Tag Archives: ecommerce

Direct-to-Consumer Air Conditioner

It’s summer (finally)! People are leaving their houses and enjoying the warmer weather. Well, not everyone enjoys summer heat – many older apartments and houses lack central air conditioning and depend either on fans or in-window air conditioners. While many home technology devices are sleek looking and high-tech, the lowly room air conditioner has remained unchanged for decades, retaining its distinct lack of style.

July air conditioners aims to change that. The new direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand takes a fresh look at the design of in-window units and is positioning itself as a design item in addition to being an effective appliance. It’s struck a nerve with consumers; within the first five days of announcing a wait list for the product, there were more than 3,000 people waiting in (virtual) line. Early ordering also lowers the cost of the units by 25% and guarantees a summer delivery.

There are two units of power: 6,000 BTUs (cools up to 250 sq. ft.) is $349 and 8,000 BTUs (cools up to 350 sq. ft.) is $399. The unit is square, sleek and uses a simple installation process. The customer first inserts a frame to lock in the window, then slides in the unit until it clicks into place. The front of the unit is a solid panel that comes in white, light blue, gray, and ash wood that consumers can switch out and customize to match their decor. July can be controlled via WiFi and scheduled to turn on at a desired time as well as controlled with voice commands.

Ready for summer?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Show July: https://july.ac/
  3. For the July Air Conditioner product, who is the target market?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for July. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  5. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  6. July is a DTC brand – meaning it is not sold in stores. What are the considerations for this brand as it works to reach prospective customers?
  7. How is July positioning its products compared to the standard in-window air conditioners?

Source: Ad Week; Fast Company; Gear Patrol

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Why Buy Clothes? Rent Them Instead!

Do you have a tough time keeping up the latest fashions? Or, an even tougher time paying for the new designer clothes you covet? Despair no more. Instead of buying, try renting your clothes!

Renting clothes is a new way to spruce up wardrobes without breaking the bank. While there are a number of subscription-based services such as Rent the Runway, traditional retailers are also entering the new market, including options to rent clothes from Bloomingdales’, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, and more. Consumers are not limited to just renting clothing – some retailers rent shoes, jewelry, and handbags, too. And, lest you think this is just for women, a number of companies rent clothing and accessories to men as well.

The clothing rental industry, while still relatively new, is also quite large and still growing. According to research firm GlobalData, the clothing rental industry is roughly $1 billion today, and is projected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2023. Not too shabby (chic).

The sharing economy industry is still establishing itself for consumers who are not interested in owning, but still want access to new brands and services. After all, consumers already rent apartments, homes, cars, bikes, and furniture. Now we can add clothing to the list.

What will you wear?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the sharing economy. What is it; what drives it; what should we watch?
  2. Show a video overview of clothing rental: https://youtu.be/7OKLqBZoOYY

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Pricing in the Entertainment Streaming Industry

The entertainment streaming industry is on fire right now. Apple, Hulu, Netflix, Disney, HBO, and more brands are ramping up to fight it out for the monthly consumer subscription!

Here is how the current prices compare between services:

Service Monthly cost Shows
Netflix $12.99 Stranger Things
Hulu $11.99 (ad free), or

$5.99 (with ads)

Handmaid’s Tale
Amazon Prime Video $8.99 Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Apple TV+ $4.99 The Morning Show
Disney+ $6.99 The Simpsons
HBO Max $14.99 Friends

 

Notice anything interesting in the prices? How each price ends? Which vendor is using penetration pricing? Or below-competition pricing? Name a price model and it’s probably on the list above. Blockbusters, as well as all-new created movies and shows are all offered from multiple services and it can be hard to determine which has which. The marketing focus should be on differentiation – the services are starting to sound alike, and be priced alike.

There has been a dramatic shift in recent years about how consumers get their information and entertainment, and how many more consumers use streaming services each year. The average consumer in 2019 has 2.6 stacked services. This is up from 1.6 stacked services in 2016, but far short of the projected 4.9 staked streaming services by 2023.

Think about it… how many services are currently in your household?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many subscription services does each household have today? Add them and average it for the class.
  2. Show a video about the topic: https://www.wsj.com/video/video-streaming-services-battle-for-subscribers/AED37E41-E1EC-447A-A47F-C55D1834B7E0.html
  3. Pricing is usually a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  4. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  5. For these streaming services, divide students into groups and have each group work on setting the price level.
  6. Assign each team a different model to use (demand-oriented, cost- oriented, profit-oriented, and competitor-oriented) and have the team explain how the model was used when setting their price.
  7. Compare the various pricing models and discuss advantages/disadvantages of each.

Source: FitzGerald, D., & Flint, J. (29 October 2019). AT&T lays out price, show line-up for HBO. Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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