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There’s an App for That…Position 😉

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What feels like an hour to men, is generally a couple of minutes to women, and now we finally have the technology to prove it! That’s right, there’s a new app that tracks your movements in the sack and one things for certain: it’s a far-cry more exciting than smart diapers. So, make sure you take plenty of caution when taking care of business, otherwise your once booming sex-life will be swiftly replaced with Bluetooth nappies! 

There are several types of app’s that have sprung into action recently, one of which is a sex-tracking wristband named “Geeksme” by a Spanish mobile phone company, Geeksphone. The company’s director Ángel Sánchez says: “Sex is healthy, and we want to associate that comfort with having a healthier lifestyle.” 

It’s a handy little wristband that like most other fitness trackers, monitors your physical movements and tells you how many calories that you’ve burned in the process. So, the app will track how many times per day / week / year (if you’re married) you get down and dirty, and just how well you’re performing. Naturally, this information is entirely private and designed to give you an idea as to how your sex life is impacting your health. 

A well “conceived” idea 

Apple’s take on the sexual activity app phenomenon is focused less on performance, and more on results. For those of you who are trying to conceive a child, the reproductive health tracking system can be incredibly useful. But, is there a downside to bringing technology into the bedroom? Let’s explore it further. 

Pros & cons of sex apps 

More sex & for longer

Who doesn’t want more sex? For the most part, it’s a positive, as these applications will certainly encourage couples to have sex more frequently. However, will it change the way that we have sex? For men, it will become more of a game, with a high score that needs beating. That may well have a negative impact on the way that couples are intimate with one another. For one thing: women aren’t all that fussed about how long a sexual encounter lasts, so long as they “get what’s coming to them”. As a rule of thumb, 5 minutes tends to be the optimum time for sexual intercourse to last—any longer than that can become boring and often painful. So, we’re potentially looking at a lot of bored faces and sore private parts while men strive to beat their friends high scores.  

The battle against obesity  

A huge positive factor in the digi-sexual movement, is the battle against obesity. There’s no denying the benefits of having sex regularly as it does indeed burn more calories. 

Mood-enhancer 

Sexual intercourse is an instant mood enhancer, so if we can be encouraged to have more sex, then overall, people are going to be happier and healthier. Again, it all depends on the effect that it has on the sex itself. It’s all very well if couples are being more intimate, if they’re doing so for the wrong reasons. Sex should be about connection, intimacy on a deeper level, and the bonding of two souls. Turning sex into a simple health exercise could have potentially negative connotations in terms of making it more of a chore to be ticked off the daily schedule, as opposed to a spontaneous act of mutual desire. 

We could benefit from learning more about sex 

Provided that our data is kept anonymous, we could certainly benefit a lot from the data collated through such applications. As mentioned in the introduction to this article, women would certainly be pleased with proof of how long their men last! And it would do well to encourage men to hold out that little bit longer for the sake of their other half! 

Conclusion 

We live in strange and exciting times. Whilst these sex apps are still in their infancy, there is much that can be gained from their introduction. We believe that for the most part, these are positive changes that will bring about a healthy sexual revolution. However, it’s still fair to say that we should tread carefully and do whatever we can to preserve the foundation upon which sexual relationships thrive: trust, safety, and mutual gain. 

Sharing Economy Meets High Fashion – Lending is Trending!

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Who’d have thought that consumers would be satisfied with renting their outfit for a special occasion, as opposed to buying it, wearing it the once and leaving it to collect dust in their wardrobes for several years before throwing them out? Well, that’s the way it has been for a long time, but now the renting revolution has arrived, that’s all going to change. 

When we explore this in greater depth, we learn that renting garments isn’t exactly the greenest of solutions, given the amount of shipping and dry cleaning involved. However, there is a huge plus side to it, and that is the amount that will be saved on discarded clothing. For example, in the US alone, they create over 250 million tons of waste every year—a great deal of which is a direct result of the fashion industry being so wasteful. Most people will only wear a garment one, twice at the most before throwing it away. This simply has to stop. 

By renting, as opposed to buying, we will be cutting back on the millions of tons of waste that we create each year due to discarded garments, ultimately reducing our carbon footprint. This is an incredibly positive movement and one that should be celebrated. 

Who’s on board with the renting revolution? 

There are six major retailers of note leading the renting revolution:

  • Rent The Runway
  • Le Tote
  • Armoire
  • Gwynnie Bee
  • Glam Corner
  • Style Lend 

How does it work? 

