In today’s top retail news, a new California law has industry experts concerned about its ramifications on the retail supply chain, and voice tech company RAIN sees an increasing application for visual information in voice commerce. Also, beauty brand Coty is partnering with Perfect Corp. to create augmented reality (AR) experiences for consumers, and a shortage of warehouse workers is leading to higher pay and greater utilization of robots.
A new law signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week could exacerbate the current supply chain challenges plaguing the U.S. and the world, several retail industry groups say, warning that the legislation is “duplicative and overbroad.” Known officially as AB 701, the law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, requires distribution and fulfillment centers to disclose any quotas that an employee is subject to and prohibits companies from imposing work quotas that would hinder an employee’s ability to take legally mandated breaks.
Eric Turkington, vice president of growth at voice and conversational technology company RAIN, said voice commerce is still in its early days but is quickly picking up steam, especially among fast-moving consumer goods that often comprise repeat purchases. As voice commerce grows, he said, devices with screens, such as Amazon’s Echo Show, the Google Nest Hub Max and Amazon’s new line of TVs will likely play a larger role as they allow brands to give consumers more information.
Coty Inc. has partnered with beauty tech platform Perfect Corp. to embed augmented reality experiences into Coty’s beauty brands, which include CoverGirl, Sally Hansen, philosophy and others. Among the options for Coty shoppers using the AR and AI enhancements are discovering a new lipstick, trying it on virtually and going to checkout, all while watching a livestream.
An already heightened demand for online shopping has warehouse and logistics operators scrambling to fill jobs ahead of the busy holiday season, dangling signing bonuses and higher pay while calling on robots to fill the gaps. The logistics sector has been hit particularly hard by the labor shortage, with exponential demand triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic compounded by students’ return to school as well as the upcoming holiday shopping season.