Posts tagged with "customers"

Online shopping illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digital Transformation: ByondXR

Digital Transformation: ByondXR Develops virtual commerce platform used by World-leading Retailers

Web-based Virtual eCommerce: Transforming the Future of Retail

The online shopping landscape is continuously changing, with companies finding new solutions to bring unique experiences to their customers. When the coronavirus pandemic shook the world, brands had to adapt to the virtual landscape, as in-store shopping became nearly impossible quickly. With the fear and apprehension that the pandemic created, naturally, people lost the motivation to shop in-person as much as they used to.

Companies that rely on physical shopping lost their customers and floundered, while companies that already had a significant digital presence increased their business. As businesses struggled to stay afloat, ByondXR, a company specializing in building online virtual storefronts and showrooms, was positioned to assist them in building their digital presence and offering new experiences for customers despite the pandemic.

Industry veterans Noam Levavi and Eran Galil founded ByondXR in 2016, intending to help businesses acclimate themselves to the growing virtual commerce market. Having as much familiarity and expertise with online retail merchandising as they did, after COVID-19 quarantining forced people to isolate themselves and remain in their homes, companies like Lancôme, Target, and P&G turned to ByondXR for their technical know-how.

Their innovative technology caters to wholesale and retail businesses who seek to improve their digital marketing presence. With their team of experts, they truly revolutionize the virtual commerce market by creating the most stunning visual web experiences that significantly improve conversion rates, engagement, and reduced return rates.

The virtual showrooms allow customers to browse through a store as if they were moving through a physical space. Customers can pan around, viewing colorful and appealing displays of items. By simply clicking on an item or display, an information box pops up where the customer can view more info about the product, interact with the product in 3D, or place the product in their physical space using ByondXR AR capabilities. To close the loop, users can click to purchase the products directly.

Using the full 3D store simulation that ByondXR creates for top fashion retailers, the Virtual Merchandising teams invite VM, store managers, and customers to take immersive virtual tours of their digital storefront. Visitors can view and interact with new clothing and merchandise hanging on racks and displayed on tables or mannequins by visualizing the store, its fixtures, and garments.

This kind of experiential retail provides customers with a far more interactive and engaging experience than simply scrolling mindlessly through pages and pages of products on Amazon or any other retail website. Customers can view items and read product descriptions on a company website as much as they like, but online shopping can rarely be as effective as shopping in a real, physical store. These virtual storefronts give customers the feeling of in-person shopping without leaving their homes and risk getting sick.

The broad range of clients that ByondXR has worked with have found that customers are looking for new shopping experiences, different from the ones that they are used to, especially when over-use of traditional digital shopping venues has rendered them mundane and unengaging. Virtual storefronts like those they have built for Lancôme and P&G are only the beginning of ByondXR’s technological revolution.

Take, for example, 3D visualizers that they have created for home decor companies like CaesarStone. In these online stores, customers can view a realistic 3D room like a kitchen or a child’s bedroom. With a click of a button, they can place down a crib or a wardrobe in this 360 environment, viewing the item in a digital space as if it were actually in their home and use AR to visualize the product in their own home. They can change the decorations and furniture’s colors and designs and pan around, viewing the items with the depth and authenticity that they would get from a physical store.

One of the most important parts of buying a piece of furniture is visualizing what it might look like in a customer’s own home, and with technology like this, customers won’t be left scratching their heads in the middle of a store. No more wondering what a product might look like when delivered to the customers’ houses with ByondXR storefronts, and they get what they see.

The public interest in digital shopping has only grown since its inception, and the global pandemic has only sped up the growth of virtual commerce. The boom in digital shopping has led to such revolutionary techniques as ByondXR’s virtual stores and showrooms seem to have ushered in the future of shopping, where people can browse items and walk-through stores without ever leaving their homes.

As the pandemic continues, both in the US and abroad, the apprehension that people feel about shopping in person has only increased. People don’t want to risk getting the virus and then spreading it to their friends and family, and so they have turned to online shopping in droves to fill their needs. Although the most important aspect of retail business is to provide customers with quality products, the aesthetics and the art of the way these products are displayed play a large role in what brands customers decide to shop with.

With this kind of technology becoming more and more popular with companies and with the customers that they serve, the question arises: Will shopping ever return to the way it was before?

The pandemic has certainly altered the world forever, but many have wondered if customers will return to physical stores once they can safely and healthily do so. With specialized technical advancements in the virtual commerce market like those that ByondXR provides their clients with, customers may decide that they don’t have to visit stores in person to get what they need.

