News Briefs


Cannabis Retailer Brings Tech-Savvy Destination to Los Angeles


Premium cannabis retailer HerbNJoy has opened a tech-savvy store in Beverly Hills, California. Among its features, the curated retail space includes a bespoke interactive digital wall, elevated interior design and a concierge front desk where shoppers can receive one-to-one customer service.

With this location, the cannabis retailer is doubling down on its focus of ensuring the shopping experience is “unintimidating, inclusive and informative,” according to a media release from HerbNJoy. The Beverly Hills store will launch a series of events and activations related to wellness, education, entertainment and community support through strategic partnerships and philanthropic endeavors, such as advocating for cannabis criminal justice reform.

“With so many cannabis companies either stuck in the past, or adopting the same generic models, HerbNJoy sets itself apart by operating at the intersection of cannabis, technology and lifestyle, combined with a social and cultural responsibility, seeing the importance of education, inclusivity and supporting minority groups that have been vilified by our institutions and media,” Jeff Linden, chief operating officer and co-founder of HerbNJoy, said in the release.


Staples Debuts In-Store Tech Repair Hub


Electronics repair provider Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions has partnered with office supplies retailer Staples to open a tech repair hub within one store in Concord, New Hampshire. The hub offers professional fixes for most consumer electronics, from smartphones, tablets and computers to game consoles, smart speakers and drones.

Asurion’s experts claim they can help with most any tech mishap, and many basic repairs (e.g., cracked screens, battery issues and water damage) can often be completed in two hours or less, according to a news release from the company.

In addition to the services offered by Asurion, the Staples store in Concord will continue to provide tech services for Windows and Intel laptops, as well as data recovery services through the Staples Technology Service Area.

"Staples Stores are the destination for working and learning ideas and solutions, and convenient repair services play a critical role in how we support the small business community around this location," said Brian Coupland, senior vice president, merchandising, Staples U.S., in the release. "We look forward to working with Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions to amplify our tech support offerings and elevate the customer experience at the Staples Store in Concord."

The Concord location brings Asurion's retail footprint to nearly 800 locations across the U.S. Formerly known as uBreakiFix, all U.S. locations will rebrand as Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions throughout 2022.


Former Wall Street Journal Exec Joins EnsembleIQ

craig lowe

Path to Purchase IQ parent company EnsembleIQ has tapped new talent as it invests in new enterprise membership and subscriptions initiatives by leveraging its unique market expertise across grocery, drug, convenience, retail technology and consumer goods channels. The company has appointed former Wall Street Journal executive Craig Lowe as senior vice president of membership and subscriptions. In this newly created role, Lowe will be responsible for the overall strategy and delivery of these offerings.

“Today we have two high-value membership products – Path to Purchase Institute and Restaurant Technology Network. By bringing Craig into EnsembleIQ, our goal is to create new, innovative membership and subscription experiences that leverage our actionable intelligence and connections across key retail channels. Craig will provide strategic leadership to ensure that we are tailoring our solutions to fulfill the needs of our business decision maker audiences and new constituencies seeking to grow their businesses,” said Jennifer Litterick, CEO of EnsembleIQ, in a news release. 

Lowe brings vast international membership and subscription experience from across both B2B information services marketplace and consumer media. He has created paid subscriptions and membership programs, transformed a conferences business as well as led controlled circulation, news trade sales and marketing initiatives. He was most recently vice president, global audience marketing at Dow Jones, where he was responsible for delivering audiences for the Wall Street Journal’s global events business and developing membership growth strategies for all WSJ Professional membership propositions. Earlier in his career, Lowe was with BMI Research, Espicom Business Intelligence, Saga Publishing Ltd, Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc and Centaur Media Plc.


Immerss Tests Live Video Shopping for Salesforce

live shopping

Dallas-based Immerss has introduced a "Shop Live" mobile app for Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud solution.

