Pandemic propels older shoppers online

NEW YORK (AP) — In November, Paula Mont did something new: The 86-year-old, who hasn’t left her New Jersey senior living community in nearly a year, went shopping — online.

Mont used an iPad, equipped with a stylus to help her shaky hands, to buy a toy grand piano for her great-granddaughter. She picked it out from more than a dozen versions of the instrument on Amazon.

“It is like a wow feeling. I found it!” Mont said.

The internet has become a crucial link to the outside world during the pandemic, one that millions of people still don’t have access to. Among older adults, the lack of internet has even impeded their ability to get vaccinated.


But the pandemic has also motivated many who have been isolated at home or unable to leave their senior communities to learn something they may have resisted until now: how to buy groceries

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Changing my phone to black and white for a week

As of late, I have been glued to my phone. From social media to online shopping, I have created an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship with my hand-held friend. During a quarantine-safe hangout, I noticed that my friend’s phone was completely in black and white. Upon questioning her, she told me it helps reduce her screen time. That was exactly what I needed. I’ve done digital detoxes before but had never heard of this method. So I, too, set my phone to the gray scale mode and tried it for a week.

Going into it, my screen time was an embarrassingly high six hours per day (mostly due to TikTok). I wanted to cut that down to by at least half. Immediately, the usual vibrant assortment of apps and red notifications were replaced by dull shades of gray. Texting and calling still felt somewhat normal, but when I scrolled through apps that

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Hero Is a Virtual Shopping Platform That ‘Humanizes’ Online Shopping

Founded in 2015 by Adam Levene, the Hero platform allows shoppers to go “inside the store” online to “interact with real experts at their favorite brands through video shopping, messaging and real-time chat,” the company said.

The aim is to create a more human connection between online merchants and brands, and their customers. Here, Levene discusses how the platform works and how humanizing the online shopping experience is relevant — especially since the outbreak of COVID-19.

WWD: What was the impetus behind founding Hero? And how does the virtual shopping platform work?

Adam Levene: Shoppers don’t have the same confidence to buy online as they do when browsing in-store — we launched Hero in early 2017 to solve this, believing that human interaction is what’s missing from e-commerce.

Grapple, my last business, was the largest app-commerce company in Europe, launching digital platforms for Adidas, P&G and Fiat, among others.

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Men’s Wearhouse Intros Contactless Tech to Measure Customers: Will More Retailers Follow?

Retail, once the mainstay of malls, can’t effectively exist anymore without a web presence. But to be really effective, retail stores should also maintain a brick-and-mortar location or locations. Men’s Wearhouse has embraced this business model with two new types of stores called “next-gen” stores — retail stores that give customers a combination of the online and in-store shopping experience.

Anyone who watches retail (a form of commercial real estate) has seen the rise of the omnichannel customer experience. Take clothes shopping. An example: Customers browse for apparel on their phone or computer, read about the product and its reviews, and order the item for pickup, where they can try it on at a brick-and-mortar store to ensure it’s what they want.

Why the need?

Once people started ordering products online, there was no going back. Some online product ordering works better than others, though. And with

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