Fast Five | Walmart’s Curbside Overreach, Sephora’s Same-Day Subscription, & Kroger’s New E-Cart

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This is a podcast episode titled, Fast Five | Walmart’s Curbside Overreach, Sephora’s Same-Day Subscription, & Kroger’s New E-Cart. The summary for this episode is: <p>Chris and Anne discuss Walmart rolling out curbside returns to all stores for the holidays, Sephora’s new $49 same-day delivery subscription, Kroger’s new e-cart for self-service order pickup, Trigo’s new EasyStock platform, and IKEA taking its “Connect Near You” program to Tesco. Brought to you by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/industry/retail/microsoft-cloud-for-retail" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="https://alvarezandmarsal-crg.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">A&amp;M Consumer and Retail Group</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.takeoff.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Takeoff</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://sezzle.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Sezzle</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="https://silk.us/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Silk</a></p>

Anne Mezzenga: Hello, you're listening to the Omni Talk Fast Five, brought to you in partnership with Microsoft, the A& M Consumer and Retail Group, Takeoff, Sezzle, and Silk. The Omni Talk Fast Five Podcast is a podcast that we hope makes you feel a little smarter, but most importantly, a little happier each week too. Today is September 29th, 2022. I'm your host Anne Mezzenga.

Chris Walton: And I'm Chris Walton.

Anne Mezzenga: We are here once again to discuss all the top headlines making waves in the world of omnichannel retailing. Chris?

Chris Walton: Yeah, Anne?

Anne Mezzenga: How are you today, this beautiful fall day?

Chris Walton: Dude, I was just thinking that actually as we're getting on the podcast here. If you're watching on video, which as many people told us that grocery shop, they actually like watching us on video-

Anne Mezzenga: I know. It's so strange.

Chris Walton: Because it adds to our chemistry and our banter.

Anne Mezzenga: I was surprised.

Chris Walton: Yeah, I know. That was kind of funny. But we're looking really fall in our color scheme today.

Anne Mezzenga: I know.

Chris Walton: We're very muted. It's a very muted color palette we've got going on. You've got the orange traditional fall color.

Anne Mezzenga: Is that what you'd call this? Orange?

Chris Walton: Well it's like orange- ish, right?

Anne Mezzenga: I guess.

Chris Walton: It's like Autumn brown maybe.

Anne Mezzenga: It's like a pumpkin maybe.

Chris Walton: Yeah, maybe a pumpkin. Yeah. Is it spicy too?

Anne Mezzenga: It's a PSL sweater.

Chris Walton: It's a turtleneck too because it's freaking cold here already, Man.

Anne Mezzenga: I know it was a drastic change coming from Vegas back to Minneapolis.

Chris Walton: Yeah. Do we actually have fall or did we go right to winter?

Anne Mezzenga: Oh god, no.

Chris Walton: I think we went right to winter.

Anne Mezzenga: You've lived in Minnesota for 15 years and you still don't understand the simple fact that we do not have fall. It is like-

Chris Walton: I know we don't have a spring, but I thought we had a fall.

Anne Mezzenga: No.

Chris Walton: Yeah. No.

Anne Mezzenga: No, no.

Chris Walton: It's terrible. It's terrible. Anyway, I think we should just get to the headlines today. What do you think?

Anne Mezzenga: I would tend to agree. I think that's the best I idea.

Chris Walton: Because we hit bottom when we start talking about weather. Right?

Anne Mezzenga: I know. So true.

Chris Walton: That's always the nature of any bad conversation.

Anne Mezzenga: So true.

Chris Walton: You talk about the weather. All right, well today's Fast five headlines are brought to you with the help and support of Manifest. Where can you get unprecedented access to the people and technologies changing the way the world moves? Only at Manifest. But that's not all. You can also expect thought leadership, networking, and of course, a little fun.

Anne Mezzenga: A lot of fun.

Chris Walton: A lot of fun.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: Yes, that's right, Anne. A lot of fun. A s ton of fun, to be exact. Register now to join Anne and Me at the show. It's January 31st to February 2nd. A special discounted link will be available in our show notes and you can also learn more at Manifest. That's M- A- N- I- F- E. SST. That is the web address.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. And you want to be... We think it's bad now, Chris, by January 31st you're going to want to be hot and in Vegas.

Chris Walton: Yeah, you are. Yeah. Especially if you live in Minneapolis. All right. In today's Fast Five, we've got news on Sephora launching a same day,$ 49 subscription membership, Kroger testing an E- card for self- service pickup, Trigo launching inventory management technology, IKEA announcing connect near you pick points in collaboration with Tesco. But first we take off with even more big news on the pickup front this week, this time from Walmart. Anne?

Anne Mezzenga: Yes, if there was a theme for this week show, I think it would be curbside pick-up.

Chris Walton: I know, right? I was saying the same thing. Yeah.

Anne Mezzenga: I mean, there are just so many headlines this week that have to deal with making the pickup experience better. So let's get to it. Headline number one, according to our friends at Retail Touchpoints, Walmart will launch three new returns options as part of its" No Concerns" campaign to accommodate early holiday shopping.

