Morning Brew - ☕ New experiences

AI adoption is transforming how retailers manage the customer experience.
June 06, 2024

Retail Brew


Hello there, it’s Thursday. If there’s any indicator more consumers are eating at home rather than at restaurants or takeout, it can be found in Campbell Soup’s latest earnings report: The canned foods company raised its annual net sales forecast after surpassing quarterly earnings estimates.

In today’s edition:

—Alex Vuocolo, Andrew Adam Newman, Alyssa Meyers


An AI robot with binary code behind it Amelia Kinsinger

While recent hype around artificial intelligence has centered around free-to-use chatbots and image generators such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, consumer-facing apps are just the tip of the iceberg.

In the retail industry, AI is at the center of an innovation cycle that is transforming how companies manage the customer experience.

David Clarke, customer and digital strategy leader at EY and formerly global chief experience officer at PwC, defined the term more broadly as the personalized management of customer interactions across digital and physical channels, with the goal of increasing both loyalty and revenue. This more open-ended definition captures many of the recent announcements from retailers that are using AI to help overhaul omnichannel interactions with customers.

Paul Tepfenhart, global director of the retail industry at Google, told Retail Brew that an in-house survey from the tech giant found that 59% of retailers said customer service represented the biggest opportunity for investment—and this has a lot to do with the fact that customers are tired of more traditional services such as the call center.

“Let’s face it; none of us have really enjoyed calling the call center and waiting in long lines and maybe having less-than-fulfilling outcomes,” he said.

Keep reading here.—AV


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Bean counters

Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) drinking coffee in Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks/ABC

If the pursuit of, as Dale Cooper put it, a “damn fine cup of coffee” is a national pastime, so too is the self-flagellation over how much we’d save if we stopped ordering it from baristas.

Now Toast, the digital technology platform for restaurants, is out with its latest Restaurant Trends report, and it pores over the pour-over, analyzing which states charged the most for their coffee drinks in this year’s first quarter.

Not that it’s a contest anyone wants to win, but…the winner is Hawaii, where the average price of a latte was $6.69 (national average: $5.46), while a standard, regular coffee was $4.89 (national average: $3.08). Second was California, where a latte went for $5.84 and a regular coffee for $3.88. If you think you could handle all the glitz, move to Nebraska, which had the cheapest regular coffee in the country, at $2.12, although a latte was 3 cents over the national average, at $5.49.

Breakfast serial: While coffee drinks can offer ample caloric content, it doesn’t hurt to start the day with solid food, too, and Toast analyzed data for Q1 breakfast transactions in 20 cities.

The three cities where breakfast was growing like—what else?—hotcakes were Minneapolis (up 8% year over year), New York (6%), and Chicago (5%). The smell of bacon was less pronounced, though, in Philadelphia and Denver (both down 4%); and in Houston, Austin, and Washington, DC (all three down 3%).

In those 20 cities, Saturday breakfast volume increased by 6% YoY, while Sunday was flat. Weekdays were mixed: down on Mondays by 4%, Tuesdays by 2%, and Fridays by 1%, while up on Wednesday by 1% and flat Thursday.—AAN



Classic for a reason

A'ja Wilson in Gatorade ad Gatorade

For its biggest marketing push to date, Gatorade is throwing it back to the ’90s.

The PepsiCo brand’s latest campaign, called “It Hasn’t Changed,” is based on a decades-old tagline, “Is it in you?,” which anchored a campaign hinging on the idea that drinking Gatorade would help athletes perform at their peak. This year’s reboot, like other media from the ’90s and early 2000s that have seen recent revivals, has a slightly different message.

Youth participation in sports tends to drop off considerably around high school, and “It Hasn’t Changed” is centered on addressing that drop-off by showing young athletes that they already have what it takes to be great, Anuj Bhasin, Gatorade’s chief brand officer, said.

“The best athletes in the world…all have one commonality,” Bhasin told Marketing Brew. “They have that belief inside that they are able to overcome, that they have that ‘it,’ that spark, to actually overcome the hardship that is facing them. Today, that greatest obstacle for these athletes is within…That tagline from the ’90s is even more relevant today than it was when it first came to market.”

Keep reading at Marketing Brew here.AM



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Today’s top retail reads.

Weather or not: In some parts of Asia, extreme heat waves are making work conditions difficult, impacting productivity at manufacturing hubs and posing new challenges for fashion. (the Business of Fashion)

Olympian-related efforts: Sportswear brands expect a busy summer, partly thanks to the Paris 2024 Olympics. (the Wall Street Journal)

Big deal: How McDonald’s lost the exclusive right to use the term “Big Mac” for poultry products in Europe. (Reuters)


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