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Digital Landscape Assignment: Case Analysis on E-Retailing & E-Marketing


Task: Digital Landscape Assignment – Case Study on E-Retailing/E-Marketing Please take some time to view the following four videos (at least twice) on the future of shopping.

Video 1. Alibaba’s New Retail Experience (5mins)
Video 2. Retail 2020: 5 Technologies (6mins)
Video 3. Supermarket 2020: A vision of the future (4 mins)
Video 4. Location Based Marketing (3 mins)

Now answer the following 4 questions:
1. Does the huge growth in ‘online shopping’ really mean the extinction of the traditional ‘high street’ store…or can Alibaba’s ‘New Retail’ (Video 1) help them to successfully coexist?

2. Discuss the 5 ‘New’ technologies outlined in video 2 and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each technology.

3. In video 3 we see Symphony Retail’s vision of Supermarket 2020. Discuss what your Supermarket of the future would look like and what it should contain/not contain.

4. We are told that Location-Based Marketing is about connecting people, places and media (Video 4). What are the ethical considerations around businesses knowing every ‘place’ we visit?


The research on digital landscape assignmentsignifies that the growth of online shopping has been exponential in recent years, with global sales reaching $2.3 trillion in 2017. This rapid expansion has led to many speculating that the traditional ‘high street’ store is doomed, as consumers switch to buying items online. However, there is evidence that this is not the case, and that the two types of shopping can successfully coexist.

In recent years, Alibaba has been working on what it calls "New Retail" - which is a term used to describe the merging of online and offline retail. The idea is to make it easier for customers to shop however they want, whether that be through in-store purchases, online orders, or even delivery. Alibaba has been investing heavily in this new retail model, with the goal of helping traditional retailers compete with the likes of Amazon and other e-commerce giants. One of the ways Alibaba is doing this is by working on a platform called "Lingshoutong" which allows customers to order items from their smartphones and have them delivered to the stores closest to where they are. This is a new way for customers to shop, but it also helps traditional retailers make more sales without having to do much additional work. "Lingshoutong" has been hailed as an answer to Amazon's Prime service that has been helping boost Amazon's sales for years. One of Alibaba's other recent projects is called "martkutuan" - which allows retailers to integrate their online and offline sales onto one platform. With this new system, customers can see what's in stock in stores while also checking for the same item online. This allows customers to pick whatever option they want, not limiting them to one or the other.

The biggest opportunity that online shopping brings is convenience; customers are no longer restricted to their local area, but can browse items around the world without leaving their homes. While this has certainly helped fuel the rise in online sales, it does not mean that consumers would be willing to give up on visiting physical stores altogether. In fact, a study by PwC found that while around 60% of consumers shop online, 80% of them also visit physical stores. There are a number of reasons for this. One is the desire for tactile experiences – shoppers want to be able to touch and feel products before they buy them. This is something that online shopping cannot offer, and customers are willing to visit stores in order to fulfil this requirement. Another is the desire for instant gratification; many consumers enjoy the experience of hunting for items in department stores which they can then take home immediately.

There are also advantages to having both physical and online stores. One study found that shoppers often use online stores to research products before visiting a physical store, where they will then buy the item. Another advantage is that customers can be referred from one channel to another; for example, someone who visits a physical store might end up buying an item online because it was not available in the store, or vice versa. With these advantages of coexisting with online stores, there are also risks. One is the issue of show rooming; customers visit physical stores with no intention of buying anything and simply browse items, but then buy them online at a cheaper price. While this can represent lost revenue for retailers arising from not selling an item to a customer in store, it can also serve as free marketing for online stores; show rooming can help to generate sales for online stores. The only way to make sure that physical and online retailing work successfully together is through investing in the best technology possible. This means having both an efficient e-commerce platform, as well as reliable IT infrastructure which will allow retailers to quickly process orders and fulfil their obligations to customers. While online sales are still growing, it would be a mistake to dismiss the high street store completely; there is no denying that both types of shopping can coexist successfully. With investment in state-of-the-art technology, physical stores should continue to flourish alongside their web counterparts.

The five technologies discussed in video are Beacons, Facial recognition, Robot assistance, Smart Mirrors, and Auto Checkout.
Beacons are small, wireless devices that send out signals to smartphones and other devices in order to track customers’ movements or provide them with information. They are often used in retail settings to measure how long customers spend in a store and what products they look at. Some people see beacons as an invasion of privacy, as they can track customer movements even when they are not actively using their phone. However, proponents argue that beacons allow companies to send targeted messages to customers, which could improve the customer experience and help retails interact with customers in a personalized way.

