Tag Archives: ecommerce

Fund-Raising with Healthy Options

We can usually tell when it is fund-raising season for schools and sports. Kids stop by houses and businesses, selling chocolate bars and other items to help fund a variety of programs and causes. And, although we happily buy and eat the candy, there can be some regrets over the empty calories, and the lack of sales going to local businesses. Wouldn’t it be better to offer healthy alternatives, and support local businesses? Of course! Enter a new company: FarmRaiser – connects fundraising groups with local products and foods.

FarmRaiser was founded in Michigan with a mission to connect local farmers and food artisans with schools, athletic teams, bands, and other causes. Vendors must meet standards for sustainable practices, and artisan products that do NOT list sugar as the first ingredient are welcome. The company states that “if a product has more than five or six ingredients, and if any of them are ones your grandma wouldn’t recognize it doesn’t make the cut.”

Campaigns are customized by working with a FarmRaiser “cultivator” to help determine fund-raiser goals, local products, and vendors. Each campaign also gets its own Web page on FarmRaiser.com. The company estimates that 85% of funds raised stays in the community; the average profit margin is 53% for the groups. The process is straightforward: once the cause is registered, FarmRaiser helps create a custom online and mobile market. At the end of the sale period, students help distribute the produce and products to their customers. Groups can choose various products and goods from multiple regions. Try combining Michigan cherries, with Texas Salsa.

What sounds good to you?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the fundraising activities that students might have done. Discuss what was it about, proceeds, products, process, etc.
  2. Introduce the topic of changing the product mix and sales process.
  3. Show a video about the company: https://vimeo.com/147806697
  4. Show Web site: https://www.farmraiser.com/
  5. Divide students into team. Have each team select a cause and develop a product set.
  6. Set SMART objectives for the company.

Source: Rieth, D. (Summer 2018). Home field advantage. Edible Michiana.

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Amazon’s Private Label Brands

 

Everyone wants a deal when shopping, particularly when shopping for basic products that are consumed frequently. That’s a good time to look at private label brands offered by different retailers. Unlike the big branded product (which are usually priced at a premium to consumers) store brands are sold only by that retailer and are priced lower. Private brands have a lower advertising costs; the advertising costs are minimum as the product is associated with the stronger brand name of the retailer.

Walmart, Target, Costco, Amazon, and other retailers all have popular store brands, sold exclusively by the retailer and at a lower price than national brands. One of Amazon’s big advantages though is its own data about how, and for what, its customers shop.

Amazon started into private label brands in 2009 with a number of products sold under the “AmazonBasics” brand. The company has steadily been expanded its offerings and has had good success. Case in point: The AmazonBasics battery line, priced nearly 30% lower than national big brands, now accounts for close to one-third of Amazon’s online battery sales.

Amazon has expanded its efforts and now has roughly 100 private label brands. As another incentive to shop the Amazon labels, certain of the products can only be purchased by Prime members.

A few Amazon brand examples:

  • Spotted Zebra – kids clothing
  • Good Brief – men’s underwear
  • Wag – dog food
  • Rivet – home furnishings
  • Lark & Ro – dresses
  • Goodthreads – clothing

Go ahead – do a generic product search and see what shows up. See if you prefer private brands.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of branding in marketing, and the expense of branding.
  2. Discuss the advantages of private, store brands.
  3. Poll students: How many store brands can they name?
  4. Have students open laptops and phones. Go to Amazon.com and type “batteries.”
  5. What are the results? (Note sponsored content and advertising.)
  6. How should the private brands be marketed?

Source: Creswell, J. (23 June, 2018). How Amazon steers shoppers to its own products. New York Times.

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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: https://youtu.be/FGtRXi8eRKI
  4. Show Amazon Go video: https://youtu.be/NrmMk1Myrxc
  5. Show the Panasonic RFID video: https://youtu.be/VD_FJzio3wo
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team reimagine the shopping experience using technology. What are their findings? Will consumers accept these innovations?

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

 

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