Archive | September 20, 2015

Technology of the week – Amazon Dash and HelloFresh

In our technology of the week project we took a look at two services that target the “modern day’s customer” who demands to get things done fast, with as little trouble as possible, in a convenient and as much as possible fun way.

When watching the commercials (below) of both HelloFresh and Amazon Dash it really stands out much they resonate with what bothers the customer. They build their messages on how they provide solutions to the pains of everyday busy people. Both services aim to make a task that is a regular and time consuming part of everyday life  “easy” or “simple” (Their taglines are extremely similar: “Cooking made easy” and “Shopping made simple”)

HelloFresh, a three year old start-up, which currently operates in seven countries (the Netherlands being one of them) promises to give customer everything that they need for a delicious, healthy, home-made dinner except the chef. They create easy step-by-step receipt, select organic, seasonal ingredients from local providers, and send the exact amounts needed from those ingredients for a meal that can be ready in a maximum of 30 minutes. Apart from the convenience piece HelloFresh also builds on the very common desire of today’s customers to eat healthy and on the environmental friendly packaging and recycling trend. They use word of mouth in an extremely smart way by on one hand providing customers and their friends discounts if they start using the service based on recommendation and on the other hand encouraging the users to share their ready meals on social media. HelloFresh operates in a market where the bargaining power of the buyer is high and of the suppliers low, where – the threat of new entrants is high, given the low barriers to entry, and the lack of switching cost, and last, but not least, where the threat of substitutes is also high so the number of competitors is high and that is one of the reasons why they build a loyal community of customers. After certain amount of meals cooked with HelloFresh users get certificates, can attend breakfasts and dinners where they get to know the providers and share their opinion about the receipts and ingredients.

Amazon Dash is the newest innovation of Amazon, it is a wand with which customers can scan the barcode of anything that runs out in their household or simply just say the missing item “into” the device. These orders are automatically recorded in the user’s AmazonFresh account and once the customer clicks approve it is delivered within 24 hours. In very simple words the Dash ’s promise is that you will never run out of morning coffee or toilet paper ever again. When providing this service Amazon builds on it’s reliable brand, extremely streamline processes and more than 20 years experience in online shopping. On the long run Amazon’s goal with the Dash is to completely eliminate brick and mortar stores and moving shopping entirely online.

Despite being quite different at first look the Amazon Dash and HelloFresh target almost the same customer segment, and both the channels in which they reach their users (delivery and online platforms), their key activities (finding and managing suppliers, storing perishable goods, delivering) key resources (drivers, carriers, packaging, IT systems) and basic cost structure are comparable. Even in their value proposition they both aim to create a convenient experience and save time for their customers, their main difference lies in what exact problem they want to solve for their customer: making it possible to cook home healthy food without the hassles around cooking or never running out of the basic groceries and never forgetting anything during shopping again.

Both have a strong market presence but while HelloFresh has many similar competitors, the Dash has no direct competitor currently. Amazon Dash and HelloFresh work with a business to customer model currently and have the potential to expand to the business to business sector. Although the discussed business models are both innovative, have the potential to decrease or almost eliminate the importance of brick­ and­ mortar stores and change the relation we have to shopping, the Amazon Dash has potential to do even more than that and disrupt whole sectors in the future.

Authors: Group 15
Ekaterina Marinova – 436554
Anargyros Michaletos – 436750
László Nedeczky – 416837
Lina Nota – 440733
Gabriella Pimpão – 437021

Smartphone of the Future – Graphene the New Superstar?

Being a little clumsy and at the same time an absolute smartphone addict, it regularly happens to me that my mobile phone slips out of my hands and lands, mostly, on its screen first on the floor. The time between realizing I dropped my phone and picking it up to check whether the screen is still in one piece usually lets my heartbeat increase drastically.

And this not only happens to me. According to a survey conducted by case manufacturer Tech21 as many as 90% of users drop their phone at least once a month (Blandford, 2013). Although this number should be regarded at with caution since Tech21’s main interest consists in selling as many phone cases as possible, it surely gives us a hint that with the rapid growth of the mobile device market phone dropping and the associated repair costs have become an issue.