The benefit of this technology is that people who want a personalized customer experience will have it while those who don't can opt out. The drawback is that customers who don't want to be tracked cannot opt-out. Facial recognition cameras are cameras that use complex computer algorithms to identify people’s unique facial features and then match those features with images in a retail database. This can be used to alert customer about new stock of items they are looking for in the nearby stores. The alerts are sent to customer about the availability of particular item they are looking for in store or any new discount comes up on the particular item.

The benefits of facial recognition cameras are that they can be used for both security and marketing purposes. The drawback is that they can be used for nefarious purposes, such as identifying dissidents or protesters. Robot assistants are robots that are designed to help people with tasks of choosing the desired outfit and size. Availability of stock of size, color and design. The benefits of robot assistants are that they can help people with choosing product. The drawback is that they are expensive to purchase and maintain. Smart mirrors are mirrors that have been outfitted with sensors and microprocessors in order to gather data about the person looking at them. This data can be used to provide information about their appearance, such as the color of their clothes they can try without actually wearing them by just tapping on particular piece. The benefits of smart mirrors are that they can provide people with information about their outfit appearance. The drawback is that the data collected by smart mirrors could be used to track people’s movements and activities. Auto checkout is a self-checkout system that allows customers to scan, bag and pay for their own groceries. The customer scans each item as they place it in a shopping cart or basket, then takes the items to a designated “digital scale” area where a computer automatically calculates the total purchase price of all the items. Customers can then pay using an electronic payment method. The benefits of auto checkout are that it is fast and convenient. The drawback is that it can be confusing for customers who are not familiar with the technology. Each of these technologies has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It is up to each individual to decide which ones they find most useful or intrusive. As a general rule, companies use these technologies to benefit the customers. For example, a smart mirror would not be beneficial or intrusive to a person who uses it only for personal grooming. However, a person whose clothes do not match well could find finding out important information about their appearance helpful. Of course, some people might find finding out this sort of information intrusive. The same goes for facial recognition cameras or robot assistants. Some people might find helpful to know when they are being stared at, while others might find this intrusive. Finally, some people might find paying automatically convenient while others might find it confusing and difficult to use.This technology allows companies to send targeted ads to people. It invades the privacy of individuals and can be used to track people’s movements and activities.

Supermarket of 2020 should be built on the premise that consumers are looking for products which adhere to their values. If this is the case, it follows that supermarkets should include organic and plant-based foods, environmentally friendly cleaning products,

If the supermarket is to serve customers’ need for convenience it should offer online shopping and home delivery services. There should also be a separate section of the shop dedicated to ethical consumerism with a wide range of Fairtrade products. The aisles in this supermarket would have more room as they do not contain individual products like cans of soup or boxes of cereal. The shelves would be stocked with meal ideas and recipes which use the ingredients found in the store. The meat and dairy sections would be smaller as demand for these products decreases. Instead, the supermarket would focus on plant-based proteins and sustainable meat alternatives. There would also be a section which stocks only vegan and environmentally friendly products. This would be a place where both ethical consumers, and those who want to cut down on waste can purchase sustainable food items. Supermarket 2020 will have a greater number of healthy options as opposed to unhealthy ones. It will include fresh produce, at least one salad bar, and an organic section. Junk food will be hidden away in a corner, or eliminated altogether. The store would be brightly lit with clean, open spaces. There would be no plastic packaging and customers would be encouraged to bring their own containers to reduce waste.

In conclusion, Supermarket 2020 should be built on the premise that consumers are looking for products which adhere to their values. If this is the case, it follows that supermarkets should include organic and plant-based foods, environmentally friendly cleaning products, and ethical consumerism sections. Supermarket 2020 would be a place where people can shop for sustainable, healthy, and ethical products. It would be designed to meet the needs of modern consumers who are looking for alternatives to traditional supermarket items.

