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Digital Marketing Assignment: Case Study Analysis on e-Retailing/e-Marketing

Question

Task: View the following four videos on the future of shopping.

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

Now prepare a digital marketing assignment answering the following questions:
1) Does the huge growth in online shopping really mean the extinction of the traditional ‘high street’ store....or can they successfully co-exist?
2) Discuss the 5 ‘new’ technologies outlines in video 2 and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each technology.
3) In video 3 we see Symphony Retail’s version 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?

Answer

Digital Marketing Assignment Answer1: Online vs. Offline Retail Experience
Online shopping has been growing drastically throughout the world. These days more people are opting for home delivery on their door steps. Though, people used to feel confident and comfortable while shopping from their local shops accepting the issues of long queue, parking problems, weather issues and more over heavy shopping carts. Even with the availability of online shopping customers felt uncomfortable providing their personal details while paying online (Speicher, Cucerca and Krüger, 2017).However, with the flying times, online shopping sites started to gain reliability from their customers by providing huge purchasing options, faster and hassle free delivery and easy return policies.

Mu 2020 digital marketing assignment

Source: Mu, (2020)

However, only the traditional shopping can provide the customers a satisfaction to hold and feel their desirable goods. Sometimes it is important to touch the goods or items physically to get a better understanding of the quality which may differ while showcasing in an online platform.

Therefore, it is noticed that customers want advantages of both online and offline shopping and with this potential demand it is possible to experience both at the same time. With the opportunity of successful co-existence of online shopping and high street shops, the difference between these two are getting blurred over passing time.According to the world’s leading online commerce company, Alibaba, “New Retail” is not about online or online, it must be the combination of both online retail and offlineretail. Alibaba has introduced a leading way towards this new retail structure over the China and some major parts of the world market to bring potentiality to both the retailers and the customers. It is not necessary for all commerce to be digitalised fully; rather ‘high street’ stores can successfully co-exist under the domination of e-commerce (Mu, 2020). In this golden age of new retail structure, the brick and mortar stores are getting digitalised and the option of one or other started to get mitigated with their co-existence. The term ‘New retail’, coined by Alibaba is about data technologies and logistics. Alibaba group’s Hema store is the best example where they introduced technology powered supermarket. In Hema stores customers are allowed to do in-store product research, compare one product to another according to the price and quality, choose their desired items physically and can order these for home delivery through mobile apps. The most unique service that Hema stores provide is that the customers residing within the three kilometre radius can get a home delivery of the groceries within thirty minutes (YouTube, 2021 a). With the aim to provide good purchasing experience to its customers Hema installed payment systems using facial recognition or biometrics. In the pop-up stores of China, Alibaba has started to deal with the various brands to create ‘touch points’ to attract and engage the buyers for both offline and online shopping. Wyeth, an American pharmaceutical company adopted the creative structure of ‘new retail as their strategy to bring online customers to the offline stores (Shucui, Jinjun and Hongli, 2020). For instance, Bose launched their first smart store in Shanghai where they allowed their customers to claim online coupons and reservation for guided tour to the Bose’s flagship store. Shoppers were to use QR codes for check-ins into the Bose store and online payment systems to purchase items. This whole process is an example of the combination of online and offline retailing that enhances the shopping experience of the customers and the particular brand got an idea of who their customers are (Dennis, 2020).

These days majority of the customers are opting for the box at their door steps, but at the same time they still prefer to touch and feel the goods before buying it. This has opened a welcome door for the ‘new retail’ structure where online shopping and high street store can successfully co-exist. In this new technological era, business must be completely digital, creative and full of good shopping experience.

Answer 2: Retail 2020: 5 Technologies
Technologies enhance the comfort and satisfaction of the shoppers with virtual carts and hassle free contactless shopping. There are five pivotal technologies that are used in these days of e-retailing; these are Beacon, Facial Recognition, Robot Assistants, Smart Mirrors and Auto Check-outs (YouTube, 2021 b).

Beacons technology- Beacon is a battery-operated small device that continuously transmits Bluetooth signal to its nearby smart phones, thus the smart phone users get to know about their nearby shops, restaurants, hospitals, shopping malls, showrooms and many more.Customers get notified regarding offers and sales in their nearby shops or restaurants. However, often it becomes annoying to get so many notifications that push people towards shopping. Another issue facing by the retailers is everyone is not using Bluetooth enabled smart phones (Adkaretal., 2018).

