Ikea Launches Furniture Leasing
 
The Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has announced that it is launching a pilot for a “scalable subscription service.” Members of Ikea’s program, which is being tested in Switzerland, will be able to rent furniture for a period of time, after which the furniture will be refurbished by Ikea and become available for other members to rent. This program is several things at once: it’s an effort to build loyalty through memberships (atypical in the furniture space); it’s an effort to maximize profits by reducing production costs; and, it’s a green initiative, as more materials are being reused. Ikea has stated that this is part of the company’s effort to reduce its climate footprint by 15 percent over the next four years.
 
AI and Machine Learning Are Changing Omnichannel
 
Louis Columbus has compiled a list of the 10 ways AI and machine learning are altering omnichannel strategy, enabling new possibilities for brands. This list includes:
 
“Achieving price optimization by persona is now possible using AI and machine learning, factoring in brand and channel preferences, previous purchase history, and price sensitivity.”
 
“56 percent of brands and retailers say that order track-and-traceability strengthened with AI and machine learning is essential to delivering excellent customer experiences.”
 
What’s New about Marriott Bonvoy?
 
Marriott has merged its extant loyalty programs into Marriott Bonvoy. The new program is in keeping with the “experience-based” rewards trend, as in addition to the typical hotel rewards, like discounted stays, Bonvoy will also offer perks like exclusive hiking excursions. The unification also simplifies and extends the brand’s offerings to members, as they will now have the ability to redeem across Marriott’s broad international portfolio.
 
“Marriott Bonvoy marks an evolution in travel because it represents more than a loyalty program,” said Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. “Marriott Bonvoy is a travel program designed to bring to life our extraordinary portfolio of global brands in 129 countries and territories, while also providing endless inspiration for members to keep traveling and pursuing their passions.”
 
EU Data Rules Are Here
 
The EU has reached “a political deal on the first-ever rules aimed at creating a fair, transparent, and predictable business environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms.” This development has major implications for any brand involved in e-commerce. Among several changes, the rules regulate the termination of user accounts and the disclosure of advantages platforms may have against third-party sellers. The new rules will take effect in 12 months.
 

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