However, there is good news for all the phone droppers on this planet! Soon we might not only be able to drop our phones without having to fear any consequences but we might even be able to bend them as much as we like. This can be achieved through a new superlight and superstrong material called graphene, a one atom thick layer of graphite making it both transparent and bendable. In addition to the before-mentioned characteristics, graphene also conducts heat and electricity better than anything else, making it an optimal ingredient for future LED screens (De la Fuente, 2014).

Although the technology integrating graphene into smartphone LED screens is still in its infancy and we might therefore not yet see any transparent and bendable smartphone screens in the very near future, both researchers and the mobile phone industry have launched projects exploring the possible applications for graphene (Hamill, 2014).

For those who might now be interested in graphene and its capabilities, I recommend to have a look at the following TED talk from Mikael Fogelstrom which provides some great explanations.

So what do you think? Is graphene really the new super material researchers like to promote it as? Will our future mobile devices be made of graphene? Do you see any further uses of graphene apart from the one discussed in this article?


Blandford, 2013.‘90% of people drop their phone at least once a month’,, last visited: 20 September 2015.

De la Fuente, 2014.‘Graphene uses and applications’,, last visited: 20 September 2015.

Hamill, 2014. ‘Smartphones Of The Future Will Use Graphene Touchscreens’,, last visited: 20 September 2015.

The Internet of Things

In the recent years, internet connections have become easier to access to, technology costs have decreased, everyone possess more and more devices with wifi-capabilities… All these factors are favoring the development of the “Internet of Things” phenomenon.

What is ‘The Intenet of Things’?

The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects whose goal is to be able to connect devices over the internet to make these “smart”. How can we do that?  Objects, animals, people will be associated with a unique identifier allowing us to recognize it among all connected objects. This object will collect data thanks to sensors and transfer data via wireless communication.

This phenomenon is not new but its development could have a huge impact on our lives and on organization’s way of doing business in the next 5 years. Indeed, according to the famous analysts firm Gartner we can expect over 26 billion connected devices by 2020.

Impact on our lives

IoT applications will enable us to connect with things and learn about them and interact with them in a new way. IoT will also enable us to monitor things. This could have a huge impact on the health industry. What if hospitals were able to track cardiac data of patients 24/7 allowing them to detect any irregular activity and to treat it in real time.  What if sensors could help you monitor the health of an old relative living alone? IoT is an opportunity to develop reality search engines to learn how to better manage. If a “smart” city is able to know where its citizens are, it could better manage congestion, security and energy efficiency.

Impact on organizations

It also has a huge impact on firm’s way of doing business. It makes the real time track of individual products possible whatever the way they are transported, having huge impacts in the supply-chain and inventory management of the retail industry for example. The performance of production cycle could also be monitored allowing for better maintenance and predicting potential breakdowns, hence reducing costs. Sensors on roads could transfer information to cars’ GPS about weather conditions, making the car slow down when needed… But IoT sensors are most of all a new way of collecting data on customer behavior as products would themselves report how they are being used. The impact would be huge as “the ability to offer almost anything as a service can transform the very nature of what is bought and sold” (J. Maniyka & M. Chui, McKinsey & Company, (2015)). A research of the McKinsey Global Institute estimates an economic impact of IoT applications of about $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion per year in 2025.

Even if IoT requires sophisticated technology and involves huge impact on the processes such as the management’s decision-making process businesses will have to invest in IoT applications in the future to stay competitive and to benefit from strategic and operational impacts.


McKinsey, 2015. ‘By 2025, Internet of things applications could have $11 trillion impact’’  last visited: 20 September 2015

Forbes, 2014. A simple explanation of ’The Internet of Things’ last visited: 20 September 2015

Wired, 2015. The Internet of Things is far bigger than anyone realizes’  last visited : 20 September 2015

Whatis .com, 2014. ‘The Internet of Things’ last visited: 20 September 2015

The obsolescence of the service employee

When visiting a restaurant, you might expect to see a waiter coming your way. If you get real old fashioned the waiter might even bring a paper menu with him. You’ll get asked whether you want something to drink and if you want an appetizer. Now think about an experience in which so called waiter asks whether or not you know how the system works, drops off a tablet when you say you do and leaves you to it. Ordering drinks and food via electronic devices is getting more and more common. It seems that it is even reaching into other hospitality services.

