PayPal Adds New Contactless Payment Option
Payments company PayPal has said that it is enabling QR code payments in-app, to allow merchants to offer contactless transactions without needing to invest in extra hardware.
The feature, which will be available in 28 markets, allows customers to pay for items by scanning a QR code presented to them on a screen or piece of paper. This has likely been done to make contactless payments more widely available during the Covid-19 pandemic, welcome news to the many stores planning to re-open across Europe and The US over the coming weeks. A survey done by Capgemini showed that ⅔ of consumers prefer using their mobile for payments in shops, as opposed to touchscreens or human interaction. This suggests that PayPal’s new approach may grow to be a popular in-store payment option for shoppers.
To implement this new option, all retailers need is a mobile device, which will create codes for shoppers to scan. With most people owning some kind of smart device already, this is likely to make the payment option popular with vendors too. Most other contactless options need some kind of additional point-of-sale technology to take payments.
Gap Speeds Up Robot Roll-Out For Warehouse Automation
In an effort to curb the amount of human contact happening in their warehouses, Gap is racing to bring in automated robots that will help with order fulfillment during the Covid-19 crisis.
With online orders experiencing a huge boost due to store closures across the globe, Gap has had to create a system where orders can be fulfilled, while employees can still comply with social distancing regulations.
As we have seen many times already during the pandemic, the crisis has accelerated changes that were already beginning to occur in the industry. Gap had already been working on automated robots for the fulfillment centers, but the sudden need for them in the wake of Covid-19 has forced Gap to jump from an Autumn release date, to being fully operational in four facilities by July.
The fashion brand has been working with a robotics firm called Kindred on this project. The robots in question are 8 foot tall picking robots, which are able to handle the work of around 4 employees. Kindred has noted a sharp increase in the number of inquiries received from retailers during the pandemic, as others scramble to push automation plans forward. Artificial Intelligence has been one of the biggest areas of innovation within the supply chains of major retailers in recent times. Companies like H&M have gone as far as creating AI departments within the company.
Perhaps this may be one of the major changes we see in retail post-coronavirus?
Pinterest Ads Influencer Friendly ‘Shopping Spotlights’
Image sharing app Pinterest has announced the roll-out of a new tool called ‘Shopping Spotlights’, a feature that recommends products to Pinterest users, based on recommendations from a variety of different influencers from fashion, design, and more.
Shopping spotlights will be shown via a feed of highlighted image in the upper half of the search tab in the Pinterest app. The company has said content will range from recommendations of influencers, publishers, and editors, allowing users to “easily shop curated ideas based on current Pinterest trends”. Upon clicking any of the spotlights, users can browse themed collections, which includes products that are up to date with the latest trends. Items made by brands that are making a significant contribution towards the Covid-19 relief effort will also be included.
Aside from this, Pinterest will be working with brand partners to curate these collections. Currently, the company is working with an array of different publishers, including InStyle, Who What Wear, and Refinery29. The spotlight feature may become a way for Pinterest to draw revenue, with a sponsored spotlight option being possible for brands.
Pinterest has gained a lot of interest from users and brands alike since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 32.5% of Pinterest users believing they will lengthen the amount of time they spend on the app while quarantined at home. Brands like Aveda have used Pinterest to great effect, with the company reporting a double-digit increase in engagement across its channels since pivoting their content strategy towards the platform, despite only posting organically.