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

The unofficial end of summer means it’s back to work (for Europeans, at least — we’ve been sweating out a commute for the last three months). Check out the latest news.

Dr. Doolittle Does Retail

If you could talk to the animals, what would you try to sell them? That’s what Petco is experimenting with, at least when it comes to pet owners. The retail chain’s voice-activated programming for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant offers concerned pet parents instant care advice and recommendations.

Adam Marchick, CEO of Alpine.AI explains just how they partnered with Petco to roll out the product. One key takeaway? “I do think that every brand and retailer will need to decide how to play in this digital channel with a billion devices,” Marchick said. “The decisions that they make today will have ramifications for the next 10 years.”


Games Without Frontiers

If you thought video games were addictive before, just wait — the Xbox is turning into a recurring revenue stream for Microsoft. The company is now selling their Xbox One S and Xbox One consoles much the same way Apple sells iPhones, through monthly installment plans.

The two-year subscription plan, labelled Xbox All Access, will cost subscribers $34.99 per month for the Xbox One and $21.99 per month for the Xbox One S.


Macy Gray? No, In the Black

Macy’s Q2 financial results mark the third consecutive quarter comp sales are up. New CEO Jeff Gennette’s vision for the new Macy’s has been marked by investments in mobile, digital sales, and user experience.

The retailer’s turnaround is credited to a redesigned loyalty program, which opens it up to all consumers, not just Star Rewards members. Macy’s has also consolidated its data analytics to pinpoint shopper needs and tailor its offerings to meet demand an in-store pickup program, and more.


Trading Places

Trader Joe’s could be the next victim of the retail apocalypse and we’ll give you one guess who’s responsible, according to Time magazine at least. Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite retail golem, Amazon.

According to data from Sense360, which tracks location data from millions of smartphone users, WholeFoods has managed to carve out significant foot traffic from retailers like Trader Joe’s in the last year. In August, the number of shoppers who visited a Whole Foods at least six times in the past year increased to 11 percent from 9 percent a year earlier.


The Swiss Blitz

Nestlé’s push into healthy-food options continues with their new pilot program in Japan — “Wellness Ambassador” will tap artificial intelligence and DNA analysis to provide participants with a personalized nutrition program. The $600-per-year subscriptions allow access to Nestlé Jetsons-style capsules that make teas, smoothies and snacks fortified with vitamins.

With the market for food-based health and nutraceuticals products is estimated to be worth $15 billion, and an aging global population means that number is only going to grow. “Health problems associated with food and nutrition have become a big issue,” Nestlé Japan CEO Kozo Takaoka said. “Nestlé must address that on a global basis and make it our mission for the 21st century.”

[Food Dive]