Thanks for this informative article! I agree with comments above that we must evaluate additive manufacturing and 100% personalization separately. I am bullish on a near-future with full productive via additive manufacturing as it reduces error and decreases the human cost of labour. This industry has been socially impacted by various awareness campaigns on working conditions in production factories and 3D printing can mitigate that entirely and reduce dependence on labour in developing markets. As for 100% personalization, I don’t see it as likely in the medium term but I foresee a long-term vision of 100% personalization for most of our purchases, and footwear is one of the more relevant applications of this trend. If Adidas embraced this fully, it could place them in a highly competitive position in the long-term!
An ever relevant article, thanks Sam! I found your open questions interesting, especially the consumer shift from purchasing groceries in store versus online. The United States is still relatively analog in terms of grocery shopping and far behind China, the global leader in online grocery shopping. I think Amazon Go is best positioned to help consumers make this transition and leverage their data. As consumers consider this shift, they can frequent Amazon Go stores, experience a seamless transaction process, be targeted by online Amazon marketing offering to deliver their last purchases automatically, and then gradually move into a pure online purchase model. Walmart is the competitor with far more to lose as they are still not capturing as much data on consumers in store and integrating with their online storefront (due to their legacy systems). It will be interesting to see how they respond to this with further technological integration!
Super interesting article! As I was reading your article, the first open question you posed loomed in my head throughout. How can you provide customization and recommendation to a level that is commensurate with consumers’ individual privacy. One way to circumvent this potential breach is to segment the types of recommendation by level of sensitivity. Some types of recommendations should never be shown to any consumers. Accordingly, customers should also be segmented by their spending behaviour. If they are able to build general profiles of people and cross that with types of recommendations, they could mitigate privacy risk.
Thanks for sharing your experience and insight, Masato! As someone who used to work for a traditional conglomerate, I found this article very pertinent. In my previous employer, we attempted a similar open innovation approach, specifically focussed on soliciting employee feedback for the innovation pipeline. We assessed the risks to be minimal and proceeded to have a crowdsourcing competition for digital innovation and product development. However, when we executed this competition, and we filtered ideas, we found there was pushback as some employee ideas were not deemed relevant and they were then demotivated and felt undervalued. Thus, I think when working with open innovation for a very diverse employee base for a traditional global conglomerate, it is important to structure and phase this interaction and provide a forum where all employees feel truly heard and valued.
Glossier is my favourite brand, thanks for writing this! It has been interesting reading about them from a machine learning perspective. As the most digitally native and social savvy brand, I think there is definitely potential in harnessing their troves of data for product development and customer service. I think you raise a valid concern in this transition toward machine learning perhaps disrupting individual connection with the brand. One way to mitigate this could be to have an “upvote” system similar to Reddit where users could vote on each others’ ideas which would further build a connected community. Another reference is online skincare brand Paula’s Choice which has built a connected affiliate website Beautypedia as a wiki for skincare with user-generated content and reviews, which reinforce the prestige and credibility of the Paula’s Choice brand.
Thanks for writing about my favourite brand! Glossier’s current positioning as the “no makeup makeup” brand that introduces and democratizes makeup and skincare for millenials is in direct conflict with current market dynamics which require continuous product launches. It will be tough for them to maintain this level of engagement as they keep increasing their breadth of product selection and lose the small product portfolio which made them more accessible in the first place. One solution could be for them to merge their open innovation approach with an open knowledge approach, educating a broader consumer base on skincare and easing their transition to different makeup and skincare products and routines. They could even have their engaged heavy users provide tutorials and videos for their less savvy mainstream users which would personalize and deepen the connection between the users and the brand further.
Great article, Arting! It will be very interesting to see the evolution of 3D printing in the fashion world. I think it’s remarkable that Chanel is venturing into the 3D printing world since, as a few people have pointed out above, it makes them highly susceptible to counterfeit which is already one of the biggest concerns facing haute couture fashion. Chanel and the world of haute couture differentiate themselves by their design and their craftsmanship, and bringing 3D printing into the process commoditizes the value of their craftsmanship. However, I do understand their use of 3D printing in makeup, which is mostly based on colour and formulation and not the craftsmanship of the product. I foresee a further gap between high fashion and high street brands as high street brands move to 3D printing (and hopefully away from exploitative labour practices in developing nations) and high fashion brands leverage an artisanal positioning but it would be curious to see how high fashion would distinguish themselves and prevent brand erosion if they continue to embrace 3D printing.