Tag Archives: application

Augmented Reality Finally Becoming Reality?


Though it has been under development since the 1950’s, Augmented Reality (AR) is only now becoming practically applicable (PwC, 2016). In the last decade, AR has been in the centre of attention among academics, resulting in numerous studies analysing the (dis)advantages derived from the many possible AR applications. AR offers an enhanced perception to help people to experience the environment in new and enriched ways that will benefit in the fields such as education, health, design, and retail (van Krevelen et al., 2007).

While different definitions of AR still exist, it’s objective is clear; enhancing the user’s perception of and interaction with the real world. The business opportunities of this novel technology seem promising, as people can look at operations from a combined view of digital and physical operations while externalizing the burden of the task (PwC, 2016). Since AR is one of the novel technologies that could support new business activities and generate new business opportunities, it is of great value to investigate AR’s business potential. AR is a technology that could revolutionize the way companies do business and consumers buy products (Azuma, 1997). Specifically, AR has the potential to reshape the world of retail with its’ influence on the shopping experience of consumers. Major benefits of AR in the retail industry are that users can virtually visualize the products they would like to purchase, explore virtual showrooms, and create a more appealing shopping experience (Guven et al., 2009). But how exactly does AR affect the retail user experience? Will it eventually result in higher user satisfaction or will the limitations of the technology outweigh the opportunities?

According to Poushneh et al. (2017), AR-enriched applications empower users to better perform their tasks and appreciate the functionality of the product more. This is because AR-enriched applications are more entertaining and it enables consumers to have endless interaction with virtual information (Poushneh et al., 2017). Not only does AR produce higher user satisfaction, but also higher user willingness to pay (Poushneh et al., 2017). However, these benefits of AR will only become available when the technology application is practical, easy to use, easy to learn, organized, symmetric, attractive, and pleasant, in order for it to provide relevant information to the users (Poushneh et al., 2017). If companies fail to do this, it could actually negatively affect the user experience after all.  Therefore, developing such applications is not feasible for every company. As can be seen from the figure below, only 3 percent of the retailers has already implemented a well-working AR application (Business Insider, 2019). Companies that have already implemented such applications in their business model are therefore considers the first movers, of which IKEA is one.

(Business Insider, 2019)

Business model

IKEA is a Swedish multinational group that designs and sells (ready-to-assemble) furniture kitchen appliances, and other useful home accessories. Launched in 2017, the IKEA Place app helps customers to visualize how over 2.000 furniture items would look like in their homes (IKEA, 2019).

(IKEA, 2019)

Currently available on the app are large furniture such as sofas, armchairs and storage units (IKEA, 2019). Other products are still in development to become available in the app. The main objective for IKEA according to Michael Valdsgaard, leader of digital transformation at IKEA, is to allow shoppers to make more reliable buying decisions. According to Michael, most people postpone a purchase because they are not entirely sure that the colour is going to match or fit the room (IKEA, 2019). With this app, he hopes that this insecurity to purchase gets replaced with entertainment and security. It saves the customer a lot of time and consideration before placing a purchase. Furthermore, IKEA (2019) automatically scales products based on a room’s dimensions and claims that is able to do so with up to 98 percent accuracy (IKEA, 2019). Even allowing customers to see the texture of a fabric and the interplay of lift and shadows on a specific location.

Efficiency & Limitations

As mentioned before, AR-applications must be practical, easy to use, easy to learn, organized, symmetric, attractive, and pleasant, in order for it to provide relevant information to the users (Poushneh et al., 2017). Looking at the IKEA Place app, it seems to fulfil all these criteria. With easy to follow guidelines that help people to use the app while offering 98 percent accuracy, the app is able to provide additional value to the shopping experience of the users.

