Tag Archives: retail

The Ultimate Vending Machine Contains Cars

What was the last item you purchased from a vending machine? Most consumers purchase convenience items such as drinks and snacks at the ubiquitous machines. Maybe in an airport or mall there might be a vending machine for electronics such as headphones and chargers, movies, or prepared meals for people on the go. And, speaking of “on the go”……..

Alibaba’s Tmall recently unveiled what is possibly the world’s largest vending machine, for the world’s largest car market. The product sold in the machines? Cars!

The automobile vending machine, located in Guangzhou, China, is a partnership between Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba and American car manufacturer Ford Motor. The program offers a three-day test-drive to potential customers shopping for a new car. The giant vending machine contains more than 100 vehicles, including small cars, family cars, sports cars, and SUVs. Cars include those made in China as well as imported from the U.S. The goal for the new program is to improve the car buying process for consumers.

The process starts with a mobile app (of course) called the “Super Test-Drive” app. Consumers use the app to research, browse available models, and select a car and pick-up time. Snapping a selfie picture provides facial recognition that is used to confirm the booking and borrow the car from the vending machine. And, if the customer’s credit score is good enough, then the three-day test-drive is free.

This sounds a lot more fun than just getting a snack from the local vending machine!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Where are vending machines? What do they buy form vending machines? Why buy from vending machines?
  2. View video of the process: https://youtu.be/zFDDcTOFkEA
  3. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  4. Does this vending machine fit the model? Or does the model need to change?
  5. Consider assigning different student groups to work on different target markets. Then the process for the different target markets can be compared and contrasted.

Source: Brandchannel.com (26 March, 2018). Alibaba and Ford launch China’s first Tmall car vending machine.

 

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NBA Store is Sensory-Inclusive

When we think about NBA basketball games, or virtually anything that is sports-related, loud noises and bright lights immediately hit us – right between the eyes and ears. The excitement and crowds are definitely part of the atmosphere and usually helps get energy levels up. But that level of noise and light isn’t always a good thing. If someone is prone to overstimulation due to autism, PTSD, dementia or other sensory-processing disorders, overstimulation could cause a meltdown and panic or anxiety attack. It’s not just sports games; even crowded stores can bring on panic attacks. This was the concern driving the design of the newly opened NBA store in New York City.

In order to be more inclusive and assist those sensory sensitive fans, the NBA’s flagship store in New York City has become the first sensory-inclusive retail store in the world. To do this, the NBA partnered with KultureCity, a nonprofit that works to help make public spaces become more sensory-inclusive. The new NBA store offers bags containing fidget spinners, weighted lap pads, and noise-cancelling headphones to those individuals who may need them. In addition, the NBA store staff is trained to better understand, interact with, and identify visitors who may need assistance during shopping.

The NBA’s initiatives go beyond the store. There are now 14 NBA arenas equipped for the fans who need additional attention to deal with sensory needs. Four of the arenas have dedicated quiet sensory rooms to help fans. The objective of the programs is to enable the NBA to be fully inclusive and accessible to all.

Inclusion – it’s a good move on the court, and in the store.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Do they know someone who has sensory challenges and needs?
  2. Show a video highlighting the new store: https://youtu.be/zchmSWP1630
  3. Show a video about how one arena helps sensory challenged guests: https://youtu.be/3QRQKhGz6_4
  4. Also show the KultureCity Web site: https://www.kulturecity.org/
  5. Are there other venues or locations that could benefit from this approach?
  6. How should the NBA market this initiative?

Source:  Martin, B. (2 April, 2018). NBA store in New York becomes world’s first sensory-inclusive retail store. NBA.com.

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Diversity: Brands Embrace Hijabs

Macy’s recently made history (or is it herstory?) as the first U.S. department store to sell hijabs for Muslim women. Fashion designer Lisa Vogl developed the modest active wear line for the store. The Verona Collection includes a selection of ready-to-wear items including tops, dresses, pants, cardigans, and hijabs in a variety of fabrics and colors. Items are priced between $12.95 and $84.95.

And, Macy’s is not the only company to carry modest clothing for Muslim women; designer Hana Tajima has several collections carried by international brand Uniqlo. Fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana has also debuted hijabs on the runway.

Nike has also gotten in the game. The company designed and sells a performance hijab for Muslim female athletes. American Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad made history by wearing a hijab at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Nike Pro Hijab will be available soon and is priced at $35.00.

And, let’s not forget Mattel, a classic American brand that now has its first hijab-clad Barbie doll. It also honors Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad. The doll is part of Barbie’s “Shero” line of toys that celebrate women breaking boundaries in sports and science. Also in the Shero line are athletes including Gabby Douglas and Chloe Kim, pioneers Amelia Earhart and Katherine Johnson, and artist Frida Kahlo.

It’s time for inclusivity.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Are there market segments that are marginalized? How can these segments be included by brands to expand their reach and encourage diversity?
  2. Video of Macy’s: https://youtu.be/aWVB_bi8RQ0
  3. Video of Nike ad: https://youtu.be/T1Qyg8l-l8U
  4. Nike Pro Hijab Web site: https://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/women/nike-pro-hijab
  5. Video Uniqlo: https://youtu.be/5xbLFJulZNo
  6. Mattel Sheroes Web site: https://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/role-models.html
  7. What other market segments could be represented with new lines of products?
  8. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a product for a different market segment.

Source:  Brandchannel.com. (7 February, 2018). Diversity watch: Brands making strides, slowly, on hijabs.

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