Lyft broadens its transportation scope; debuts new bike share design

Lyft has finalized its acquisition of the bike share company Motivate, and has launched the design of its new bike.  The company announced the acquisition in July, “saying Lyft would acquire Motivate’s technology and corporate functions and the company would be known as Lyft Bikes. (cnet).

The ride sharing program will allow bikes to be reserved through its app, in an effort on the heels of its carbon neutrality pledge and increased initiative to offset the documented stress put on cities by ride sharing services.

WHY IT’S HOT: 

Motivate Exec Chairmain Steve Koch says: “How we get around cities is changing rapidly, and the combination of Lyft and Motivate will bring tremendous new resources and energy to making sure that bikeshare plays a fundamental role in the new urban mobility,” … “Together, we believe that integrating our services in partnership with the public sector will transform the urban transportation landscape, increase bike ridership, and make our cities better.”

Throwing the gauntlet to Uber!

SOURCE: https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/29/lyfts-pink-wheeled-shareable-bikes-will-be-available-to-rent-soon/

A New Kind of e-Tail

Good, Cheap and Fast (GCF for short), is an e-tail website designed to take the effort out of e-shopping.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90274504/hate-browsing-amazon-this-is-the-ultimate-no-frills-shopping-site

To that end, the site doesn’t waste effort on frills like “bandwidth-hogging images” or “spill[ing] 10,000 words of digital ink on…mundane appliances.” To DeFeo–a former designer–the job to be done here is simple: “save people time,” he says. Thus GCF’s Craigslist-esque, all-text aesthetic. (It does have nicer fonts, though.)

GFC’s design is based on the philosophy that not everyone is a maximizer: people who, intimidated by the internet’s abundance of options they want to know which one is the best. Who they are targeting is users who they call “satisficers” – people who just want something good enough without breaking the bank.

The site is curated by using a combination of existing shopping tools and plugins that filter out suspicious or spammy product reviews and then eliminates more by “measuring the relationship between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-star reviews, with an eye toward quality control issues.”

Why It’s Hot: 

Sometimes we need to remember that less is more.

We don’t have enough time left

A Spanish liquor brand has created a holiday campaign to remind people how little time they have left to spend with those they love.

Ruavieja’s seasonal campaign is called Tenemos Que Vernos Mas (We Have To See More Of Each Other).

The campaign is led by a four-minute online film that is framed like a social experiment. Friends and family members are asked about their relationship, how often they see each other and their respective ages. The interviewer then uses this information to calculate how much time they will spend together before (statistically) one of them will die. When the answers are revealed in days and hours many of the participants are shocked and begin to cry.

At the end, the ad then juxtaposes the time people typically have left to spend with loved ones with how long they will spend doing meaningless activities. For instance, over a 40-year period, people on average spend six years watching TV and eight years on the internet (admittedly, the internet figure could also encompass communicating with loved ones), according to the ad.

Ruavieja has also created a website where users can enter their details and see how much time they have left to spend with their loved ones.

Why it’s hot

A human insight brought to life with data. It’s the perfect marriage of data and emotion as they used data that moved people to tears.

Source: Contagious

 

Payless performs a social experiment for PR and advertising

Shoe retailer Payless recently took over a former Armani store in Santa Monica, CA, stocked it with Payless products, and then invited fashion influencers to attend a “party” celebrating the store’s opening.

These influencers were made to believe that they were attending a store opening for a new high-end designer called “Palessi”.

These influencers paid between $200 and $600 for Payless shoes traditionally priced between $20 and $40. Many called their purchases “sophisticated” or “made with high quality materials”.

Of course, later, all the influencers that made purchases did get back the full amounts and got to keep the shoes.

Why it’s hot: It’s easy to fool anyone with the right marketing, branding, and positioning. And Payless had the opportunity to prove that its very affordable shoes could pass off as high-end designer shoes.

Source

This Cafe is Staffed By Robots Remotely Controlled By People with Disabilities

A new Tokyo cafe is staffed by robots that are remotely controlled by people with severe physical disabilities.

