Tag Archives: retail

Just Walk Out. Amazon’s Cashier-less Grocery Stores

Two years ago Amazon launched its ‘Amazon Go’ convenience stores. It now has 25 stores across the country in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York. These stores carry a limited selection of items focused on ready-to-eat meals and snacks. The stores use a ‘just walk out’ technology that allows consumers to pick up an item, place it in their bag, and then just walk out. No scanning or cashiers needed. All a shopper needs is an Amazon account and the Amazon Go app on their mobile device.

Now, Amazon has now expanded the concept into a much larger format called ‘Amazon Go Grocery’ in Seattle. With 10,400 square feet of space, the new Amazon Go Grocery store carries a larger amount of products, including fresh produce, meat, seafood, baker items, and household essential. The store also carries pre-made meals plus beer, wine, and spirits. The ‘just walk out’ technology is the same as Amazon Go, and uses the same app on mobile devices.

ne allows the entire family to shop together. Any item taken will be added to the account of the shopper who entered them. However, Amazon warns shoppers that if they grab an item from a top shelf to help another customer, they will be charged for it.

The stores have employees on-site to greet shoppers, restock shelve, answer questions, and help customers. However, cashier-less stores are coming under scrutiny from advocates and lawmakers who say these stores discriminate against people who do not have credit cards or bank accounts. (Amazon did change its policies to allow customers to pay with cash at its convenience stores and says the same will be true at the grocery store.)

Let’s go get groceries!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much time do they estimate they spend in check-out lines on a store visit?
  2. How does this new concept fit with Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods?
  3. Information on the stores can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=16008589011
  4. Show video of the new store: https://youtu.be/lTzPpAbjasA
  5. What are the students’ opinions?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team list advantages and disadvantages of the new format.
  7. Does this technology have uses in other places?
  8. Does the technology give a competitive advantage to Amazon in the grocery industry?

Source: Associated Press; other news sources

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Fresh Food Vending Machines

Consider the humble vending machines. They are virtually everywhere, and we do mean everywhere! We see them in stores, hallways, offices, subway stations, laundry mats, gas stations, and more. Not only are the vending machines convenient, but they are easy to use, can take cash or cards, and consumers do not have to interact with a cashier or sales person. Easy. Fast. Convenient. And, usually not very good eating.

Yes, the common vending machines as just that – common. They have been around so long that they no longer excite consumers. There is nothing particularly interesting, and virtually little food that is healthy for us. When was the last time you looked forward to eating a meal or snack dispensed by a vending machine?

That may be about to change with the advent of new machines that dispense fresh, healthy food in high density locations. Instead of soda, candy bars, and chips, today’s machines carry salads, yogurt parfaits, pudding, specialty coffee drinks, and much more satisfying fare. Not only are the foods better, the service is faster than stopping at a fast-food joint and waiting in long lines. And, as an added bonus, some of the machines will even recycle the packaging to reduce waste.

Here are few of the new alternatives:

  • Farmer’s Fridge – 400+ machines in office buildings and food courts in six states
  • Fresh Bowl – Seven locations in New York
  • Chowbotics – 100 salad robots that build orders from touchscreens
  • Le Bread Xpress – Five bake machines that cook croissants, pizza, and quiche
  • Briggo – High-end coffee cars that make 100 custom drinks per hour

Hungry and in a rush? Let’s meet at the vending machine.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Where are vending machines? What do they buy form vending machines? Why do they buy from vending machines?
  2. Divide students into groups. Have each group take an existing vending machine and work out an update for today’s consumers.
  3. Alternative: Show Web sites of new vending machines dispensing fresh food and have a team of students analyze each vending machine and company.
  4. For each company, determine the target market, where it should be located, and the messaging.

Source: Black, J. (13 February 2020). The machine that lets you skip the salad bar. Wall Street Journal.

 

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Target Launches New Athleisure Clothing Line

It’s a new year and a new time to set some resolutions, right? Target thinks so and has come up with a set of resolutions about the joy of movement, being inclusive and accessible. These resolutions are a lead-in to a new Target brand of athleisure apparel.

Athleisure apparel sales in the U.S. have grown 140% in the last decade and is expected to reach $83 billion. Athleisure is a crowded market however, with loyal followers of brands such as Lululemon and Athleta. What will Target need to do to create value for customers of its new “All in Motion” line of active wear and sporting goods?

The company did extensive research for the new line. Target gathered data from more than 15,000 men, women, and kids, from all areas of the country, to gain insights into what customers want from their sporting apparel. The result is a new brand of sports apparel that was developed for the entire family, at all stages of fitness, and in diverse sizes.

All in Motion also uses sustainably-sourced materials, and includes features such as water-resistant, UPF50+ sun protection. Designs include secure zippered pockets, thumbholes in sleeves, and is a broad range of sizes. But the best part is that prices will be mostly under $40.

Ready to move?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  2. Review Target’s new line of athleisure clothing: https://www.target.com/b/all-in-motion/-/N-4apdi?lnk=Madeforeverymov
  3. Ask students what data they would need in order to make a marketing decision to start this product line.
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team do secondary research to answer the questions such as industry overview, size, growth, competitors, social trends, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.
  5. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of how Target arrived at its decision?

Source:  Ad Week; Minneapolis Star Tribune; other news sources

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