Today in retail, the steel industry is ripe for digital transformation while 5G helps retailers launch contactless shopping experiences.
Plus, U.S. retail sales are up 7.2% year over year as more shoppers return to brick-and-mortar stores, online retail platform Jane is keeping fraudsters at bay in the fashion industry and Gucci will accept cryptocurrency payments.
Verizon announced Wednesday (May 4) that race fans attending the Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix Friday to Sunday (May 6-8) will be able to buy food and beverages at the track by tapping their credit cards as they enter the shop, picking out the goods they want and then leaving, with receipts sent via text.
The contactless shopping available at The Hard Rock Stadium Express Shop is powered by 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge compute. Developed by Verizon, AiFi and the Miami Dolphins, the shop uses AiFi’s computer vision technology to track items as they are selected from the shelves. Verizon’s 5G capacity and upload speeds powers that tech.
Montreal-based commerce platform Lightspeed has launched Lightspeed Retail, combining an advanced point of sale (POS), payments and eCommerce into one platform.
The platform provides merchants with access to commerce tools customized to meet their business needs. The company said the product is available on all platforms in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, the U.K. and South Africa.
Citing data from a Lightspeed and Checkmarket survey, Lightspeed said the product is arriving on the market “at the right moment,” as the survey found that omnichannel retailers are seeing faster revenue growth than any other sector.
The latest edition of Mastercard’s SpendingPulse indicates that retailers are increasingly focusing on smaller brick-and-mortar stores as fears about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to subside.
According to the SpendingPulse data, in-store sales were up 10% in April compared to the same time in 2021, while eCommerce sales dropped 1.8% during the same period. Additionally, California, New York, Florida, Nevada and Illinois were among the states leading the charge back to brick-and-mortar.
Overall, total retail sales excluding auto was up 7.2% year over year in April and 15.3% from 2019 — a similar jump to previous months so far in 2022. While online sales dropped year over year in April, they are still up 92% from April 2019, according to a Mastercard press release.
Etsy, a leading marketplace for handmade clothing, jewelry and other items, is facing difficulties after two years of growth. Its stock has been pushed down 60% in six months to a two-year low, and while the business is still profitable, its transition to a post-pandemic world has been fraught with challenges.
Its first-quarter earnings results reflected a 2% decline in gross sales at its core Etsy property, which accounts for 85% of its business. The eTailer has retained more than 90% of the gains it made over the past two years. Additionally, Etsy’s Q2 outlook predicts a further 5% to 10% drop in the marketplace’s gross sales.
Luxury fashion brand Gucci is launching a program to accept cryptocurrency payments, which will roll out in some U.S. stores at the end of May and will be available at all North American stores this summer.
Customers can make their crypto payments using a QR code sent to their email addresses that lets them access their crypto wallets. Initially, the program will be available in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas. Gucci will accept payments in more than 10 currencies, including bitcoin, bitcoin cash, dogecoin, ethereum, wrapped bitcoin, litecoin, shiba inu and five stablecoins pegged to the U.S. dollar.
The steel industry is complex, global and comprises all manner of offerings. Agricultural firms need steel, as do water companies, and there’s no end of manufacturers who need it. However, there are several inefficiencies involved in sourcing and paying for it.
“There are certain sectors that have a decent amount of stock available and the pricing may not be all that volatile,” Shep Hickey, CEO of online platform Bryzos, told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster. “Then there are other sectors that are in the midst of a supply shock, and it’s hard to find what you need.”
Hickey noted that the pandemic-driven supply chain challenges have created a landscape ripe for digital transformation. He added that technological capabilities have improved enough that any number of players can congregate on online platforms to get business done.
eCommerce has exploded in popularity in the past decade and received a considerable boost in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down most brick-and-mortar retailers around the world. Experts estimate that U.S. consumers spent more than $933 billion at eTailers in 2021, and this number is only expected to increase as businesses expand online.
However, each customer shopping online represents a potential entry point for a bad actor to steal data or funds. While one of the most effective ways to prevent identity fraud for eCommerce marketplaces is multifactor authentication (MFA), studies have found that many consumers decline this extra step if it is optional. Some consumers will even patronize a different eTailer if they face too much friction at the checkout, but MFA can prevent more than 99.9% of attacks that rely on stolen credentials.