Let us have a closer look at a system called Roomlinx. This system allows hotel guests to order room service, fresh towels and linen, plan when the maid is welcome to clean their messes, have someone to help carrying their luggage, and even to check out of the room. Instead of having to deal with human employees of the hotel, guests only need to interact with an electronic panel that has been placed in their rooms. Besides being service orientated Roomlinx also provides entertainment via pay-per-view movies, advertising opportunities for local businesses, a platform where guests can interact with one another, and you can even plan where you will be going in the morning with an online map.

These developments, even if they prove to be service oriented, might as well be the systems that cause the demise of the employees of restaurants and hotels. No one is in need of a chatty waiter or bored receptionist, especially not if you are enabled to do everything yourself. Now think of the amount of people who work in this industry. Of course you will need to have developers for this kind of system, but a lot of people who work in hospitality will become obsolete if this system keeps evolving. One might think this is a whimsical development, but another might suspect that this is one of the first steps towards a futuristic future.

Technology of the week – Group 12

B2B eCommerce

Never before have humans been able to interact in such a manner with businesses as is offered online. The sheer magnitude of sales performed on the Internet is demonstrative of the way in which B2C e-commerce has become a cornerstone of modern day commerce. With 1.2 trillion dollars of B2C e-commerce sales in 2013 one can observe the rapid growth and scale of B2C e-commerce, thus, we decided to focus on two of the largest companies for our analysis, namely; Amazon and Facebook.

Amazon Dash

The Dash Button is the latest attempt of Amazon to facilitate the ordering process and make online spending an everyday occurrence. They allow for the replenishment of convenience products under the form of “one-touch” shopping. Some have aptly described the experience of using Dash Buttons as the “end of dashing to the supermarket” (Smith, 2015). The Dash Button was initially unveiled for 18 brands and cost $4.99 per unit, which is refunded once a purchase has been made via the button. The underlying mechanism behind the Dash Buttons relies on Wi-Fi pairing of customers’ Amazon accounts and the Buttons.

Facebook M

Unlike traditional personal assistant, such as Siri, which are fully technology based, Facebook M is partly Artificial Intelligence (AI) and partly human (Hempel, 2015). The concept is that by assisting the AI with a team of so called “M trainers”, which help it with dealing with unknown cases, “M” would be able to perform tasks based on its previous experiences in the long term (Hempel, 2015). Building on case-based reasoning and AI, the application has the potential to perform a wide array of tasks for Facebook users and is truly disruptive to the way consumers could purchase online. The way “M” is integrated into the Messenger interface is through a small Button which would allow users to text Messenger with their requests. Once complete, the user receives notification of fulfillment (Metz, 2015). The simplification of the purchase process is so tremendous that it has the potential to entirely disrupt how B2C e-commerce is conducted.


Amazon Dash and Facebook M both offer a reduction in time the consumer must take when making an order through a device. Yet, they differ in their approach as to how they provide a time-saving feature to customers. Both technologies are incredibly convenient with orders and reservations available from the touch of a button. Although Facebook M runs the risk of not being adopted seen as it might require users to disclose more amounts of personal information than already. Despite their potential to face resistance, one this is certain: they both have the potential to disrupt the e-commerce industry.


Hempel, 2015. Facebook launches M, its bold answer to Siri and Cortana. [Online] Available at:

Metz, C., 2015. Get a peek at someone using Facebook’s new assistan, M. [Online] Available at:

Smith, M., 2015. Hack Amazon’s Dash buttons to do things other than buying stuff. [Online] Available at:

Tom Hendry – 366163th

Dennis Huisman – 369919dh

Micaela Arizpe – 368389ma

Theo Fromentin – 371049tf

Dylan Greenfield – 365747dg

Your News

Everyone wants to stay up to date, and wants to be aware of the latest news. This results in a booming market of news applications. We are all familiar with for the basic news and funny facts, if we would like to have some more insights and a lot of people have installed Bright nowadays to be able to get to know the latest innovations and lifestyle trends. All these news applications are slightly different and we want to have access to them all on our mobile phone to stay up to date. But is there no easier way to read this variety of news articles?