Chris Walton: I didn't even catch that. That's what they're calling it," No Concerns" campaign?

Anne Mezzenga: I guess so.

Chris Walton: Wow.

Anne Mezzenga: Beginning in October, actually October 1st, this weekend 2022, Walmart will introduce first an extended holiday guarantee returns period, allowing customers to return eligible purchases made on or after October 1st, 2022 through January 31st, 2023.

Chris Walton: Cool.

Anne Mezzenga: The second, curbside returns, which allows all customers to remain in their vehicles when returning items. And three, return pickup at home, for Walmart + members who will be able to schedule the pickup of eligible returns items in their app and then hand off returns without a box or label to delivery drivers for the retailer to process. It should also be noted that Walmart curbside returns and return pickup from home will launch in select stores during the first week of October and then will continue to expand to additional stores throughout the season. Chris?

Chris Walton: Yes?

Anne Mezzenga: Are you going to sign up for Walmart + and just leave stuff on your doorstep?

Chris Walton: Oh wow. That's a good question. Well, I think first of all, of all those things you said the return window totally makes sense. I love the Walmart + addition.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, I do too.

Chris Walton: I mean, I think it's a real benefit of signing up for the program that I'm guessing you probably really love, as you just mentioned.

Anne Mezzenga: Yep.

Chris Walton: But I imagine that there's a lot that you love about it and it works within the flywheel. I love it. And John Furner talked about the Walmart flywheel for the first time on stage at Grocery Shop.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, we talked about that last week. Yeah.

Chris Walton: Talked about that last week. So I think this totally makes sense. The other part of that headline you just read though, the part about curbside returns in all stores.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: I'm a little hesitant to go all in on that one.

Anne Mezzenga: Sure.

Chris Walton: So in principle, I love the idea, and we've long talked about wanting a retail to do this, but I've said this before, it's a really, really complicated thing to do right.

Anne Mezzenga: Absolutely.

Chris Walton: And at a good cost. And honestly, I think it feels a little aggressive at this point. And I say that, because this isn't something that I would be debuting across all stores during the holidays. If you're going to do it, you should have it running in all stores from January to October.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: Which is probably why, if you listen to how you read that headline, it's probably why Walmart's hedging a little bit and saying it's going to roll out in some stores in October and then roll out to more stores throughout the year. That's their hedge to say, if all hell breaks loose with this, we're going to pull back. Because I have so many questions, Anne. How will you know how many returns are coming to your stores? Where will people park? What all are people going to bring back? Are they going to bring back mattresses from the marketplace?

Anne Mezzenga: Right.

Chris Walton: And you're going to have people going through the crazy busyness of a Walmart parking lot? It just seems like that's a lot of hell and customer frustration that Walmart's in for here without really knowing this. So I applaud the idea, but I feel like it's an overreach at the end of the day. And people are doing that in general on curbside pickup, which I thought was an important point you noted too about the theme of the show. Yes, it's here. Yes, it's important coming out of the pandemic, but let's not rush into it and then have all this bad stuff happen and we start pulling back from innovation too, which tends to happen.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. I mean, it's not clear. I wasn't able to see exactly how this happens. My guess is no, since the Walmart + returns are happening and being scheduled through the app, that at some point in time, similarly to how you're doing this on the Target app, the Walmart app where you say you have a list of the items you purchased, I want to return this. It's all happening in the app, but it's hopefully triggering the same way, which I think is doable. Now, the question again, which you've said multiple times is what happens when that return item is a mattress or something giant, and are you prepared to take these from the car even though it's a huge benefit to the customer? I love this. I do still think there's a lot to pull off like you're saying. I think that's a great point, especially because Target announced that they were going to be doing this months ago.

Chris Walton: Right.

Anne Mezzenga: We still don't know about all the pilots that are happening there.

Chris Walton: Great point.

Anne Mezzenga: But if Walmart can pull this off, this is a huge, huge value add for customers. It's worthy of, definitely worthy, in my opinion, of a Walmart + subscription. But we'll have to see how it's executed come this holiday.

Chris Walton: The part of the pickup's worthy of an Walmart + subscription.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Chris Walton: Right? Because generally, that from reading this, they're saying that the Walmart curbside return is available at every store.

Anne Mezzenga: Exactly.

Chris Walton: Which, yeah, I don't know. My last point on this would be, if you think about returns and how they work during the holidays, we've all seen the lines at the stores. There are like 30, 40 people deep.

Anne Mezzenga: Yep.

Chris Walton: So where are you going to do that in the parking lot, and how are we going to coordinate that with people on your staff going to each of those cars and bringing those products back? That's a much, much more time consumed... And you have a staffing shortage too. Much more time consuming process across all of your stores and it's going to lead... I just think it's too aggressive.

Anne Mezzenga: The staffing thing brings up a good point too. I mean, you have to have staff to execute this correctly too. And now, in addition to all of the chaos of holiday training, be prepared for Black Friday, be prepared for out of stocks, be prepared for all the other things, now we're going to add in this new part of the equation, which I imagine a significant portion of your sales force or workforce is going to be dedicated to this in order for it to be operationalized correctly. But I do think it could be done.

