10 Mar 2021
The auto industry has been facing the heat to move digital more than ever as the pandemic has brought upon new challenges and deepened the need to shift toward digital solutions. Auto dealers have been slow to adopt digital car-buying solutions, but with lockdowns closing dealership doors, the pandemic accelerated the shift to omni-channel auto retail.
Online car buying has taken off in a big way during the pandemic. According to Publicis Sapient, many digitally enabled OEMs are seeing increased, higher quality leads that are 30 percent more likely to buy and a two to four-fold surge in website traffic compared with pre-COVID-19. These online tools are, in some instances, responsible for more than 20 percent of new leads during the second quarter of 2020.
More recently, a number of digitally focused disruptors such as Carvana, Carmax and Tesla have entered the market, offering unique, omni-channel experiences like flexible return policies, virtual auctions, home deliveries, online negotiation and virtual trade-in valuations. These digital leaders recognized a shift in customer expectations and focused on creating seamless user experiences across the entire shopping journey.
Online used car seller Vroom noticed a considerable growth in demand as a result of the pandemic, with people turning to digital methods for purchasing cars. Similar to its competitor Carvana, Vroom offers no-haggle pricing and a no-questions-asked return policy. Another Used car marketplace Shift Technologies went public via SPAC in October 2020. Shift allows users to buy, sell and finance cars online. The company offers a "buy it now" option that allows a buyer to purchase a vehicle online without a test drive. Similarly, Cazoo, a UK based company, sells refurbished cars online, delivers them to customers' homes within 48 hours, and offers a seven-day free returns policy.
Then there are digital platforms that help the dealerships move their businesses online. Take for example, Modal which makes software for car dealerships to move the entire buying process online. Another company, Digital Motors builds a car-buying platform for auto retailers, dealerships, brands and manufacturers.
The new car ownership model of subscription offers ease and convenience to customers like never before. Switzerland-based Carvolution offers car subscriptions where Customers pay a monthly price for a vehicle and are free to switch cars as they like.
We believe that, the winners in this industry will be defined by how quickly they adapt to technological innovations. The dealers and OEMs who adjust can thrive, while those reluctant to change will fall further behind.
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Automated Forest Restoration
Forest restoration has the potential to reverse land degradation through restoration or rehabilitation of degraded land. It can be a climate change mitigation strategy, and could provide other co-benefits, including increasing forest productivity, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. It provides aesthetic and socio-cultural benefits, such as the potential to improve the livelihoods and resilience of forest-dependent communities.
Zurich based, GainForest, uses artificial intelligence to reverse deforestation. Its algorithms analyze data from satellites, drones and field monitoring to measure sustainable land use. It’s an app that aims to help maintain and restore forests. GainForest gets funding from the crypto community to provide finance to community members if they maintain their patch of land for an agreed duration. The GainForest team uses publicly available data from Global Forest Watch to monitor and evaluate community success. It is also developing advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to help forecast future forest cover.
Flash Forest is Canada’s first-to-market and largest drone reforestation company using UAV hardware, aerial mapping software, automation, and biological seed-pod technology to reforest the planet at a rapid pace. It is a reforestation company that aims to plant at 10 times the normal rate and at a fraction of the cost of traditional tree planting techniques. With drone engineering, it brings new levels of accuracy, precision and speed to the reforestation industry. By 2028, the start-up aims to plant a full 1 billion trees.
Brazil based startup, Treevia, has developed a remote forest-monitoring system called SmartForest. It connects forests around the world into the internet to ensure more sustainable use of natural resources. The solutions offered by SmartForest include digital asset registration systems, forest research using high-precision data, hazard assessment and specialised forestry consultation.
Satelligence helps companies achieve a deforestation-free sourcing and production of palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soy, and other commodities. Building on artificial intelligence, satellite technology and supply chain data, the company provides daily insights into the global performance of agricultural production and supply chain risks. Satelligence maps and monitors forests, planted palm areas, deforestation, and fire impact.
Deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates, which contributes significantly to the ongoing loss of biodiversity. As per Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations the area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990. Current deforestation rates worldwide are unsustainable. Efficient and quality reforestation techniques are essential to rapidly implement solutions to our global ecological crisis.
Credits : Akhil Handa Manisha Gawle
Beauty Trends - 2021
The global beauty industry (encompassing skin care, color cosmetics, hair care, fragrances, and personal care) has been shaken by the COVID-19 crisis. With months of lockdown, retail businesses closed and international travel ban, consumer’s purchase and usage behaviour has witnessed a dramatic change leading to fall in sales across many beauty segments.
Beauty sales declined as much as 30% in the first half of the year, according to a McKinsey report and even major brands took a blow. With more than a year under pandemic, brands are now working towards better ways to deal with the humongous shift in consumer values and expectations.
In this effort, brands are adopting new technologies at a faster speed to redefine personalisation. Some companies such as L’Oréal offers AI powered at-home devices, which can measure user conditions, like the emergence of dark spots or surrounding environmental concerns, on a daily basis. L’Oréal’s Perso device accounts for this data to dispense custom-formulated makeup every day. Another company Atolla uses AI capabilities to customize facial serums for consumers by using data collected through quizzes and tests measuring oil, moisture, and pH levels.
As per a CB Insights report, Johnson & Johnson, has invested in new engineered preservatives that could be used in items like haircare or body care products. The company invested in Curie Co, a startup that makes biomaterials to replace preservatives in everyday beauty and personal care products, through its JLABS incubator.
Another apparent trend is BigTechs offering retail channel for beauty products. Amazon launched a private label beauty brand called Belei in 2019 and recently invested in India-based D2C beauty site MyGlamm. China-based tech giant Alibaba offers livestreaming and AR features which it has used to attract luxury beauty brands to its e-commerce platform.
Virtual try-on tech leverages augmented reality to allow shoppers to test how different beauty products will look without actual trial. Remarkably, virtual try-on can also help brands personalize the beauty shopping experience, enhancing product discovery and making tailored recommendations about foundation shades, skincare products, and more.
In December 2020, Google launched an AR-powered cosmetics try on tool in Google Search, partnering with brands like L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, and more to let users try on searched-for makeup products using front-facing mobile phone cameras.
Going forward, we expect to see beauty brands and tech giants alike turn to virtual try-on to gather shopper data and make more personalized product recommendations.
Credits : Akhil Handa Aparna Anand