In fact, home decor technology of the kind they built for Caesar Stone is often found more useful to customers than shopping for furniture, tiles, or decorations in person. Why go to a physical store if customers can get the same experience by shopping online from the comfort of their homes while losing none of the in-person stores’ appeals?

There is also another angle to it: while utilizing VR, retail brands can improve brand messaging, boost online influence, and create unique touching points with customers, something that regular eComment lacks.

No matter what the future holds for the virtual commerce market, ByondXR and their CEO Noam Levavi have positioned themselves at the forefront of digital shopping innovation, and they are ready to meet the next challenge head-on.

Chaos Ignites Agility Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Chaos Ignites Agility

2020 exposed the collapse of standardization. We are rapidly moving away from an era defined by outdated standards that held people to conformity and limited their creativity—to today’s new era of personalization that honors one’s individual contributions and embraces fresh ideas and ideals,” said Glenn Llopis, president of GLLG, a leadership and business strategy consulting firm that authored a new report available today: CHAOS IGNITES AGILITY (download full report).

CHAOS IGNITES AGILITY captures the most intimate and disruptive insights from 46 executives across healthcare, corporate, and education. These leaders came together virtually for three days last October to share how they are working to restore individual dignity in how they serve patients, customers, employees, and students to thrive in a post-pandemic reality.

Themes emerged across the sectors, as doctors, professors, executives, deans, and presidents got real about how they have been adapting throughout the challenges and unpredictability of 2020. They collectively zeroed in on these major challenges and opportunities:

  • How to put patients, employees, and students at the center – to activate individual capacity.
  • How to lead through industry transformation when there’s so much uncertainty.
  • How to pursue and employ inclusion as a growth strategy going forward.

This riveting video tells the story.

Organizations represented in CHAOS IGNITES AGILITY include:

Healthcare:

  • CVS Health, Mount Sinai Health System, Anthem, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Woman’s Hospital, Lenovo Health, Keck Medicine of USC, City of Hope Cancer Medical Center, and American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Corporate:

  • Starbucks, Microsoft, Twitter, ViacomCBS, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Cost Plus World Market, Chico’s FAS, Inc., RBC Capital Markets, Farmers Insurance, H&R Block, Lyft, and Banfield Pet Hospital

Higher Education:

  • Clemson University, College of Business, Google, USC Marshall School of Business, Drake University, The Eagle Academy Foundation, Fairfield University, Lynchburg, College of Business, University of Washington, Bothell, University of South Florida, College of Business, California State University, Stanislaus, and Metropolitan Community College

Learn more at Age of Personalization.

360 Magazine, Business

COVID-19 Shifted Modern Business

COVID-19 and the global pandemic has presented a significant and unforeseen challenge to many businesses. The government and public health restrictions have meant closures for some, and the economic impacts have meant customers are more nervous than ever before. As a business, managing through this pandemic means shifting the fundamental way you see your business. To better understand how COVID-19 has shifted the perspective of modern business, consider these points.

Managing the books

Prior to the pandemic, businesses could be excused for not being across the minutia of detail when it came to their day to day finances. Managing inventories, purchasing and other key accounting tasks may have been considered handled in a lot of circumstances. With the pandemic taking force, it’s been crucial to shift that perspective and consider online accounting software. As businesses shift operations away from bricks and mortar style offices, to working from home, online software is key. Businesses need to be able to manage and keep an eye on all finances in real-time. Making critical accounting decisions remotely could make or break the business, so your business needs to be agile in the way it operates. Traditional businesses could get away with quarterly reporting or even monthly, but the modern business will need to be much more focused on the numbers week to week or even day-to-day. Online software can keep you up-to-date with the accounting details you need to make smarter decisions.

Smart tooling

Previously, businesses considered tools which would allow their employees, customers and competitors to connect a nice service to have. Since COVID took hold, it’s been crucial for the modern business to adapt and offer a range of tools to help create those connections. In lieu of seeing people face-to-face, businesses needed to find ways to create virtual collaboration and avoid an over-reliance on traditional communication methods, like email. 

The modern business has shifted its perspective on these tools and some are now even seeking to find ways to create these virtual connections, similar to the water cooler type conversations you’d see in a physical office. This pandemic has created a divide in project teams, product teams and many other teams where close collaboration was a key to success. Modern businesses, rather than abandoning these ways of working, have adapted and found tools that help them connect better in a separated world.

