Most of you have probably bought something on the internet but how many of you have bought a car on the internet?
My guess is not many but things may be about to change.
The Tesla company is renowned for doing things differently. They have led the way in developing electric vehicles with their Models S and X being some of the best electric cars on the road at the moment.
Whilst the Models S and X are great cars, they are pretty expensive. The Model S starts at £72,000 and the Model X at £80,000.
As an alternative to their luxury models, Tesla announced its Model 3 car back in 2016. This was planned to be a more economical version and hoped to bring electric cars to the masses.
They were aiming for a price point of $35,000 but have been finding it difficult to reach that figure. Back in September last year the car was on sale for $50,000 but they have just announced that they have achieved their target and the car will now be sold in the US for $35,000.
They’ve got the price down and a key factor in getting the price down has been restructuring their distribution methods.
They’ve come up with what I think is a pretty innovative way of selling their cars. They are closing their physical showrooms and only selling their cars via the internet.
This is radically different from other car manufacturers.
There are clear advantages – the cost saving of not having physical showrooms and not having to employ staff to work in these showrooms is reported to allow the firm to cut costs by 5%.
What about the disadvantages? Well, an obvious one is whether customers will be willing to buy a car without looking at the car and having a test drive.
Tesla have come up with a nice solution to this problem.
Tesla announced that “We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla, so that a test drive prior to purchase isn’t needed. You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free.”
I personally think this is a pretty good idea but if you’re currently working for another car company in one of their showrooms, should you start to be worried?
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Tesla-distribution-channels.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2019-03-03 09:39:442019-03-03 09:52:23Click to buy a Tesla...
Do you wish you had a better memory? Perhaps you do but you can’t remember whether or not you do.
If this is the case then help may be at hand.
University researchers have recently suggested a simple technique which could improve your memory.
Dr Mark Moss from Northumbria University led a research study which found that students studying in a room with the smell of the herb rosemary (in the form of essential oils) achieved 5% to 7% better memory results than students undertaking similar studying in a room without the smell of rosemary.
Dr Moss reported that the sense of smell in humans is highly sensitive and sends messages to the brain which can set off reactions and responses.
In the case of rosemary, the smell could well result in a better memory.
This view isn’t new though as ancient Greek students used to wear garlands of rosemary in their exams and Ophelia, the young noblewoman in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
So, in conclusion, the next time you are studying hard for an exam it may be an idea to buy some rosemary essential oils to help your memory.
That is of course, if you can remember to buy some in the first place…
(Details of some of the work done by Northumbria University can be found here).
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/rosemary_memory.jpg32095705Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2019-01-07 22:27:222019-01-11 15:03:31Remind me - what was I going to buy?
It sounds like the start of a riddle but there’s an important underlying message. Namely, organisations should be monitoring the environment they are operating in to see if any changes could be impacting on their business.
A classic model for analysing the impact the external environment can have on an organisation is the PESTEL model. Those of you that are thinking of studying for your professional exams will possibly be thinking that it stands for Parties, Eating, Sleeping, Talking, Entertaining and Laughing but if you’ve passed your exams then you are probably more comfortable with the fact that it stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal.
Whilst all the components of this model can be important, one area which is particularly topical is the “social” component.
Within the social component one change which a lot of countries are currently seeing is people’s increased health awareness and the increase in demand for vegetarian (no meat) and vegan (no meat or dairy) food.
Ben & Jerry’s is one of the world’s leading ice cream companies and they no doubt have a very sophisticated approach to monitoring the environment. One of the more impressive things they’ve done over the last couple of years is to launch some new products which will appeal to the vegan market.
If you are a vegan, then you don’t eat meat or dairy products and whilst you are unlikely to find an ice cream made out of chicken you are extremely likely to find an ice cream made out of milk.
Ben & Jerry’s though have nicely got around this problem by launching a number of flavours of vegan ice cream.
“How can they be vegan if they are ice cream?” I hear you say.
Well, the vegan ice creams are made with almond milk as opposed to dairy milk. Now technically that means they are frozen desserts and not ice cream but I can’t see any vegan being particularly upset about that.
The non dairy range has recently expanded in the UK and Ben & Jerry’s have just launched their first coconut flavoured vegan ice cream.
It’s called “Coconutterly Caramel’d” and blends coconut-flavoured ice cream with ribbons of caramel, Fair Trade chocolate, and cookies.
“Coconut ice cream, caramel, chocolate and cookies” – I don’t know about you but just reading that description makes me feel peckish.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ben_and_jerrys.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-12-23 15:19:102019-01-04 08:24:56When is an ice cream not an ice cream?
Advertising can have a dramatic impact on what people buy and in countries which celebrate Christmas, one of the busiest buying seasons is upon us.
