Tech Tuesdays: WSS Taps Aptos for Mobile POS + AI in the News

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In this week’s tech news, mobile POS and AI take center stage

WSS Taps Aptos One for Mobile-Enabled Store Experience

Aptos said WSS will deploy its Aptos One POS platform across over 100 stores nationwide. Built on the Aptos One microservices-based platform, Aptos One POS is a mobile-first application designed to streamline and enhance in-store experiences for both WSS shoppers and store associates.

The move to Aptos One POS represents a strategic initiative for WSS, according to Sarah Derba, senior director of information technology at the retailer. The solution is designed to empower sales associates to move freely throughout the store, interacting with customers and providing exceptional service, the company said. With Aptos One POS on mobile devices, store associates will have access to real-time inventory data, customer purchase history and promotional offers – all at their fingertips.

Derba said Aptos One POS is extremely user-friendly, and “combines advanced functionality with a clean interface and simplified workflows, allowing for quick associate training. Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction go hand in hand. Our investment in Aptos One is part of our commitment to providing the best possible experiences for both.”

Looking ahead, WSS said it is committed to remaining adaptable to new trends and market shifts. The Aptos One platform provides the retailer with the flexibility to differentiate its brand and pursue new opportunities. “Tech stack agility is very important to us,” Derba said. “We need to meet our customers’ needs today and react quickly as those needs evolve. The Aptos One platform gives us the ability to do just that.”

“With Aptos One, we’re helping retailers break down data silos, unify systems, and reinvent the shopping experience,” said Jeremy Grunzweig, Aptos general manager. “WSS is a remarkable retailer that makes a positive impact on the communities it serves. We’re honored by our long-standing partnership and excited for their next chapter in retail technology innovation with Aptos One.”

Nearly Half of U.S. Small Businesses Say They’re Ready to Embrace AI, But Need Guidance

Visa’s latest small business study reveals a surge in interest for artificial intelligence (AI) among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. and Canada. The report was conducted by Morning Consult and is based on a poll of 500 small business decision-makers.

The results revealed a significant gap between awareness and adoption. While nearly half (44 percent) of those polled said they are eager to leverage AI, they lack the know-how to get started.

The report, titled “The Rise of AI: Small Businesses Are Catching Up,” finds that even among those who have already adopted AI, a staggering 90 percent faced initial hurdles. Learning how to use these tools was their biggest challenge, cited by 47 percent of respondents. Other roadblocks included navigating the variety of AI options (36 percent), uncertainty about implementation (34 percent), compatibility concerns (31 percent) and worries about data privacy and security (26 percent).

The report also explored the recent surge in AI adoption. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents said they have implemented AI and did so within the last year. Increased productivity is the top driver, with nearly 70 percent of AI adopters citing it as their primary reason for AI implementation.

Small businesses report experiencing significant benefits, including time savings (63 percent), productivity boosts (47 percent), improved customer experience (43 percent) and reduced errors (40 percent).

The report also highlighted the tech-forward mindset of Gen Z entrepreneurs. Two-thirds of Gen Z and Millennials polled said they use AI in both their business and personal lives. For them, AI isn’t just an option, but a necessity for staying competitive and innovative. This is particularly true for those in the creator economy, who leverage AI for content creation.

Social Commerce Integration

Captiv8 is growing its partnership with TikTok to include an integration with TikTok Shop. The expansion fosters improved collaboration and opens doors for more opportunities between content creators and brands, which means more money for brands as well as creators.
Captiv8 said in a statement that the integration of TikTok Shop into Captiv8’s Affiliate offering “will further enhance Captiv8’s robust social commerce solutions.”

The deal follows the launch of Captiv8’s “Branded Storefront” platform, which allows creators to operate a single storefront with all of their content instead of having multiple affiliate links across different platforms. With the TikTok Shop integration, the Branded Storefront platform takes social commerce to a new level, allowing for a larger marketing funnel — a win for brands and creators.