From a joint profitability perspective, the IKEA Place app offers both additional value to IKEA as well as to its customers. IKEA is able to help the customer in their shopping journey in order to make it more enjoyable. Furthermore, it also helps the customer to make more correct purchasing decisions and thereby reducing the number of products being returned, lowering costs, and increasing customer satisfaction. With IKEA’s large customer base, the company is able to grab a large share of the online home furnishings market, boosting its sales and giving an advantage over its competition (Business Insider, 2019). On the other hand, app users are able to enjoy a 3D-visualization of potential furniture, reducing uncertainty and the time needed to make a purchase decision, since there is less hesitation regarding the colour, size, fabric, and overall fit.

From a feasibility point of view, the company is not facing any legal or political issues. Rather, IKEA’s biggest challenge would be the social aspect. While IKEA claims to offer 98 percent accuracy to the app users, there is a chance that the app might not visualize a piece of furniture correctly to the user. For example, when the user tries out a sofa in his/her living room and the app shows that the product should fit, however, once it arrives it results to be too big. The customer has then wasted time, money and effort while relying on the advice given from the company. In such a case, will the customer bear the costs or will IKEA be held responsible?

(IKEA, 2019)

Another drawback of the IKEA Place app could be linked to consumers’ cognitive limitations discussed during session two (Tsekouras, 2019). When customers are offered many options, they find it difficult to search through all of them. There is a fear of regretting the ‘wrong choice’. This could also be the case with IKEA, since the app allows the customers to compare thousands of products and have them visualize it in their room, making it hard t consider all relevant attributes when choosing between alternatives.

References

Azuma, R. T. (1997). A survey of augmented reality. Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments6(4), 355-385.

Guven, S., Oda, O., Podlaseck, M., Stavropoulos, H., Kolluri, S., & Pingali, G. (2009, March). Social mobile augmented reality for retail. In 2009 IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (pp. 1-3). IEEE.

IKEA (2019). A better Reality. Retrieved from Https://highlights.ikea.com/2017/ikea-place/.

Poushneh, A., & Vasquez-Parraga, A. Z. (2017). Discernible impact of augmented reality on retail customer’s experience, satisfaction and willingness to buy. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services34, 229-234.

PwC. (2016). Augmented reality: the road ahead for augmented reality. Retrieved from

Tsekouras, D. (2019). Session 2: Consumers’ Cognitive Limitations. Erasmus University.

Van Krevelen, D., & Poelman, R. (2007). Augmented reality: Technologies, applications, and limitations. Vrije Univ. Amsterdam, Dep. Comput. Sci.

The future of auditing and market research through crowdsourcing (Business case – BeMyEye)


Context

Auditing and market research are important for companies to get an insight into how they perform in the market. When doing an audit suppliers often check if retail stores keep to the agreement which they make, such as the display of a product for instance. With market research companies gather deeper insights about costumers’ needs and preferences, to be able to make strategic decisions for the future. Although both insights are valuable for companies, these methods are not always practiced due to their high costs.

Unique proposition of the business idea

BeMyEye is a research company that offers a platform where companies can obtain street-level data from physical stores, through crowdsourcing. Within this platform, these companies, which are called the ‘clients’, offer tasks to the users of the platform. This obtained data is used the clients in various ways such as; to check whether stores are fulfilling their arrangements, how prominent their products are being displayed, how much stock there is still available from a particular product, and to collect street-level data for mapping enrichments or to identifying new opportunities for the company. This type of crowdsourcing is called information pooling. Within this type, contributions are characteristically identical and the crowd is usually asked for their opinions or to gather location-based information (Blohm, Zogaj, Bretschneider & Leimeister, 2018). This revolutionary way of auditing and market research is interesting for companies because it has a high degree of reliability and is much more efficient and cheaper than current methods. This reliability is partly obtained by deliberately allocating the tasks among a large group of people with both customers and non-customers of the product. Customers who also use the product, to which the task relates, could be positively biased when they provide the client with their perceived data, because they could be a huge fan of the brand.

Promotion video BeMyEye

BeMyEye’s business model and how it works.

