Zone’s Rianna Mitchell handpicks and shares the five best news stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…
1. Say goodbye to checkouts in stores
Checkout-free stores surge and are set to reach over 16,000 by 2027 as retailers increase their mobile self-scanning investments, according to RBR’s research. The data revealed that last year, 10,000 additional stores worldwide adopted this service with customers using their smartphones or a handset in store to scan items as they shop.
The UK, France and Netherlands has so far led the industry; however, major chains in other nations, such as the US, are jumping on the bandwagon. The digital innovation is also expected to be increasingly deployed in other sectors, including fuel, DIY, homeware, and apparel. Alex Maple from RBR says, “reducing friction and enhancing the shopping experience remains a key aim.”
2. It was virtually impossible…until now
Conjoined Brazilian twins have been successfully separated with the aid of virtual reality (VR), after being described by medical experts as one of the most complex surgeries ever achieved. The three-year-old brothers, born with craniopagus, were fused with intertwined brains that shared vital veins and underwent seven surgeries with almost 100 medical staff.
For the first time, surgeons across the globe worked together in the same VR room wearing headsets as they spent months trialling operation techniques with VR projections of the boys before beginning the real procedures to minimise risk.
3. The nation says a vacation is what the doctor ordered
Airbnb revenue boasts its highest peak in summer as the lodging site reported record-high bookings amid economic slowdown and cost-of-living dilemma. Nearly a whopping 104 million bookings were made on the platform in April through to June this year — Airbnb’s most profitable second quarter to date.
Long-term stays are in strong demand and the fastest-growing type of travel, as the rise in remote working routines, triggered by the pandemic, provides more flexibility for people to travel more often. The home-rental company plan to increase their marketing spend and expand into more countries as a result of their current success.
4. It costs to be a loyal customer
Citizens Advice urges broadcast and telecoms watchdog Ofcom to challenge the broadband ‘loyalty penalty’, as “no one should be punished for being loyal in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis”. Some broadband and mobile customers who stay with their provider pay more than new consumers for the same service, with 1 in 7 forking out extra expense, according to Citizens Advice.
It has been estimated that mobile customers lose £83 per year on mobile bills for staying loyal, with 1.5 million paying extra, while switching providers could save broadband users £61 a year, affecting 7 million UK citizens.
5. NFT collections for Starbucks coffee drinkers
Global coffee franchise Starbucks will unveil its new web3 rewards program at the Investor Day event next month to attract and retain customers. It will include coffee-themed NFTs that will serve as digital collectibles, and provide customers with access to exclusive perks.
Customers can currently receive free drinks and other rewards when earning Stars with purchases in the app or at Starbucks stores, and now the new NFTs will be an extension of this customer loyalty program. A web3-based loyalty program could potentially attract more people to the web3 ecosystem as well younger consumers to the brand.