Tag Archives: innovation

Delivery Direct to Your Car

Have you ever had a problem with delivery of packages? Have you been a victim of ‘porch pirates’ stealing packages before you get home? If so, then you may like the new option for Amazon’s in-car package delivery, placed securely in your trunk or back seat. The service is available to Amazon Prime members who have an active GM OnStar or Volvo On Call account in 37 cities across the U.S.

It seems pretty easy. Using an Amazon app, the customer inputs the information about their car (must be a 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, or Volvo). For each order, the customer selects a delivery to their car, receives a notification when the delivery is on its way, and another notification after delivery is completed and door/trunk relocked. Delivery people use the car’s assistance services to locate the car and unlock it.

The car delivery service only works for vehicles parked in lots that are easily accessible. It won’t work for parking garages or gated communities. And, if you’re worried about damage to the car, Amazon even said that it will take care of a broken window or lock that happens as a result of the delivery.

Go ahead and order – there are a lot of delivery options, including porch, office, in-home, locker, and now, your car.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the topics of package delivery. Has anyone had problems?
  2. Show the Amazon information and video about car delivery: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17051031011
  3. CNET video: https://youtu.be/8bZfZZJ7Q4Q
  4. Video of customer testimonials: https://youtu.be/w4akHn0jQCc
  5. Poll students: Would they use this service?
  6. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  7. For in-car delivery, what is the target market?
  8. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a target market profile. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source: CNET, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Detroit Free Press, other news sources

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Snapchat’s New Spectacles

Remember Snap’s Spectacles? Launched in fall, 2016, Spectacles were fashionable sunglasses that could record 30-second videos with a 115 degree lens. The specs were $130 and initially sold only through fun, bright yellow, SnapBot kiosks placed around the U.S. There was a lot of hype and fervor from teens to procure the sunglasses and post their videos. Roughly 220,000 Spectacles were sold, but only half of the owners used them after the first month, and Snap took a $40 million write-off after making too many. But, the company learned a lot from its first foray with Spectacles, and is now ready for the next iteration.

So, get ready for Spectacles Version 2. The new glasses are priced at $149.99 and have a number of new features and improvements over version 1. The case is smaller and handier to carry around, and it charges the glasses up to four times. The glasses are lighter and more comfortable and the field of vision has been reduced to 105 degrees. In addition to video, the glasses now take photos – which of course can be posted online.

Colors are new and more neutral with two lens versions, and the pairing process is much simpler than version 1. High quality photos and fast downloads improve the overall user experience. The glasses are now water resistant and can even take photos underwater. Spectacles are now on sale in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, to be followed by 13 more European countries.

Fortunately, no more SnapBot vending machines to limit purchases – it’s easy to buy since all that’s needed is to go online to Snap to purchase. It really is a wearable camera.

Go ahead – smile, you’re on Spectacles!h

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the strategy that Snap is using to position itself as a camera/hardware company rather than a social media company.
  2. Show the Web site: https://www.spectacles.com/
  3. Show a product review video: https://youtu.be/DRqZoINHCwM
  4. A short product video: https://youtu.be/Qpbyj-hz05s
  5. 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).
  6. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  7. What price strategy is Snap using for Spectacles version 2?
  8. How does this compare with version 1? Will this be successful?

Source: Constine, J. (26 April 2018). Snapchat launches Spectacles V2, camera glasses you’ll actually wear. TechCrunch.

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Stories from a Vending Machine

 

There are many crazy vending machines that can be found around the world. Recently, we wrote about the world’s largest vending machine hosted by Alibaba and Ford in China – it dispenses Ford cars! And of course there are the more common vending machines that provide beverages, foods, supplies, electronics, and many more choices. But, here is one that is very unusual – a vending machine that dispenses short stories. Yes, short stories are available from vending machines that offers a selection of timed literature in increments of one, three, or five minute stories to be read and shared.

The story began in 2016 in Grenoble, France, with a company called Short Edition, a French publisher of short-form literature; to date, they have installed more than 150 vending machines around the world. And, now, the vending machines are available in more than 30 locations around the U.S. at restaurants, schools, universities, libraries, transportation hubs, and government offices.

The vending machines dole out literature and expose more people to the creative and stress-reducing power of the written word. Push a button and a story unfurls on a long strip of paper (kind of like a register receipt). More than 100,000 original submissions are stored on a computer catalog, and genres include children’s stories, romance, holidays, and more. Short Edition procures the stories by holding writing contests, often under specific themes such as “new beginnings.”

If you want one for your school, the dispensers cost $9,200 plus $190 per month for content and software. Most stories are shared and read by multiple people.  And the best part – the stories are free of charge to print and read!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students. Have them list all the different types of vending machines that they have encountered.
  2. Show video: https://youtu.be/1Rq0eDc52g0
  3. Short Edition Web site (in English and French): https://short-edition.com/en/
  4. Note that stories are available online from the Web site also. Select one in class to have students read and comment on.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with a promotional tactic that could be used to promote the vending machine and gain readers.

Source: Holson, L. (16 April 2018). The vending machine that spits out short stories. New York Times.

 

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