Facial Recognition- Facial recognition technology is probably the most interesting one in retail as it allows buyers not to use cash or card while paying rather they just have to show their face for the required payments. Besides this, shops can suggest products based on the purchasing history and demographics of an individual through facial recognition (Atkins, Sener and Russo, 2021). Although the major disadvantage of this technology is data privacy issue. Violation of personal freedom, data theft, threats to privacy and other crimes can increase using this technology.

Robot Assistants- Many shops, showrooms and restaurants are using robot assistants instead of traditional human employment. This technology is highly potential for the retailers as it increases quality and consistency of products, increases productivity and time efficiency, cuts expenditure on employment. Robot assistants can check stock, pricing error and find misplaced items with reliability. Sometimes people are attracted towards such retailers having robot assistants (Lu etal., 2020). However, the installation of robot assistants demandsskilled staff to hire with lucrative salaries to pay. It is often tough to get skilled staffs that are specialized in robotic technology. Another obstacle of this technology is the initial investment cost. However, the pivotal concern of this robotic automation is potential job losses.

This technology is a direct threat towards employment.
Smart Mirrors- Smart mirrors are generally used in apparel or spectacle shops that use artificial intelligence and gesture recognition technology to allow the customers to understand which dress or spectacles suits the most. Smart mirror creates a virtual changing room that allows the customers to choose and try their desirable cloths virtually with a single click and swipe. Shoppers even can click and share their virtual pictures with their friends to get suggestions (Miottoetal., 2018). Oak fitting rooms use this technology and when shoppers enter their trial rooms all mirrors become live with the selected products. Shoppers can request the staffs to bring other clothes according to their size and preferable colours. Though the major disadvantage of this technology is that the mirror tends to glare at a fixed angle and its high installation cost.

Auto Check-outs - Auto checks out mainly helps the customers to avoid long queues. This innovation save the time of the employees at the exit gates and it serves more customers to check out in a shorter time. However, this technology needs high installation charge and it increases the chance of theft especially when some equipment malfunction would be there. Moreover all these issues, this technology dehumanize the store and create job losses (Pesonen, Komppula and Murphy, 2019).

Answer 3: Supermarket 2020: A vision of the future
With the changing consumer behaviour, super market needs to change its structure too and aims to serve the customers the seamless e-commerce facilities, by using the latest technology and strategic plans to get a sustainable competitive success in this fierce market place. The future supermarket presents the look and feel of the physical grocery stores yet runs the business under the domination of e-commerce and modern technologies.

It is realized that consumers have become fond of quick shopping trips, sit and dine experience instead of pantry loading trips at their weekends (YouTube, 2021 c). Customers increasingly show interest towards prepared foods from live counters and the ‘go and grab’ option. Future super markets are offering these lucrative facilities based on customer centric retail structure. According to Terblanche (2018), future super market needs to set the store layout strategically as it has a major impact on customer’s shopping behaviour. For instance, pharmacy counter and ATM must be just beside click and collect stores to be easily accessible. Prepared food stores and dining area must be in centre position of the super market, so that shoppers can get into it from any of the shops. Shops of raw food items, locally farmed vegetables must be positioned nearby the food joints, so that they can shop the items quickly after having a prepared meal from those ingredients. As claimed by Dubuque (2020), besides serving these facilities future supermarket must motivate their customers to engage in freshen up activities like gym, spa, dry cleaning, pet grooming and many more. Future super markets need to arrange live consultation, live classes, and events and pop up shows to attract the consumers. For instance shoppers can have a free consultation regarding beauty products from the experts in a particular beauty product store or the food joints can organize a cookery or baking class that attracts food lovers and motivate them to sit and dine from the live cooking counters. Having advanced analytics and customer’s information shops of the future super market are able to predict shopping criteria of an individual and according to this store staffs can showcase the desirable and tailored products of that individual.

These days, shop and eat concept is trending where customers can shop just by a single click while they are enjoying their foods sitting in a live café. Touch screen in every single tables allows customers to have a look what the super market has to offer them and they can shop from their table by using virtual carts and online payment system. In this process customers can collect their purchased items from the immediate store pick-ups or they can opt for a home delivery (Siedl, Wolf and Mara, 2021). Beside these facilities, future supermarket needs to invest in technology based service like robot assistance, auto check-outs, facial recognition, smart mirrors and beacon technology to gain a sustainable competitive success.

