Tag Archives: distribution

Sam’s Club Now Goes Cashier Free

Amazon isn’t the only company working on reinventing the retail experience. While the Amazon Go stores have captured consumers’ attention and shoppers at its cashier-less grocery stores, it’s not the only retailer interested in using technology to improve the customer shopping experience. Walmart recently announced that it is opening Sam’s Club Now, also cashier-less, in Dallas. The company describes its new store as a “technology lab that doubles as a live, retail club.” At 32,000 square feet it isn’t quite a compact store, but it is significantly smaller than the typical Sam’s Club store.

Similar to Amazon Go, in order to shop at Sam’s Club Now, members will need to use a Sam’s Club app that allows customers to scan UPC codes as they shop and check themselves out when done shopping. The app also includes smart shopping lists, in-store voice search and maps, augmented reality for new in-store experiences, and one-hour pickup.

Employees don’t go away – they instead shift to a new role called the Member Host. These associates are the face of the company and will use technology to help them serve Sam’s Club members better. Sam’s Club stated that the “future of retail is as much about people as it is about technology.”

If you’re in Dallas, check it out.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the use of innovation throughout retail.
  2. Review Sam’s Club Now announcement and video: https://corporate.samsclub.com/blog/2018/10/29/sams-club-now-reimagining-the-future-of-retail
  3. Compare this with Amazon Go: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=16008589011
  4. What are the similarities, and differences, between the two services?
  5. How should the two companies position against each other?

Source:  Advertising Age, New York Times, other news sources

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SiriusXM Buys Pandora

SiriusXM satellite radio provider is buying music streaming service Pandora for a $3.5 billion stock deal. The deal will create the world’s largest audio entertainment company. Why should SiriusXM buy Pandora? Because SiriusXM wants to gain people who listen to music but don’t want to pay for the premium SiriusXM service.

SiriusXM offers streaming without advertisements for $10.99 to $20.99 per month per car with up to 140+ channels, or streaming on any device for the same amount of $10.99 to $20.99 per month, or combine both options for all-access streaming. SiriusXM has 36 million subscribers in North America.

On the other hand, Pandora, which has 70 million active listeners (5.6 million who are paying members) can be used at no-cost as long as listeners don’t mind listening to advertisements. Or, listeners can buy monthly subscriptions at $4.99 or $9.99 per month for services that eliminate advertisements and offer personalized stations and create playlists, plus other options.

SiriusXM isn’t new to Pandora; it provided $480 million of funding to Pandora last year. Pandora faces stiff competition from other music services such as Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, and Spotify.

The war to gain new listeners is heating up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students:How much music do they listen to each day? Where is their music coming from? How much do they pay each month?
  2. View SiriusXM: https://www.siriusxm.com/
  3. View Pandora: https://www.pandora.com/
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is SiriusXM using? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team research the different prices and packages offered by each music streaming company.
  7. Compare price structures. Which offers listeners the better deal?

Source:  Wall Street Journal, New York Times, other sources

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Amazon Expands in India Using Hindi Language

Amazon recently hit the one trillion dollar mark in valuation – quite an accomplishment and it puts the company in rarified air. The path to the valuation has not been easy, or fast. Expansion into different services and countries were essential.

Amazon now operates in more than a dozen different countries, including India. India presents a very specific challenge to all of the companies that are operating within its borders; roughly only 10 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens understand English. In effect, this limits the access to online shopping to a majority of the Indian people.

Amazon aims to fix this situation in India. It recently stated that it will make mobile websites and apps available in Hindi – India’s most popular language. Similar to how U.S. citizens can select Spanish as their language of choice, users of the India app will be able to choose Hindi as their preferred language. Although Amazon is the second largest player in India’s multi-billion dollar e-commerce market, the English language is not sufficient to reach the country’s customers.

The task is a difficult one. Using a translation algorithm was insufficient and a far cry from the language and cultural translations that are needed to gain customers’ trust. Only 40% of Indian customers use ecommerce, and of those, roughly one-third only make a single purchase. Amazon also has 14,000 retail locations across India as part of its Amazon Easy program; this allows a local shopkeeper to help customers place orders, receive packages, and deliver them.

The push to Indian languages will be key to gaining new Internet users over the next few years. Research studies forecast that by 2021, 536 million Indians will use their native languages to access the Internet.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students about their experiences at Amazon. What works, doesn’t work?
  2. Poll students: What are some of the challenges and barriers Amazon faces as it expands into India?
  3. View Amazon’s India site: https://www.amazon.in
  4. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a SWOT for Amazon in India.
  6. What are the issues and risks?

Source:  New York Times, CNN, other news sources

 

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