The cafe, which has the catchy name of Dawn ver.β, utilizes five OriHime-D robot waiters, which take orders and serve food at the cafe. The high-tech radio-controlled robots are designed so people with disabilities, spinal cord injuries, or diseases like ALS can operate them from home. They transmit audio and video footage wirelessly to the robot’s controller, who can direct them via tablets or computers.

This iteration of the cafe is only temporary, closing on December 7, but the partners hope to launch a permanent cafe before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and come up with new ways to promote employment assistance for people with disabilities.

The cafe stems from a collaboration between the Nippon Foundation, ANA Holdings Inc., and Ory Lab Inc., who makes the robots. The idea was to help get people stuck at home back into the workforce, offering part-time jobs and minimum wage (1,000 yen per hour) and some independence, too.

 

Marie Claire Ventures into E-commerce

Marie Claire magazine has launched Marie Claire Edit – a shopping experience curated by their fashion editors. The e-commerce platform features brands including NET-A-PORTER,  ASOS, Topshop, and many more.

The idea of the site is to give Marie Claire readers a place to shop where all the items are current, on-trend and paired with pro styling tips. Products are pulled together in themes like, “The major knits to wear right now,” “These Christmas jumpers prove you can be festive AND chic” and “The checked blazer upgrades you’ll need this season.” So the editorial voice of Marie Claire remains, but the collections are lighter on text, with shopping truly the main focus.

Marie Claire Edit also plans to work closely with designers. Their future vision includes housing exclusive interviews and major product launch news.

Why It’s Hot

As print magazines continue to look for new ways to stay relevant and profitable, Marie Claire is taking a big step in a new direction for publishers.

Source: https://www.retaildive.com/news/marie-claire-magazine-unveils-content-driven-e-commerce-site/542874/

Yeti’s Wild 10-Year Party

Yeti celebrated its Tundra coolers’ 10th birthday by throwing a party. But it wasn’t your average, expected, self-referential brand party full of champagne and celebrities. Instead, Yeti set out on a ten city tour where they featured a film about stories from the wild.

Yeti’s heritage has always been serving their customers, the wild ones, as they call them — the outdoors men and women who live for the adventure in life by spending a lot of time outside. And this film series hero’ed these ambassadors, how they live their lives and what makes them come alive. It’s a tactic Yeti uses often, a story well told, but it’s one that works and is now an essential element their brand.

Why It Was Hot 

The idea of this birthday celebration is so perfectly Yeti. It’s not just about their brand, it is their brand made into a birthday celebration.

But the bigger story, I think, is the word-of-mouth-marketing aspect of it. It’s an anecdote from my own life, but I think it’s a strong point that I heard about this film tour from a friend of mine who has seen me carry a Yeti rambler for the better part of a year. And simply, she just thought I would like to know about it.

There’s something so interesting about being a strong, modern brand that lives an analog life on purpose to include every part of the customer’s journey with the brand.

Google is teaming up with public libraries

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Man, I love libraries (and the Juno filter)

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Google is teaming up with public libraries expand its Grow with Google network. Google and the American Library Association are launching the Libraries Ready to Code website, an online resource for libraries to teach coding and computational thinking to kids. The collaboration kicked off last June with pilot programs in 30 libraries across the United States. Now their “by libraries, for libraries” hub is open to all 120,000 libraries across the country, where library staff can choose the programs that are most relevant to their communities.

Google is also getting more involved with libraries. Starting in January, its Grow with Google workshops will be available in libraries in all 50 states, helping more people launch careers in IT by spending more time in more libraries. The workshops will teach digital skills that can help jobseekers and small businesses get involved with Grow with Google’s IT development tools and earn IT certificates. It will also offer library staff an IT and web dev curriculum they can use for free.

Finally, Google announced a $1 million sponsorship to the American Library Association, to create a pool of micro-funds that local libraries can access to bring digital skills training to their community, starting with an initial group of 250 libraries that will receive funding to support coding activities during Computer Science Education Week, which runs from December 3 -9.

