Digital Landscape Assignment
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1. Does the huge growth in ‘online shopping’ really mean the extinction of the traditional ‘high street’ store...or can Alibaba’s ‘New Retail’ help them to successfully co- exist?
This goal was laid forth in a letter to shareholders sent by Alibaba's then-executive chairperson, Jack Ma, in 2017 and was outlined in detail in that letter. This is Alibaba's most ambitious effort into experiential retail. Omnichannel retail is the face of retail in future, according to Alibaba's 'New Retail' concept, which aims to merge brick-and-mortar and online shopping. By incorporating digital technologies with conventional retail operations, Alibaba aims to improve the entire consumer experience and challenge other kinds of retail(Pang, 2015). Traditional grocery shops may be digitized by scanning QR codes on consumers' smartphones and having their goods delivered immediately to their homes, as in the case of Alibaba's Hema Supermarkets. Customers at Hema Supermarkets may get a taste of the food they purchase by having the employees prepare it for them. Customers get a hands-on, realistic, and engaging shopping experience. Alibaba's 'New Retail' approach is centred on the client. Consumers who reside within a 3-kilometre area of one of Alibaba's Hema Supermarkets may have their goods delivered in 30 minutes. Goods/services are thus adjusted to the customer's preferences, as a result of this consumer-first approach. In order to shop for groceries, refund an item, or buy a new automobile, traditional retail methods need customers to set aside time in their daily routines.
In contrast, the new retail model incorporates technologies and services that take into account the customer's increasingly hectic lives and customized requirements, making the customer experience easier and more enjoyable. In every Hema Supermarket, consumers may have their cuisine made on-site by chefs(Schmuck and Benke, 2020). However, the store is also a distribution centre. There is an increased value to the retailer's network because of this, which means faster delivery times and better resource utilisation as well as more loyal and repeat consumers. Agile processes and rapid implementation can only be achieved via the strategic use of technologies. For Alibaba's new retail approach to be three important technologies have played. These are the internet of things (IoT), digital shopping apps, and location information analysis.
Modifications may now be made in real-time by shops because of these new technologies. In Hema Supermarkets, electronic price tags may change in real-time depending on many circumstances. The commercialization of mom-and-pop businesses in the cloud allows for real-time updates to their point-of-sale system and transaction records. Real-time updates to their inventory and order management systems provide owners with the knowledge they need to operate their companies better(Li, 2019). Businesses now have the tools they need to attract consumers, such as digital shopping mirrors and shop-and-go smartphone options. The physical and digital worlds will converge in the future. To be successful in retail, one must use a combination of both online and offline tactics. This arrangement will be optimally improved by industry experts in order to better interact with their customers. A real-time multichannel approach enables merchants to customize activities based on the particular preferences, much as social media algorithms adjust the feeds to the specific interests.
Because Alibaba already has a digital retail ecosystem in place, its "New Retail' approach is successful in implementing this goal of Alibaba. Customers must scan the Alipay app on their smartphones in order to visit their smart retailers. Customers don't have to submit information about home delivery since the information is already in the system. Users may now get location-based store suggestions and discount alerts through their mobile devices, which encourages them to shop in person(Li, 2019). These platforms are popular with customers because they provide exceptional convenience via seamless connection and appeal powerfully to their particular interests. Alibaba has been known for its approach to experiments. The company has tried to amalgamate the concepts of conventional and contemporary retail experience which is expected to cater to the needs of customers while having a rational mechanism to accomplish the concept.
2. Discuss the 5 ‘New’ technologies outlined and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each technology.
- Beacon Technology
Small Bluetooth devices called beacons, initially launched by Apple in 2013, may transmit notifications to smartphones depending on their proximity to a certain place(Royetal., 2018). The only exception is that a customer must have the business's app open on their smartphone in order to get beacon notifications from the retailer. Shoppers may get discounts, offers, future events or other notifications through beacon technology while they are in the shop.
- Beacon technology enables firms to tailor their marketing and segment their consumers based on their proximity data. Beacon technology allows brands to personalise their offers and recommendations for each consumer depending on that person's preferences(Royetal., 2018).
- The geo-targeted communications of beacon technology also enhance the open rate for most organizations. Push notifications are opened about 14 per cent of the time, whereas beacon-based alerts are opened more than 50 per cent of the time because they look highly significant.