BeMyeye uses a two-sided platform. On one side of the platform are the companies which offer various tasks which they call ‘clients’. Examples of well-known clients include Nestle, Samsung, Heineken, Lavazza, and Coca Cola. And on the other side are the BeMyEye app users which are called ‘the eyes’, these eyes could be described as ‘secret shoppers’. As soon as the clients need information about certain things in the market, they write a task and set a reward for completing this task. When the consumer logs in on the app on his phone, he sees where there are tasks in the vicinity of his current location and which rewards have been allocated. Assignments often include submitting photos of certain shop displays and completing a corresponding questionnaire. One of the newer tasks that can be assigned on BeMyEye is checking your brand reputation. Here, the eyes reveal the preferred brand choices and reasons of influential retail staff, such as a pharmacist, when approached by customers. When eyes start with an assignment, they check with their current location at the destination of the task as proof that they are in the right place, then they answer the questions the app asks them (O’Hear, 2018). These questions function as a step-by-step guide to be able to standardize the collation of the data which the clients receive. Fees usually vary from three to sixteen euros depending on the duration and level of difficulty of the assignment. After the assignment has been carried out, it needs to be verified, and when everything is fine, the eye will receive his reward and will be paid directly. In this way, companies can quickly obtain data from multiple geographical locations and no longer have to hire auditors who physically go to stores, which is often time-consuming and inefficient. In this way, companies can reduce their related costs, which can significantly improve their ROI for these business activities. This is an interesting concept for the eyes because they can quickly earn some extra money while already being at a certain location. BeMyEye earns money within this concept through a certain fee per completed assignment that they receive from the companies.

Appearance BeMyEye app

The rapid growth of the company and future use of their products

BeMyEyes now has more than 1.5 million active data gatherers in more than 21 countries and are currently the largest crowd of real-world data gatherers in Europe. In order to enlarge the network, BeMyEye uses an aggressive strategy to quickly obtain more data gatherers. They do this by offering people a new way to earn something in a fun way, and by acquiring similar business models that have large numbers of active users.  They started with this strategy in 2016 when they acquired Local Eyes, which was a similar French mobile crowdsourcing app. Shortly after that, they acquired other competitors such as Task360 in 2017 and Streetbee at the start of 2019 (O’Hear, 2019). With these acquisitions, they did not only take over the business models and users, but also the supporting employees, who helped the company grow even faster due to shared knowledge. These acquisitions are financed with money that the company has raised in several new financing rounds. Now, the company’s biggest focus is to maintain its market position in Europe and to enter the US market to further expand its platform (Kharpal, 2016).

Nowadays, most questions the eyes get while performing a task are easy to answer and do not require any knowledge about the products. However, the question is how far could BeMyEye go. To what extent are ‘normal’ people capable of answering questions that need a certain level of interpretation or expertise? And how can BeMyEye guarantee that the questions which are asked to the eyes are correctly interpreted?

I think this way of auditing will become the standard for consumer products in retail stores because of its efficiency and low costs.  However, it should be examined in the future to what extent ‘normal’ people can be used for these tasks, or how they possibly could be trained.

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Sources

Blohm, I., Zogaj, S., Bretschneider, U., & Leimeister, J. M. (2018). How to manage crowdsourcing platforms effectively?. California Management Review, 60(2), 122-149.

Kharpal, A. (2016, May 19). BeMyEye, an ‘Uber for mystery shoppers’ app raises $7.2M and eyes US expansion. Retrieved February 23, 2019, from https://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/19/bemyeye-an-uber-for-mystery-shoppers-app-raises-72m-and-eyes-us-expansion.html

O’Hear, S. (2018, January 16). BeMyEye, the startup that lets companies crowdsource in-store data, acquires rival Task360. Retrieved February 23, 2019, from https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/16/bemyeye-task360/?guccounter=1

O’Hear, S. (2019, January 16). BeMyEye acquires Streetbee, a Russian crowdsourcing and image recognition provider. Retrieved February 24, 2019, from https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/16/bemyeye-acquires-streetbee-a-russian-crowdsourcing-and-image-recognition-provider/

ARTO – The Easiest Way to Discover Art You Love


As the housing market continues to grow, the walls of  new homes need some decoration. You decide you want a nice piece of art but where to start, what is your personal taste? Even if you know your preferences, you may find it rather difficult to describe them to find the type of art you are looking for. Now there is ARTO Gallery, the application that helps you find your perfect art match!

