Tag Archives: services

Aira Service at Target Stores to Help Visually-Impaired Shoppers

At this busy holiday season, consider the (seemingly) simple task of shopping done by an able-bodied consumer. Now consider the same shopping task for someone who has a visual impairment. It must be a much more complex and time-consuming process, and is likely often frustrating waiting for assistance from store employees. After all, not everything can, or should, be done online. For many purchases, shoppers want to feel materials, sniff the freshness of produce, or have more information about the item.

Enter a service from technology company Aira and combine it with Target’s retail stores. Aira connects people who are blind or have impaired vision with highly-trained professionals who help provide visual information on demand via smartphones or wearable devices. The service blends wearables and smart phones with artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Aira’s mission is to make visual information accessible to anyone, anytime, and anywhere.

Target’s accessibility team worked with Aira to deploy a pilot program to 600 Target stores in 13 different markets. Shoppers in those areas can use Aira for free on a smart phone to receive on-demand information while shopping. Shoppers sign on with the Aira app and connect with customer service agents working remotely. The agents use the phone’s camera to guide shoppers through the store and describe items in detail.

The Aira service is also available at more than 40 airports and major public transit systems and college campuses. Not only can Aira agents provide direction and information, they can also read ingredients on boxes, understand color options, and have graphics described.

Now that’s progress.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the consumer buying process.
  2. 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.
  3. How does the process change for visually-impaired consumers?
  4. Show information about Aira: https://aira.io/
  5. Videos are available on the Aira video channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvTWpoo6BVrn2pOFreWQGGw
  6. Information on how to use Aira at Target: https://aira.io/target
  7. How should the Aira services be marketed?

 

 

Source:  Kumar, K. (6 December 2019). Target offers free service for visually impaired shoppers at 600 stores for holidays. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

 

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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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Grandkids On-Demand

Even though it’s a fact of life, aging can be lonely. Friends and family members may have passed on, moved away, or moved into care facilities. And, caregiving for someone who is older can be hard when the caregivers also have other responsibilities such as families and full-time jobs. This was the need behind a new service called ‘Papa’ which helps provide senior citizens with a little extra attention through what it calls ‘Grandkids On-Demand’.

Papa has a simple premise – to provide college students to help senior citizens. It connects students with the seniors for tasks such as driving, shopping, reading, laundry, pet help, technology help, or even just companionship. It emphasizes a fun was for two generations to connect and frees senior citizens from being confined or left on the margins of life.

Members (the senior citizens) pay a monthly fee of $15 to $30 to belong, plus $15 per hour for visits from the Papa Pals (the college students). The Pals must be enrolled in college or working on a masters degree, social work degree, or nursing or medical degree. Pals must also have a four-door car and pass a background check. Pals are given the company’s personality test which look for people with empathy, patience, and the ability to draw people into conversation. The biggest focus is on curing loneliness; being with a younger person stimulates the seniors – relationships form to help both parties understand the world.

Become a Pal and help Papa.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Do they have family members or friends that fall into this category? How do these people get assistance?
  2. Review Papa: https://www.joinpapa.com/
  3. Make sure to show some of the videos available on the Web site to illustrate how the service works: https://www.joinpapa.com/video-gallery/
  4. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general research to analyze the market for Papa. (Ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  6. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board.

Source: Bahrampour, T. (20 June 2018). These college kids moonlight as ‘grandkids’ for hire. Washington Post.

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