- Because beacon technology is generally inexpensive and quick to put up, it has minimal risk and great potential for profit.
- There should be a thin line to assure that the personal data is solely utilised to bring value to the consumer. Customers are often not frightened by corporations having access to personal information(Moorhouse, tom Dieck and Jung, 2018). Customers know that corporations have access to their personal information, but they don't want to be swamped with marketing emails or flooded with information about how much the firm knows about them.
- Because beacon marketing relies on Bluetooth, if a consumer does not have Bluetooth enabled devices, beacon technology will not be able to detect them.
- Facial Recognition
Many of the best-known brands may be found both online and in-store. Robbery and commercial theft may be combated more effectively with the use of facial recognition technology(Moorhouse, tom Dieck and Jung, 2018). As a bonus, it may bring the tailored internet purchasing experience to the bricks-and-mortar store.
- If one utilizes a face biometric security system, every person that enters the premises will be tracked(Moorhouse, tom Dieck and Jung, 2018). The authority will be informed right away.
- Using face recognition technology, the procedure may be totally automated and its precision can be ensured at a very high level.
- The way a face is processed is strongly influenced by the camera position. Using different angles, such as side, frontal, 45 degrees, etc. a facial recognition system is able to accurately identify a person's face. Aside from that, obstacles, such as a beard or cap, might be a real problem in such cases.
- Robot Assistance Technologies
Robotic store assistants are another example of how technology is transforming the shopping experience(Adapaetal., 2020). Shoppers may use robots to assist them to locate what they're searching for and get answers to their queries. They can also send out discounts or special deals through email.
- Saves time
- Increase store productivity
- Works throughout the day
- These are restricted to their programming
- Require expertise to be managed
- This leads to job loss
- Smart Mirrors
There are several different types of smart mirrors, including digital mirrors, which show images of people on a flat screen and seem to be mirrors in their own right(KIM and LEE, 2021). While some models employ computer-generated virtual images, others use augmented reality add-ons to enhance the visual presentation.
- It displays useful information via WIFI or Bluetooth connection
- Rapidity in customer experiences
- Enhanced experience of the customers
- Lack human interaction
- Needs expertise
Self-checkout is a term used to describe the way of paying for merchandise at a retail store that is based on self-service(KIM and LEE, 2021). Smart technology is commonly used in whole or in part to aid with this process.
- Allows proper management of employees
- Convenient for the customers
- Saves space
- Rapid dehumanization of the store
- Threat to employment
- Highly Expensive
3. Discuss what your Supermarket of the future would look like and what it should contain/not contain
Symphony RetailAI, the premier worldwide supplier of Artificial Intelligence-enabled decision providers released its "Supermarket 2020" data and recommendations(Cebeci, Ertug and Turkcan, 2020). Prescriptive knowledge on how the grocery business might reform itself via a vast re-imagination of supermarkets dependent on consumer patterns is presented in the findings1 of this study.
According to the findings of Symphony, rather than 15+ aisles, retailers will have less than ten carefully selected SKUs in each section to suit customer demands for both efficiency and excellence, as opposed to the current 15+ aisles. As part of their multi-channel approach, retailers may complement this in-store approach by providing a million SKUs online, allowing clients to view almost endless products(Cebeci, Ertug and Turkcan, 2020). Taking advantage of buyers' intention of spending 3-4 times more on prepared meals, retailers could eliminate the middle aisles to create a place for cooked items.
A "surprise and delight" area in a special goods aisle may keep customers interested by displaying new items every two weeks. A farmer's market may be recreated in every grocery store, provided by regional and local farmers and growers that fulfil high standards(Vuckovacetal., 2017). The percentage of private label SKUs is expected to rise from 18-20 per cent to 40-45 per cent in the next several years, compared to the current 18-20 per cent. Shoppers will be able to use easy features like click and collect, 3D store-navigation, and AI-enabled, real-time basket cost reduction offers to save money on their purchases.
