Monthly Archives: June 2018

Your Smile Pays for Shopping

By now, nearly everyone has heard about Amazon Go stores where shoppers can skip the check-out lanes and are automatically charged for what they purchase. But, Amazon isn’t the only company that offers stores without cashiers. The latest entry is from Alibaba at its new Futuremart store in Hangzhou, China. The store sells a wide variety of Alibaba merchandise. Customers enter the store using a facial recognition app and scan a QR code with their Taobao, Tmall, or Alipap apps so they can shop.

But wait – it doesn’t end there! The store also uses a facial recognition program – a “Happy Go” happiness meter – to measure how happy the shopper is right now. A big smile can earn discounts!

Similar to Amazon Go, at Alibaba, when leaving, facial recognition and RFID technology recognize the shopper and the items being purchased. Alibaba and Amazon may be in the forefront of the new shopping technology, but others are close behind. Panasonic is also working on an automatic checkout using a walk-through RFID solution at a store in Japan.

Go ahead and walk-through the store – but don’t forget to smile big!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Would they like to be able to shop without a cashier payment step? Why or why not?
  2. Discuss the new ways in which technology is impacting retailing, such as Amazon Go and Alibaba.
  3. Show Alibaba video:
  4. Show Amazon Go video:
  5. Show the Panasonic RFID video:
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team reimagine the shopping experience using technology. What are their findings? Will consumers accept these innovations?

Source: Alibaba test smile-and-pay facial recognition shopping.


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Let Your Fingers do the Paying

Have you ever forgotten your credit/debit card or money when buying something? It’s certainly embarrassing for the consumer, and not only that, the retailer then loses the sale. Wouldn’t it be nice if one could pay by using a different form of identification? Well, there is a new possibility brought to consumers from Nets, a Nordic payment provider.

Nets has launched a service called ‘Fingopay’ – a biometric payment system that uses a consumer’s finger-vein reading system to access credit cards and PIN numbers, while still maintaining a person’s security. The system uses infrared lights to scan the consumer’s prints, creating a 3D map of the veins in the whole finger (not the fingerprint). This can be registered as a preferred payment method, linking the finger tips to the bank account. The biometric signature is a one-of-a-kind identifier. It can’t be stolen, forged, or damaged. If the vein print matches the registered pattern, the sale is made!

Fingopay is now in use at the Copenhagen Business School and at Brunel University in London. Readers are installed at points of sales in the campus store and cash-free transactions ensure that purchases can be made, even without wallets or phones!

Purchasing is now at your finger – really!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have forgotten their wallets or id recently when trying to make a purchase? What happened?
  2. Show Fingopay’s Web site:
  3. View the video on the site that shows how the system works.
  4. Another video on U.S. news:
  5. Poll students: Would they use this system? Why, or why not?
  6. For all the objections to using the service, have teams of students develop promotional tactics that could counteract the objections.



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PepsiCo Buys Bare Snacks

Consumer taste trends are moving to healthy and natural foods.  Organic and non-GMO healthy snacks are a growing industry segment that is particularly appealing to Millennials and Generation Z.

What should a company do to take advantage of the new industry and market segments? While companies can develop new products, market adoption of the new products can take valuable time, and development itself takes resources and money away from a company’s established products. A faster way to enter a new market with a new product is through acquisition. Case in point is PepsiCo’s recent purchase of snack manufacturer Bare Foods Co. to help bolster Pepsi’s health snack offerings.

Bare Snacks was founded in 2001 by a family-owned organic apple farm in Washington. It began by selling baked apple chips in local farmers’ markets. Today, the Bare line of fruit and vegetable snacks are sold at Starbucks, Costco, Whole Foods, Kroger, Target, and more. The products are made from simple ingredients that are baked (not fried) and are officially non-GMO verified. Bare Snacks is a certified B-Corp and reflects its values statements in its products: simplicity, goodness, be real, and live fully.

Bare and Pepsi – an unusual, but winning combination.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

    1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
    2. Which strategy did Bare Snacks use?
    3. Which strategy did PepsiCo using?
    4. Show Bare Snacks Web site:
    5. Show PepsiCo Web site:
    6. Compare the two sites, products, and messages.
    7. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market Bare Snacks
    8. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

Source: (25 May, 2018). PepsiCo adds Bare Snacks to Frito-Lay Portfolio.

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