All the news that’s fit to print from the front lines of retail technology

Apple’s new magazine subscription is alive and thriving, Lululemon is embarking on a new retail venture, and you can grocery shop at Walmart using only your voice. Read on to find out why this matters for retailers.

Are people actually using Apple News Plus?

For $120 a year, Apple users can have access to every magazine their heart desires. For the not-so-healthy media industry, this could be a great thing…but only if Apple customers actually use it. Despite some reported design issues, the subscription service is a great deal for anyone who currently subscribes to any more than one print magazine (and actually reads them, instead of just displaying them on coffee tables). The service is only a week old, and while it hasn’t exactly blown up yet, it’s still early days. The success of Apple News Plus might be more indicative of whether people still read magazines, rather than Apple’s ability to pull off a subscription service.

GNC is branching out with beauty supplements

This month, the vitamin and supplement supplier will start offering its first end-cap display of beauty supplements. The retailer, primarily known for its fitness and protein products already offers about 100 beauty and wellness products, but is going to focus on the sale of some new brands in order to expand their customer base, namely by attracting more women.

“The end cap represents how we are evolving the category,” said director of merchandising Selena Cox. “We aren’t always considered the destination for beauty, but we are showing the customer through our end cap and assortment that we are the headquarters for their beauty ingestibles.”

The company also plans to invest in more influencer and lookalike marketing to help establish their place in the beauty and wellness landscape.

Walmart now offers voice-activated grocery shopping

Walmart has partnered with Google to allow customers to order groceries through their Google Assistant devices. By asking Google to “talk to Walmart,” shoppers can load up a cart and order it to be delivered without ever opening a computer, let alone stepping out of the house.

When it comes to voice shopping, groceries are a great place to start. Unlike clothing, they don’t need to be tried on or felt in person, and Walmart allows people to gradually load up a cart over days at a time, as they’re reminded of new shopping needs. Retailers are yet to give up the strong possibility of a good voice purchasing system.

If we’ve learned anything in recent retail news, it’s that frictionless shopping and recurring revenue is as top-of-mind as ever. Brands want to become indispensable to your lifestyle, so that when you think of media, for example, you think of Apple, and when you think of beauty starting from the inside out, you think of GNC.