Chris Walton: The other part about this too, it's not the greatest experience for the employee too, Anne. I'm thinking about this too. When I do a pickup order, the person's generally glad to be there. I'm bringing them an order. When I go out to somebody's car for return, I don't have the safety of the in- store experience and everyone around that environment, that's when people are typically angry. And so having that happen in a parking lot is something that I don't think we as an industry totally understand yet either.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes, I agree. I do think, though, if they can do this in the app, the way that we're doing this with Amazon right now, and it's as simple as," Here's my package, here's the return code." You're doing this at UPS for Amazon or Whole Foods for Amazon. This can be done if it's executed correctly. So we'll have to give it a shot.

Chris Walton: But there's a lot of ifs in that. And then you got to shape the demand and you don't know when the demand's coming relative to pickup. So there's just so many questions I have about this, but let's keep moving on.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay.

Chris Walton: But all great points I think, I love that discussion. I thought it was great.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: All right, Sephora headline number two, Anne. Sephora has rolled out an unlimited same day delivery membership. According to Retail Dive, the membership dubbed" Sephora Same- Day Unlimited," through it shoppers can pay$ 49 per year for delivery on all purchases in as little as two hours. Customers can also try the program for free for 40 days.

Anne Mezzenga: 30 days, 30 days.

Chris Walton: 30 days. Did I say 40 days?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. Not 40 days. This isn't lent here.

Chris Walton: It's not Josh Harden movie. 40 days, 40 nights. And same- day delivery is also available on a one off basis starting at$ 6. 95, which is important to point out. Anne, my question for you is this, this was your quote on quote," We are definitely doing this headline this week" headline.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: Why was that?

Anne Mezzenga: So I'm a Sephora customer, as you know.

Chris Walton: From every trip I've ever taken with you.

Anne Mezzenga: Exactly.

Chris Walton: Actually, audience needs to know this. Every trip I've ever taken with you.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: We always go to a Sephora store.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: No matter Germany, France-

Anne Mezzenga: Exactly.

Chris Walton: Doesn't matter. We're always at a Sephora store.

Anne Mezzenga: There's always something that you need. And so I definitely see the value in, yes, I need sunscreen. I could not bring my sunscreen, it got taken away in TSA. I need another thing of sunscreen. I would love to have this service to be able to deliver that to my hotel room or wherever I am at home. I know people are going to be like,"Is there really a beauty emergency?"

Chris Walton: Yes, there is.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. Sometimes there are beauty emergencies.

Chris Walton: For sure, there is.

Anne Mezzenga: And you can attest to this. Chris knows.

Chris Walton: I've been side by side your beauty emergencies.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. Okay. So I do think that, yes, you could try a subscription. Why not? This makes sense. My only question is, as a Sephora customer, when I also have same- day delivery options from Shipt, from Instacart, all these other things that are part of the options that Sephora's offering me, am I going to pay half of that membership to Shipt,$ 49 a year just to get two hour delivery from Sephora? Or does it make sense to have a larger membership to a Shipt or an Instacart where I can get delivery cover for a$ 100 a year from all of these providers? I think that's a key thing to identify here. Then I'm also curious about, Chris, what happens if brands start doing this direct? What happens to the Instacarts and the Shipts?

Chris Walton: Yeah, I think that's a great point.

Anne Mezzenga: If Sephora pulls out of, okay, well now we're doing our own subscription, we're going to hire our own drivers, we're going to do our own sourcing now. What happens then? Because that now you're losing the allure of the ecosystem of brands that I can get delivery from through Shipt or Instacart.

Chris Walton: Yep. Great point.

Anne Mezzenga: So I'm curious what happens here. I do think, third in line, that there's a kind of a Kohl's component to this in some regard or another, how that kind of plays into the whole, do I need same- day delivery when now Sephora's in 1100 Kohls around the same place? So I have a lot of questions about this. I understand why Sephora is doing this, but I think that it's going to lead to a lot of things changing in the same- day delivery space down the line. But what are your thoughts?

Chris Walton: Yeah, I think those are all really good points. I think the piece I would add on top of is I think I agree, I think it's a smart move. I think for a number of reasons. We've talked about this a lot. We've talked about subscription programs a lot on the show. Generally, I like them because it costs virtually nothing to try them.

Anne Mezzenga: Right.

Chris Walton: And if you hook people, then kudos to you and they're paying for you to do something that you probably already were doing for them to some degree already, like$ 6. 95 per delivery.

Anne Mezzenga: Right.

Chris Walton: Now you're getting them hooked and they probably figure out the math on how to make that work. So that's one angle I love, Anne. The second is, I think your point about Instacart's really interesting because the value of Instacart is there if you're a frequent Sephora shopper. And so there's the value in this subscription too. Because say relative to those who are only using Instacart solely for Sephora, for those people, they're going to get a value on this. If$ 49, they're going to be like," I don't need my Instacart membership anymore, it's more expensive." But for Sephora then, there's still those people that are using Instacart to access other retailers who are going to see the premium in that. But then they're also going to see the availability of Sephora on the app and they're going to say," Oh, you know what? I'll still take Sephora this way from Instacart."

