Tag Archives: design

The Era of the Fashionable Face Mask

So far the year 2020 has drastically altered lives around the world in every way possible. Think about it – since this past March, there has been a significant shift in consumer spending patterns. Globally, consumers have changed what they buy and where they buy it. Stores and restaurants closed. Online shopping boomed. And more.

Just consider what happened during the toilet paper shortage of 2020 to see how consumer behavior changed. And it’s not just toilet paper or flour; the global coronavirus pandemic has made changes not only in our households, work, education, transportation, social groups, but also in fashion. Fashion? Yes, fashion.

As recently as March (only five months ago!) it was doubtful that the average U.S. household had a supply of face masks. Think about it. Did your household stock any face masks prior to 2020? Now compare that with the number of face masks you have today in your home, car, briefcase, purse, bike bag, and office. It’s quite a big change and has created an entirely new product category for fashionable face masks.

There is a lot of variety and of course price variations. Some companies are giving away face masks branded with their logo. Other companies are creating new patterns and designs that let people express their personalities. They can be as inexpensive as cloth masks for a dollar or two, all the way up to a $1.5 million jeweled mask!b

Stay safe – and fashionable.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What industries do they think are affected by the coronavirus? (Did any list fashion?)
  2. Discuss the impacts of the coronavirus on companies.
  3. Poll students: How many face masks did they have at the beginning of the year? How many do they have now?
  4. Show video of world’s most expensive mask: https://www.impomag.com/home/video/21160288/the-worlds-most-expensive-mask?lt.usr=71617211&utm_source=IMPO+Insider_08142020&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=115163&utm_term=600946
  5. In groups or individually, have students do an Internet search for masks. Suggest they try their favorite brands, Amazon, Etsy, and more.
  6. Have students examine the different brands and determine the target market for that mask.
  7. Select several target market segments: have student develop a mask for the market segment considering the four Ps.

Source:  Associated Press; CNET; IMPO; other news sources

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Smart Shopping Cart – Amazon’s Dash Cart

Raise your hand if you get irritated by long lines at the supermarket checkout. Go ahead – don’t be shy! It would be very rare indeed if all shopping experiences were trouble-free. A major annoyance of shoppers is the checkout process. It should be simple and fast.

In a move intended to shake up the grocery industry, Amazon’s new Dash Carts calculate and pay the bill – meaning no need to stand in any kind of check-out line. The Dash Carts have embedded cameras, sensors, a built-in scale, and a smart display that will automatically tally the items. The smart carts will be available later this year at a planned Amazon grocery store in Los Angeles. The technology is similar to that used at Amazon Go stores with their “Just Walk Out” cashier-less technology.

The carts are easy to use and require little change in shopper behavior. Shoppers use their Amazon account information and smart phone. After entering the store, the shopper scans a QR code in the Amazon app that signs them into the cart and even loads up stored shopping lists from Alexa. The technology speeds up shopping, eliminates checkout and aims to improve the overall shopping experience.

Shop. Exit. Simple.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This product vividly reminds us of the famous IDEO shopping cart redesign. That video can be found at: https://youtu.be/izjhx17NuSE
  2. The original design was from 1999. Why do students think it never caught on?
  3. Show video of Amazon’s new Dash Cart: https://youtu.be/rQO9u6-KOJk
  4. What are the features similar to the IDEO redesign? Why is this design possible for today’s consumers?
  5. Discuss the purchasing process and the problems with having consumers use new innovation.
  6. Poll students: Is the Dash cart continuous innovation, dynamic innovation, or discontinuous innovation. Why?

Source:  CNET: CNN; Forbes; IMPO; TechCrunch; other news sources

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The Ford Bronco Returns to Action!

As we’ve written in previous articles, no product lives forever. There are always new innovations, trends, social forces, competition, and technologies that push products forward. Every product eventually reaches its final stage in the Product Life Cycle (PLC) – decline/harvest – when the product is put to sleep and resources are reallocated to up-and-coming new products.

But every now and then consumers grow nostalgic for products from the past. Perhaps the product brings back a happy emotion or a strong memory. Or maybe it’s a little bit of longing for days gone by. Or maybe it’s a desire for something different and cool-looking. Trends have a habit of cycling back as years go by.

New to the trend cycle is the resurrection of Ford’s iconic Bronco. The company has announced a new retro-looking Bronco that recalls the rugged, boxy looking original from the 1960s. (The Bronco was retired from production in 1996.)

Bronco has its work cut out for it as Jeep Wrangler holds the top position in the off-road automotive category. To compete with the leader, Ford has two Bronco models and pricing starts at $29,000 up to $60,000 for larger engines and more options and trim.

Welcome back, Bronco. It’s good to see you.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. How are cars moved through the PLC?
  3. Next, discuss the life cycle of the Ford Bronco.
  4. Show video introducing the new Bronco: https://youtu.be/-v1urLWR5zg
  5. How is Ford repositioning the car on the PLC?
  1. Show Bronco’s Web site: https://www.ford.com/bronco/
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  3. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle or be reinvented for a new life.

Source:  Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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