Let me introduce you to Recent News. This news application is launched in September 2015 and is taking care of the importance of customization. Recent News will first ask their new users to fill in their interests and what kind of articles they are looking for. There are many subjects and specializations to choose from. After this artificial intelligence will take over. A learning system is integrated and Recent News will customize your news based on your preferences, past reading behaviour and similar users. The news application is able to learn your interests and will propose exactly these articles you may like to read (Bright, 2015; Recent News, 2015).

In my opinion Recent News is one of the innovations that is able to serve the future. Nowadays users will ask for more personal and customized products and services. Because of the Internet the market is more transparent than ever, consumers are better informed and they can find exactly what they want (Clemons, 2008). Firms have to make sure that they will respond to these needs; firms have to be able to customize their services the best they can. Clemons (2008) shows that this trend called resonance marketing; the firm should find the perfect fit with the customer.
Another feature of Recent News will also fit the latest trends: the location-based suggestions. Recent News will propose the users news articles based on their location. According to Ghose, Goldfarb and Han (2013) mobile Internet differs from Internet on personal computers. They show that mobile Internet is an important driver of the rise of location-based services. In our case Recent News will respond closely by proposing articles to their users based on their location, within news application local news becomes more important and preferable.

I am curious about how the future will look like. How can we still improve customization and make products and services even more personalized? Is artificial intelligence the future of businesses to customize the services and is this the way to really get to know the customers? Besides that I am wondering if news applications such as Recent News are able to replace the variety of news applications that exist these days? Let’s count the number of news apps that we have right now and compare it to the number we will have over two years.

Bright, 2015. ‘App van de week: Recent News’, last visited: 20 September 2015.
Clemons, E.K. 2008.  How Information Changes Consumer Behavior and Consumer Behavior Determines Corporate Strategy. Journal of Management Information Systems 25(2) 13-40.
Ghose, A., Goldfarb, A., and Han, S. 2013. How is the Mobile Internet Different? Search Costs and Local Activities. Information Systems Research. Articles in Advance. 1-19.
Recent News, 2015., last visited: 20 September 2015.
Author: Lizan Bakker

E-commerce and the car industry

E-Commerce becomes more and more important in all kinds of sectors due to the needs of the customers. The report named “The selfie experience: The evolving behavior of the connected customer” shows that there is an increasing demand from the customer side to have a personalized experience. The customers expect this offline as well as online. Besides this expectation, customers mention that personal preferences should form the basis for the delivered service and offers [1].

People with an age ranging from 18 till 34 years old do have more affinity with online channels than individuals belonging to another age group. However, even these ‘digital natives’ with a high affinity with online channels do want physical selling points. This shows that dealers are still an essential part of the selling process [1].

The report also states that almost all costumers, which get the feeling that they are well informed about the usage of their personal information, are satisfied with their dealer or supplier. Nevertheless, 37 percent of the customers did not have any contact with their dealer or manufacturer in the past year [1].

According to Capgemini there is need for ‘data sharing’ between the suppliers and the dealers to allow personalized experience. Consumers in sectors like the retail industry are used to get personal service and an experience that combines online and offline channels. These consumers require the same from the car industry [1].

Additionally specified in the report: customers ask more and more for new advanced technologies and ‘connected features’ in their cars. This will create new possibilities for suppliers and dealers, but it is also a challenge to manage this [1].

Consumers use a large variety of online sources when they are searching for a new car. A large group of people makes use of websites of dealers or manufacturers and search engines, respectively 49 percent and 43 percent. Besides these generally used sources, consumers also return to web forums, social media and smartphone applications. It is actually the Asian market that stimulates the use of a large variety of and non-traditional online sources. 80 percent of the consumers are drastically influenced by the positive reactions on social media [1].