Why it’s hot: Go Google!

Source: FastCo 

What is in a Word?

“The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance,” Oxford stated in a post on its website.

 

With a 45% increase in searches, this year the word “toxic” takes the prize. In combination with chemical first and masculinity second, the word is top of mind for people. With the rise of the #metoo movement, it’s no surprise this year word searches seem to be all about strained relationships between men and women with spikes in searches for words like:

incel”—an involuntarily celibate man who holds hostile views towards women; “gaslighting”—a form of psychological manipulation that makes the victim doubt their own sanity, made famous by a movie in which a man does this to his own wife; and “orbiting,” which is when a person ceases communication (i.e: “ghosts”) but continues to lurk via social media, maintaining “an online presence in the subject’s life without any promise of meaningful interaction.”

To give some perspective, 2018’s word of the year is in great contrast with 2015’s, when the word of the year was:

Image result for smile cry emoji

Why it’s hot:

It’s sad, but also optimistic. It means we live in toxic times (sad) but at least we’re trying to educate ourselves and hopefully make a change (optimistic).

Uber introduces rider loyalty program after Lyft announces one

The Uber rewards program is available this week for users in NYC metro area, New Jersey, Denver, Tampa, Miami, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Diego; and Uber promises it will roll out to all U.S. riders in the next few months.

Uber has also set up different status levels for its customers: Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Every six months, an individual’s Uber points are tallied and at 500, 2,500, 7,500 points respectively, they jump to the next tier for the next six months.

Since the program looks at your ride history from the past six months, by the time you’re enrolled in the program you might be Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status to start.

You’ll get one point for every dollar spent on Uber Pool rides and Uber Eats orders. Two points for ordering an UberX, UberXL, UberSelect, or UberWAV ride. Three points for ordering UberBlack and UberBlack SUV rides.

Uber users will get a $5 credit for every 500 points they earn. And this credit can be used for rides or Uber Eats.

Tiers:

Blue – less than 500 points

Gold – between 500 and 2,499 points: Free cancellations within a 15-minute window, priority customer support

Platinum – 2,500 to 7,499 points: Gold benefits + price locking between two set places (home and work, for example) on UberX, priority pick-ups at the airport

Diamond – 7,500 points and above: Gold + Platinum benefits + dedicated phone support, free upgrades to Uber Black, access to highly rated drivers, no delivery fees on three Uber Eats orders every six months

Riders can keep their current status level for six months. If during that time period they don’t spend enough, they can drop down the tiers. For example, a Gold member would need to earn 500 to 2,499 points over six months to maintain that level for the following six months.

Why it’s hot: modeled after airline rewards programs, time will tell if this rewards/loyalty program will boost Uber ridership among existing users.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/travel/uber-and-lyft-launch-rewards-programs.html. https://mashable.com/article/uber-rewards-loyalty-program/#IOoZZomZtsqW

Chalk and Soap

Soap company Savlon started with a problem: Kids in India eat with their hands but often don’t wash them with soap, and it’s one of the leading causes of illness and school dropouts.

Since most primary grade students in rural India still use black-slate and chalk sticks to write in schools. This led to the idea of Savlon’s Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks – made with a mixture of chalk powder and soap granules. Before lunch break when kids put their hands under the tap, the chalk powder on their hands turned into soap on its own. This simple innovation by Ogilvy, Mumbai automatically turned washing hands with soap into an everyday habit.
For the first phase, Savlon identified 100 rural schools across India based on health data analysis. Under ‘Healthy India Mission’ these special chalk sticks were provided to 150,000 students for free. Owing to a great response and demand from schools and NGOs across the country, distribution models were set in place for NGOs whose requirements exceeded over 50,000 boxes.

Once implemented in 100 schools, on Children’s Day, this innovation was released as an online video to start a conversation about the importance of hand hygiene in children.

Why its hot?
Didn’t create anything new or spent much to create a powerful innovation. A simple idea that turned a tool already being used (chalk) into the solution (antiseptic soap chalk)

emotionally manipulate your children with technology this holiday…


Judging by this product created by Australian retailer Myer, Aussie parents’ behavior might not be under the same microscope that American parents’ behavior is.

