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The End of Car Ownership - WSJ
By Tim Higgins
June 20, 2017

Thanks to ride sharing and the looming introduction of self-driving vehicles, the entire model of car ownership is being upended—and very soon may not look anything like it has for the past century.

Drivers, for instance, may no longer be drivers, relying instead on hailing a driverless car on demand, and if they do decide to buy, they will likely share the vehicle—by renting it out to other people when it isn’t in use.

Auto makers, meanwhile, already are looking for ways to sustain their business as fewer people make a long-term commitment to a car.

And startups will spring up to develop services that this new ownership model demands—perhaps even create whole new industries around self-driving cars and ride sharing.

**Drivers: No more permanent arrangements**
The business of ride sharing may take on some new forms. Startups such as Los Angeles-based Faraday Future envision selling subscriptions to a vehicle (e.g. a certain number of hours a day, on a regular schedule for a fixed price).....Other companies are experimenting with the idea of allowing drivers to access more than just one kind of vehicle through a subscription.....Elon Musk has hinted that he’s preparing to create a network of Tesla owners that could rent out their self-driving cars to make money....Companies are already looking at how to market vehicles to overcome some of the possible psychological resistance to nonownership. Waymo, the self-driving tech unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., has begun public trials of self-driving minivans in Phoenix for select users, with the eventual goal of testing them with hundreds of families.

**Big auto makers: Making peace with on-demand services**
As a result of both driverless cars and fleets of robot taxis, sales of conventionally purchased automobiles may likely drop. What’s more, because autonomous cars will likely be designed to be on the road longer with easily upgradable or replaceable parts, the results could be devastating to auto makers that have built businesses around two-car households buying new vehicles regularly. Currently, cars get replaced every 60 months on average...to get drivers to buy a vehicle of their own is to help owners rent out their vehicles,....GM is hedging all bets, investing in autonomous vehicles, Lyft, a car sharing service (Maven) and allowing Cadillac customers the ability to subscribe to ownership.

**New businesses: Helping to power a new industry**
....Autonomous vehicles could ultimately free up more than 250 million hours of consumers’ commuting time a year, unlocking a new so-called passenger economy, .....turn away from using the exterior of the vehicle as a selling point and focusing on making the interior as comfortable and loaded with features as possible.... turning cars into living rooms on wheels:.....Design firms will also cook up features designed to ease people into the practice of sharing rides regularly (with strangers).....allowing cars recognize to passengers’ digital profiles and become more responsive to their needs (caledaring, eating habits, etc.)....Existing industries may change to support an autonomous, shared future. For instance, the alcohol industry might see a rise in drinks consumed weekly with customers not having to worry about driving home,....Managing autonomous car fleets may be a new line of business for dealerships
automotive_industry  automobile  on-demand  autonomous_vehicles  end_of_ownership  Waymo  Tesla  sharing_economy  ride_sharing  start_ups  transportation  ownership  accessibility  Zoox  dealerships  Lyft  Maven  Reachnow  Getaround  subscriptions  Faraday  passenger_economy  connected_cars 
june 2017 by jerryking
Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores
April 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.
Legacy retailers have to put their mountains of purchasing data to work to create the kind of personalization and automation shoppers are getting online
(1) Data Is King
When I asked Target, Walgreens and grocery chain Giant Food about loyalty programs and the fate of customers’ purchasing data—which is the in-store equivalent of your web browsing history—they all declined to comment. ...Data has been a vital part of Amazon’s retail revolution, just as it was with Netflix ’s media revolution and Google and Facebook ’s advertising revolution. For brick-and-mortar retailers, purchasing data doesn’t just help them compete with online adversaries; it has also become an alternate revenue source when profit margins are razor-thin. ....Physical retailers must catch up to online retailers in collecting rich data without making it feel so intrusive. Why, exactly, does my grocery store need my phone number?

(2) Personalization + Automation = Profits
Personalization and Automation = Profits
There’s a debate in the auto industry: Can Tesla get good at making cars faster than Ford, General Motors and Toyota can get good at making self-driving electric vehicles? The same applies to retail: Can physical retailers build intimate digital relationships with their customers—and use that data to update their stores—faster than online-first retailers can learn how to lease property, handle inventory and manage retail workers? [the great game ]

Online retailers know what’s popular, and how customers who like one item tend to like certain others. So Amazon’s physical bookstores can put out fewer books with more prominently displayed covers. Bonobos doesn’t even sell clothes in its stores, which it calls “guideshops.” Instead, customers go there to try clothes on, and their selections are delivered through the company’s existing e-commerce system.

Amazon’s upcoming Go convenience stores, selling groceries and meal kits, don’t require cashiers. That’s the sort of automation that could position Amazon to reap margins—or slash prices—to a degree unprecedented for retailers in traditionally low-margin categories like food and packaged goods.

