A Retail Chain for Covid-19 Essential Products

Covid-19 has drastically impacted virtually every part of our lives from school to shopping. It has had a devastating impact on businesses, particularly retailers. The coronavirus outbreak caused the majority of retail businesses across the nation (and world) to temporarily close for several months. It has also caused the bankruptcy filings of 27 retailers so far in 2020, including big brands such as Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, GNC, J. Crew, and J.C. Penney. Thousands of retail stores have already shut down, with many more to come later in 2020.

But for one new retail chain, the coronavirus caused them to open a new business – selling Covid-19 essential products in malls and downtowns. The store is actually called “Covid-19 Essentials” so there is no doubt as to its business focus and clientele. The chain has several locations in Denver, Miami, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and has plans to open in smoke-thick California.

The stores sell face shields, personalized masks, portable UV lights, air purifiers, cellphone sterilizers, thermal facial recognition devices, and even a hygienic toilet seat. To enter the store, customers check their temperature with a digital forehead scanner. A sink near the entrance allows customers to wash their hands before handling products.

Now this sounds like a safe place to shop.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on retail.
  2. Have students list all the businesses that have had to adapt in some way and businesses that closed.
  3. How have retail stores adjusted to Covid-19 in their midst?
  4. Show video of Covid-19 Essentials store: https://youtu.be/5idLkCNaB6o
  5. Show the web site for the New York store: https://www.cv19essential.com/
  6. Divide students into groups. Have each group review the website, products, and prices.
  7. Discuss the long-term viability of this store.

Source:  New York Times; Retail Dive

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Google’s new Pixel 5

Ready for a new phone? Just the thought of researching new phones and then paying hundreds of dollars more can give consumers a headache. Google seems to be paying attention this fatigue and is making its phones a little simpler and a little less expensive.

It seems like Google is responding to pandemic economic concerns and is pricing its phones in a comfortable middle ground. These products seem made for watching TV or listening to music at home, all without needing to shell out a thousand dollars for a new device. [A Google executive stated that “The world doesn’t need another $1,000 phone right now.”]

The new Pixel phones are priced a bit differently than the past. For example, last year’s Pixel 4 pricing started at $800, but the new Pixel 5 starts at $700. There is even a lower-priced model called the Pixel 4a5G that is priced from $500 – $600.

The Pixel 5 eliminated facial recognition to unlock the phone (good for mask-wearing users!), as well as radar technology that recognized a user waving a hand over the phone, and telephoto and zoom lenses. But on the other hand, it added a larger battery and ultralow-power mode that lets the phone run 48 hour on a charge. The screen is larger and users can wirelessly charge other devices by laying them on the back of the phone.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What phone do they have? How long have they had it? Are they going to buy a new phone in the next few months? Why or why not?
  2. Video of Pixel 5 phone: https://youtu.be/twNDke-cfv4
  3. Show Google’s new phones: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_5
  4. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team do a chart of a different brand of phone, including features and pricing.
  6. What are the points of difference between the various phones?
  7. How much does pricing matter?
  8. How much do features matter?

Sources: Associated Press; New York Times; Washington Post; The Verge; other news sources

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Rent and return these shoes

Let’s start with a quiz: How many running or athletic pairs of shoes do you own? How long do they last? How much do you spend?

If your closet is like mine, you probably have at least six pairs, of which five pairs are very used and dirty. It would be nice if we could wear running shoes until they are worn or dirty, and then just trade it them in for a new pair. Well, as luck would have it, Swiss footwear company On Running is now offering a new running shoe called “Cyclon.” But Cyclon is not for sale – only for rent. Yes, rent. Use, wear, and return them for a new pair.

Cyclon is available for a monthly fee of $29.95. It is a subscription service for not only a performance running shoe, but a fully recyclable plant-based shoe. Castor beans are used as the base, and the shoe upper is sewn from a single piece of fabric to help reduce waste. On Running focused on the challenges of not only creating a fully recyclable shoe, but also making sure that the shoes were returned to be recycled. Thus, the subscription model of ‘rent and return’ gives On control of the recycling process.

It seems to have resonated with the market – in the first 48 hours after launching Cyclon On signed 2,000 subscribers! On needs 5,000 people to sign up per region in order to ship the shoes at reduced carbon footprint of the transportation.

Let’s go for a run!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss a subscription business model. Poll students: What subscription services do they use? Other services they can name? (Ex: meal kits, shave clubs, entertainment, etc.).
  2. Poll students: On average, how much do they pay for a running shoe and how long does it last? How many pairs of athletic shoes do they have currently?
  3. Show On Running website: https://www.on-running.com/en-us/cyclon
  4. Show video of founders discussing Cyclon: https://youtu.be/VtosSdRZcsA
  5. What is the target market for Cyclon?
  6. What elements should be in the marketing program for this shoe?

Sources: Outside Online; other news sources

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities