Imagine this:

Your’e grocery shopping.

Only this time, your’e on your sopha.

You are placing an order on your smartphone, and within a minute you get a text message saying your delivery is on its way. A few minutes later, you get another message- your delivery is at your doorstep.

Outside, a self-driving vehicle awaits you. You punch a special code that opens the doors and Voilà, your groceries are here.

Surreal? Think again.

Not only is this already happening in stores like Kroger in Arizona, according to this week’s news, it looks like the future of grocery shopping is driverless.
Curious? read more in our weekly recap:

Driverless delivery startup Nuro gets $940 million SoftBank investment

Autonomous technology startup Nuro announced it raised $940 million from the Softbank Vision Fund, making it one of the most highly funded startups in the driverless car sector.

The investment is a huge vote of confidence for one of the lesser known startups working on self-driving technology, which was formed in 2016 by a pair of ex-Google self-driving engineers.

Nuro has recently become one of the first startups worldwide to operate a fully driverless commercial service on public roads, with a pilot with grocery giant Kroger in Arizona.

While there is still a lot of uncertainty around self-driving cars, particularly around safety issues, companies developing autonomous technology are continuing to draw attention- and cash.

Just last week Aurora Innovation, another startup founded by ex-Google engineers, announced it had raised nearly half-billion dollars from a number of investors, including Amazon.

Image source:  nuro.ai

Foot Locker invests $100 million in secondary sneaker platform GOAT

Sneakerheads, this is for you: Footlocker announced $100 million strategic investment in GOAT Group, which operates a managed marketplace for authentic sneakers.

This isn’t the first investment by the sneaker retailer, that invested a combined $20 million in three companies: women’s luxury activewear brand Carbon38, children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic and footwear design academy Pensole. However, this is the company’s largest investment in its history.

Meanwhile, Foot Locker and GOAT Group will join forces across digital and physical retail platforms to create exclusive customer experiences, providing unmatched experience across the entire sneaker industry.

GOAT, which takes its name from an acronym for the sports phrase “Greatest of All-Time,” was founded in 2015. Last February, GOAT merged with Flight Club, which operates three retail stores for rare and hip sneakers in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

Over the last year, sneaker listings on the GOAT platform have tripled to 750,000, with sales ranging from decades-old shoes to pre-released pairs.

Image source: Footwear News

Samsung launches first-ever US retail stores

As Samsung celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Galaxy line, the Korean giant has announced that it will open its first retail stores in the US.

The company will open Samsung Experience stores in 3 location: Los Angeles, New York and Texas; they will offer a variety of Samsung products for sale, repair services, and a number of other in-store experiences such as its 4K gaming lounges and its “4D VR” theaters.

Samsung’s new stores will open on February 20, the same day the Galaxy S10 and the firm’s foldable smartphone will be launched. The company also plans to launch pop-up stores at other shopping malls across the US next month.

So far, the company has launched pop-up stores to accompany some of its product launches. It also operates Samsung counters in Best Buy’s across the US and a flagship store in NYC, that focuses on experience but doesn’t sell any products.

Samsung’s three new locations will combine all of these services into a single store.

Image source:  Android Police

Amazon Go secures space in the heart of London

After a successful pilot and expansion in the U.S., Amazon Go is taking on the U.K.

For the first time in its history, the retail giant will open a cashier-free store outside the US. It is not yet known how many stores it plans to open in London, but it will likely compete against U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer, as well as two of the U.K.’s most popular supermarkets, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Londoners are already familiar with the idea of checkout-free stores, as both Tesco and Sainsbury tested a cashierless store in London just a few months after Amazon Go opened in Seattle.

If the Amazon’s expansion plans go well, the company may meet or even surpass the expectations that it will be a $4.5 billion business by 2021, since Amazon’s cashier-free stores generate 50% more revenue than traditional convenience stores.

Image source:  The Verge

Summary

From opening international cashierless stores to “4D VR” in-store theaters, 2 major players, Amazon and Smasung, made some interesting moves in the retail sphere this week.

At an age where customers are seeking “instagramable”, memorable experiences, this comes as no surprise.  According to Samsung, the decision to open new experience stores came as a response to customer demand for hands-on experience with their products.

Meanwhile, as Amazon secured retail space in London for its upcoming Amazon Go store, new questions arise regarding the future of convenience stores and the retail giant’s global footprint. Amazon operates in countries like Japan and Germany, and qhat we are seeing in London could signal an international takeover of Amazon GO.

Inbal Perlman

Inbal is the community and hub manager of the Re:Tech hub, a co-workingspace for retail and e-commerce startups based in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Hub offers its members industry focused events, access to global partners and various opportunities in the global and local retail tech ecosystem.

If you are in retail and would like to learn what new technologies can help push your business forward, get in touch.