April 19, 2019 by Sujay Seetharaman

1. Kroger’s driverless delivery goes live in Houston

Following its successful pilot of autonomous grocery delivery in Scottsdale (AZ), Kroger, in partnership with robotics company Nuro, have brought their driverless delivery service now to Houston (TX). To use the service, customers shop on Kroger’s e-commerce site or its app and place orders based on slot availability. The orders can be scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery by Nuro’s fleet of manual and self-driving vehicles. The service has a flat fee of $5.95 flat fee, with no minimum order.

2. Stitch Fix sees heads of Men’s and Kid’s clothing depart

The head of Men’s and Kid’s clothing at Stitch Fix, Chris Phillips, is leaving the apparel retailer to take on the role of CEO at online Men’s apparel retailer Mizzen+Main. Kevin Lavelle, Mizzen+Main’s Founder and CEO, is leaving the retailer to join entrepreneurial networking group The Seminar Network.

3. Amazon China to close the local marketplace

Earlier today, Amazon announced it will shut down its marketplace on Amazon.cn, which connects mainland Chinese buyers and sellers, while other units of its local venture will stay intact. “We are working closely with our sellers to ensure a smooth transition and to continue to deliver the best customer experience possible,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch, adding that this segment of the business will end on July 18.

4. Kids on 45th raise $3.3 million in seed funding

Kids on 45th is a two-year-old startup that bundles up new clothing which suits the current season and sends it to customers for reportedly far less than they would pay elsewhere. Besides, the company asks customers to donate any unwanted items locally, giving them account credits instead and avoiding the problem of returns. It has raised $3.3 million in funding and has already shipped more than 500,000 shipments in just a year after launching its online business.

5. Walgreens, Nordstrom turn stores into online delivery hubs

Walgreens and Nordstrom are both implementing the Narvar Concierge online package pickup and return platform. Joining the Narvar Concierge Network would enable these two retailers to offer consumers the option to pick up orders or drop off returns at any location within the Narvar Concierge network. More than 600 retailers, including Sephora, Patagonia, Levi’s, Bose, Warby Parker, Home Depot, LVMH, and L’Oréal, participate in the Narvar network globally.

6. Facebook is building a voice assistant

Facebook is reportedly developing a voice assistant similar to Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters that the company is working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across its family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products. Facebook’s vision for the voice assistant, however, still remains unclear.

7. Wayfair’s big promo day sees high spending from population hubs

According to data from Edison Trends, Wayfair’s Way day online promo that ran for 36 hours drove the highest spending from the most populated states with Pennsylvania leading the way with a 405% hike in spending, followed by Ohio, California, Illinois, Texas, New York, and Florida. Overall, the two-day Way Day sale reportedly averaged 325% higher revenue than the previous 28 days averaged; there were also 339% more orders and 315% more unique customers.

Sujay Seetharaman

Market Analyst @ PipeCandy

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