward achieving our chemical goals, where we’re driving transparency, proactive chemical management and innovation across our assortment and business. Ultimately, we want to reduce the amount of unwanted chemicals in the homes and workplaces of our guests.”

5. Barclaycard partners with Alipay

Barclaycard has reportedly announced a partnership with Alipay to enable retailers to accept Alipay payments. Barclaycard processes almost half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions and retailers who use its services will be able to share a new API with their software supplier to upgrade their POS to enable Alipay mobile payments. Retailers can then use scanners to read the QR code Alipay generates to complete a sale. According to Visit Britain, Chinese tourists are expected to spend more than £1 billion in the UK this year. Meanwhile, the number of Alipay users in the UK has doubled in 2019.

Sujay Seetharaman

Market Analyst @ PipeCandy

Currently donning the Researcher's hat. Talks to himself.