Scott Galloway provides a short video where he shares some crazy statistics about Amazon. For example, did you know that within 45 minutes of an order being placed at Amazon, it is already loaded on a truck! In that video, Prof G also references a book where you can get many more details, Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door — Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy. This short video might be fun to show in class when you cover Chapter 3 (where we have a chapter opening case study of Amazon), Chapter 11 (logistics) or Chapter 12 (retailing).
The last few editions of Essentials of Marketing have included examples of how companies are adding technology as customer service or a supplement to their core product. And of course, technology keeps evolving. I was impressed with the latest example of this from Lowe’s Home Improvement. The video below provides a brief overview that might be shown in your class when you cover Product (Chapter 8 is where we introduce this idea) or retailing (Chapter 12).
We teach our students that it is critical to analyze and understand customer behavior before developing marketing strategies. With all the data available tracking the online purchase journey, many firms are gathering insights all the time. In addition, surveys can provide further insight about how online consumers shop. This article, “Survey reveals how customer make online product decisions” would be a nice addition to a lecture on consumer behavior (Chapter 5), online retail (Chapter 12), or aspects of promotion like owned media (Chapter 16). The article shares interesting information including:
- Consumers are not very loyal — “only 14% say they likely wouldn’t switch to a competitive product if their first choice wasn’t available.”
- Many consumers are research shoppers — “82% of respondents are likely to look at multiple locations for information on products.”
- Information search often starts with online retailers (e.g., Amazon and eBay) where 44% of respondents indicated they looked first, quite a bit higher than those reporting they started with search engines (19%). Amazon now earns a lot from advertising revenue because of this trend.
The article reports a number of other findings and also links to an interesting article with data on social shopping during the pandemic.
In Essentials of Marketing, we try to highlight some of the positive things business does to make the world a better place. That said, marketing is a set of tools that can be used for good and bad. An example of bad is dark design (sometimes called dark patterns) – a sub-set of tools that a web designer might use to manipulate users into behaviors they might not otherwise do. Of course, this might also be called nudges or behavioral economics – which are usually thought of as nudging users to positive behaviors. Examples include the use of colors or patterns that make it much easier to “accept” cookies or click on an advertisement than to simply get around it.
This article, “How to spot the psychological manipulation behind ‘dark design’ online” (Fast Company, October 4, 2021) notes that “Dark design has proven to be an incredibly effective way of encouraging web users to part with their time, money, and privacy” – all scarce resources for many of us these days. If you want a deeper drive, the four-minute video shown below.
This is a fascinating trend. I first noticed this with Patagonia. The clothing brand that encourages people to keep their clothes longer (recall the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign). REI is on board with the “Good & Used” section of its online retail site – and in our local store. These choices seem to be a good fit with the sustainable positioning of these two brands. But more recently, I am seeing other clothing brands step into the used gear space. One example is Adidas, which has partnered with ThredUp to help customers resell used footwear.
These examples might stimulate discussion about consumerism (Chapter 19), retailing (Chapter 12), or reverse channels (Chapter 10). It also begs the question about why companies would do this? Does Adidas have the same motivations as Patagonia or REI? Does this help the company sell more new clothing – while also making money on used gear (perhaps appealing to a clientele that cannot afford these products new)? Is it all about positioning the brand as caring about the environment?