Even though many customers use online sources during their decision-making process, 95 percent of the consumers still visit one or more dealers before their purchase. The reason for this is that they still want a ‘tangible’ experience when they buy a car [1].

So, will the car industry completely turn into E-commerce in the future or will this combination exist forever?




The future of B2C e-commerce: Facebook

Facebook has been ever-growing every year, introducing always surprising news. An infinite number of retailers already have their own confirmed official Facebook page, allowing to be able to market their products, stay in touch with customers, build a Word of Mouth chain reaction and store recommendations for others to see. But what if Facebook and retail could merge together enhancing e-commerce in social media as well? If you were not up to date with Facebook’s latest move to use Shopify’s platform allowing companies and individuals to sell their products directly on Facebook. For those unfamiliar with Shopify, it’s an all-in-one platform used for e-commerce with over hundred-thousands of users already. Shopify and Facebook have been tendering, and working along-side since approximately one year. This year, they’ve announced that Facebook is currently testing the new “buy” button (F. Vendrame, 2015).

This move from Facebook to close up to the eCom world is part of its new strategy to enhance its platform to online selling. Most likely, a strategy to both attract new users as well as to attract new firms willing to sell and post their products inside to the social network. In other words, with this move Facebook is allowing for e-retailers to evolve from simply being advertising sections to incorporated eShops (F. Vendrame, 2015).

Regardless of the benefits, it’s a change that uses Shopify’s Facebook store only: it hasn’t given any benefit to brands uniquely on their personal Facebook pages. More specifically, these products are not openly seen in a major e-retailer’s official certified Facebook page, resulting in little improvement or increase in sales via social media.

Furthermore, research has shown that the average population still prefers to shop in-store rather than online. Nearly 40 percent of consumers make purchases inside a physical store at least once a week, compared to just 27 percent who do the same online, according to PwC’s annual consumer survey (C. Brooks, 2015). Usually, the main reasons why this is still the case, it’s because they want to avoid delivery costs, it’s more fun, and you get to see the item directly (C. Brooks, 2015). Another article states that: “Although e-commerce seems to get all the media attention these days, in reality, the Omnichannel Shopping Preferences study notes, 90 percent of all U.S. retail sales still happen in stores. Just 5 percent occur via online-only channels such as, and another 5 percent occur on the e-commerce sites of companies that also have brick-and-mortar locations”. Therefore, Facebook needs to do something more than just to amplify with Shopify if it wants to enhance the game of e-commerce in its platform. However, one solution might have found it’s light recently.

Given that on average, the 1.44 billion users spend about 20 minutes on Facebook on average, and describe Facebook as a good way to stay in touch with the world (Youtube: Facebook-Good or Bad, what’s your opinion, 2012), if both concepts of e-commerce and Facebook were to be mixed together I believe it will increase the percentage of online-shopping. In fact, Facebook has recently announced a new innovation that portrays the social network closer to e-commerce. For instance, the social network will open up two new sections: Shopping and services, which allows businesses to feature their products and services directly from their Facebook pages (Mashable, 2015). Facebook possesses over 45 million pages, and with this new features for pages, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Samberg believes that it will allow for corporations, firms, small flower shops or non-profit organisations to further  house the information people are really looking for. FB-services-ecommerce-640x580

From a personal perspective, I am very pleased with this innovation from Facebook’s standpoint. It leads to a mixture of virtual social interaction, and getting update on friends’ life whilst “scrolling” for what product to buy on the same platform. This will save up a lot of time for consumers, as well as for e-retailers. I am personally a big user of Facebook, and I have used online company pages to be directed to their products on their website. I have worked behind online marketing via Social Media before, and I know that it’s hard to generate traffic on a major brand or retailer’s web shops from social media. Henceforth, I am excited to see where this could lead to, and whether this could be the very next step of Facebook.

What’s your opinion on Facebook merging with e-commerce?

Used sources:

Study Shows Consumers Prefer Shopping in a Store, Not Online

2015: Big brother is watching you

Through what kind of channel did you obtain your last purchase? Was it online or offline? It would be interesting to see what the percentages of online vs. offline purchases are. Some of us may favor online shopping because of the great amount of information available about your intended purchase. Others prefer going to a physical store for the service provided by a salesman.