Customers are constantly making their purchases over the internet, and actual stores are closing at an alarming pace. As a result, merchants are attempting to boost shoppers. Their goal is to create modern retail spaces that offer customers an in-store experience that isn't available anywhere else. Retail stores of the future have the ability to considerably increase revenue by 5% to 15% per shop in only a few months if they are implemented at the level(Vuckovacetal., 2017). Current shop designs do not satisfy the needs of today's consumers and is required for the shops to be customer-centric. Central stores are being redesigned as a result of a high preference for multi-channel and convenient buying. Considering these facts in mind, it is indispensable to think that the futuristic retail stores will have to maintain the experience standards of the customers through the integration of systems and technologies such as,
Counter for prepared food: Considering the time constraints of modern customers, especially working professionals, ready to eat food marts need to be included where customers can get good quality food.
Auto-Checkout: Auto-checkout needs to be incorporated in future retail stores where customers will be able to self-service while saving time and any human involvement.
Robotic assistance: Robotic assistance can be another perspective approach for retailers to increase their in-store traffic(Costanzoetal., 2021). It will allow the shoppers to have a convi9neint and fast shopping experience as they will be assisted by the robots.
Things that should not be incorporated are:
Smart Mirrors: Smart Mirrors are technologically advanced and fancy but these mirrors are not integral in the retail experience of shoppers. Smart mirrors usually dehumanize a retail store making it lifeless and boring(Costanzoetal., 2021). Initially, it might be effective to attract customers but gradually this aspect might prove ineffective.
Facial recognition: Although facial recognitions are effective and can help retailers to standardize their advances yet the use of facial recognition in retail stores can be avoided(Costanzoetal., 2021).
4. Location-based marketing (LBM)and the Ethical Concerns
With location-based marketing, businesses may send messages to customers based on their actual location, allowing them to be targeted down to the individual level. Customers may be targeted based on a variety of factors, such as their accessibility to a business or events in their location, by using location data(Cliquet and Baray, 2020). The effectiveness of location-based marketing may be seen across the consumer journey, from awareness and consideration through purchase and ongoing interaction and advocacy. Using location-based marketing effectively enables businesses to target particular groups of customers with relevant offers, while also enhancing the overall customer experience for a generation that places an emphasis on instant satisfaction. Using location-based marketing, a potential customer may be notified that a product they've been researching is available for immediate purchase at a nearby retailer. Consumers and potential customers may be better served by more customized marketing messages.
Customized offers at appropriate times help customers, who are becoming more selective about the brand communications they contact with, have a considerably better engagement(Yim, Ganesan and Kang, 2017). For local companies like retail shops or catering services, location-based promotion may help boost foot traffic by letting customers know they're close by, and luring them with a discount or special offer. Real-time location data may be used by marketers to develop more relevant and customised advertisements. A person's location does not necessarily have a role in this. Timing and messages may also be influenced by location data. Retailers are constantly using location-based advertising to better understand their customers' buying behaviours and preferences. One can inform companies a lot about themselves via trackers, which gather signals from the mobile phone and may provide with information like what time of day and where one buys from, as well as how long people spend in a store and how frequently they visit(Lehrer, Constantiouand Hess, 2010). This data is then used by companies to determine the best ways to market their products to consumers.
But among all these advantages for the businesses, a critical concern remains at the core for the customers as the ethical and confidentiality issues are prominent. Privacy is the most common claim given for disabling location settings. People anticipate that their personal information will be shared with other services or that they will be flooded with intrusive advertisements.These worries are based on the fact that many services (including those from prominent companies) do disclose customers' whereabouts without their permission. Demonstrating understanding of privacy issues by describing how companies plan to utilise location data is critical in any project(Lehrer, Constantiouand Hess, 2010). Today's companies are more concerned about protecting their customers' privacy. Customers are properly questioning organisations about why they need their personal information, what they plan to use with it, and whether or not they will be able to use those securely in the wake of recent high-profile infringements. Because location-based marketing is one of the strongest marketing disciplines, the problem of privacy and security is especially important. It's not hard to see why consumers could feel uneasy about being 'tracked' by the whole field of customer behaviour research.
In a nutshell, it can be observed from the recently developed market and customer-oriented research, that the issue of privacy needs to be addressed when conducting location-based marketing approaches(Yim, Ganesan and Kang, 2017). Companies need to be transparent about the data they are obtaining and how those will be protected. Companies should adhere to the established legal standards to maintain the protection of sensitive data and customer content.
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