Archive by Author | therealcorti94

iCar: A new market penetration from Apple?

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It’s been a few years that companies, newspapers and customers have been speculating around the idea of Apple emerging in the automobile industry by launching their first iCar. Even during the times when Steve Jobs was under the command of Apple, the rumours of Apple wanting to build it’s first car was on-going.  In 2012, Apple board member and J. Crew Group CEO Mickey Drexler told Paul Goldberger that Steve Jobs had a car on Apple’s radar (Business Insider, 2015). More specifically, Drexler had stated that if Steve Jobs was to be still alive, he was going to design the first iCar. Now, these speculations seem to have reached the surface to a possible reality.

On Monday the 21st, according to a Wall Street Journal report, it was stated that Apple has planned to launch their first very electric vehicle known as the iCar, with a set-date on 2019. This news comes on the heels of a reported meeting between a member the company’s senior council with California DMV officials last week to discuss the details of self-driving cars. Though the Cupertino-based company might be exploring autonomous cars, initial Apple electric vehicles wouldn’t be self-driving, the Journal report says. Instead, that technology would be saved for a later rollout (Mashable, 2015).

Other report suggest that apple is developing an electric iCar to go under competition against Tesla. Reports suggest that Apple is under negotiations with BMW since August, and that negotiations are still on-going (L; Painter, 2015).

Known as “project Titan” within the environment of Apple for over a year now, the American firm has reportedly been given permission to triple the size of its 600 person car team after meeting with officials in California. Apple is understood to have been on a recruitment drive to help speed its car project along, hiring big hitters from automobile firms like Chrysler (Mirror, 2015). According to an Italian automobile online-journal, Apple has been shopping for professionals in the industry from other automotive firms such as Mercededs, Tesla and Volkswagen. Additionally, it appears they have also hired a famous university researcher that studies autonomous driving (Omniauto, 2015).

It’s still a question whether project Titan will come to light in 2019, or whether it will be finished after all. Apple has always been the leader in leaving customers with rumours, and this speculation becoming a semi-announcement can as well be and always be just a rumour. No one still knows how the iCar will look like (the picture above is a predictive design), and what will be Apple’s major competitor’s -such as Samsungs- move will be, but Google has been already in the works with building an autonomous vehicle. If Apple will join the battle in the automobile industry, it will be interesting to see how the other car companies will react to it, and what will happen to the market share.

In my own very opinion, I believe that if the iCar will surface in 2019, a customer will have to possess other Apple devices to ensure it’s 100% function given the rise of iCloud and other Apple tech related applications.

What’s your thoughts on the iCar? Would you want one or would it become to Tech?

Sources:
http://www.omniauto.it/magazine/32887/apple-icar-pronta-nel-2019

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/apple-icar-could-hit-streets-6489200

http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/apple/will-apple-make-icar-project-titan-rumour-roundup-bmw-3425394/

http://mashable.com/2015/09/21/apple-car-2019-launch-date/#VVarQeUDr8qb

http://uk.businessinsider.com/mickey-drexler-steve-jobs-was-gonna-design-an-icar-2015-2?r=US&IR=T

Technology of the Week “B2C e-commerce”: The future of shopping

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Since the rise of the internet in our everyday life, a lot has changed. Firms had to revolutionise their product strategies, adapt to a whole new 4Ps conception, and serve a whole new platform of markets, namely e-markets. The trend of e-shopping was then introduced in order for firms to increase sales via the e-commerce channel. This lead to further innovations in order to contrast the vicious competitive environment of e-markets, while trying to transfer the in-store shopping experience directly online. With that being said, this article will introduce two new emerging technologies that are involved in the realistic transition between in-store and online shopping through Augmented Reality (AR).

Social Shopping

Social shopping is an e-commerce methodology bridging social media and online shopping together. Social media impacts the shopping behaviour in a way in which other people like friends, family, bloggers and celebrities recommend and suggest certain products and services to the consumers. The idea behind a social shopping website is that it provides the potential customer with blogs and virtual communities to help him in his decision in buying consumer goods and services. This is achieved by the average consumer share his shopping ideas, exchanging opinions on products, and recommending one another on what to buy and what not to buy.

A research on social shopping in 2010 found out that consumers’ trust in product recommendations had not only a direct and significant positive effect on their purchase intentions, but also a strong indirect positive effect on buying the product from that specific website where the information was originally found. The intention of a consumer to purchase a good directly from the website could in that case directly be affected by the trust in the website, thus creating an incentive to build a online shopping platform (Yu, 2010).

To better understand this, we used Shopcade as an example to analyse the technology further, and base conclusions.

shopcade

Shopcade is a website and mobile app that creates a community of fashionistas and allows anyone to easily purchase the items that they see posted. The site has two main sections: the trending section and the feed section.

