April 9, 2019 by Sujay Seetharaman

1. Nike revamps loyalty program

Nike is testing a slew of extra perks to its Nike Plus app such as vending machines that disperse free stuff — as it finds that those users spend 40% more than other customers, according to Nike’s global vice president of direct stores, Cathy Sparks. The app already gives customers early access to new products, free shipping and VIP treatment in its stores, including a separate entrance at the Manhattan mega-store. It is currently testing instant checkout in three stores, including the 68,000-square-foot location on Fifth Avenue, allowing Nike Plus customers to skip the checkout line.

2. Whatsapp for Business rolls out in iOS

WhatsApp last week announced the WhatsApp Business app for iOS, according to a company blog post. The app is free to download and is currently available in Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., with plans for further global rollout in the coming weeks. The app will allow small business owners with iPhones to connect with their potential customers through a platform. The businesses will also have access to a host of services at a time when mobile is playing an increasingly pivotal role in retail.

3. India’s richest man’s strategy to take on Amazon and Walmart

Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani is sharpening his focus on e-commerce with a string of tiny acquisitions and stake purchases to take on Amazon and Walmart in India. Ambani outlined his plan to shareholders in July, saying the effort will involve the group’s unlisted businesses Reliance Retail Ltd. and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. Ambani’s e-commerce plans have already won the support of investors. Shares of Reliance Industries Ltd. surged 48 percent in the past 12 months and touched a record high on April 1.

4. More US consumers opt for BOPUS

Curbside grocery pickup will be a $35 billion business in the US by 2020, according to estimates from research firm Cowen and Company. Last year, Walmart (and various third-party partners), Target/Shipt, Kroger/Instacart, Ahold and Albertsons brought their collective number of click-and-collect locations from 2,451 in January 2018 to 5,800 in December 2018, per data from CommonSense Robotics. The convenience of click to collect is being realized by both customers – who choose to pick up their orders by themselves and for retailers – who see this as a flexible fulfillment option.

Sujay Seetharaman

Market Analyst @ PipeCandy

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