Here’s what you should know today.

1. Chat app Line is developing an AI assistant and Amazon Echo-style smart speaker

A voice-powered concierge service called Clova — short for “Cloud Virtual Assistant” — is the centerpiece of the service, much like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant.

Line has also acquired a majority stake in the Japanese company behind a ‘holographic’ AI service. Vinclu is the startup, and its Gatebox is its ‘virtual robot’ that gives AI a graphical presence in the form of manga cartoon-style female.

But don’t get too excited While an AI might help increase engagement with existing users, it doesn’t seem like a bridge to bring new users into the fold and that is among the key issues Line is currently grappling with.

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2. Luxury brands are becoming big players in ecommerce

The face of luxury buyers is changing. Well-to-do shoppers now expect brands they support to be online. They’ll shop somewhere else if they can’t hit a website.

The average age of luxury shoppers has gone down from 48 to 34-Infinitum Ecommerce agency

McKinsey & Company predicts that online sales of luxury goods will triple in the next 10 years, and that by 2025, the online share of total luxury sales will reach 18%. But the move online happens for individual companies only when those businesses feel their clients are online themselves.

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3. Contrary to rumours, Zalora to double down on expansion in the Philippines

The store, which last month sold a portion of its operations to Filipino conglomerate Ayala Group, expects the new alliance to give it a boost not just in terms of funding for growing its user base, but also co-marketing and other partnerships.

Seeing growth, Zalora intends to stay in the Philippines, contrary to what some reports have suggested. Paulo Campos III, CEO of Zalora Philippines clarifies that its parent, Rocket Internet-backed Global Fashion Group, didn’t sell any of its own stake. What it sold Ayala were new shares.

The fresh funds will be spent acquiring more inventory from fashion brands, creating more exclusive brands, increasing online as well as offline marketing, and expanding logistics.

Read the rest of the story here.

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