Immerss is a shoppable live video and chat platform aimed to help Salesforce retailers of all sizes generate incremental revenue by creating an in-person, virtual shopping experience while shopping online. The mobile app connects online shoppers to a sales associate via live shoppable video that guides them through their purchase from product selection to checkout.

According to a news release from Immerss, the platform provides one-to-one digital “clienteling” and one-to-many live online shopping similar to television network QVC. Immerss is a white-label solution that is fully integrated into Salesforce Commerce. Key features include:

  • Live chat and video co-shopping enables merchants to shop face-to-face with online shoppers and provide a higher level of service with no downloads required for the customer.
  • Outbound clienteling enables merchants to contact their customers via SMS messaging, share products and schedule one-on-one calls.
  • Live shopping QVC-style is the most effective way to reach the masses with a singular effort, according to the release, which enables merchants to utilize the power of social platforms while having full control over their data.
  • Data tracking and reporting are key differentiators. All activities performed by brand associates are tracked for commission and performance, in an effort to enable merchants to hire and retain a stronger workforce.

"What's missing from e-commerce is a human-to-human interaction," said Arthur Veytsman, co-founder and CEO at Immerss, in the release. "Live video commerce is rapidly emerging and redefining how brands and retailers interact with their customers to provide an elevated online shopping experience."

Immerss Shop Live for Salesforce is currently in beta and is expected to be generally available in the coming months.


Meijer to Hold First Sustainability Supplier Summit


Meijer will hold its first Sustainability Supplier Summit for vendors nationwide to showcase sustainable products across categories to Meijer merchants.

The event will be held virtually June 20-23, and is Meijer’s latest in a series of efforts to embrace sustainability. The retailer recently conducted a survey to identify environmental issues relevant to the retailer and its shoppers. Key topics covered in the survey include the importance of sourcing from companies with a strong commitment to sustainability and expanding the retailer's offerings of sustainable products.

In addition, Meijer launched its first sustainable private-label clothing lines made from recycled polyester and 100% organic cotton in 2021. The retailer also uses post-consumer water bottles that are ground into chips, melted into a fiber filament and turned into fabric to make apparel. A “Better Products” web page within also details its efforts supporting local products, Meijer True Goodness, and its goals on sustainable packaging.

In a news release from the retailer, Meijer dog supplies merchant Katy Petzak said she's specifically looking for products that have sustainable packaging; cleaner and less ingredients; and recycled content in dog toys, leashes and collars; at the upcoming summit.

Meijer is partnering with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) and its subsidiary product discovery tool, RangeMe, to host this event through the company's ECRM Connect virtual platform. Certified vendors with retail-ready products should apply by April 26 for consideration.


Kroger Expands Access to On-Site Ad Inventory


Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM), Kroger’s retail media business powered by 84.51, has expanded access to its on-site advertising inventory with new partnerships. Advertisers may now use one of three preferred advertising management platforms to buy product listing ads on Kroger’s e-commerce sites. Pacvue, Skai and Flywheel Digital are the inaugural platforms with access to the application programming interface (API), according to a news release from the retailer.

The new capability aims to make it easier for brands and agencies to manage on-site Kroger search campaigns through popular platforms used to manage media with other retailers. KPM’s retail media service also offers closed-loop advertising measurement by matching household ad exposure to actual purchases at Kroger.

Nearly 2,000 brands use KPM product listing ads to reach in-market shoppers on Kroger e-commerce sites. These placements inspire purchase at the digital shelf where product visibility is constrained by small screen sizes, according to the release. Product listing ads are also important for brand growth with 38% of clicks coming from households that are new to a brand, according to 2021 internal research from 84.51.

“Our data science creates an easier shopping experience – while also empowering shoppers to discover new products. This new capability makes it easier for brands to influence the millions of daily product searches happening on Kroger sites,” said Michael Schuh, vice president of product strategy & innovation at KPM, in the release. “With shopping routines under disruption, it is more important than ever for us to help brands be seen in the digital aisle.”

GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, is an early partner of KPM to test the capability.