Friday Five, July 3: A Quick Summary Of The Top News Articles From The Past Month

07.03.2020 Articles

Friday Five, July 3: A Quick Summary Of The Top News Articles From The Past Month

2020 has been a transformative year in so many ways. With a “new normal” on the horizon and more people at home than ever before, new B2C and B2B innovations are emerging every day to help brands connect with customers, both online and off. To keep you up to date on the latest trends, we’re bringing back our popular “Friday Five” blog series for the summer!

It’s no secret that we’re all living in the midst of a technology transformation as a society. Amid stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that tectonic shift towards all things digital provides more opportunities for brands and retailers alike to stay relevant and connect with consumers like never before.

In this week’s “Friday Five” blog, we explore topics such as CGI models, mobile app ordering, AI’s role in the retail industry, livestream popularity, privacy concerns regarding web tracking, and so much more! Read below for a quick summary of industry-leading articles from Vogue Business, Inc., National Retail Federation, eMarketer, and TechCrunch:

1) Brands Eye China’s Virtual Idols

Vogue Business – June 16, 2020

The March 2020 cover of Vogue Italia featured a cast of digitally manipulated models, an experiment that aimed to merge the real with the artificial. Now, thanks to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders, traditional photoshoots have been put on hold and the opportunity for a fashion industry technology takeover is greater than ever before. In explaining the advantages of CGI models, Vogue said that virtual idols don’t smoke, drink, or associate inappropriately with fans – a major perk given today’s “cancel culture” environment, especially in the wake of nationwide protests and civil unrest. Additionally, “more wholesome and hard-working than their living counterparts, virtual idols present fewer risks for brands. And their working lives can, of course, be indefinitely extended.”

2) Starbucks Just Announced A Drastic Change. What Every Company Can Learn From It

Inc. – June 11, 2020

Starbucks recently announced that it will close up to 400 company-operated stores over the next 18 months in order to make way for a new store format known as “Starbucks Pickup.” The concept is tailored to customers who prefer to order ahead and pay through the Starbucks mobile app for pick-up, or those who want Starbucks delivered to them via UberEats. To guide the decision, Starbucks leveraged data from its mobile app and on-the-go order history. Additionally, they assessed the current pandemic situation, in which consumers are actively avoiding public spaces. According to Inc., the change is a “great case study in how businesses can stay relevant and take advantage of a negative situation to make positive changes.”

3) Revisiting AI’s Role In Retail

National Retail Federation – June 17, 2020

Although artificial intelligence and machine learning in retail has been steadily on the rise over the past decade, COVID-19 and its repercussions have essentially upended that trend. According to Nikki Baird, vice president of retail innovation at Aptos, “We’ve seen some emerging examples of companies that have had to turn forecasting AI off, because it was not capable of understanding and incorporating the complete shift in consumer behavior and the impact on the supply chain.” There’s no doubt that 2020 data is tainted; for example, in March toilet paper sales unnecessarily went through the roof. We’re living in unprecedented, unpredictable times, so AI systems will have to adapt and adjust algorithms in order to produce valuable, trustworthy insights in the long term.

4) How Live Streaming Commerce Took Off In China During The Pandemic

eMarketer – June 24, 2020

Following COVID-19 business closures, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines, many companies have been forced to re-examine how they connect with consumers and sell products online. One tactic that has emerged as a true winner is livestreaming. Livestreaming commerce – a form of interactive online shopping that happens in real time – is creating new and innovative ways for brands and retailers to stay engaged in a post-COVID-19 world. In adapting to a new livestreaming normal, it essentially comes down to two things: “The first is to either embrace an omnichannel model or work with a partner who can provide an omnichannel solution” and the second is “finding creative ways to connect with consumers, because so many are still avoiding physical stores.”

5) Apple’s Ios 14 Will Give Users The Option To Decline App Ad Tracking

TechCrunch – June 22, 2020

Apple recently announced a number of updates to its new version of iOS, one of which includes the ability for users to reject web tracking and reduce the amount of data that’s collected by third-party companies. According to TechCrunch, “as targeted advertising became more invasive, Apple countered by baking in new privacy features to its software, like its intelligence tracking prevention technology and allowing Safari users to install content blockers that prevent ads and trackers from loading.” Additionally, Apple will require app developers to disclose the types of permissions their apps request. Not only will that move improve transparency, but it will also provide greater control to iPhone users over the type and quantity of data they’re required to release.

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That’s it for this week! Did you learn anything new in this week’s “Friday Five” blog? Let us know in the comments below, or on any of the BDS social media channels.

Happy 4th of July – we’ll see you back here next week after the holiday weekend!