The process is incredibly simple: you visit any one of the websites listed above, or the hundreds of other businesses following suit. Then, you’ll have access to hundreds-of-thousands of different outfit options for your special occasions. Some websites offer an individual rental fee for garments, others offer a monthly subscription where you pay a fixed monthly fee and then you can have unlimited access to outfits, delivered directly to your door. So, you simply find a method that suits you the most, select your favourite garments, place your order and voila! You have a gorgeous new outfit ready to show off at the next event. And the best part about it all? They’re high-end garments that you’d expect to see on the runway or red carpet. Now, you can look and feel like a star, absent the hefty price-tag! 

Is this the future of retail? 

As the global mindset leans towards a cleaner, greener way of living, we can certainly expect this renting revolution to take off on a massive scale. But it’s not just about cleaning our act up. In fact, by putting luxury goods in the hands of the masses, it could really be a huge net win for the bigger, more expensive labels, making them more accessible to modern consumers. For example, by catering for the younger and less affluent individuals, they will increase the likelihood of those renters converting into buyers in the future when they’re in the financial position to do so. However, in the meantime, they will still be receiving an awful lot of business through this lending trend! Everybody wins! 

80% of Clothing is Purchased in Store. Is That About to Change?

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The digital revolution has brought many exciting changes to the way that retail works. The convenience of online shopping today is remarkable when compared with recent years. However, the one industry that has remained relatively unchanged, is the fashion industry. 80% of clothing is still purchased in store, as opposed to online. But why is that? 

Well, for one thing, you cannot deny the benefits of going in store and being able to try clothes on before you buy them. Yes, most online clothing retailers offer reasonable returns policies for garments that don’t fit. However, who can really be bothered with all of the hassle? Isn’t it easier to simply head to your local clothing outlet, try on a number of garments and then buy whatever fits the best? 

Well, some digital distributers are trying to change all of that and to increase the number of people buying clothes online. Amazon is one of them. As you well know, Amazon is dominating the digital retail market and has been for some time. However, the one industry that they’ve been struggling to lead with is fashion retail. So, what are they proposing to do about it? 

Ever heard of Stitch Fix? 

Stich Fix is a $27 billion personalised clothing start up which has single-handedly revolutionised online clothes shopping. Their customers simply fill out a quick survey where they identify what clothes & styles that they like, and what they don’t. Then, they will provide information about their budget and lifestyle, so that Stitch Fix can find the most appropriate clothing solutions for them. Then, for $20, they get sent a box of clothing and accessories, and they keep what they want and send back what they don’t. It really is as simple as that! 

How does Amazon aim to combat that? 

That personal stylist method seems pretty difficult to beat, doesn’t it? Well, Amazon have taken that business model and made it that little bit more attractive. Having said that, the idea is still in its infancy and only available to women, so it’s hard to say as to whether or not it’s going to take off in a big way, however there is great potential. Here’s how it works:

Amazon will include a similar survey, identifying which styles work best for you. The difference is, rather than $20 a box, they will charge a flat fee of $4.99 a month. In addition to that, shoppers will be able to see what is in the box before it is sent, thus significantly reducing the amount of returns made. In any case, shoppers will have 7 days to use their resealable box, complete with a prepaid return label should they want to send anything back. Easy! 

The personal stylist is the future of online fashion 

The fact is, it’s quite difficult to stay on top of fashion trends when the industry is forever on the move. As such, there’s never been a better time for a “personal stylist/shopper” model to appear on the market. Yes, women tend to be much better at following fashion trends, and there’s certainly no denying that gay men are significantly better dressed than straight men as a whole (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “You’re not leaving the house in that!”. So, this stylist curated subscription model will likely be aimed towards straight men. What could be better than being told exactly what to wear, looking great, and saving loads of money while you’re at it? Perfect! 

Another target would be children with busy parents! Kids are forever outgrowing their clothes and constantly having to find the time to take them in store (what feels like once a week) for a new outfit, simply isn’t viable. Having a steady supply of children’s clothing that will actually fit your ever-stretching sprout delivered to your door on the other hand, is much more attractive. Kids clothing retailers should take note! 

