Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 07): Walmart Launches Virtual Hair Color Try-On, AliExpress Accelerates Mexico Delivery

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 07): Walmart Launches Virtual Hair Color Try-On, AliExpress Accelerates Mexico Delivery

Stylist choosing color from hair samples

US News

Walmart Introduces AR Hair Color Try-On

Walmart recently unveiled a virtual hair color try-on feature in its iOS app, utilizing augmented reality (AR) technology to allow customers to experiment with various hair dye products virtually. This innovation, currently available for brands like Revlon, Lime Crime, and Schwarzkopf, aims to provide a more personalized shopping experience, reduce returns, and encourage purchases. Walmart’s commitment to AR try-on technology is part of its ongoing innovation strategy, following the launch of AR glasses try-on and virtual makeup try-on in collaboration with Perfect Corp.

Newegg Partners with Likewize for Consumer Protection

Newegg has teamed up with Likewize to offer a comprehensive protection plan for consumers purchasing eligible products on its website and app. This plan covers a wide range of tech products, offering extended warranties beyond standard manufacturer guarantees, including defect, malfunction, and power surge protection. Notably, all Advanced Battlestations (ABS) PCs come with a one-year warranty from Likewize, highlighting Newegg’s effort to provide peace of mind to its customers.

Target Reports Growth in Q4 and Annual Earnings

Target announced its Q4 and full-year earnings for 2023, showing a 1.7% increase in Q4 revenue to $31.9 billion and a significant 60.9% rise in operating income. The retailer’s net profit grew from $870 million to $1.38 billion, with earnings per share rising from $1.89 to $2.98. Despite a 4.4% drop in comparable sales, Target’s annual revenue reached $105.8 billion, with a 48.3% increase in operating income. These results reflect Target’s successful strategies amidst inflation, with plans to attract budget-conscious shoppers through its low-priced brand “Dealworthy.”

Global News

Amazon Loses Trademark Appeal on Cross-Border Sales

Amazon has faced a setback in a recent legal battle concerning trademark issues related to cross-border sales within the European Union. The court’s decision underscores the complexities of trademark law in the context of e-commerce and highlights the challenges global online retailers face in navigating different legal frameworks across borders. This ruling may prompt Amazon and similar companies to reassess their sales strategies and compliance measures in the EU, potentially impacting how products are listed and sold on their platforms in different member states.

France Updates EPR Policy for Amazon Europe Sellers

Amazon Europe announced updates to France’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy, effective in 2024. The policy now includes combined categories for packaging, requiring sellers with valid packaging UINs to take no further action, while those with paper product UINs must reapply. Additionally, a new compliance category for catering and food packaging will be introduced. Sellers not compliant by December 31, 2024, will automatically be enrolled in Amazon’s EPR payment service, which handles reporting and environmental fees on behalf of sellers. This move underscores Amazon’s commitment to environmental responsibility and regulatory compliance.

Fonq Acquires Naduvi

In a strategic move to expand its online home and living retail presence, Fonq has announced the acquisition of Naduvi, a platform known for offering discounted designer furniture and home accessories. This acquisition marks a significant step for Fonq in consolidating its position in the European e-commerce market for home goods. By integrating Naduvi’s offerings, Fonq aims to broaden its product range and attract a wider customer base seeking high-quality, affordable home decor. This merger is expected to leverage the strengths of both platforms, enhancing customer experience and operational efficiencies.

AliExpress Shortens Delivery Times in Mexico

AliExpress announced initiatives to enhance the shopping experience in Mexico by significantly reducing delivery times to 5-8 days in major cities like Mexico City. This move aims to meet the growing demand for faster shipping among Mexican consumers and compete more effectively with giants like Amazon and Mercado Libre. AliExpress has committed to three weekly flights to Mexico, demonstrating its dedication to providing a quicker, more efficient shopping experience for Mexican users.

Alibaba’s “AI Simplified Global Expansion” for New Merchants

Alibaba International has launched the “AI Simplified Global Expansion” program aimed at new merchants looking to quickly enter the foreign trade market. With AI capabilities, new merchants can set up shop and become proficient in international trade within seven days, receiving 50 quality business opportunities every two months. This initiative is expected to provide around 600 business opportunities annually for new merchants, demonstrating Alibaba’s support for businesses venturing into global markets.

Meituan Explores Middle Eastern Market, Eyeing Saudi Arabia

Meituan is reportedly exploring the Middle Eastern market, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia. Between October 2022 and mid-2023, Meituan’s strategic investment overseas department head Zhu Wenqian visited the Middle East multiple times to understand local business policies and the competitive landscape of the food delivery industry. Under the leadership of core executives like Wang Xing and Wang Puzhong, Meituan initially considered launching in Riyadh as a pilot city but later shelved the project. Now, Meituan is revisiting its expansion into the Middle East.

The region’s high ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) density makes it an attractive market for food delivery services. According to Statista, by 2024, Saudi Arabia’s food delivery market revenue is expected to reach $11.74 billion, with a user penetration rate of 44.2%, and an average revenue per user in the grocery delivery market of $627.00. Economic diversification and transformation in countries like Saudi Arabia provide opportunities for the growth of local life services like food delivery. However, challenges such as high COD (Cash on Delivery) rates, complex demographics, high labor costs, adherence to Islamic dietary laws, and local customs like Ramadan, as well as the climate, can impact delivery fulfillment and execution.

Brazil Battles Dengue Fever Outbreak with E-commerce Solutions

Brazil is facing a severe dengue fever outbreak, with over 1 million suspected cases nationwide. In response, consumers are turning to e-commerce platforms like Shopee for mosquito repellent products, resulting in a 200% increase in searches for “insect repellent” and a 216% surge for “dengue fever insect repellent.” Sales of repellent products on Shopee have grown by 50% in the past two months, highlighting the role of e-commerce in addressing public health crises.

AI News

Perplexity AI Valued at $1 Billion After New Funding

Perplexity AI, dubbed the “Google killer,” is finalizing a new funding deal that values the company at approximately $1 billion. Just two months after securing a $73.6 million Series B funding led by Nvidia and Jeff Bezos, Perplexity’s valuation has nearly doubled. Founded by former OpenAI researcher Aravind Srinivas, Perplexity is an AI search engine competing with Google and OpenAI, offering ad-free search results through a subscription model. With support from AI models like Claude3 and GPT-4, Perplexity’s annual revenue has already surpassed $10 million.

AI Data Centers and Power Consumption

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has led to a surge in demand for data centers, raising concerns about their environmental impact due to increased power consumption. As AI models become more complex, the energy required to train and run them escalates, prompting a discussion about sustainable practices in the tech industry. Companies and researchers are exploring energy-efficient AI algorithms and greener data center designs to mitigate these concerns. The balance between technological progress and environmental responsibility remains a critical challenge for the future of AI development.

Sal Khan’s Vision for AI in Education

Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, has ambitious plans for integrating artificial intelligence into education, aiming to personalize learning and make high-quality education accessible to all. While his vision holds the potential to revolutionize the educational landscape, it also raises questions about feasibility, equity, and the role of teachers in an AI-enhanced learning environment. Critics and supporters alike are watching closely as Khan Academy explores AI’s possibilities, balancing optimism with a realistic assessment of the challenges ahead in transforming educational practices.

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