While online retailers are accustomed to updating inventory and prices by the hour, physical retailers simply don’t have the data or the systems to keep up, and tend to buy and stock on cycles as long as a year, says George Faigen, a retail consultant at Oliver Wyman. Some legacy retailers are getting around this by teaming up with online players.

Target stocks men’s shaving supplies from not one but two online upstarts, Harry’s and Bevel. Target has said that, as a result, more customers are coming in to buy razors, increasing the sales of every brand on that aisle—even good old Gillette. Retailers have long relied on manufacturers to drive customers to stores by marketing their goods and even managing in-store displays. The difference is this: In the past, new brands had to persuade store buyers to dole out precious shelf space; now the brands can prove themselves online first.

(3) Legacy Tech Won’t Cut It

Perhaps the biggest challenge for existing retailers, says Euromonitor’s Ms. Grant, is finding the money to transition to this hybrid online-offline model. While Target has announced it will spend $7 billion over the next three years to revamp its stores, investors fled the stock in February after Target reported 2017 profits might be 25% less than expected.

When Warby Parker, the online eyeglasses retailer, set out to launch stores across the U.S., the company looked for in-store sales software that could integrate with its existing e-commerce systems. It couldn’t find a system up to the task, so it built one from scratch.

These kinds of systems allow salespeople to know what customers have bought both online and off, and what they might be nudged toward on that day. “We call it the ‘point of everything’ system,” says David Gilboa, co-founder and co-chief executive.

Having this much customer knowledge available instantly is critical, but it’s precisely what existing retailers struggle with, Mr. Faigen says.

Even Amazon is experiencing brick-and-mortar difficulties. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Go stores would be delayed because of kinks in the point-of-sale software system.

Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder and co-chief executive of Harry’s, is skeptical that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart can make the leap, even if they invest heavily in technology.

The problem, he says, is that selling online isn’t just about taking orders through a website. Companies that succeed are good at selling direct to consumers—building technology from the ground up, integrating teams skilled at navigating online marketing’s ever-shifting terrain and managing the experience through fulfillment and delivery, Mr. Katz-Mayfield says.

That e-commerce startups are so confident about their own future doesn’t mean they are right about the fate of traditional retailers, however.

A report from Merrill Lynch argues Wal-Mart is embarking on a period of 20% to 30% growth for its e-commerce business. A spokesman for the company said that in addition to acquisitions, the company is focused on growing its e-commerce business organically.

It isn’t hard to picture today’s e-commerce companies becoming brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s harder to bet on traditional retailers becoming as tech savvy as their e-competition.[the great game]
lessons_learned  bricks-and-mortar  retailers  curation  personalization  e-commerce  shopping_malls  automation  privacy  Warby_Parker  Amazon_Go  data  data_driven  think_threes  Bonobos  Amazon  legacy_tech  omnichannel  Harry’s  Bevel  loyalty_management  low-margin  legacy_players  digital_first  Tesla  Ford  GM  Toyota  automobile  electric_cars  point-of-sale  physical_world  contra-Amazon  brands  shelf_space  the_great_game  cyberphysical  cashierless  Christopher_Mims  in-store  digital_savvy 
april 2017 by jerryking
Looking Beyond the Internet of Things
JAN. 1, 2016 | NYT | By QUENTIN HARDY.

Adam Bosworth is building what some call a “data singularity.” In the Internet of Things, billions of devices and sensors would wirelessly connect to far-off data centers, where millions of computer servers manage and learn from all that information.

Those servers would then send back commands to help whatever the sensors are connected to operate more effectively: A home automatically turns up the heat ahead of cold weather moving in, or streetlights behave differently when traffic gets bad. Or imagine an insurance company instantly resolving who has to pay for what an instant after a fender-bender because it has been automatically fed information about the accident.

Think of it as one, enormous process in which machines gather information, learn and change based on what they learn. All in seconds.... building an automated system that can react to all that data like a thoughtful person is fiendishly hard — and that may be Mr. Bosworth’s last great challenge to solve....this new era in computing will have effects far beyond a little more efficiency. Consumers could see a vast increase in the number of services, ads and product upgrades that are sold alongside most goods. And products that respond to their owner’s tastes — something already seen in smartphone upgrades, connected cars from BMW or Tesla, or entertainment devices like the Amazon Echo — could change product design.
Quentin_Hardy  Industrial_Internet  data  data_centers  data_driven  machine_learning  Google  Amazon  cloud_computing  connected_devices  BMW  Tesla  Amazon_Echo  product_design  Michael_McDerment  personalization  connected_cars 
january 2016 by jerryking

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