Survival Tactics for Department Stores: Nordstrom Experiments with ‘Click & Collect’ 

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In this digital era, it’s getting harder and harder for retail stores to compete and stay afloat. More people are turning to online shopping as they strive for convenience & hassle-free solutions. This means that department stores will need to seriously innovate if they’re going to keep up! So, what can they do? Well, Nordstrom has an idea that they’re experimenting with and Walmart is following suit, this is what they’ve been up to:

Building physical stores that don’t sell anything

Yep, you read that right! Nordstrom and Walmart are both building physical stores that don’t actually sell anything. But why? Well, it’s all down to the new ‘Click & Collect’ movement.

Click & Collect 

Click & collect is exactly what it sounds like. Customers place their orders online, and then collect their goods & groceries at designated pick up points. Now, it might sound like a bit of a ball-ache when you can simply order your bits online and have them delivered to your door, however this method is indeed, more convenient, and it’s all about timing. 

When you have your goods delivered to your home, you have to wait around and be present for the order to arrive. This isn’t always the most convenient way to do things, particularly when your order can arrive any time between A and B. Who has time to wait around? What if something comes up and you want to head out? This is why Click & collect is so attractive, because you can conveniently collect your grocers precisely when you mean to, without having to bumble around the busy department store. 

You won’t have to leave the comfort of your car

You place your order and then you’re given a designated parking space to collect from. Following that, you park up and your dedicated assistant will load the trunk of your car up with your order. Then, you simply drive home and voila, you’re all sorted with your weekly shop and you didn’t even have to leave the comfort of your car, nor did you have to walk around a department store in rush hour, and waste your time queuing up at the cash register. 

“Nordstrom offers pickup at all its more than 100 full-priced locations around the United States, while Walmart is on track to offer pickup at more than 3,000 of its stores by the end of 2019.” 

It’s growing fast 

The new Click & collect revolution is growing rapidly. In fact, more than 15% of US shoppers are now embracing the innovation, and sales are estimated to hit an annual number of $35 billion by next year. This is a huge movement that is almost certainly going to throw a spanner in the works for digital retailers. 

Conclusion 

Online retailers that offer home delivery are going to struggle to compete with this new rise in convenient click & collect services. Unless they can offer accurate ETA’s on their home deliveries, as opposed to “anytime between A and B”, they’re going to seriously struggle. The ease of simply placing your order and having your car loaded up with everything you need is much more attractive. As such, you can expect to see physical retail stores competing with online retailers in a big way! Only time will tell. 

Libra, Facebook’s Disruptocurrency

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That said, it seems to be up and down! Some sources say it’s the future, others believe it to be just a fad. But when a tech giant like Facebook begins working towards launching its own cryptocurrency (Libra), then perhaps it’s time to start taking it more seriously?

Facebook is arguably, one of the most influential tech companies in the world, second to Google of course. As such, there has been an immense amount of hype after they announced the production of their very own cryptocurrency. However, it’s not all positive hype of course! In fact, some people believe that this could be the beginning of the end of sovereign currencies. Could we really see the likes of Libra and BitCoin replacing the US Dollar? Or the Pound Sterling? It’s highly unlikely, but then again, stranger things have happened. Take Donald Trump as the ‘commander-in-chief’ for example, who on earth saw that coming?

Of course, pretty much everything that Facebook touches turns to gold, so their new Libra platform really does have the potential to legitimise crypto currencies; which could certainly disrupt big players like Amazon and Western Union, perhaps. One thing is for certain, it has a lot of people excited, and even more people feeling rather nervous!

 

What does it all mean?

At such an early stage, it is incredibly difficult to tell. However, there are many people who are dubious about cryptocurrencies as a whole, given how they have huge potential to facilitate money laundering, or even the funding of terrorist organisations. The internet is an immense platform with a lot of “grey areas” and regulating something as daunting and potentially dangerous as cryptocurrency might prove difficult.

Of course, it’s fair to say that Facebook has the best intentions and is merely creating the Libra in order to generate a huge revenue stream, by allowing their gargantuan user-base to complete minor transactions in a “closed-loop” system (You can only spend it on things available for sale through Facebook and its associated apps). However, with the recent privacy concern scandal, they’re going to have to be incredibly careful about how they proceed.

 

Who is in favour?

As it stands, Libra has been receiving a significant amount of financial backing from various credit card giants, such as Visa, Mastercard, and digital payments company PayPal. According to reports, Facebook is seeking to receive as much as $1 billion in support for their cryptocurrency project. Is that enough to make a dent? Only time will tell! But if such large and influential companies like Visa and Mastercard are on board, then they almost certainly believe it will. What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section below!

