Customer Experience
 
Party City Faces Helium Shortage, Closes 45 Stores
Helium is a finite resource, and unfortunately for Party City, it is getting harder to find. “Filling balloons with helium is among the company’s most profitable services, according to Barclays’ Matt McClintock. Helium brings people into the store, and those customers usually buy other items instead of buying on Amazon or at another store. But with the earth’s (and Party City’s) helium supplies dwindling, potential balloon customers have been searching elsewhere for party goods.”
 
Unique Features in the Chick-fil-A App
About 20 percent of Chick-fil-A orders come through the brand’s app, and that app employs many unique features that better the customer experience. For instance: “When customers arrive at a store, they will be prompted by the app that they may have arrived at the wrong location. However, instead of cancelling the order or having to go to a different store, the app now allows customers to transfer to the correct store.”
 
Sales from Chatbots Could Reach $112B by 2023
Robo-salesman are playing an increasingly important role. “In a report that studied the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on retail, Juniper Research estimates that retail sales stemming from interactions with chatbots are set to reach $112 billion by 2023. The firm also noted that chatbot interactions are set to skyrocket from a forecasted 2.6 billion in 2019 to 22 billion in the same time frame, Retail Dive reported.”
 
Social
 
Philip Morris Suspends Social Media Campaign After Reuters Exposes Young Influencers
Many brands are using nano-influencers (non-celebrity influencers) for their authentic brand advocacy. However, for Philip Morris, this created an ethics problem. The company “has suspended a global social media marketing campaign in response to Reuters inquiries into the company’s use of young online personalities to sell its new ‘heated tobacco’ device, including a 21-year-old woman in Russia.” Brands should take note of the challenges inherent in this decentralized approach to social media marketing; they can’t control everything, at least not without serious, serious monitoring.
 
Tech
 
Amazon Rolls Out Machines That Pack Orders and Replace Jobs
Amazon is continuing its push toward greater automation. “Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, these people said. These facilities typically employ more than 2,000 people. That would amount to more than 1,300 cuts across 55 US fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory. Amazon would expect to recover the costs in under two years, at $1 million per machine plus operational expenses, they said.”
 

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