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: So it expands your audience as well. But net net, I think that to your point, leads to less Instacart engagement from people over time. And I think you'll see more people go in this direction, for the brands, like you. You're a great example, where you have a lot of loyalty to them and you'd rather just interact with them through their portal because it's easier. And so net net, I don't see any downside for Sephora and I potentially see a lot of downside to Instacart in the long run as more retailers follow suit on this.

Anne Mezzenga: What do you think, Chris, I mean we know Sephora has worked with partners like Delivery Solutions to coordinate these? Because I don't think any brand can just up and start offering delivery. We've seen this in the grocery space. It's very hard to do to coordinate the drivers to fulfill this kind of promise. But I mean, can other brands do this do you think, that are in that ecosystem?

Chris Walton: Yeah.

Anne Mezzenga: They would have to coordinate with somebody, like the local Walmart people-

Chris Walton: For sure.

Anne Mezzenga: Or the delivery solutions or Front Door Collective or something to take on those deliveries and manage that? Or I mean, what more goes into this, I guess?

Chris Walton: Well, I think it's as easy as you're describing it is. That's why we've talked about Delivery Solutions a lot on the show. That's why we were excited to advise for them too, is it just makes the last mile delivery game a white label service. And that's so hard about this for Instacart and Shipt in the long run. Yeah. And my hunch is that one of those two providers, maybe DoorDash too, is providing the delivery for Sephora for this membership program.

Anne Mezzenga: Right.

Chris Walton: And they both said that on stage at Shop Doc, they're both," We do white label delivery, we want everyone to know that." But that's a very competitive kind of race to the bottom. So anyone can do this.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: I mean, Walmart's got a subscription program. Sephora has it. There's countless others that I can't even think about right now. 7/ 11 has one, right?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. Right.

Chris Walton: So anyone can do this. You just have to have the network in place and the foundation technologically to be able to do it and do it for you at a cost that works. And a subscription helps you to fray that cost. So again, there's no reason not to try this. And if it works, it takes you off the Instacart kind of heroine too in a lot of ways. It takes that needle, a lot of your arm. It says," We don't need you anymore."

Anne Mezzenga: Right. Yeah. I think this is going to be... I mean, Sephora is a major player. People are going to be watching how this works out for them and I'm excited to see what the trickle down looks like of this.

Chris Walton: Yeah, it's a great call that you wanted the headline because it is kind of the first shot across the bow here to this discussion that we're having of I can do this myself.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes. Yes. Well, let's go onto headline number three. Chris, Kroger is piloting a temperature controlled cart that houses curbside pickup grocery orders for self- service customer retrieval. According to supermarket news, General Motor subsidiary BrightDrop said this week that Kroger will be the first customer to introduce the Trace Grocery E- cart into its e- commerce operations. The electric powered cart enables store associates to put orders directly into the unit and station at curbside for customers to pick up their groceries. After providing digital verification, customers can then open a designated drawer, take out their items and be on their way. Bright Drop said that the upcoming rollout follows a pilot program with Kroger at stores in Kentucky in which the retailer saw a" noticeable improvement" in the customer and associate experience, as BrightDrop also reported that the cart decreased time to serve by up to 34%.

Chris Walton: Wow.

Anne Mezzenga: Chris, this also happens to be the A&M CRG put you on the spot questions this week. So in addition to your thoughts on Kroger's pilot with BrightDrop and the E- cart, I would like to know...

Chris Walton: Okay, bring it, A& M CRG.

Anne Mezzenga: Along with A&M CRG-

Chris Walton: Bring it Anne and A&M CRG. Bring it.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. If the operational specifics of the Trace Grocery E- cart work, this could be a highly effective way of reducing the marginal cost of curbside pickup. What's the next area of grocery that you'd like to see or think we'll see automated? Replenishment, picking, or something else, Chris?

Chris Walton: Ooh, wow. Curve ball question.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: Wow, you guys are so smart. Damn, that's a mic drop question actually. Ah, God. Let me think about that for a second, Anne. All right, first of all, getting back to the story, I love this idea so much.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay.

Chris Walton: I just love it. This was my top pick. I think it was one of your top picks too for the week, but it's definitely my top pick. Because it takes the idea of a pickup locker and it makes it mobile so it can be placed anywhere it might need to be placed in a parking lot. I think that just so intuitively makes sense. And most importantly, it removes the labor requirement of a Kroger employee having to take an order out to a customer as soon as that customer pulls into the parking lot.

Anne Mezzenga: Yep.

Chris Walton: And for that reason, I believe the statistics BrightDrop is sharing at least directionally, because it also means probably less time for the shopper to then complete the pickup process because he can just walk up to the e- cart, scan their mobile phone and take the groceries out. So net- net, nothing not to love to me, in this situation with this idea. Now, to the question, where will automation come next? Picking for sure.

Anne Mezzenga: Yep.

