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Loyalty360 Reads: January 14 | Amazon, Walmart Tell Consumers to Skip Returns of Unwanted Items; Alb




Amazon, Walmart Tell Consumers to Skip Returns of Unwanted Items
The Wall Street Journal reports that retailers have a new message for consumers looking to return an item: Keep it. The paper says Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc. and other companies are using artificial intelligence to decide whether it makes economic sense to process a return. For inexpensive items or large ones that would incur hefty shipping fees, it is often cheaper to refund the purchase price and let customers keep the products.

The Journal says that the relatively new approach, popularized by Amazon and a few other chains, is being adopted more broadly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as a surge in online shopping forces companies to rethink how they handle returns.

“We are getting so many inquiries about this that you will see it take off in coming months,” says Amit Sharma, chief executive of Narvar Inc., which processes returns for retailers.
Albertsons introduces contactless pickup locker in Chicago
Albertsons Companies has installed an automated and contactless grocery PickUp kiosk on a pilot basis, according to a press release. The kiosk, located at one of its Jewel-Osco stores in Chicago, demonstrates continued expansion of the company's e-commerce business and commitment to providing easy service through its websites and apps.

When customers arrive at the kiosk, they scan a code on their phone and their groceries are robotically delivered to the front of the unit for pickup. The unit features two temperature zones — regular and a deep freeze. A customer's order can be stored in two different zones and still be delivered in the same console for pick up.

"We are supercharging our digital and omnichannel offerings to serve customers however they want, whenever they want," Chris Rupp, EVP and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons Companies, said in the release. "This innovative and contactless PickUp kiosk makes it even easier for customers to shop with us in a way that is convenient for them."
Citizens Unveils Citizens Pay, a Buy-Now, Pay-Later Virtual Line of Credit Offering
Citizens announced the further expansion of its national point-of-sale (POS) offering for merchants, renamed as Citizens Pay, to reflect its proven and straightforward approach in providing businesses with budget-friendly payment options for customers looking forward to a more transparent and predictable way to finance purchases.

POS lending is converging rapidly, and retailers must adapt quickly to meet consumers’ evolving demands and improve customer loyalty. Citizens Pay is a simple and affordable, buy-now-pay-later solutions that can be customized to meet the needs of the business, and customers. It provides consumers with a better way to finance their big purchases with easy-to-understand, low fixed monthly payments through a virtual line of credit that can be used for repeat purchases without a new credit application or managing multiple loans.

“Our platform has demonstrated the ability to drive impressive sales growth with a best-in-class customer experience. Citizens Pay helps merchants boost sales and increase consumer loyalty by enabling their customers to make repeat purchases and upgrades in a financially responsible way,” said Andrew Rostami, president of Citizens Pay.
Chipotle to hire 15,000 workers in the United States
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc said it would hire 15,000 workers in the United States, as the fast-casual burrito chain benefits from strong demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move comes about five months after Chipotle said it planned to add 10,000 more people to its more than 85,000-strong workforce. It now employs about 94,000 people, most of them in the United States.

Fast-food chains – mainly pizza and Mexican restaurants – have seen sales remain strong during the pandemic as customers crave comfort food and order in more. Chipotle had posted a 14% jump in revenue in its latest reported quarter.
Chewy Co-Founder Joins GameStop’s Board After Pushing Overhaul
GameStop Corp. said it has struck a deal with Chewy Inc. co-founder Ryan Cohen to add him and two former colleagues to its board after he pushed the company to better focus on digital sales.

Cohen didn’t personally request a seat on the videogame retailer’s board when he said in a November letter that his investment firm had built up a roughly 10% stake in GameStop. The firm wasn’t interested in receiving a lone seat or becoming “an isolated stockholder advocate” on the board, according to the letter. GameStop has said it offered to add him as a director. Now, however, Mr. Cohen and two former executives at Chewy, an online retailer of pet products, have joined the board, GameStop said Monday.


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