Amazon tests its own QR codes

Amazon is experimenting with its own QR code style ‘SmileCodes’ — Techcrunch — “Amazon has apparently been testing these codes in pop-up shops and Amazon Lockers in Europe for a few weeks now, but the company says these codes will make their US debut in a few different magazines (Cosmopolitan and Seventeen) come February… It’s probably safe to assume we’ll eventually see Amazon tinker with putting these codes on another massively common canvas: its own boxes.”



National Australia Bank integrates with Amazon Alexa

Hands-free banking: ‘Alexa, ask NAB if I’ve been paid’ — National Australia Bank — “The NAB skill for Amazon Alexa will allow customers, who have connected Alexa with their NAB account to ask their Alexa device questions like: ‘What’s my savings account balance?’, ‘How much do I owe on my credit card?’ or ‘Did I get paid this week?’… ‘In the future, we certainly see this experience turning into one where you can pay bills, make funds transfers or even purchase items at the command of your voice.’”




China’s JD.com to open hundreds of unmanned convenience stores

Chinese online retailer JD plans to open hundreds of unmanned shops, ahead of Amazon — The Telegraph — “Chinese online retailer JD.com has beaten Amazon to the next stage of the shopping revolution by announcing plans to open hundreds of ‘unmanned’ convenience stores. The shops have already been trialled with JD’s 10,000 employees at headquarters in Beijing and use facial and recognition technology to register payment and product identity, meaning that customers do not have to wait in a checkout line.”



Amazon moves closer to rollout of automated stores

Amazon’s cashierless store is almost ready for prime time — Bloomberg — “For the past year, Amazon employees have been test driving Amazon Go, an experimental convenience store in downtown Seattle. The idea is to let consumers walk in, pick up items and then pay for them without ever standing in line at a cashier… In a sign that the concept is almost ready for prime time, hiring for the Amazon Go team has shifted from the engineers and research scientists needed to perfect the platform to the construction managers and marketers who would build and promote the stores to consumers.”


Amazon Key to let delivery drivers and service providers into homes

Introducing Amazon Key, a new level of delivery convenience for Prime members — Amazon — “Available initially in 37 cities across the United States, Amazon’s innovative new service enables in-home delivery at no extra cost. Amazon Key also allows customers to grant secure home access for guests and, coming soon, tens of thousands of service providers, such as Merry Maids, Rover and professional services from Amazon Home Services. Amazon Key includes the Amazon Key app, a smart lock and the company’s newest device, Amazon Cloud Cam, an intelligent indoor security camera.”


Amazon puts new focus on its Amazon Coins virtual currency

Amazon debuts a new Appstore app with better discovery, focus on Amazon Coins — Techcrunch — “Introduced in 2013, the Amazon Coins platform represents a different means of encouraging consumers to pay for apps and in-app purchases. Instead of seeing a dollar amount associated with their purchase, app developers show the purchase amount as coins… The idea is that the more Coins you purchase, the more you’ll save on the purchase amount. For example, 100 Amazon Coins are worth $100, but when you buy them in larger bundles, they cost less. With the highest package, customers can save up to 22% on their Coin purchases.”


Barclays CEO: Payments is the battleground of finance

Barclays CEO says bank must protect payments business from Apple, Amazon — Bloomberg — “Barclays Plc will need to defend its advantages in the payments business from encroachment by technology companies including Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc, according to chief executive officer Jes Staley. ‘There are some tectonic shifts going on, driven by tech and the geopolitical environment… All the banks are very focused on the payments space. That may be where the battleground of finance is fought over the next 15 years.’”


Nissan drivers to use Amazon Alexa to unlock their vehicles

NissanConnect Services skill for Amazon Alexa — Nissan — “Forgot to lock your vehicle? Looking to remotely start your Nissan to heat it up or cool it down before you get in? The NissanConnect Services with Amazon Alexa skill allows you to connect with and control your Nissan vehicle, or vehicles, as quickly and easily as having a conversation… With NissanConnect Services with Amazon Alexa, you can use your voice to remotely start your Nissan, unlock your doors or flash your lights.”




USAA launches pilot of new skill for Amazon Alexa

USAA launches pilot of new skill for Amazon Alexa — USAA — “USAA’s skill for Amazon Alexa pilot will leverage Clinc’s artificial intelligence conversation management technology to produce a more human-like interaction from Amazon Alexa, as the skill remembers context, follow-up questions, and complex human language. This technology will also learn as members interact with it and infer information not explicitly specified by users throughout a conversation.”


Amazon Pay Places lets you pay for real-world shopping using your Amazon info

Amazon Pay Places lets you pay for real-world shopping using your Amazon info — Techcrunch — “Amazon is today introducing a new feature called Amazon Pay Places, that allows customers to pay for in-store and order ahead shopping experiences using their Amazon app… Instead of using cash, check, credit or debit while shopping out in the real world, you can just use your Amazon account information. The first implementation of Pay Places involves a partnership with the TGI Friday’s restaurant chain.”


Alibaba challenges Google, Amazon with new Echo-like device

Alibaba challenges Google, Amazon with new Echo-like device — Bloomberg — “Importantly, the gadget — powered by the AliGenie system — may eventually simplify shopping for the Chinese e-commerce giant’s 450 million active buyers who turn to the website for everything from cherries to makeup. It will begin formal sales from August 8 only for China and won’t come with a display.”


In China, Amazon’s ‘store of the future’ is already open

In China, Amazon’s ‘store of the future’ is already open — Tech In Asia — “This is a typical Bingobox store… A shopper opens the door – and registers with the startup – through WeChat, the popular messaging app… The customer has to scan each item’s barcode. And then pay on their phone, either via WeChat or Alibaba’s mobile wallet app, Alipay. As you leave the store, a camera checks you’re taking out only the stuff you paid for.”


Harris Poll: PayPal leads mobile payment brands, yet up-and-comers making brand equity gains

Harris Poll: PayPal leads mobile payment brands, yet up-and-comers making brand equity gains — The Harris Poll — “PayPal — followed closely by Amazon brands — retains its Brand of the Year designation, leading mobile payment brands for the third consecutive year. However, up-and-coming brands Venmo (owned by PayPal), Square, and Apple Pay are making significant gains, according to new research from The Harris Poll’s 29th annual EquiTrend Study.”


Amazon gives 2% rewards back to Prime members who deposit cash via their bank account

Amazon gives 2% rewards back to Prime members who deposit cash via their bank account — GeekWire — “Amazon Prime Reload gives customers 2% back when they reload their Amazon Gift Card Balance with a connected checking account and linked debit card. For example, if you load $100 onto your Gift Card Balance from your checking account, you’ll get an extra $2 in Amazon dollars added within minutes.”


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