Chris Walton: A hundred percent. Because you mentioned picking and replenishment. Picking for sure. We've covered micro warehousing exhaustively on the show. Everyone knows our feelings on that. In store replenishment? No way in hell. I don't see that coming in any way, shape, or form in the next years, not even the next decades because there's so many complexities of that. And you can get all geeked up about the arm picking robots with the suction cups, but I'm telling you that's not going to happen. We're nowhere near that. There are three places I do think it's going to come.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay.

Chris Walton: And we've talked a lot about these, we've talked about them at Grocery Shop too on stage, but we haven't talked about them with this audience. And I think you'll see them either through robotics implementations or computer vision, and those are as follows. Shelf counting, you don't need people to do that job anymore. You can use technology to do that. It's a mundane job. Price maintenance as well.

Anne Mezzenga: Without a doubt. Yeah.

Chris Walton: Without a doubt. Especially if you incorporate, I should also add electronic shelf labels into that mix

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: And then lastly, the other part I'd say is checkout. You're still going to see more efficiencies in checkout, meaning less people needing to do that job over time. That is still going to come.

Anne Mezzenga: Without a doubt.

Chris Walton: Those are the three areas I would point to that grocery should immediately focus on.

Anne Mezzenga: You know what I was going to say?

Chris Walton: What?

Anne Mezzenga: Just because your panel at Grocery Shop was hilarious with Dave Steck of Schnuck. The deli. I want to see the deli automated.

Chris Walton: Oh yeah.

Anne Mezzenga: Because Dave Steck was talking about how they have the deli slicing, the meat slicer and how they're have to have a red handle and a green handle because it's so dangerous. And I was like," Where else would I like to see automation?" Or who doesn't want their meat chub being cut with AI precision for the perfect thin slice. Why does that need to still be done by people and put them in danger?

Chris Walton: Right? Yeah. If there's a way to do that, I agree with you. Why should-

Anne Mezzenga: You're definitely not going to see the return that you will on inaudible-

Chris Walton: I don't know how the robot would actually do that, but yeah, maybe Anne, I think it's a great idea.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. But I just have to say, I have some reservation on this. I do like the idea that you can put this cart in-

Chris Walton: Oh, on the cart itself?

Anne Mezzenga: On the cart itself. Yeah.

Chris Walton: Okay. Yeah.

Anne Mezzenga: I'm going to go back to the cart.

Chris Walton: Let's go back to that. Yeah.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. I do have some reservation about it because I wonder how... I want to see this actually in operation. There is nothing showing what this looks like when you have three people going up to it at a time, it's winter time, and the parking lot is being plowed. Those kinds of things I have questions around. But what I do like about it is the point you made earlier that we look at your buy online- pickup in store. We have these giant archways and all these things infrastructurally that are being built onto buildings to designate this buy online- pickup in store area. But this cart could be a really simple way for even a mom and pop grocer to make curbside pickup happen with a flag and this robot. And if you needed to have extended places, especially during premium rush times like the holidays, where you can now turn a part of your parking lot into a bopus area without any effort at all. I love that part of this and the flexibility. I wonder what it's going to be like, how well it's going to work. I'm having some reservations.

Chris Walton: You wonder how it'll work in practice practice. Yeah.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: But yeah, I think you're bringing up good points in terms of why it's valuable, like anyone could do it.

Anne Mezzenga: I don't getting like getting out of my car.

Chris Walton: You don't like getting out of your car.

Anne Mezzenga: I don't like getting out of my car, especially with my kids in there. And so the idea of waiting to me is kind of like," Eh..." I really like feeling like I'm a baller like," Here's my code, just put it in my trunk."

Chris Walton: That's an interesting angle, the customer friction side of not getting out of your car. That's an interesting point.

Anne Mezzenga: I want to see what customers say about this. That's all.

Chris Walton: Yeah. Wow. Right, that's a great thing to think about. Wow. I got to think about that more, Anne. All right, well let's keep rolling here. So headline number four... God, I'm loving this show. I feel like we're dropping a lot of knowledge today.

Anne Mezzenga: So much knowledge.

Chris Walton: Dropping knowledge, dropping-

Anne Mezzenga: We're ballers.

Chris Walton: Dropping like it's hot ballers.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: Six foot collar, what is it? Six foot shot collar.

Anne Mezzenga: You should not try rapping.

Chris Walton: I don't remember who sings that song. All right, headline number four is that check out free retail provider Trigo has launched a new inventory management technology off their very same platform. According to the grocer, the checkout free firm Trigo is crunching data drawn from its in- store cameras to track inventory in real time and alert retailers to empty shelves. Israeli based computer vision company has revealed it is developing a system called Easy Stock.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: Which according to Trigo, reduces" laborious and often manual inventory management processes, shrinkage, stock taking, and replenishment." Trigo is currently testing the solution with existing retail partners, where it has many of these experiences already working as checkout free experiences, like REWE and Netto in Germany, Aldi Nord in the Netherlands, and soon to open Wakefern food in the United States. Anne, what do you think on this one?

Anne Mezzenga: I really like this. I think that for me-

Chris Walton: Me too.

