Brooklyn developer RXR Realty partnered with the supper club Resident to offer building residents the opportunity to attend communal dinners hosted by live-in chef.
Energy corporation Chevron created a digital e-Gift card, enabling customers to seamlessly pay for fuel and car washes through the Chevron app and link to their loyalty program profiles.
Coffee chain Starbucks partnered with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba to create a virtual store in China, allowing customers to place online orders across Alibaba Group’s mobile apps, as well as the Starbucks app. Customers can also buy digital Starbucks gift cards via the ‘Say It with Starbucks’ option and earn rewards in the Starbucks Rewards program.
Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy incorporated a trade-in program to reduce e-waste that lets consumers trade their old electronic items in for a Best Buy gift card, which they can use to upgrade to the latest tech. Users can see what their items are worth through the trade-in estimator, and get rid of it responsibly even if it has no value and wasn’t originally purchased at a Best Buy.
Mobile gifting and payment platform Bitmo enables users to easily send virtual gift cards from their mobile wallets just by entering a recipient’s phone number. Recipients can split the card value between retailers or exchange them for a different retailer for no fee without informing the giver.
Social media video app TikTok allows video creators to make money through in-app gifting from viewers in live-streams sessions. Viewers purchase TikTok coins, which can be exchanged for virtual gifts, such as special emoji, which they can send to the creators of their favorite content, allowing the creator, as well as anyone who views the video to see the type of gift given. The gifts are then converted into Diamonds, a measure of the praise and popularity of a given content creator. When a content creator has made enough Diamonds, they can be exchanged for cash via PayPal or other payment service.
Chinese live streaming platform Douyu earns revenue by allowing fans to buy digital gifts for their favorite live streamers, who can then convent the gifts into Chinese yuan (with the platform taking a 50% cut).
Gwick is a mobile app that enables users to easily send virtual gift cards for hundreds of popular retailers and restaurants that can be used both online or in physical stores. Gift givers can attach photos or videos to create a personalized message with their gift cards. The app also includes a newsfeed function, allowing users to interact with friends and reminding them of important occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries.
Social media platform Pinterest created gift-finding tools for retailers Macy’s, Lowe’s, Kohl’s, and Etsy to help users discover gift ideas for their loved ones. Users enter who they are shopping for, and the tool delivers a personalized list of gift options from the retailers, with a link to purchase the items directly from the retailers’ sites.
Package delivery company UPS formed a subsidiary called Flight Forward and applied for the Federal Aviation Administration approval to begin operating commercial drone delivery.
Texas-based grocery retailer H-E-B piloted autonomous delivery near its Olmos Park, TX, supermarket with a self-driving vehicle named Newton, which can hold up to 32 orders of varying size.
Big box retailer Walmart partners with startup Alert Innovation to pilot a first-of-its-kind automated system called The Alphabot in its supercenter in Salem, New Hampshire, dedicated to improving the fulfillment of grocery pickup. Housed in a 20,000-square-foot extension connected to the store, the high-speed system delivers items to sales associates to assemble and deliver orders to customers.
Canadian startup Attabotics has developed a micro-fulfillment center, creating a more flexible, accelerated and scalable fulfillment system through the help of automated technologies. Designed to resemble ant colonies, the three-dimensional structure is filled with condensed aisles and shelves and is operated by robotic shuttles that can move both horizontally and vertically along the structure.
California-based startup inVia Robotics levels the automated warehouse playing field by creating fulfillment robots for smaller online businesses. The robot's compact and unconventional design allows it to lift up to 40 pounds and special barcodes help them navigate and identify items.