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27 May

The retailer, plagued by a troubling 10-quarter decline in same-store sales, has decided to take advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to get a better handle on what people actually want to buy.

By using so-called Big Data, the company hopes to be able to avoid having to take steep markdowns on items; instead, AI algorithms will analyze store receipts to better clarify how customers use their loyalty programs as well as which items they tend to return.

The new technology is currently being implemented at a store in one of Stockholm's upscale neighborhoods. So far, H&M has been able to harvest data that indicates its customer base is largely female, and that higher-priced items and pastel-ish floral skirts have tended to sell better than others. As a result, reports Retail Dive, sales at the store have gone up dramatically.

25 May

Choice, an Australian consumer group, recently launched a service that permits customers to price-shop electricity retailers for 12 months. During that time, customers can keep on eye on the providers and automatically switch their subscriptions to obtain the best deal. The service costs $99 AUD per year.

Specifically, consumers can visit Canisavenergy.com.au, where they can upload power bill PDFs and compare prices from among 33 different providers. They'll be informed how much they could save by switching their services, but will need to pay the annual fee in order to find out who is hawking the cheapest price.

But here's a twist on what might seems a pretty standard "catch" -- once the annual fee is paid, Choice will automatically switch those customers to the electricity service with the best price.

23 May

The biggest brand that's a part of the world's largest hotel company -- Courtyard by Marriott -- has an understandable interest in finding answers to that question, given that millennials have a different version of success than other generations.

It's not so much that the hotel chain seems interested in making a charitable contribution to society by divining sage wisdom from this ongoing Q&A. Rather, as a major player in the travel industry, Courtyard by Marriott would benefit from better understanding how millennials view some of the basic building blocks of life. Then, the hospitality chain can cater to them.

This marketing approach stands in contrast with how hotels typically pitch themselves to customers -- by showcasing room types, layouts, amenities, and other available thrills, chills, and vibrations.

Instead, says PSFK, the new campaign aims to tap into this demographic's interests and loves. And necessities. Like, you know, stuff and...work.

21 May

So far, wearables have been limited to bracelets, but innovators are working hard to build them into other products. One of those is a ring that could provide the same access as other wearables. Token is an early version of this new type of wearable, serving as a smart ring that can replace the need to carry keys, credit cards, access badges, or transit passes around with you. The ring can also replace passwords to give you easy access to all your devices.

The ring doesn’t automatically perform all those functions, though. Ring wearers will activate various features through certain gestures. You could, for instance, knock on a door to make it suddenly unlock.

19 May

Imagine being able to watch as a wound heals right before your eyes. Soon you may be able to do just that, thanks to a microchip with healing power. Best of all, the chip can go beyond wound-healing to repair damage to nerves and organs. Using nanotechnology, researchers have been able to convert skin cells into cells that can be used as a tool to repair tissues that have become damaged.

In less than a second, the microchip can begin to generate new cells that are specialized for the area in which they’re being implanted. While trying the technology using cells from mice and pigs, researchers found that they were able to generate cells. Within only one week, the team noted that the cells had actually created new blood vessels and nerve tissues.

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