Brave New Beacons

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Imagine walking around your local supermarket, strolling past the frozen meats section and then receiving a message on your phone, offering you a coupon to get 10% off your next purchase on steak. Sounds amazing right?! Who wouldn’t want to receive free coupons? But wait a minute…how on earth did they know? Is somebody stalking you? Technically…yes!

Retail stores are now using small Bluetooth devices called beacons, which are designed to track your every move when walking through their store. The main purpose of this is to “improve the customer experience.” However, we all know that it’s an incredibly clever, yet irrefutably dubious scheme to push shoppers into making impulse purchases when being offered last-minute or “one-off” discounts.

Yes, there are some great benefits to this technology. But we can’t help getting the feeling that it’s a little bit creepy. Of course, one could argue that it’s an invasion of your privacy. However, it can only really work if you allow it. For example, you’d have to sign up to a certain app, or allow your mobile phone to be tracked via Bluetooth. So, technically speaking, it’s not an invasion of your privacy, as you can simply turn it off. That said, these tech companies are very, very good at getting our data and using it for things that we’re not entirely aware of. So, in some ways, it almost certainly is an invasion of our privacy. In any case, it just doesn’t feel quite right…

You can’t deny the benefits

All that being said, as creepy as it is, when you really stop to think about it, provided that you’re not overly impulsive, or have anything to hide (i.e., a shoplifting habit), then why would you not want to receive free coupons and offers? If you don’t want to buy something, you’re under no obligation to do so. But of course, if you’re doing your weekly shop any way, then what’s the harm in saving some money whilst you’re at it?

Then there are the safety implications involved as well. Provided that you’re not entirely fussed about your privacy, being tracked could certainly make people feel safer. For example, if a friend or family member were to have gone missing, these tracking software’s would be incredibly useful to the authorities when trying to track them down.

 

Opt out if you want to!

Understandably, there is an awful lot of people who are concerned or angered by these Bluetooth beacons. However, it is important to remember that you really do not need to participate at all! Simply put your phone on Airplane mode or turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when you’re out and about, doing your shopping. Or of course, if you’re really worried about your privacy, trade your smart phone in for a standard flip-phone and be done with it!

The fact that we have the capacity to opt out, gives us very little room to complain about it. Yes, it’s a little bit creepy. But when you think about it, there are worse stalkers to be had! At least your local supermarket isn’t going to follow you home. Instead they’re harmlessly offering you a two-for-one on microwave meals. We can either embrace it or turn our phone’s off!

CVS investing in dental services to compete with e-commerce giants (Orthodontists aren’t smiling about it)

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Amazon has long been dominating the digital shoppersphere, causing many an established company to panic. Business owners are scrabbling to find new and innovative ways to attract and retain new customers in the hopes that they can compete. Just as all of the other search engines have to contend with the reflex response: “Hold on a moment, I’ll Google it;” retailers have to try and overcome: “You’ll definitely be able to buy it on Amazon.” 

The fact is, as consumers, we like to keep things simple. That’s why mall complexes have always been so popular; the ability to do all of your shopping under one roof and then stop for a spot of lunch or a coffee is better than having to drive all over town. We like the convenience of it, and what could be more convenient than logging onto one incredibly easy to use website that sells everything that you could possibly ask for? That’s the keyword today: convenience. 

That is why in 2018, CVS Health made the decision to start offering delivery services on prescription drugs & other medication; in an attempt to keep up with the delivery giant, Amazon. This experimentation is continuing on into 2019, with a new transformation that has been causing quite a lot of controversy in the dental world. 

I’ll give you something to smile about 


image by CVS

The likes of CVS and Walgreens are now turning to offering services in stores in order to compete with other e-commerce giants. They’re certainly not the first to adopt this kind of approach. Take Nike for example: they’re embracing the bricks & mortar by attempting to revolutionize the way that retail works through implementing state-of-the-art technology in their stores. (Include link to previous Nike blog post) By offering a more personal service in their physical stores, they will be able to connect with their audience and drive more traffic through their business both physically & electronically. 

So, how does this apply to CVS and Walgreens? Well, rather than simply sticking to pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies, they will now be offering dental services in stores. Such services include discreet teeth straightening, a service which would otherwise only be available via your local orthodontist. As you can imagine, these new plans have not been so well received by orthodontists as their “bread & butter” services are going to be made more accessible, and likely more affordable too. 