Productive home workers

Prior to the pandemic taking hold, a lot of traditional business managers held the belief that working from home was unproductive. With public health advice all but demanding businesses have employees work from home, this perspective has certainly changed. Many businesses experienced a changing of the guard, albeit through a transition period. But as time goes by, the modern business is realising that expensive leases and large tenancy are simply not necessary. Employees have proven that productivity will go on, and that business output doesn’t suffer simply because staff are at home. 

Without commutes, some staff even prefer to work longer hours. The pandemic has offered the modern business an advantage to be taken. Allowing staff to become flexible with work arrangements both now and into the future can help build a more engaged and focused workforce. The caveat to this is ensuring staff have the appropriate setups and systems access to do their jobs effectively.

~

COVID-19 has challenged many widely held beliefs about the way a traditional business needs to run. From managing the day to day to allowing staff the freedom to work from wherever they are most productive. Modern business perspectives have changed and a lot of managers would argue it’s about time too.

Future of Retail

Report by MySize

The Future of Retail and Contactless Shopping

How Can Retailers Build Customer Loyalty – While Still 6 Feet Apart?

METHODOLOGY

MySize is a leading retail measurement technology company, used by companies such as Boyish Jeans, U.S. Polo Assn. and Intimates Uncovered. As states move to reopen, consumer trust has waned following events connected to the global pandemic. In order to better assess how consumers feel about returning to the physical retail setting, MySize conducted the following survey that outlines how consumers view the current in-store shopping experience, and their pain points with e-commerce operations.

To capture these insights, MySize surveyed 1.5k people across the United States.

The data derived from this survey revealed that consumers still crave a personalized shopping experience, but appreciate contactless tech-driven solutions. Consumers trust retailers and brands that implement new rules (i.e. private fitting rooms and requirements for holding returned clothing) in order to feel more safe about returning to stores post-COVID.

The survey also showed that the majority of consumers do not trust their clothing will fit them without physically trying apparel items on, which shows how critical contactless measurement technology will be to the future retail experience.

CONSUMERS ARE READY TO SHOP IN-STORE AGAIN

71% of consumers say that they feel comfortable shopping in-store at non-essential retail locations following the coronavirus pandemic. But, are they ready to step back in-store immediately?

TO WAIT, OR NOT TO WAIT?

The majority of those polled (30%) said they would feel comfortable shopping in-store again immediately

  • 26% of consumers will wait 2 weeks after the stores reopen to shop in-store
  • 18% of consumers will wait 1 month
  • 14% of consumers will wait 2-3 months
  • 11% of consumers will wait over 4 months after stores reopen to shop in-store again

Females are more hesitant to return to stores than men

  • The majority of women (28%) will wait 2 weeks after the stores reopen to shop again
  • The majority of men (36%) will return in-store immediately after stores reopen

Gen Z is also much more cautious than any other generation to shop in-store again

  • A whopping half of Gen Z will wait 2 weeks before shopping in-store again
  • Majority of Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers will all return in-store immediately

SO, WHERE WILL THEY SHOP?

The majority (49%) of consumers say they will feel most comfortable shopping at small, local retailers following the pandemic

  • 35% of consumers say they will be most comfortable shopping at department stores following the pandemic
  • Only 16% of consumers say they will feel most comfortable shopping at standalone specialty retail stores

Baby boomers are the most likely to support local businesses, with the vast majority (59%) responding that they will feel most comfortable shopping at small, local retailers

Will Gen Z, on the other hand, revive department stores?

  • The majority (43%) of Gen Z respondents said they feel most comfortable shopping in department stores following the pandemic

WHAT WILL CONSUMERS BE AVOIDING?

Shoppers say they are the most uncomfortable to shop in-store for the following:

  • The majority of shoppers (49%) are uncomfortable to shop for apparel now
  • 33% of shoppers are uncomfortable to shop for cosmetics now
  • 18% of shoppers say they are uncomfortable to shop for shoes now

WHAT MAKES SHOPPERS FEEL SAFE

Post-COVID-19, shoppers said that the following would make them feel the safest when shopping in-store:

  • 28% said requiring contactless payment options and purchases made via mobile devices
  • 27% said retailers holding returned clothing and/or merchandise for 48 hours
  • 26% said being able to book a private fitting room in advance that has been properly sterilized
  • 18% said retailers color coding returned clothing, based on how long ago the item was returned

SAFETY PRIORITY SHIFTS AMONGST GENDER AND AGE GROUPS

Breaking down the data from the previous question, we found the following:

