R|T: The Retail Times – Amazon wants Rufus to shop with you

Plus: Shopify unveils term loans, lines of credit for merchants.

The Retail Times is a weekly newsletter covering retail tech news from Canada and around the globe.

Subscribe to R|T using this form to ensure you don’t miss out on the most important retail tech news every week!

Amazon debuts ‘Rufus,’ an AI shopping assistant in its mobile app

Amazon announced today the launch of an AI-powered shopping assistant it’s calling Rufus that’s been trained on the e-commerce giant’s product catalog as well as information from around the web.

Customers will be able to chat with Rufus inside Amazon’s mobile app to get help with finding products, performing product comparisons, and getting recommendations on what to buy. 



GoDaddy’s all-in-one commerce platform has the lowest transaction fees in the industry.

Canadian businesses can now accept payments online and in-person while saving 15 per cent on card processing fees with GoDaddy Payments. The new commerce platform offers businesses a way to easily sell anywhere, save on fees, and manage transactions from one dashboard.

Backed by the industry’s lowest rates* compared to other leading providers, currently at 2.3% + 0 cents per in-person and 2.7% + 0 cents per online transaction, GoDaddy’s commerce solution is for businesses that are looking to save time and money in 2024.

Businesses can sign up for GoDaddy Payments within minutes and accept all major credit cards, with no long-term contracts, no monthly minimums, and no hidden fees. 

*Currently the lowest pricing compared to leading providers Square, Stripe, and Shopify for Canadian ecommerce, in-person, and keyed-in transactions.

Shopify unveils term loans, lines of credit for merchants

Shopify has revealed two new loan offerings to merchants in what the company has called the “next evolution” of its lending business.

The e-commerce giant has now launched a line of credit as well as term loans as part of a recent roundup of new products and features through its winter 2024 Editions showcase. The two offerings are currently available only to merchants in the United States. 


Activist Elliott builds roughly 13% stake in Etsy, secures board seat

Activist investor Elliott Management has a “sizable” investment in e-commerce firm Etsy, which announced on Thursday that Elliott partner Marc Steinberg would join the company’s board.

The activist investor has built a roughly 13% position in the stock, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.

Etsy shares shot up more than 10 percent on the news. 


Eight Canadian foodtech projects receive $1.9 million in pilot funding from CFIN

Eight Canadian foodtech startups have received a collective $1.9 million in project funding from The Canadian Food Innovation Network’s (CFIN) FoodTech Next program.

Montréal-based DeepSight Réalité Augmentée and its partner, Québec chicken restaurant chain St-Hubert, received $233,967 to deploy its augmented reality solution for industrial training in the food processing and food service sectors.


Walmart’s Canadian footprint grows in step with e-commerce ambitions

Walmart Canada’s warehouses in the country now take up the space of roughly 108 Canadian football fields. The retailer will open another facility of roughly 550,000 square feet this year as it aims to establish itself as a dominant e-commerce player in the country.

This year, the retailer is set to open one more centre, which will see its Canadian distribution footprint crack 10 million sq. ft. The Vaughan, Ont., facility will give Walmart Canada about 40 percent of Amazon Canada’s distribution footprint as it competes for Canadians’ online orders.

(The Logic)

Government of Canada finally launches consultations on SR&ED modernization

As promised late last month, the federal government has now launched consultations on its Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program.

The Department of Finance is seeking feedback on how to modernize and improve SR&ED in “cost-neutral ways” and the suitability of adopting a patent box regime by April 15, as it considers whether to give firms that develop and keep IP in Canada a tax break on sales of their inventions globally. 


Amid rising business costs, GoDaddy’s Young Lee shares how Canadian companies can keep them in check

The cost of doing business in Canada is rising, and compounding this problem is a wave of hidden costs that often elude initial budgeting and catch entrepreneurs and small businesses by surprise.

As Young Lee, Canada market and growth lead at GoDaddy puts it, “Canadian small businesses are stretched thinner than ever, particularly when it comes to their finances.”

As business costs continue to rise, Lee talked to BetaKit about how Canadian small business owners can keep expenses in check.


UPS is cutting 12,000 jobs

UPS announced Tuesday that it will cut 12,000 jobs as part of a bid to save $1 billion in costs. Managers and contractor positions will make up most of the layoffs.

UPS lost business last year as customers concerned about a possible strike by the Teamsters shifted shipments to rival carriers, such as FedEx. Although UPS said it expects to get most of that business back, it had won back only about 60% of that lost business.


Communitech names six new Canadian tech companies on track to reach $1 billion in revenue by 2030

Kitchener-Waterloo innovation hub Communitech has revealed six new Canadian tech companies that have the potential to reach $1 billion in revenue by 2030.

Among the new companies to join the group is Toronto-based delivery startup GoBolt. Though these startups have seen rapid growth, they have not been immune from current macroeconomic conditions.

In October 2023, GoBolt reportedly laid off approximately 20 staff to meet “the evolving quality and scalability needs of” its business, according to a statement from CEO Mark Ang.


Amazon posts AI-fueled cloud, ecommerce growth, shares jump

Amazon beat fourth-quarter revenue expectations on Thursday as new generative AI features in its cloud and ecommerce businesses spurred robust growth during the critical holiday period.

Investors cheered the results, sending Amazon shares up as much as 8 percent in trading after the market close.

Related: Amazon’s deal to buy Roomba maker iRobot is off, the companies announced, after iRobot said the deal has “no path to regulatory approval in the European Union.”

The announcement comes after the $1.4 billion acquisition ran into difficulties with EU regulators.


With federal backing, University of Calgary gears up to launch ElevateIP Alberta program

The University of Calgary is gearing up to fully launch ElevateIP Alberta, the Albertan iteration of the federal intellectual property program.

ElevateIP aims to help business accelerators and incubators provide tools for Canadian startups to understand, manage, and leverage their IP. Alberta’s program aims to support more than 2,500 startups in Alberta.


Delivery Hero exits Deliveroo as takeaway demand wanes

Delivery Hero is selling its stake in fellow online food dispatch group Deliveroo, as the sector comes down from the highs of the pandemic-boom of consumer demand for takeaways.

The Berlin-based group on Monday said it intended to sell up to 68.2mn class A ordinary shares in Deliveroo — equivalent to about a 4.5 per cent stake — and does not expect to hold any stock in the company after the settlement.

(Financial Times)

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

0 replies on “R|T: The Retail Times – Amazon wants Rufus to shop with you”