The famously innovative search company has taken a page from the Pentagon’s radical ideas factory. Here’s what’s brewing in Silicon Valley’s coolest skunkworks.
While Japanese retailer Uniqlo is leading the way in quality service, what can the US and Europe learn from the global retail marketplace? | European Retail blog ]
This service offer is pivotal in today’s increasingly virtual world. In the UK we are seeing that the real winners are those retailers that provide a seamless multichannel retail offer, combining the best of both the physical and the virtual worlds. The Japanese stores I have seen here clearly recognise the importance of the human factor, from faceless checkout to a spirit of warmth, hospitality and gratitude. Put simply, if you make the decision to shop in physical stores then you deserve this as an absolute minimum.
Because this is where the $58 billion company (market cap) is trying to solve one of the most bedeviling challenges for any business that grows as large it has: How can Starbucks use design to make every store feel not like a mass-produced product out of Seattle, but rather a bespoke, local coffee shop? And do it within a language that still lets you know where you are?
The role of the customer assistant is changing dramatically. Gone are the days when all you needed was a winning smile, helpfulness and the ability to operate a low-tech till to satisfy customer needs. Today, with bricks and mortar stores embracing new technology in order to compete with online outlets, digital skills are becoming increasingly critical for the shop assistant.
Across Europe, retail banks have digitized only 20 to 40 percent of their processes; 90 percent of European banks invest less than 0.5 percent of their total spending on digital. As a result, most have relatively shallow digital offerings focused on enabling basic customer transactions.
So why are European banks not aggressively moving in this direction? One of the reasons for the slower transformation in banking is that bank executives have tended to view digital transformation too narrowly, often as stand-alone front-end features such as mobile apps or online product-comparison charts. Commonly lost in the mix are the accompanying changes to frontline tools, internal processes, data assets, and staff capabilities needed to stitch everything together into a coherent front-to-back proposition. Although the journey may begin “digitally” on an online form or payment calculator, it does not remain so for long, as anyone who has taken on a mortgage can attest. Instead, the onerous documentation requirements and significant manual intervention that characterize the typical bank’s mortgage process soon emerge. This can seem jarring to customers accustomed to more seamless interactions with nonbanking services.
But though the e-commerce growth rate is attractive, it has slowed from about 30% per year in the early 2000s to less than half that rate today. If the trend continues, e-commerce sales will increase from 11% of Forrester’s top 30 categories to about 18% by 2030—higher in some (such as music) and lower in others (such as food). While 18% is a significant number, it does not exactly spell the end of physical stores.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold Spring, the most advanced effort at fashion-focused mobile shopping yet.
For all intents and purposes, you could absolutely call spring an Instagram for shopping.
But it goes beyond just that to incorporate pieces of a few other favorite apps, including Uber and Tinder.
The rapid convergence of CMOs’ and CIOs’ priorities in this year’s survey is driven by necessity. Companies are focusing on growth at the same time that customers’ expectations regarding digital capabilities are rising. Creating better customer experiences and delivering on brand promises will require ever closer collaboration among marketers and technologists – and we expect the awareness of that reality to keep growing in years to come.
Theorem, a San Francisco-based startup headed by MIT grads Ryan Jackson and Adam Roberts, is trying to change that. It offers high-end clothing and accessories from more than 90 up-and-coming designers, prices negotiable. “There are a lot of tools for shopping online—e-commerce is a huge space—but we’ve never seen a platform that lets customers name their own price,” Jackson tells Co.Design. They launched in beta in April and are now a part of Y Combinator’s 2014 class, and are looking to become the “Priceline for fashion.”
While some industry watchers may cringe at the sheer vagueness of the word “omni-channel,” it’s an idea that needs to be seriously considered by retailers invested in both online and in-store operations. And while the need for clear communication between every network can be daunting, omni-channel — when utilized efficiently — is giving multi-channel retailers a fighting chance, to not only to compete with, but to win against, e-retail giants like Amazon.
When tech affects ideas about time, space and social relationships, it carries anxiety. We are reinventing a lot of ideas around security, privacy, safety, love, marriage, kids, god, violence, the nation state, power, justice, money. Everything is up for grabs.
THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO EMBED INTELLIGENCE IN OUR LIVES THAN SURROUNDING OURSELVES WITH NEEDY GADGETS.