Nevertheless, the store created a connected ornament that changes color based on how “naughty” or “nice” the children in the home are being leading up to Christmas.

According to Myer, “The bauble pairs up with an app, so parents can change the colour to coerce their kids into good behaviour, or be faced with a stocking full of coal.” 

The retailer is even taking a page from Spotify’s book, and using the “data” to power billboards around Australia showing how “naughty” or “nice” children in different areas are:

Why it’s hot: 

I’m not sure it is. Technologically, it’s an interesting idea to create a bluetooth powered product symbolizing what will hopefully be a happy holiday for each child. But, while it would be magical for an unknowing children to see “proof” they’re being “nice”, and therefore they’re headed for the rewards they want this holiday, the opposite seems like it could be a bit extreme.

You can’t hide from Facebook

Facebook has filed for a patent for tech that allows it to tell who you live with in the same household, reports BuzzFeed News. Titled “Predicting household demographics based on image data,” the patent describes how Facebook can use its facial recognition technology on your photos to identify people in them, then correlate those people with the captions a user writes when they post a photo, as well as cross-referencing everyone’s device information, such as shared IP addresses to discover who lives in your household.

It would note the people identified in a photo, and how frequently the people are included in your pictures. Then, it would assess information from comments on the photos, captions, or tags (#family, #mom, #kids)–anything that indicates whether someone is a husband, daughter, cousin, etc.–to predict what your family/household actually looks like.

According to the patent application, Facebook’s prediction models would also analyze “messaging history, past tagging history, [and] web browsing history” to see if multiple people share IP addresses (a unique identifier for every internet network).

Facebook uses pictures from both its main site and Instagram in this process.

Why it’s hot

Well, this seems like a great idea *wink*

Facebook obviously has access to a lot a lot a lot of ohotos, but it doesn’t really do very much with them. This is the type of thing no one knows about until it’s auddenls controversial and then Facebook has to make a lot of security changes and apologise.

I Can’t Read that Email on my Phone! (But I want to)

I know there is debate on how effective email marketing is and can be. Personally, I have always advocated emails and feel if done right- email marketing can play a very big role in customer loyalty and retention.

And- it looks like people agree with that- as consumers seem to be paying attention to marketing emails they receive. Another recent study from Yes Marketing suggested a considerable percentage of consumers prefer email communication from retailers over other forms of interaction, including social media.

The problem?  In a recent survey- people are saying those emails are not well-designed for their mobile devices, according to the results.

The top two issues shoppers wish could be improved were how marketing emails fit on a smartphone screen and the readability of such emails. The reality is that design, language, timing, tone and many other factors are all important when retailers and brands are looking to make the right impression by email.

Why It’s Hot:

As mentioned above- email could be a very cost effective and valuable cog in the marketing mix. It can help with retention, loyalty and brand awareness. However, if the emails aren’t designed right- especially to accommodate consumers viewing on their mobile phone- they will fail and could in fact have an adverse effect.  Designers should look to take advantage of this insight and look to retool emails to be “mobile friendly”.

China pumps AI-produced propaganda via humanoid virtual anchors

“Xinhua, China’s state-run press agency, has unveiled new “AI anchors” — digital composites created from footage of human hosts that read the news using synthesized voices.”

AI anchors have several advantages over human counterparts: they don’t need to sleep, eat, poop or take a salary.

Story on The Verge

Why It’s Hot

It’s a wholly frightening idea that the 24/7 news cycle will be reduced to this one day. As we struggle to define the line between real news and fake news, we will also have to grapple with fake news anchors.

How Instagram and Snapchat helped get out the vote

Both Instagram and Snapchat added new features to prompt increased voter participation in the US mid terms – and with statistics showing that younger people are less inclined to get out and vote, their efforts likely had a significant impact.

Instagram added a new set of stickers which enabled users to share that they’ve cast their vote and a story at the top of users’ feeds called “We Voted” highlighted all your friends’ stories if they used the “I voted” feature.