Answer 4: Location Based Marketing
According to the forecasts of IBIS World, online revenue would increase by an 8.6% per year for the next five years (White, 2020). This has been possible due to some innovative and technology based marketing tools like location based marketing. In this fierce competitive market, marketers prefer location based marketing to target their customers in a very granulated way. According to Smith (2017), by using the location data retailers understand the demographic preferences of every customer and according to these choices retailers send relevant notifications or messages to the target customers. It is true that location based marketing is proved to be potential to the retailers. In the year 2014, location based marketing touched the high sky and brought revolution to the e-retailing sector. For many retailers and developers, location tracking is not immoral as it helps both the retailer and customer to be more customised.

However, there are many drawbacks of this whole processes regarding the technology it uses. In this data collection technology, retailers get notified about their target customer’s movement, where they are, where they go, when they go, how often they go and how long they stay at a place. According to these data, retailers are able to send personalised notification about their products or service (YouTube, 2021 d). Therefore, personal data of the customers they targeted are passing towards the retailers and customers are being tracked every second while using Bluetooth enabled smart phoneseven without their consent (Krishenetal., 2017).This is a threat to data privacy and personal freedom. It is a debatable topic whether retailers should use these location based marketing tools like Beacons technology or they just avoid this. However, there are several apps that allow smart phone users to block location tracking. Another considerable way to avoid this issue is retailers can opt for such flexible technology that first collect customer’s consent and then their geo-location data.

Reference list
Adkar, N., Talele, A., Mundhe, C. and Gunjal, A., 2018, February.Bluetooth Beacon Applications in Retail Market.In 2018 International Conference On Advances in Communication and Computing Technology (ICACCT) (pp. 225-229).IEEE.

Atkins, R., Sener, A. and Russo, J., 2021. A Simulation for Managing Retail Inventory Flow Using RFID and Bar Code Technology. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 19(3), pp.214-223.

Dennis, S., 2020. Remarkable Retail: How to Win & Keep Customers in the Age of Digital Disruption. LifeTree Media.

Dubuque, E., 2020. Multifamily Amenity Wars: defining their current state in luxury urban markets and determining impacts of COVID-19 (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Krishen, A.S., Raschke, R.L., Close, A.G. and Kachroo, P., 2017. A power-responsibility equilibrium framework for fairness: Understanding consumers' implicit privacy concerns for location-based services. Journal of Business Research, 73, pp.20-29.

Lu, V.N., Wirtz, J., Kunz, W.H., Paluch, S., Gruber, T., Martins, A. and Patterson, P.G., 2020. Service robots, customers and service employees: what can we learn from the academic literature and where are the gaps?. Journal of Service Theory and Practice.

Miotto, R., Danieletto, M., Scelza, J.R., Kidd, B.A. and Dudley, J.T., 2018.Reflecting health: smart mirrors for personalized medicine. Digital marketing assignmentNPJ digital medicine, 1(1), pp.1-7.

Mu, H., 2020.Research on the Exploration and Development Countermeasures of New Retail Business Model. Academic Journal of Business & Management, 2(5).

Pesonen, J., Komppula, R. and Murphy, J., 2019. Plastic loyalty–Investigating loyalty card programs for a Finnish hotel chain. Tourism Management, 73, pp.115-122.

Shucui, W., Jinjun, Y. and Hongli, W., 2020.Research on the reconstruction of consumers, goods and scenes in new retail based on new technology. IET Smart Cities, 2(3), pp.122-125.

Siedl, S.M., Wolf, M. and Mara, M., 2021, March. Exoskeletons in the Supermarket: Influences of Comfort, Strain Relief and Task-Technology Fit on Retail Workers' Post-Trial Intention to Use. In Companion of the 2021 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (pp. 397-401).

Smith, H.D., 2017. The Mobile Distinction: Economies of Intimacy in the Field of Location Based Marketing (Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada).

Speicher, M., Cucerca, S. and Krüger, A., 2017.VRShop: a mobile interactive virtual reality shopping environment combining the benefits of on-and offline shopping. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 1(3), pp.1-31.

Terblanche, N.S., 2018. Revisiting the supermarket in-store customer shopping experience. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 40, pp.48-59. White, S., 2020. Amazon and Whole Foods: adventures in grocery shopping. The CASE Journal.

YouTube, 2021 a. Alibaba's "New Retail" Explained. [Accessed 13 August 2021]

YouTube, 2021 b. Retail 2020 | 5 Technologies that will change the way you shop.[Accessed 13 August 2021]

YouTube, 2021 c.Retail Stores of the Future: Supermarket 2020. [Accessed 13 August 2021]

YouTube, 2021 d. Location Based Marketing 2020.[Accessed 13 August 2021]

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