Anne Mezzenga: One of the biggest concerns I think we hear from people about implementing checkout free retail solutions is cost. Right away, they're like," This is something that we're going to have to invest heavily in. We know it's coming, but when is the right time to make this move?" And I think Trigo smartly here is saying," Look, here's a way that you can crawl, walk, run into checkout free."

Chris Walton: Yeah. Great analogy.

Anne Mezzenga: First of all, let's get this in there. Let's start getting some incremental revenue because we're helping you track. Let's put the cameras in, let's start tracking just where your products are. Let's help with inventory visibility. Let's make the store more operationally efficient. Then when you're ready, you can also click and turn on check out free retail, whenever and however you feel like your customers will best benefit from this. So I love this. I think it's a really smart play by Trigo and I'm excited to see, especially once Wakefern opens here in the States, how that's starting to affect the overall store operations and people's interest in jumping in to this technology.

Chris Walton: Right, particularly in the US market. Yeah. I mean, I would say there's another element too, I think that prevents people from jumping feet first into this versus dipping their toe in the water is the customer acclimation aspect of it, which we've talked about on recent shows as well.

Anne Mezzenga: Right.

Chris Walton: You're asking your customers to shop your store differently and that's sometimes a bridge too far for people. But for that reason, I'm the same as you. I love this idea. It's a great way for retailers to dip their toe into a checkout free retail future. But most importantly, I think the operational value of this concept of Easy Stock is going to be way more than people are even extrapolating at this point.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: You get better pricing accuracy, better inventory accuracy, more confidence in your eCommerce orders that you're serving up, both for delivery and pick up. And also, here's another thing, you get a better understanding of your customer browse paths to then serve up and correlate that data against your retail media networks that are also coming to the inaudible.

Anne Mezzenga: Right. Yeah, that's a great point.

Chris Walton: So there's tons of value streams that come off this. So I've said it before, I'll say it again. The just walkout technology is really probably the least important part of a computer vision based retail experience. And for me, the best part, Anne, going back to it is you can do this in a way that's imperceptible to your customers. Trigo could come in, install today, whereas checkout free retail requires customer acclimation. So if I was a retailer, given Trigo's background with Tesco, Rewe already, multiple stores with them at this point, I'd be calling them and be like," Okay, I want to pilot this. I want to understand what the system can do, get it in my store, at least one implementation, and let's see what happens." The value of that experiment is probably more valuable than any experiment you could run in your organization, in my opinion.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. Even part of the store. I mean even just the-

Chris Walton: Right. Totally.

Anne Mezzenga: I think the grab and go food section. I don't know. What would happen if you just test out that part and see, like you said, what customer patterns are? Seeing a slight investment first, there's ways to do this I guess without just like you said, jumping in all the way and making the full investment. All right.

Chris Walton: Let's all dive into the shallow into the pool. Let's actually dive into deep into the pool. Let's inaudible.

Anne Mezzenga: Why would we dive in the shallow end?

Chris Walton: No, I don't know why. That's why I was like," That's stupid. Let's dive into the deep end of the pool."

Anne Mezzenga: Oh, speaking of pools, we're going to talk about ponds.

Chris Walton: Okay. All right.

Anne Mezzenga: We're going cross the pond for headline number five to close out this week. IKEA, Chris, announced that it will be collaborating, with Tesco who we mentioned in the last story, again to expand on its existing collect near you offering, which provides customers with more convenient, accessible, and affordable collection services across the UK. This is a first for the UK. The collect near you service that will launch in Blackburn on the 10th of October and is designed to offer customers the option of collecting an IKEA order from a designated area within their local Tesco car park.

Chris Walton: Which is parking lot for those here in the United States. Right, Anne?

Anne Mezzenga: Let just keep it car park. It sounds much better.

Chris Walton: Okay.

Anne Mezzenga: When placing an order online, customers simply go through the usual checkout option and select the collect near you service for their local Tesco. Then follow IKEA click and collect signage with designated Tesco car parks on their chosen date and time for pickup and meet with a delivery driver and a vehicle who will hand their order over to them. The concept is currently live in Denmark and Portugal, and IKEA and Tesco will run the pilot for initial period of six months in the UK with orders over$ 200 free-

Chris Walton: £ 200, Anne.

Anne Mezzenga: Sorry, £ 200, which will be free to collect, and £ 10... My goodness.

Chris Walton: It's hard.

Anne Mezzenga: Car parks, pounds. How are we-

Chris Walton: So used to saying it. It's tough.

Anne Mezzenga: So £ 10 pounds for all other orders, £ 200 pounds and above free. £ 200 pounds and above, free. £ 10 pounds for all other orders.

Chris Walton: Yes, you got it. Tell here what she's won, Bob.

Anne Mezzenga: And six additional UK Tesco collection points are set to come online soon after this first Blackburn launch. Chris, get me out of here.