Either way, it is obvious that some retailers have lost customers who switched to online shopping. So what can they do to increase profitability despite this loss? Surveillance cameras might be a step in the right direction.

Now when thinking of surveillance cameras, you most probably expect to read about crime. However, they have another valuable utility. Software enables to track people with the use of multiple surveillance cameras. Here is how it works. The cameras track a person, as he/she is moving around the store. The software breaks down the footage it obtains into components. These components consist of people’s characteristics such as hair color, height, color of their clothes etc. The information produced by the software provides retailers insights on where customers spend most time in the store and which products they are looking at. The software analytics are able to predict the probability of a person moving from one place in a store to another.

Software picks out people’s characteristics from surveillance video so it can track them across a store, from one camera to another. (MIT technology Review, 2015)

Software picks out people’s characteristics from one camera to another. (MIT technology Review, 2015)

The aforementioned results can be a valuable contribution to adjusting the real time in store experience of the customer. Retailers can improve the layout of the store, adapt their product offer, change the way employees provide service to customers and much more. By enhancing customer experience and better adapting to their needs, retailers are able to increase profitability.

As with most topics related to gathering customer data (online), privacy matters are addressed. We are already less in control online. Will this software be another infringement of our privacy? Maybe we simply have to accept the fact that the idea of privacy is transforming. The same way that many other things are, as technology is changing the world we live in.

Do you already feel ‘they’ are watching you? Or will you be more aware of the surveillance cameras now? Is this an acceptable marketing tool or do retailers know too much about you? Personally, I was not aware of this phenomenon, the trade off between privacy and convenience. Perhaps further transparency about this technology and the benefits and drawbacks might help acceptance, what do you think?


Technology of the week – two different types of subscription models

Technology of the week – two different types of subscription models

How can a retailer keep a price-sensitive customer? And how can a company make sure they have the right products in stock? A possible solution is the subscription ecommerce business model. Consumers take a subscription on a certain type of product and receive it every month. The added comfort of getting a product delivered to your home without having to search for it makes up for the lack of choice or potentially higher price. In addition to product-based subscriptions, consumer can subscribe to additional services an online retailer has to offer.

Amazon Prime

An example of a service-based subscription model is Amazon Prime. It was initially founded to decrease the delivery time for shipping goods. However, now it provides users with additional services, like for example a Netflix-like application, free e-books for a Kindle e-reader and a subscription to the Washington Post. The retail business and the subscription service co-exist, since Amazon is making enormous losses on Amazon Prime, however Amazon Prime subscribers create two times the revenue of a normal Amazon client.

An example of a product-based subscription model is This online company provides a solution for men who do not like, or do not have time to go shopping. The idea of is simple; the customer creates a profile on the website of Outfittery and fills out a survey about their personality, style and sizes. They complete this with an upload of a picture and making an appointment with a personal style-expert. These experts will contact the customer to get a more personal, complete profile of the customer.

Comparison of both models

An important strength for both of the models is that it truly creates value through their services, which has great advantages over conventional (e-commerce) models. One important advantage of the model used by Outfittery, is that once you subscribe, there are no further actions you have to take to fully exploit your membership. This is different compared to Amazon, where you have to take subsequent actions to maximize the profit out of your membership. An advantage of Amazon Prime’s model over the one of Outfittery, is that the products they provide can be bought without the membership as well. Another an advantage of Amazon Prime is that the consumer can decide which product will be bought. Lastly, Amazon is more dependable on third parties to adequately execute its major proposition. Delivery speed covers a significant part of the service customers pay for, and Amazon cannot control quality accurately.

Future of subscription models

To conclude, the subscription model will be the future. It provides companies with a continuous and in advance known flow of income. In a world where time is getting more and more valuable and we want an experience. This model can give companies economic stability for companies As a result this will be the model that is going to be applied by a lot of major companies.

Fabian Dekker 332721

Mitch Houthuijsen 356092

Victor Noya 360681

Rinke Raven 358516

Robbert-Jan Wanna 329761