Meeting high-demand and adapting with the times 

image by CVS

Whilst orthodontists are certainly going to experience a significant hit with the likes of CVS and Walgreens offering similar services in their stores, if they embrace the challenge and find new ways to make their services more attractive, they shouldn’t be too hard pushed to survive. They must innovate, just like CVS and Walgreens have had to. 

The fact is, in this modern-Instaworthy world, everyone is after that straight, white smile. As such, the global dentist’s market is set to increase to a whopping $18.4 billion by 2025. Teeth whitening alone is a $5.5 billion industry as it is. CVS and Walgreens have recognized this and made the incredibly shrewd decision to offer such services in a most personalized and convenient manner. This is the future: ease, convenience, and affordability. 

It’s not just scary, but expensive too! 

image by CVS

Another important thing to recognize is that many people shy away from going to the dentist because they’re afraid. It’s not just about the bill that they’ll get at the end of the interaction, but the fear of going in in the first place. Now, with CVS Health, an established and trusted brand, we’re likely to see a significant rise in people seeking out dental care. As they’ve said in a recent statement: “CVS Health and SmileDirectClub are aligned in the mission to put the customer at the center of their care by providing easier access to more affordable, more convenient health solutions with proven outcomes.” 

Smart Diapers: The internet of things is just getting started, kids

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Just when you think that nothing else can surprise you, you learn that Huggies are launching a new brand of “smart diaper” which uses a Bluetooth disk to notify parents when their babies have a “number one” or “number two”. Now, as farfetched and unnecessary as that might sound in the beginning, there are actually a number of practical benefits that can come from embracing such technology. That said, how well are these items going to apply in the wider market? Many families struggle as it is with the cost of diapers without having to pay what could be up to three or five times as much as they currently do. 

In this article we’re going to take a quick look at smart diapers and how  the “internet of things” is affecting consumer electronic retailers in an ever-connected world. 

Does everything need to be connected to our smart phones? 

IOT or the “internet of things” is the implementation of internet connectivity into everyday items such as electronic mirrors, AI toothbrushes and in this case: “smart diapers”. In many cases this connectivity offers real, useful enhancements. But does everything need to be connected to our smart phones? Do consumers really want to spend an additional $200 dollars on a toothbrush because it allegedly helps us clean our teeth more effectively? 

Well, whether we want it or not, there will be an ever-increasing tsunami of IOT products swamping the market over the coming years. There’s a tech-war of sorts which has companies scrabbling to produce the “next big thing”, or the “life-altering technological advancement” which is going to simplify our day-to-day even further. Again, in many cases this has a lot of benefits. For the most part however, it’s filling our homes with overly expensive and unnecessarily complicated “stuff”. 

The smart diaper: a pompous novelty or sophisticated improvement? 

Image by https://sites.google.com/site/phukutthailand/home/attractions

>image by https://www.cnet.com/news/the-smart-diaper-has-entered-the-building-at-ces-2019/

Again, whilst the smart diaper might sound like a complete waste of time, there are some features which can bring irrefutable benefits to parents. For example, being notified of when your baby has gone to the toilet during the night will allow parents to respond faster and refresh their diaper as soon as possible. This is particularly useful for parents whose babies are suffering from nappy rash. It can also be preventative with urinary tract infections and other loo-related irritants.

image by http://www.goodmonit.com

Then again, is it going to give new parents more to worry about? Do we really need all of this data on how often our babies and peeing or pooing? Are they going too often or not enough? Perhaps we’re not feeing them properly? It might seem like a little too much, but as the technology becomes more readily accessible to families of all incomes, such technology could work wonders in keeping our babies healthier and happier. 

In addition to that, these enhancements can and will improve the quality of care given to the elderly in assisted living facilities. There are many elderly care homes which are understaffed and might not be able to get around to checking on every resident as promptly as they’d like. However, with a simple notification via Bluetooth, it could offer care workers invaluable insight into who needs their adult diapers or “pads” changing. This can only bolster the overall quality of care and overall happiness of the elderly living through their twilight years. 

We’re just getting started 

image by http://www.goodmonit.com

The future is here, and consumer electronics retailers should be ready for the unexpected. Again, the smart diaper may or may not have come as a surprise to you, but you should be ready for things to get even weirder! Just look at how far we have come since the industrial revolution. We never expected to be flying internationally, let alone sending robots into space. So, it’s fair to say that a portable coffee maker / personal assistant robot combo might be closer than you think!