x5: Facebook Stories, McDonald’s Mobile Ordering, Lowe’s AR/VR Lessons & More

X5-March20


Facebook’s stories are now available worldwide

After initial testing, Facebook has decided to roll out its Snapchat Stories clone worldwide. The company has been trying this feature out across all its entities, including Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp and are determined to cash in on their bigger global audience. Like all its different iterations, Stories will allow users to create slideshows of videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours. Like Snapchat, it also includes filters, art and stickers, all integrated with the Facebook platform.

Why This Matters

Facebook started testing out the Stories feature on Instagram, which is a much more direct competitor to Snapchat. But Instagram’s user base, despite being big, doesn’t even compare to Facebook’s 1.7 billion mobile users worldwide. Unfortunately, younger users are skeptical and have even taken to social media to mock the feature. While this is not likely to stop people from going back to Snapchat, Facebook might be able to capitalize on audiences that Snapchat doesn’t have access to—mainly older users from countries that Snapchat hasn’t made much impact in.

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McDonald’s trials mobile ordering

McDonald’s is trialling mobile ordering in three cities in California and Washington. Customers will be able to order and pay on their phones for the short trial period. Using GPS information, the nearest McDonald’s location will be able to time the order so that it’s fresh and warm for pick up. If all goes well, we could see this being rolled out across the US later this year, although no hard date has been set.

Why This Matters

Popular fast-food locations face long lines, which leads to bad customer experiences and deters new customers from coming in. That’s a lot of lost revenue over the long run. Mobile ordering streamlines the process, significantly cutting wait times. McDonald’s has already put in a lot of resources to reduce how long customers wait in line. The company started using self-checkout stations a few years ago and mobile ordering could help it push out even more orders. If the effort works, it’s something that other fast-food chains should also consider.

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Lowe’s uses AR and VR for how-tos

Lowe’s have announced what they’re planning to do with augmented and virtual reality after teasing its efforts with Google’s Tango. Along with in-store navigation, it allows customers to get hands on experience will home improvement—all without getting their hands dirty. So far Lowe’s has said that its limited efforts have already helped boost customer confidence in taking on DIY projects.

Why This Matters

This is a great example of a company using new technology in a relevant way. Recently, a lot of retailers, especially in the home décor and home improvement space, have been playing around with AR and VR. And rightly so. These companies have always had an advantage in giving customers a chance to interact with products or in Lowe’s case, instructing customers on how to tackle projects. Because home improvement can be a daunting undertaking, Lowe’s will be able to teach its customers more effectively through VR and get them comfortable with using tools.

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Netflix trying to be a legitimate movie studio

To battle distributors and expand its selection, Netflix have been consistently putting out original programming. But despite a handful of critically-acclaimed shows, movie producers and theatre owners don’t want to work with the company. That’s why Netflix has hired Scott Stuber, a producer with deep ties in Hollywood, to lead their push towards signing big name stars.

Why This Matters

While Netflix had a considerable head start and was the first to initiate the original programming trend, they’ve definitely lost out to Amazon in one area—theatrical releases. Amazon Prime has already racked up two Academy Awards for Manchester by the Sea and The Salesman. By comparison, Netflix’s film offerings haven’t made nearly as much impact. Amazon hitting the big screen puts a lot of pressure on other companies creating their own original content. If Netflix succeeds, would others follow?

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Adidas to stop spending on TV advertising

Adidas’ CEO, Kasper Rorsted, announced that Adidas will no longer be spending money on television spots. The sports apparel company is looking to boost its digital sales from €1 billion to €4 billion and will be using digital channels to achieve it.

Why This Matters

Brands can easily fall into the trap of using traditional advertising strategies to drive online sales. It can be a rude awakening to find that e-commerce is a different beast entirely and has different needs. By committing to a focused digital strategy, Adidas will be better positioned to reach their lofty goals. This could be a move to compete with Nike, which has been able to generate more social actions than Adidas. A more personalized approach might reach its younger target audience on mobile and online more effectively.

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