What is ARTO?    

picture5ARTO Gallery, launched in 2016 by Jonie Oostveen who was a former Director Business Development at Spotify, is a new way to discover and buy art from your mobile device. The app helps experts as well as non-experts to discover great paintings based on their personal preferences, while also giving artists a platform to sell and promote their artworks. The platform offers art of both independent artists and galleries but also partners with renowned museums (e.g. the Rijks Museum and the National Gallery of Art).  Currently the platform has a database of 5.500 artists and more than 20.000 pieces, which is expected to grow to 50.000 by the end of the year.

How does it work?      

Once you open the app, you will see your “Art Stream”. Customers participate as active “co-creators”(Tsekouras, lecture 2017) by indicating per artwork whether they like it or not through swiping it left or right. The more the customer swipes, the better ARTO Gallery understands their personal preferences. By using the Artificial Intelligent “Art Recommendation Engine” ARTO can recommend artworks from their database to the customer. Furthermore, it is possible to stream artwork to your TV to imagine how the piece would look in your room, ask questions to the artists and see similar artworks to the ones you liked. Artists pay for the service if a transaction takes place as ARTO Gallery charges the artists’ account a certain percentage of the value of artworks sold. For customers the platform is free of charge.

Picture3.png
ARTO Gallery impression

Efficiency Criteria

ARTO is the first two-sided personalized platform that connects art seekers to galleries and artists. The platform maximizes the joint profitability of both partners (Carson et al., 1999). On one side, art seekers are now enabled to find artworks they love more efficiently as their choice overload is reduced by personalized recommendations. Moreover, the invested effort is relatively low as using the application requires much less time than browsing gallery websites.
On the other side, galleries and artists have easy and low cost access to a new customer base, increasing their potential returns. Moreover, through this process ARTO Gallery allows the long tail of art to grow (Brynjolfsson et al., 2006) as more customers discover unfamiliar artwork styles while artists and galleries can adapt their supply to this.

Futhermore, I consider criterion for the feasibility of required reallocations  (Carson et al., 1999) to be met. However, evaluating the institutional environment, I would say that legally there is the largest threat for platform abuse. One might want to sell copies of paintings as if it is original work (intellectual property issues), which may both harm the potential buyer as well as the reputation of ARTO Gallery as a platform. Nonetheless, ARTO Gallery addressed this by their notifications of copyright infringement. Moreover, artists are carefully screened before they are allowed to upload work on the platform. In addition, artists and galleries are always responsible for their own artworks and personal information may be handed over to legal institutions at all times.

Future

I think the ARTO Gallery application is unique and considerably differs from its competition by offering personalized art recommendations. This feature makes it a great way to discover your personal taste and new artworks, while it offers a platform for art suppliers to expose their works. However, as the application is launched recently it is difficult to tell whether it will establish itself into the marketplace. I think first some marketing investments need to be done as the application is still quite unknown, but there is definitely potential!

References

Brynjolfsson, E., Hu, Y., and Smith, M.D. 2006. From Nichees to Riches: Anotomy of the Long Tail. Management Review 47(4) 67-71.

Carson, S. J., Devinney, T. M., Dowling, G. R., & John, G. (1999). Understanding institutional designs within marketing value systems. Journal of Marketing, 115-130

Arto Gallery.(2017, February 24). Our Company. Retrieved from Arto.Gallery

Artworldforum. (2017, February 24). press-arto-gallery. Retrieved from Artworldforum.com

Tsekouras, D. (2 February 2017), Lecture Customer Centric Digital Commerce, “Introduction to value co-creation”.