Check out our roundup of important writing from across the web on technology and analytics in retail, consumer goods and manufacturing.
The growth of luxury brands
Samantha Conti writes luxury and retail emerged as two dominant sectors in terms of value growth from Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, released Thursday.
WWD: Samantha Conti - Digital Giants Dominate Interbrand’s 2018 Ranking, Luxury Leads Growth
“A decade after the global financial crisis, the brands that are growing fastest are those that intuitively understand their customers and make brave iconic moves that delight and deliver in new ways,” said Charles Trevail, global chief executive officer of Interbrand.
The department of transportation’s new stance on self-driving
Aarian Marshall writes the Department of Transportation is getting more creative about how it defines “driver”, which is especially good news for the automatic trucking crowd.
Wired: Aarian Marshall - The Dot Says ‘Drivers’ Don’t Have To Be Human
In the third version of the department’s official stance on self-driving, the department said it would “adapt the definitions of ‘driver’ and ‘operator’ to recognize that such terms to not refer exclusively to a human, but may in fact include an automated system.” The computers have a ticket to drive now—at least where federal regulations are concerned.
Using blockchain to build better relationships with customers
Campbell R. Harvey, Christine Moorman and Marc Toledo make a strong case that the spoils of blockchain may go to early adopters who commit to ruthless innovation.
Harvard Business Review: Campbell R. Harvey, Christine Moorman and Marc Toledo - How Blockchain Can Help Marketers Build Better Relationships with Their Customers
With blockchain technology, companies can bypass today’s social media powerhouses by directly interacting with consumers and can share the reward of ad exposure directly with them.
AI shapes Amazon’s business
Daniel Terdiman offers an exclusive look at how AI shapes every aspect of Amazon’s business, from its warehouses full of products to your Echo smart speaker.
Fast Company: Daniel Terdiman - How AI is helping Amazon become a trillion-dollar company
Since its earliest days, Amazon has used AI to come up with product recommendations based on what users already said they liked. The algorithms behind those systems have been tweaked again and again over the years. These days, thanks to machine learning, the recommendations have gotten more dynamic, says Jeff Wilke, the CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer division.
The Birchbox / Walgreens partnership
Sarah Perez on the drugstore chain and online beauty subscription purveyor teaming up for an 11-store pilot of Birchbox shops within select stores.
TechCrunch: Sarah Perez - Walgreens takes a minority stake in Birchbox, which will now come to its stores
The Walgreens deal will help Birchbox reach new customers by allowing it to establish an expanded brick-and-mortar presence. Meanwhile, Walgreens benefits by bringing popular beauty brands under its roof, potentially attracting new customers to its stores — stores which generally feature “drugstore beauty brands” like CoverGirl, Maybelline, Revlon and others.