Tech Tuesday: Shopping Tech

Today, mobile payments. Tomorrow, VR malls.

It’s never been easier to buy stuff, and yet the stress of holiday shopping remains constant year after year. What does that say about us?

1. PayPal says mobile shopping accounted for a third of Thanksgiving & Black Friday sales: Forget the argument of apps vs. websites — it’s still safe to bank on mobile growth. [TechCrunch]

“New data from PayPal further confirms mobile’s contribution to e-commerce retailers’ bottom lines over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. According to data from its network, mobile devices accounted for a third of all total payment volume on both of these top shopping days this year.”

2. Payments Startup Stripe Valued at $9 Billion in New Funding: Stripe continues to show that separation of concerns is a good bet for venture technology investments. [Bloomberg Technology]

“Stripe’s soaring value is a bright spot in a startup sector that has seen mostly stagnant or falling valuations this year.”

“Stripe Inc. raised new financing that values the startup at about $9 billion, cementing its status as a major player in the crowded digital payments space and heralding a possible initial public offering.”

3. Instagram shopping tags help you buy what you see: Like video on social, most social platforms are becoming commerce platforms. Computer Vision is starting to nibble on this market — eventually, every image will will automatically link to products. [Engadget]

“Tap a button and you’ll see the basic details of products in a photo ad; tap those products and you’ll get both more details as well as links to visit their store pages on the web.”

4. The strange, lonely world of virtual shopping in China: VR allows us to “hack” our monkey brains. We’re using to shopping in 3D space, and memory is inherently spatial. Does anybody else walk the entire grocery store to remember what to buy? VR will take that tendency and set it on fire. [Vice News]

“To shop in Alibaba’s virtual reality universe, you stare at the thing you want… Gaze at the dot long enough, and the shampoo will leap off the shelf and hover in mid-air, spinning like a snack on a lazy Susan. Bob your head a few times, and you’ve just paid for the item, as if the transaction happened entirely in your brain.”

5. How Predictive AI Will Change Shopping: I can’t wait for this. I just want the item I was going to buy to appear at my door. [Harvard Business Review]

“Responsive retail has peaked, and we’re about to enter the era of predictive commerce.” [Image via Adweek]

“Retailers need to think more like tech companies, using AI and machine learning not just to predict how to stock stores and staff shifts but also to dynamically recommend products and set prices that appeal to individual consumers.”

You can find me on Twitter @CherylFoil, and follow my firm Kiddar Capital on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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