It’s traditional in the run up to Christmas in the UK for the big retailers to release a major TV advert. The retailer John Lewis for example has released it’s Christmas advert staring Elton John (who reportedly received a fee of £5 million for his input).
For me though the clear winner in the Christmas adverts is the “Rang tang” advert by the supermarket chain Iceland.
The advert was originally produced by the global charity Greenpeace and highlights the destruction of the rainforest caused by the production of palm oil (palm oil is found in many everyday products ranging from food staples such as bread to cosmetics).
The companies that produce palm oil are cutting down vast amounts of trees and as a result the Orangutan apes are really suffering. In simple terms, their homes are being destroyed and they are dying as they have nowhere to live.
Iceland spent £500,000 on putting the advertising campaign together and have pledged to remove palm oil from all their own brand products.
The advert, which was voiced over by actress Emma Thompson, has run into some problems with Clearcast, the body which approves or rejects television adverts in the UK. They have ruled that it is too political and as a result it has been banned from being shown on television.
The good news for this advert though is that Clearcast don’t regulate social media and the advert has been a hit on Facebook and YouTube.
At the time of writing, the advert had been viewed over 5 million times on YouTube.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d urge you to watch it below as it’s a great advert which raises awareness of an important global issue.
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Picture the scene. It’s the first night of your honeymoon. You’ve just married a beautiful Italian Signorina called Marianna. You’re Italian and Italian men have a reputation for being some of the most romantic men in the world.
Now, even though some may say this reputation has largely been self created, there are still certain things you should do on your honeymoon and certain things you should definitely not do on your honeymoon.
Due to Italian privacy laws the individuals concerned can only be identified by their Christian names but what did Stefano do on his honeymoon that led to his new wife divorcing him one month into their marriage?
From a project management point of view there are various tools and techniques that can be used to ensure a project runs smoothly. One of these is to ensure that the team is made up of the right type of person as well as the appropriate number of people.
A well known theory behind what makes a good team is Belbin’s team role models.
In simple terms, Belbin’s theory says that people are born with certain characteristics. Belbin gave names to the different types of people. For example, a “plant” is a person that likes to come up with ideas and is usually quite creative. A “Monitor Evaluator” is somebody with a logical eye who can make impartial judgements.
Back to the one month marriage though and Stefano decided that rather than the traditional 2 person project team that goes on the majority of honeymoons he would make his a 3 person team.
To his wife’s understandable annoyance, Stefano’s 3 person honeymoon team included himself, his new wife and his mother.
The project team first started showing signs of a split when the mother-in-law turned up at the airport for the flight to the honeymoon destination of Paris.
A honeymoon in Paris sounds great until you realise that your mother-in-law is staying in an adjoining room at the hotel you’re staying at and accompanying you to every meal and romantic boat trip along the Seine.
One month after the wedding and Marianna left the marriage home they shared in Rome and returned to her home town of Naples leaving the 39 year old Stefano without a wife.
Maybe Marianna is more of a Belbin’s “Completer Finisher” than Stefan and his mum may have thought.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/belbins-role-models.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-11-14 15:24:282018-11-07 20:47:19The 3 person honeymoon and Belbin team roles...
It’s common knowledge that high street shops are struggling. A number of household names have gone (or are going!) out of business and one of the reasons for this is the rise of online shopping.
But the online stores haven’t got it easy and online clothing stores in particular are facing an emerging threat driven by social media.
A lot of people are reluctant to buy clothes online in case they don’t fit properly. To get around this a number of online stores offer free returns.
This has led an increasing number of people to take advantage of the free returns policy.
By take advantage I mean to order clothes that they have NO intention of keeping. Instead, they want to order the clothes so that they can have their photo taken wearing them and then post those photos on social media sites before returning them free of charge.
Whilst this enables individuals to look super trendy in front of their friends on sites such as Instagram and Facebook, it is proving to be a problem for retailers.
The giant credit / debit card provider Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, recently undertook some research which showed the scale of the problem.
The research showed that 9% of online shoppers in the UK had bought clothes online with the aim of wearing them for a photo to post on social media and then returning them. The age group who were the largest culprits were 35 – 44 year olds where the percentage rose to a staggering 17%.
Perhaps surprisingly, men were more likely than women to “snap and send back” (12% of male shoppers compared to 7% of female shoppers).
It’s a major issue for online retailers.
George Allardice, Head of Strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions said “It’s interesting to see the social media trend further fuelling the returns culture. We know from our research that returns are having a big impact on retailers, with a huge figure of seven billion pounds a year in sales that they potentially can’t recognise”.
In summary, “snap and send back” equals #bigproblemswithreturns
You probably haven’t heard of Klaus Maertens but I reckon that most of you will have seen what he started.
Klaus was a German soldier who back in 1945 had a broken foot and wanted a boot without the traditional hard sole. Together with his friend Herbert Funk, who was a mechanical engineer, he designed an air cushioned sole which led to the global footwear brand Dr Martens.