Snapchat also got in on the action, rolling out a range of election day stickers and Lenses to encourage users to share their activity, and added polling locations to their Map.

Why its hot

 

From a voter participation perspective, this form of peer sharing can be highly effective in encouraging others to vote.

Facebook has conducted a test of the same previously – back in 2010, around 340,000 extra voters turned out to take part in the US Congressional elections because of a single election-day Facebook message which, essentially, used a similar form of peer pressure to prompt increased participation.

Scrolling to Diagnose Mental Illness

A startup in California, Mindstrong Health is using scrolling, clicking, and phone interaction data to determine the risk of mental illness.

Founded by 3 doctors, it is seeking to tackle depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.


Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/mindful-scrolling

The App “monitors how every participant types, swipes and interacts with every other app on their phone (just basic stuff like how they use their keyboard, rather than looking at any personal information). The data gathered is then encrypted and run through a machine learning programme, which analyses it and delivers the results to the patient and their medical provider.”

One of the reasons the app works is, “‘people’s memory patterns and thinking speed change in subtle ways before they realise they’re depressed.’” The app was developed after trial participants were asked to perform neuropsychological tests and then asked to use their phone normally. This allowed them to find key smartphone signals that correlate strongly with mental performance.

Memory problems, for example, are a common element of brain disorders, and can be identified by looking at how quickly you type or scroll, as well as how many errors you make.

Our state of mind is top of mind in 2018 as more conversations are being had about mental health, so much so that even KFC participated in World Mindfulness day.

Why it’s hot: 

It’s difficult to diagnose mental illness because the symptoms sometimes differ from patient to patient. Mindstrong could provide data that helps define the different subcategories within illnesses and could even help lead to tailoring drug prescriptions for more effective treatment.

Facebook must deal with negative sentiment

In October, Fortune magazine and Harris Poll surveyed over 2,000 American adults representative of the overall population to measure their perceptions of large tech companies.

Why it’s hot: With repeated news of how Facebook mishandled the private data of its users, Americans seem to have an increasingly negative perception of the company. And this might be reflected in the stagnation of its daily active users in North America.

Source: http://fortune.com/2018/11/08/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-reputation/

The chicken is alive, even after you eat it

In 1931, Winston Churchill predicted that the human race would one day “escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium”.

Eighty-seven years later, that day has come as we discovered at Just, a food company in San Francisco where we tasted chicken nuggets grown from the cells of a chicken feather. The chicken – which tasted like chicken – was still alive, reportedly roaming on a farm not far from the laboratory.

This meat is not to be confused with the vegetarian plant-based burgers and other meat-substitute products which are gaining popularity in supermarkets. No, this is actual meat grown from animal cells and variously described as cultured, synthetic, in-vitro, lab-grown or even “clean” meat.

t took about two days to grow our chicken nugget in a small bioreactor, using a protein to encourage the cells to multiply, some type of scaffold to give structure to the product and a culture, or growth, medium to feed the meat as it develops. Those two days in the bioreactor came after years of work identifying the best cell lines, cell isolation and cell bank development, using cells from feathers or harmless biopsies on live animals.

Why its Hot?
Current method of meat production creates more greenhouse emissions than all forms of global transportation or industrial processes

 

Source: Just Meat and BBC

New Study finds generous makes you happy, and makes your kids generous

Study finds that parents who give money to charity could see a lifelong benefit for their own kids. Children in families with strong philanthropic traditions are more likely to grow up acting generously–and be seemingly happier for it.

In a small study from Fidelity Charitable, a public charity that manages the largest donor-advised fund program in the country, the organization questioned 3,000 people who donate to charity and itemize deductions on their tax returns. People who grew up with strong family traditions around giving ended up more likely than those who didn’t (45% to 36%) to donate $5,000 or more of their own money annually to charity.