“As the cornerstone of TikTok Shop, creators and brands play a pivotal role in driving sales, and Captiv8 aims to offer capabilities to empower both groups,” the company said. “Captiv8’s integration with TikTok Shop leverages the influence of creators who are already engaging with specific brands and products, transforming discussions into commerce through shoppable content, affiliate partnerships, and seamless in-platform discovery and checkout — all in one click.”

Krishna Subramanian, chief executive officer and co-founder of Captiv8, said the company is committed to driving innovation in the creator economy. “Our enhanced partnership with TikTok Shop represents a significant step forward in our mission to empower brands and creators with unparalleled social commerce capabilities.”

“By integrating TikTok Shop into our Affiliate offering, we are enabling seamless, shoppable experiences that turn engagement into sales, and inspiration into action,” the CEO added. “This collaboration underscores our dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions that meet the evolving needs of the market and set a new standard for social commerce.”

Fintech Firm Klarna Reaches Key Milestone

Klarna achieved a key milestone with its newest offering, Klarna Plus, by gaining 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. since the platform’s launch earlier this year. Issued by WebBank, Klarna Plus is designed to enhance the shopping experience by providing subscribers with exclusive benefits that include waived service fees, rewards and access to special deals with popular brands.

Some of the top footwear brands on the Klarna marketplace platform include Nike, Adidas and New Balance, among many others as well as fashion brands such as Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen and Betsey Johnson, among many others.

Klarna Plus members enjoy significant savings with an average saved of $18 a month, the company said adding that it translates to an estimated total of $1.8 million saved for all members within the first month. Additionally, Klarna plus members have utilized more than 27,000 discount offers at various retail partners.

David Sandstrom, chief marketing officer at Klarna, said the positive reception of Klarna Plus in the U.S. “really shows the value of this product. Our commitment to offering valuable and exclusive benefits to our subscribers remains strong as we continuously look to enhance their shopping experience while expanding our services beyond buy now, pay later.”

Some of the key features of the Klarna Plus subscription include waived service fees where members can shop at any retailer or brand outside Klarna’s network and split payments into four interest-free installments using the Klarna One Time Card without any service fees, for a monthly fee of $7.99.

Going Deeper on Customer Insights

Vsblty Groupe Technologies Corp. and Multimedia Plus have teamed up to offer retailers an AI-powered platform to help merchants get a more detailed read on customers so they can better serve them.

The launch of the platform, called “Incite Vision,” combines features of Multimedia Plus’ Incite Kiosk (customer engagement hub, training, communications and task management capabilities) with Vsblty’s “state-of-the-art AI computer vision technology that measures and validates customer engagement and helps inform retail operations,” the companies said.

Terms of the partnership were not disclosed. The companies said Incite Vision “generates powerful AI-driven insights to determine customer demographics and engagement levels, enabling retailers to deliver highly personalized and effective customer experiences.” The firms also said the combined platform represents “a significant advancement in retail technology, merging comprehensive employee training and task management with sophisticated customer interaction analytics.”

Jay Hutton, chief executive officer of Vsblty, said the partnership with Multimedia Plus to create Incite Vision “represents a major leap forward in retail technology. By combining our computer vision technology with the comprehensive capabilities of the Incite platform, we are providing retailers with a powerful tool to enhance both customer and employee engagement.”

Hutton added that the integration “allows for more personalized customer experiences, data analytics and improved operational efficiency.”

The features of the platform include enhanced in-store interactions via interactive kiosks that offer product information and retail promotions at the point of purchase. It also includes a centralized shopper-facing hub that draws content from different channels “and provides tools to measure employee engagement with customers using curated content,” the companies said.

There are also tools for employee training, communication and task management “to ensure seamless store operations and exceptional service quality.”

Incite Vision features AI “to analyze customer demographics such as age and gender, as well as dwell time and time spent viewing specific content, which provides actionable insights to optimize in-store experiences and marketing strategies.”

“We are excited to collaborate with Vsblty to bring Incite Vision to life,” said David Harouche, chief executive officer of Multimedia Plus. “This innovative platform will empower our retail clients to better understand their customers and streamline their operations, ultimately leading to a more engaging and efficient retail experience.”

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