Chris Walton: Oh man. Well, I'll help you out. So I think it's a great idea.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: I mean, IKEA's are typically very difficult to get to. It's expensive to have product shipped to your house. So why not give your customers a way to meet you in the middle, say at the parking lot of your local grocery store for example. It's an idea that I think is equally applicable to groceries over here in the States, across many product categories outside of home furnishings. Which sadly, to me means if we're seeing it overseas in the UK, it'll be another 10 or 15 years before the idea hits United States. Sad but true. I hate to say it, but yeah, that's my take on it. It's probably really smart. It'll take 10 to 20 years before we see it in the United States. What do you think?

Anne Mezzenga: Oh, I hope not. But yeah, you're probably right. IKEA has a really great BOPAS experience, if you've done it already. So I think that this is just the most brilliant next step. The friction of getting to an IKEA, which I think is the biggest hurdle for most people, is now removed. And I think Chris, if this does come to the States, I think this could be a very big threat to the Target and Walmarts of the world.

Chris Walton: For home furnishings.

Anne Mezzenga: For home furnishings.

Chris Walton: Yeah, I agree.

Anne Mezzenga: Because if IKEA were more convenient for people, I think that we'd see a lot more shopping for things like textiles and towels and other home furnishings, frames, all these things that Target and Walmart have really built a business on. I think that totally changes if I can now pick this up in the parking lot or meet a delivery driver in the parking lot of my local grocery store that I'm coming to every day. I think this really changes the idea of the one stop shop and what that means. And it doesn't have to be all in one building.

Chris Walton: I agree with you a hundred percent on that point. Having run home furnishes for target. com and actually parts of omnichannel target merchandising as well, that was always my thing. Our linchpin to our strategy, in my opinion, was to be the most accessible home furnishing retailer out there because of the number of stores that you had.

Anne Mezzenga: Right.

Chris Walton: And yeah, if IKEA could do this with a grocer. IKEA's aren't everywhere and this gives people access and says," Hey, why don't I try this and see what I can get from them." And yeah, that would make a dent and it'd be a very effective strategy for IKEA to try to deploy it, if they can work out the kinks. I love that point, Anne. It's great.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. And if you think about two of them, I guess IKEA going into these smaller format stores, if they can have the drivers being able to pick up not from the giant IKEA, but they could also use these smaller format IKEA's as like satellite pickup locations and delivery locations, which we know they're already doing for customers. I don't know, I think this could be big.

Chris Walton: Yeah, the US market is interesting because of the population density relative to overseas. So yeah, there's lots of ways you could skin that cat, to your point. But yeah, anyway, fun to think about though. This is a great show. There's a lot of exciting topics on curbside pickup, which is the topic to toujour these days.

Anne Mezzenga: Absolutely.

Chris Walton: All right.

Anne Mezzenga: All right. Let's go to the lightning round, Chris.

Chris Walton: Okay.

Anne Mezzenga: According to the Wall Street Journal, Trader Joe's is dealing with a rash of hoarders for seasonal products like pumpkin ice cream or Carolina Gold potato chips.

Chris Walton: Why?

Anne Mezzenga: Chris, if I caught you filling your cart with all of one Trader Joe's product, what would it be?

Chris Walton: Oh God. Oh man. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but Trader Joe's not my favorite retail experience.

Anne Mezzenga: What?

Chris Walton: Yeah, I don't like it at all.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, retail experience fine, but-

Chris Walton: I just don't like it.

Anne Mezzenga: You don't have a favorite Trader Joe's product?

Chris Walton: No, I don't. I don't at all.

Anne Mezzenga: What?

Chris Walton: No, I don't. The whole private label thing just drives me nuts and it's... Anyway. But I mean, for me, it'd be the mini pancakes. My kids love their mini pancakes. My wife made me go there yesterday, actually. Hopefully, she's listening. But yeah, it's not my favorite place to go.

Anne Mezzenga: Oh my God. What about the-

Chris Walton: I'll probably get a lot of nasty fan mail for it, but then there's no reason for it. I just don't enjoy it that much.

Anne Mezzenga: Oh my God, the Bamba. They have Bamba. Ever since we went to Israel and we had inaudible Bamba-

Chris Walton: Oh they have Bamba?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. And sometimes they don't have it and it's maddening. It's so-

Chris Walton: Really?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: I'll have to check that out.

Anne Mezzenga: They also chocolate covered Bamba.

Chris Walton: Oh really?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: Oh wow.

Anne Mezzenga: It's life changing. For sure.

Chris Walton: All right. I'll give it another shot. I'll give it another shot. All right, Anne. Hugh Jackman is reportedly repricing his role as Wolverine in the upcoming Deadpool 3. Who do you like better in spandex, Hugh Jackman or Ryan Reynolds?

Anne Mezzenga: Oh, probably Ryan Reynolds.

Chris Walton: Really?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah. There is a movie he was in-

Chris Walton: Is it an age thing or is it just like a Ryan Reynolds thing?

Anne Mezzenga: No, I just have always had a thing. I don't want to actually hang out with him or listen to him talk, but as a person in Spandex, it would be Ryan Reynolds for me.

Chris Walton: Yeah? All right.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. Chris, EDM music star Marshmello has teamed up with Crux on limited edition of Air Fryers sold exclusively at Best Buy. I know better than to ask you if you know any Marshmello songs.

Chris Walton: Yeah, you're right.