The vision by Symphony Retail has set out a roadmap for supermarkets in 2020 and beyond to make their shops more sustainable and ethical.This would include improving the sustainability of their packaging, reducing food waste, and increasing transparency in their supply chains.Supermarkets are under increasing pressure to become more sustainable and ethical, as consumers are increasingly looking for these values to be reflected in the brands they buy from. Symphony Retail's vision is a sign that supermarkets are starting to take these concerns seriously. Improving the sustainability of packaging is an important part of making supermarkets more sustainable. Many supermarkets are already starting to move towards more environmentally-friendly packaging, such as using recycled materials or biodegradable plastics. However, there is still room for improvement, and Symphony Retail's roadmap sets out specific targets that supermarkets should aim to meet. This would include developing, introducing and promoting more sustainable packaging; increasing transparency in their supply chains through using satellite imagery to monitor deforestation; and making all their suppliers commit to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The roadmap further sets out plans for supermarkets to reduce food waste. Often, supermarkets will over-produce goods which are later destroyed because they cannot be sold in time. The roadmap encourages supermarkets to gather data on the level of food waste in their supply chains and to develop strategies for reducing this waste.

"Location-based marketing is really about connecting people, places and media. It's the ability to use location as a trigger to create those connections." Location-Based Marketing is a branch of marketing that uses geographic data to target customers. It can be used in conjunction with other targeting methods, such as demographic data, interest’s data, and past purchase history.

The advantage of using location-based marketing is that it can help businesses to reach potential customers who are nearby. This makes it a very effective way to promote products and services, especially to mobile phone users. Location-Based Marketing works by sending advertisements via text message to mobile phones in a specific location. It can be used for many purposes: increasing brand awareness, increasing sales and driving footfall, providing upsell or cross sell opportunities, providing geotargeted coupons or deals, and increasing customer loyalty.

There are many different ways to use Location-Based Marketing, and businesses should carefully consider their goals before starting a campaign. It is important to think about the target audience, the products or services being promoted, and the message that is being sent. It can be very effective, but it is important to make sure that the campaign is well-planned and executed. If done correctly, it can help businesses to reach more customers and boost their sales. There are a lot of potential benefits to using location-based marketing. For example, it can help businesses connect with customers in specific locations. It can also help them understand the patterns of their customers so that they can provide better service. Location-based marketing can also be used to target customers with specific ads. For example, if you're walking past a restaurant, you might see an ad for that restaurant on your phone. This type of marketing can be very effective because it's relevant to the person's current location. But how can businesses get your location data? The answer is that we're giving it to them. Many of us have accepted this trade-off, because it provides a lot of benefits in return. For example, Facebook and Google Location Services allows us to use their apps without entering an address or latitude and longitude. The app just asks us to turn on our location and then we can use it. However, this means that they will know our location too.

However, there are also some potential risks associated with using location-based marketing. For example, businesses could use our data to spy on our movements or to target us with ads based on our location. They could even sell our data to other businesses or governments.

One of the key concerns around Location-Based Marketing is the ethical implications of businesses knowing our movements. We are already being tracked by our phones and other devices, so it’s reasonable to be concerned about how this data will be used by businesses.

There are a few ways that Location-Based Marketing could be abused. For example, businesses could use our data to spy on our movements or to target us with ads based on our location. They could even sell our data to other businesses or governments. It’s important to remember that we are giving away this data willingly, so we need to be sure that we trust the businesses we’re sharing it with. We also need to be aware of the risks involved in sharing our personal data. Overall, there are a lot of potential benefits and risks associated with Location-Based Marketing. It’s important to be aware of both before deciding whether or not to share our data.

GroundTruth. (2019). Location-Based Marketing - The Ultimate Guide. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021].

Rouse, M. (2017). location-based marketing (LBM). [online] SearchCustomerExperience. Available at:
Symphony RetailAI. (n.d.). Retail Stores of the Future: Key trends for reinventing the grocery industry with “Supermarket 2020.” [online] Available at:
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Zeng, M. (2018). Everything Alibaba Does Differently and landscape assignment [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at:
Han, T.A. (2020). 5 Retail Insights from Alibaba’s “New Retail” Revolution. [online] Medium. Available at:

Hwangbo, H., Kim, Y.S. and Cha, K.J. (2017). Use of the Smart Store for Persuasive Marketing and Immersive Customer Experiences: A Case Study of Korean Apparel Enterprise. Mobile Information Systems, 2017, pp.1–17. (n.d.). 4 Innovative Internet of Things Examples in Retail. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021]. (n.d.). 5 Technologies That Will Change Retail | How In-Store Retail is Changing. [online] Available at: ETP Group (2019). 5 Technologies that will Transform Retail. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2021].


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