Other positive correlations: Family-inspired givers volunteer more time (89% to 73%), consider themselves closer to their immediate family (81% to 71%), and rate themselves as “very happy” far more often (48% to 33%) than those who grew up without such influence. Fidelity sees these correlations as proof that there’s something positive happening, and just in time for the holiday season. “We’ve always known that strategic philanthropy benefits the charities donors support, but this study proves that the impact goes beyond that,” says its president, Pamela Norley, in a press release. “Giving makes people happier and is a significant contributor to a happier and healthy family too.”

Fidelity’s findings line up with similar academic research. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Nature Communications, there’s a virtuous cycle around altruism: “Generous behavior is known to increase happiness, which could thereby motivate generosity,” note researchers at the University of Zurich. To show that, the group asked 50 people to rank their mood, and then gave them a small sum (about $25 in francs) to spend each week for a month. The group divided into people that were told to spend the money on themselves, and those who gave it away to others.

The more generous givers reported improved moods and showed more activity in the reward center of their brain during subsequent fMRI scans. That sort of test has been replicated many times with different amounts and far larger sample sizes, and in some instances may even be related to reduced blood pressure. The key isn’t necessarily the amount–benefits in some experiments have been charted at just $5. Although if you have at least $5,000 to donate, that’s good for Fidelity: It happens to be the minimum requirement to open a giving account.

Why it’s hot: This is an awesome insight into generosity and human happiness and could make us as marketers think differently about inspiring behavior change.

Source: FastCo

i’ll brt, thanks to easyJet…

Anyone who’s on Instagram has undoubtedly come across a photo and wondered – “where is that, and how do I get there”? Probably on a daily basis. Thanks to easyJet’s new app feature, now you can find out, and book a flight there in a couple of taps.

According to the company – “Simply take a screenshot of a European destination you like the look of and upload it to Look&Book in our app. We’ll then tell you where it is and which flights will get you there.” 

Why it’s hot:

While it’s a great example of turning a ubiquitous behavior into a simple utility, more importantly, it’s another signal that image recognition technology is about to become commonplace.

Fine Art Therapy

Image result for art therapy

Doctor’s in Montreal will be able to prescribe free museum visits to patients suffering from a range of illnesses. Patients suffering from depression to diabetes or chronic illnesses will be given up to 50 free visit passes for patients and caregivers.

 

In the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century,” predicts Nathalie Bondil, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts director general, in the Montreal Gazette.

The Art Hive, an initiative from the museum, is just one example of what Bondil says is one part of the future of health care. With an on staff art therapist and the collaboration of physicians The Hive is open to people who want to explore the curative effects of art, whether it be creation or simply its presence.

 “There’s more and more scientific proof that art therapy is good for your physical health. It increases our level of cortisol and our level of serotonin. We secrete hormones when we visit a museum and these hormones are responsible for our well-being.”

Much like exercise, art can improve wellness for all types and ages of patients.

Source: https://qz.com/1433682/doctors-in-montreal-will-start-prescribing-visits-to-the-art-museum/

Why it’s hot:

It’s great to see doctors collaborating with other fields to find solutions for health issues that are beyond prescriptions.

Avocado Isn’t Toast

Perhaps because its perfectly instgrammable or because its significantly more satisfying than the toll of homeownership, either way, avocados have become an everyday staple. In fact, we eat four times more avocados today than we did ten years ago and to keep up with the demand, over 80% of avocados consumed in the U.S. are imported from Mexico.

Avocados from Mexico, is capitalizing on the insatiable need for their product by making the recipes on their website shoppable. Now, shoppers can indulge in their habit by choosing from a host of delivery partners – Amazon Fresh, PeaPod, or Walmart Grocery – to get all the ingredients needed to make anything that calls for everyone’s favorite berry. Avocados views shoppable recipes as a service to its own customers, rather than a way to win some of the e-commerce pie.