Anne Mezzenga: So I want to know, what is your go to air fryer dish? I know you guys are a big fans of the air fryer.

Chris Walton: We are. We got an air fryer a long time ago actually. So staples, buffalo wings and french fries.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay.

Chris Walton: But the one that actually is sneaky, Anne, bacon. Your bacon tastes better in an air fryer than in any other way of cooking it.

Anne Mezzenga: I feel like that's a 1950's bacon commercial," Bacon tastes better in an air fryer. Crux." And now Marshmello's just going to be like inaudible.

Chris Walton: inaudible.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, change that.

Chris Walton: No, that's Fozzie Bear. All right. James Earl Jones is officially retired from providing the voice of Darth Vader, but he is approved the high tech recreation of his voice for future Star Wars projects through AI. Anne, where does" I am your father" rank in terms of all time movie quotes? Top 10, top 50, not even on the scoreboard? Indulge us, please.

Anne Mezzenga: It's got to be top 10, right?

Chris Walton: Is it top 10? I think it might be number one.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, maybe.

Chris Walton: The most recognizable movie quote in history?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, probably. I don't know. That's totally your category. But I would say-

Chris Walton: There's some Casablanca you could throw in there, maybe.

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah, I would say for sure top 10.

Chris Walton: Good to see. Good to see you coming around on that.

Anne Mezzenga: I'm not coming around on Star Wars at all, but Top 10, I can acknowledge that that's a-

Chris Walton: You acknowledge it's pop culture impact on society.

Anne Mezzenga: Yes.

Chris Walton: All right, good to know. I'll take that. All right. That wraps us up today. Happy birthday to Erika Eleniak, Ian McShane, and the woman who in the span of two years played Lacey Underall in Caddyshack and Yori in Tron, the great Cindy Morgan.

Anne Mezzenga: I know not one of these names. I could not tell you who any-

Chris Walton: You know who Erika Eleniak is too.

Anne Mezzenga: No.

Chris Walton: Anne, okay, I know you know who Ian McShane is because did you ever watch Jesus of Nazareth in Totino Grace?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: Remember that old movie?

Anne Mezzenga: Yeah.

Chris Walton: He played Judas is Scar.

Anne Mezzenga: Oh God, I got to look that one up.

Chris Walton: Yeah. But I know you've seen him because you've seen that movie probably like hundred times.

Anne Mezzenga: Okay. Okay.

Chris Walton: All right. And remember, if you can only read or listen to what retail blog in the business, make it Omni Talk. Our Fast five podcast is the quickest, fastest rundown of all the week's top news and our twice weekly newsletter tells you the top five things you need to know each day and also features special content exclusive to us. And it's all just for you. And we try really hard to make it all fit within the preview pane of your inbox. Almost obsessively so at times, Anne. Sign up today at www. omnitalk. blog. Thanks as always for listening in. Please remember to like and leave us a review wherever you happen to listen to your podcast or on YouTube. And from all of us here at Omni Talk retail, as always, be careful out there.

Anne Mezzenga: Omni Talk Fast Five is a Microsoft sponsored podcast. Microsoft Cloud for Retail connects your customers, your people, and your data across the shopper journey, delivering personalized experiences and operational excellence. And is also brought to you, in association with the A& M Consumer and Retail Group. The A& M Consumer and Retail Group is a management consulting firm that tackles the most complex challenges and advances its clients, people, and communities for their maximum potential. CRG brings the experience, tools, and operator like pragmatism to help retailers and consumer products companies be on the right side of disruption. And Takeoff, Takeoff is transforming grocery by empowering groceries to thrive online. The key is micro fulfillment. Small robotic fulfillment centers that can be leveraged at a hyper global scale. Takeoff also offers a robust software suite so grocers can seamlessly integrate the robotic solution into their existing businesses. To learn more, visit takeoff. com. And Sezzle, Sezzle is an innovative buy now pay later solution that allows shoppers to split purchases into four interest free payments over six weeks. To learn more of visit sezzle. com. And finally Silk, the Silk Cloud DB virtualization platform is a virtualization layer between your workloads and the cloud. It helps you scale your cloud without scaling your costs. Visit silk. us to learn more.

DESCRIPTION

In today’s Omni Talk Retail Fast Five Podcast, sponsored by Microsoft, the A&M Consumer and Retail GroupTakeoffSezzle, and Silk, Chris and Anne go deep on:

  • Walmart’s (quite aggressive) plans to roll out curbside returns to all stores for the holidays
  • Sephora’s new $49 same-day delivery subscription and the bad news it bodes for Instacart
  • Kroger’s latest e-cart pilot with BrightDrop that leverages a moveable cart for self-service order pickup
  • Trigo’s new EasyStock platform which is a smart way for retailers to dip their toes into the coming computer vision world
  • And closed with a look at IKEA’s new partnership with Tesco that allows customers to pick up their IKEA goods within Tesco’s parking lots

There’s all that, plus Trader Joe’s hoarding, the best food to fry in an air fryer, and where “No, I am your father” ranks in a list of all-time great movie quotes.

Music by hooksounds.com