Since those early days, the product has had an up and down history. In the 1970s they were very fashionable and sales grew. By the time the early 2000s came around they were having production problems and competition from other similar brands of footwear had increased.
They nearly went out of business but a swing in fashion brought them back on track and in 2013 they were purchased by Permira, the private equity group, for £300 million.
Since then their fortunes have prospered and they recently released their latest set of financials.
Revenue has shot up by 20% to £349 million and earnings were up 14% to £50 million.
Their “Direct To Consumer” (DTC) channels are doing very well and now represent 40% of their total revenue. DTC is where the products are sold directly to the consumers and not via an intermediary such as an independent shoe shop.
Dr Marten’s store count has increased by 25 to 94 and the new stores show the global reach of the brand (9 in the UK, 7 in mainland Europe, 3 in New York and 3 in Japan).
Kenny Wilson, CEO of Dr. Martens said: “Dr. Martens has delivered another outstanding year. We are an iconic brand that does things in our own unique, disruptive way and that is unifying our consumers across the globe. The business’ investment in our DTC channels, both in terms of retail stores and E-commerce, is bearing fruit, and these will remain priority channels for us.”
All in all, Dr Martens seem to be putting their best foot forward.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Dr_Martens.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-11-02 20:24:262018-11-07 07:35:55Step on it...
The Carlsberg Group is one of the oldest brewing groups in the world. They were established way back in 1847 and their portfolio of products include Tuborg, Baltika and of course, Carlsberg.
They sell a lot of beer and their products are sold in more than 150 markets.
The “6 pack” is synonymous with beer and no, I’m not talking about the 6 pack on the beer drinkers abs. Rather, I’m talking about the 6 pack of beer that people can buy from shops.
One unfortunate problem with the 6 pack is that the cans are held together with a plastic wrapping. With so many 6 packs being sold around the world that means a lot of plastic is used.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental damage that plastic is doing and Carlsberg have come up with a pretty innovative solution to reducing plastic on their 6 packs.
They have introduced what they call a “snap pack”.
In the snap pack the cans of beer are held together by glue rather than plastic wrapping. The cans of beer can be “snapped off”.
This saves a significant amount of plastic – according to Carlsberg this equates to reducing plastic waste by more than 1,200 tonnes a year. That’s a huge amount and is the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags.
Bo Oksnebjerg, Secretary General in WWF Denmark, was quoted as saying “Our wildlife is drowning in plastic – and the problem is unfortunately growing considerably. We therefore need to act now. We need less plastic to end up in nature. That is why we consider it huge progress that Carlsberg is now launching solutions that significantly reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging. With these new solutions, Carlsberg has taken the first big steps on the journey towards a more clean and green future.”
Nice work Carlsberg and I’ll drink to that. Or should I say, I’ll snap one off and drink to that…
Are you happy when you spend money? I guess the answer depends on what you’re spending the money on but over in China, KFC have just introduced technology which enables a person to pay for their KFC meal with a smile.
Yes, a smile.
Nothing else is needed – no bank card, no phone app. Just a smile.
That’s a pretty advanced system and involves facial recognition technology.
Customers who want to get their dose of fast food at the KFC branch in Hangzhou can leave their cash and cards behind and instead smile at a scanner, press confirm and then hey presto you’ve paid for your meal without moving your hands and you will soon be tucking into your Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Payment is taken from a cash account which has been linked to the person’s face.
China has some of the most advanced facial scanning technology in the world. Collecting images of the public doesn’t need any consent in China and the technology is likely to spread.
For example, it’s been reported that students in several universities in China are now registering by scanning their faces and lecturers will soon be able to track the facial expressions of students to see how well they are following the lectures.
It may be advisable for these students to master the act of hiding those yawns during a boring lecture and instead start to practice for the KFC they’re planning to get after the lecture…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/pay-by-a-smile.jpg14122510Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-10-01 14:42:532018-10-10 21:36:06Is this worth smiling for?
Having people trained in the office to undertake first aid is an important health and safety feature.
Organisations can send people to health and safety training or like the organisation in the video below, can get health and safety professionals to provide on site demonstrations.
Now, whilst most demos will be educational and very professional, as the video below shows, this particular demonstration was more like a slapstick comedy film.
A volunteer was asked to pretend that he was injured but unfortunately when the health and safety “professional” came into the demonstration he accidentally knocked over a shelf which then fell onto the “pretend victim” who suddenly became the “real victim”.
Luckily for all concerned nobody was seriously injured and if you want to see a fine slapstick comedy moment demonstration of health and safety then enjoy the video below.
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https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/health-and-safety-in-the-office.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-09-22 11:15:282018-09-24 19:38:19This is how not to do first aid in the office.
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