The trending feed is curated by the app itself. This means that it is a section with content posted only by the Shopcade team. This content comes usually in the form of blog posts regarding different fashion trends, whether it is for clothing, accessories or other items (for example, one post gave the most recent trends in duvet covers). Being a content provider as well as a service provider definitely adds value for the customers of the company. On the other hand, the feed section contains content created exclusively by bloggers and members of the community. This adds even more to the social aspect of Shopcade, giving a very Instagram-like feel to the whole social experience. This is what Shopcade does successfully. It actually created a situation where online shopping offers an experience that would be awkward to achieve in the store.

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed. It is directly applicable to the case of Shopcade.

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When it comes to their revenue model, Shopcade offers nothing new. As can be expected from such a business, they make money from affiliate marketing and sales. This means that they receive commission for all the purchases made from their website. In addition, some brands want more exposure, which requires them to pay more money to Shopcade.

Virtual Fitting Room (VRF)

Fitsme-has-built-a-virtual-fitting-room-platform-that-can-be-easily-integrated-onto-the-sites-of-online-retailers.

VRFs are the online substitution of in-store fitting rooms. It is available on PC-laptop and mobile devices. VFRs rely heavily on Augmented Reality (AR), which employs specialized software and hardware to merge the digital and the physical worlds by immersing digital information into real video to generate persuasive looking scenes in real-time. Personal measurements can be included online to allow the framework to build a 3-D avatar of the customer fitting the item. It’s built on a three-step algorithm: it builds/scan the user body through data measurements (size, width, length…), reference points (i.e face and figure) via AR, and finally, it builds the avatar incorporating the clothes on a superimposed 3D image.

Software companies such as Virtusize, Fits.me and Clothes Horse have all adapted this new technology providing it to big retail companies, attempting to tackle the fit challenge with a range of technology-based solutions, from “morphing mannequins” to size recommendation engines, all with the goal to simulate the physical fit and sizing experience (G. Randall, 2015).

Often enough shoppers complain about long waiting lines in shops and poorly set up fitting rooms. Conditions such as terrible lighting and a lack of space in the room tend to dominate the endless list of complaints. The slow but steady introduction of VFR has revolutionised the shopping industry, specifically the e-commerce aspect of it.

Using VRFs could actually increase the pleasure of shopping in many ways. Firstly, there is no hassle of having to physically put on several different clothes. The ability to take pictures whilst “trying on” these clothes means that customers can easily compare outfits. Furthermore, many side-menus can be added into the technology, this would be up to a firm to research what sort of features its customers need when trying on clothes. Some great features that many shoppers and experts posted include the ability to like and dislike garments, save pictures of outfits for later, see reviews and prices of products, as well as the ability to call in real-time service (LinkedIn, 2015).

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed, applicable to every aspect of the VRFs. As it can be observed, it is filled with opportunities leaving thoughts and space for improvement.

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Future perspectives

With the VFR component only, the customers missed the social element of shopping. On the other side, the current social shopping services do not offer a developed VFR experience yet, making a visit to the store easily a necessity. We believe these technologies will merge together as the result will provide an improved customer experience. In the future those various digital resources – VFR and Social Shopping included- will be combined in an overall bigger market. Indeed, as someone will be shopping from his home -trying out clothes through the VFR system-, the person will be able to ask the opinion of a friend or a shopping assistant; involving social shopping (IBM, 2010).

The combination of those two technologies presses the question whether physical retail shops will exist in the future. It seems not to be a question of “If” but “When” physical stores will become obsolete. The reader should ask himself in how much time this change would have taken place: 5, 10, 20 years? It is difficult to say. Humans tend to think linearly, however the rate at which technology imposes itself on the world rather corresponds to an exponential curve as Ray Kurzweil and the institution of Singularity University (2012) are professing.

Sources:

Yu, K.-L. H.-C.-Y.-P. (2010). Antecedents and consequences of trust in online product recommendations”, Online Information Review.
Randall, G. (2015). Fashion ecommerce: are virtual fitting rooms the silver bullet?. [online] Econsultancy. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66058-fashion-ecommerce- are-virtual-fitting-rooms-the-silver-bullet/ [Accessed 18 Sep. 2015].
LinkedIn (2015). Virtual changing rooms will revolutionize fashion retail [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/virtual-changing-rooms- revolutionize-fashion-retail-moles-mba

Team 13:
Claudio Corti
Maximilian Wiedmaier
Alex Furnica
Maxim Gggurevic
Paul Grandjouan

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 Amazon.com, 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:

http://www.webnews.it/2015/09/17/facebook-shopify-e-commerce/
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/shopping.html

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7756-online-shopping-preferences.html

Study Shows Consumers Prefer Shopping in a Store, Not Online

http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-much-time-people-spend-on-facebook-per-day-2015-7?r=US&IR=T

http://mashable.com/2015/09/08/facebook-shopping-and-services/#CCBesrSJ8gk6