By garnering customer demographics and preferences, Avocados from Mexico will use machine learning to deliver better, more personalized content to consumers. “We’ve been working very hard in the past to try to get as much data as possible from our consumers,” said Alvaro Luque, president and CEO of Avocados From Mexico . “We’ve been building a very robust CRM system to get them as close as we can to our brand. Every deep investment we can do will help us build this big database we are trying to develop.” Luque said more data will help the company understand the e-commerce preferences of consumers and enhance the customer experience. Avocados From Mexico can determine a metric that is very close to ROI by comparing the cost of its ad campaign with the total value of the products moved to shopping carts, said the company.

While most other grocery products don’t share the same fame as avocados do and can’t expect consumers to visit their site to discover more, building consumer relationships (or more bluntly: gathering consumer data) is especially important to maintain relevance in Amazon’s latest sector play.

Why its hot: Elevating customer experience through personalized content is no longer reserved for high price point products, but rather has become table stakes. Are avocados doing a better job at CX than your brand? 

Source: Digiday

Deposit your candy corn and Necco wafers here

Mashable, Forbes and others have been keeping lists of the most loved and most hated Halloween candy for several years running. It seems that tons of free, artificially colored clumps of sugar are just not good enough for many Americans.

Reese’s saw an opportunity and created this machine that works kind of like a bottle recycling machine: put your crappy candy in and get some Reese’s candy in return.

Why it’s Hot

Trust me, it’s hot.

Vertical TV

Snapchat is producing interactive, original, scripted video shows called Snap Originals.

It released 12 original shows, spanning the comedy, horror and reality genres, among others. Each show has been created with established TV producers. For example Snapchat’s mystery thriller, Class of Lies, was created by Riverdale’s producers; Endless Summer, a reality show about socialites from Laguna Beach, was created by Bunim/Murray, the company behind Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

The shows are shot in portrait, to fit the Snapchat platform, and feature overlaid graphics, split screens and quick cuts, to suit Snapchat users’ fast-paced mobile behaviour. Users can find the shows in Snapchat’s discover area, as well as on the Show Profile page that is made available through Snapchat search. Snapchat also gives users the option to sign up to push notifications telling them when a new episode or piece of content is released.

Users can also activate the new ‘portals’ function by swiping their screen. This function uses augmented reality technology to allow viewers step inside a scene of the show and explore it for themselves.

Each show will also have its own Lenses and filters, creating more ways for viewers to incorporate the shows in their own Snaps

Snap Originals will be, well, snappy. Each episode will be as short as four or five minutes in length. Unlike Netflix shows which are either made available one series at a time or uploaded weekly, Snap Originals will have daily episodes.

Why its hot?
True to the brand 
Snap Originals will be, well, snappy. Each episode will be as short as four or five minutes in length.
Anti-Binge
Unlike Netflix shows which are either made available one series at a time or uploaded weekly, Snap Originals will have daily episodes.
Don’t watch from outside. Get inside the story
Portal lenses allow a user to take out their phone, open their camera, open the portal, literally get off their couch, walk into the scene, look around, and be in a show

Future-Forward Shopping at Sam’s Club Now

Sam’s Club will soon be introducing a whole new way to shop in Dallas, Texas. Their new location, called Sam’s Club Now, will serve as the company’s “epicenter of innovation,” where they’re testing everything from augmented reality product overlays to self-checkout via mobile app. A video on their site demonstrates what the experience could look like. 

Shoppers will be able to make grocery lists on the app before entering the store. When they arrive, a map on their phone will direct them where to go to find the items on their list. The directions can also be activated by voice commands. Product pricing will use electronic labels — eliminating the need to manually print and replace signage. Scanning a product with their phone before adding it to a physical shopping cart allows for self-checkout when they’re finished.

AR product experiences will include showing ways to use the product, highlighting key features, and even speak to how items are sourced. There will also be kid-friendly experiences such as turning digital shopping carts into pirate ships or rockets.

Sam’s Club is using the new location to serve as a testing lab for these new technologies before rolling them out to other clubs. They’ll be using over 700 cameras to continually scan and optimize.

Why It’s Hot

Sam’s Club is testing innovative concepts that have the power to transform the everyday shopping experience.

Source: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/327259/sams-club-goes-high-tech-adds-ar-voice-shopping.html