  • The majority of Gen Z respondents (32%) would prefer to be able to book a private fitting room over all other options
  • Additionally, the majority of male respondents (28%) would also like to be able to book a private fitting room
  • The majority of Millennial respondents (30%) said that they would prefer that retailers require contactless payments
  • The majority of Baby Boomers (28%) would like retailers to hold returned merchandise for 48 hours
  • Similarly, the majority of female respondents (30%) would like retailers to hold returned merchandise for 48 hours

WHAT CONSUMERS WILL MISS ABOUT PRE-COVID SHOPPING

The majority of consumers (56.41%) responded saying that the most impacted aspect will be getting to try on items before purchasing

  • 19.66% of consumers responded with browsing at their own leisure
  • 13.25% said receiving recommendations from store employees
  • 10.68% of consumers responded with the social aspect of in-store shopping

Baby Boomers (24%) were the number one group who responded with browsing at their own leisure

CONSUMER TRUST & PROPER FIT

61% of consumers do not trust that their clothing will fit without physically trying it on

  • Baby boomers were the least likely to trust that their clothing will fit (34.74%), followed by millenials (19.48%)

With the majority of respondents lacking trust in retail sizing, how do the majority of consumers determine their proper fit when making online purchases?

CONSUMERS AND SIZING

The survey results show that when online shopping, the majority of consumers would proceed with their purchase by making a guess on their size for the apparel item:

  • 44.07% of respondents would make a sizing guess and hope that it fits
  • 34.27% of respondents wouldn’t buy the item all together
  • 21.67% of respondents would purchase multiple sizes and return unused merchandise at a later date

Men are more likely than women to purchase multiple sizes and return unused merchandise at a later date

  • 52.92% of men would prefer to purchase the item in multiple sizes and return the additional merchandise
  • The majority of women (61.72%) would prefer to make a sizing guess and hope that the item fits

THE REASONING BEHIND RETURNS

The majority of consumers (76.97%) reported that the most common reason behind returning clothing merchandise was that the item didn’t fit properly

  • 18.42% commonly return items because it’s not their style
  • 4.61% return clothing merchandise because it’s damaged

Millennials return items the most because they don’t fit properly

Additionally, consumers what convenience when it comes to return:

  • 53.42% prefer to return items in-store
  • 30.34% want to mail the item back
  • 15.81% prefer to curbside return
  • 0.43% wouldn’t return the item

TRANSPARENCY IN SIZING

The majority of consumers (93.54%) believe that retailers need to be more transparent about clothing sizes and the way in which items fit

  • A slim percentage (6.46%) of consumers do not feel that retailers need to more transparent about clothing sizes
  • Out of the percentage, males are the least concerned with retail sizing transparency
    • 66.67% of males do not feel that retailers need to be more transparent

Baby Boomers are the most concerned group when it comes to sizing transparency

  • 29.33% of Baby Boomers feel that retailers need to be more honest when it comes to clothing sizes
Reebok wondagurl, 360 MAGAZINE

Reebok × WondaGurl

Reebok announces its partnership with famed music producer, WondaGurl, as part of its ‘It’s A Man’s World’ campaign. WondaGurl is the second female icon the brand has joined forces with for this campaign (after Jazarei-Allen Lord’s custom club c drop). 
  
After breaking into the music scene at 16, Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde, AKA WondaGurl, continues to make a name for herself, working with the likes of Big Sean, Travis Scott, Jay Z, Drake, SZA and Rihanna.
 
A woman who is defying convention every day, WondaGurl embodies the ‘It’s A Man’s World’ message through her relentless drive to break barriers in the music world. Bringing her personal story with ‘It’s A Man’s World’ to life, WondaGurl worked with Reebok to update the classic Aztrek 96 sneaker.

WondaGurl’s Shoe Design, Inspiration & Quotes:

  • On the surface, WondaGurl’s shoe has a simple all-black aesthetic composed of 3M.
  • “I just knew I wanted the shoe black. I’m just simple. I don’t really like to show myself off.”
  • When exposed to a camera flash, the 3M material unveils unique graphics such as audio waves and a USB symbol representing WondaGurl’s wrist tattoo.
  • “The USB is literally the most important thing to me. Literally everything I need goes through the USB.”
  • The shoe features a smiley face patch on the heel as a nod to WondaGurl’s “Enjoy Life” motto.
  • “It’s my motto really. It’s funny how it started. My bro walked out of the studio and I said “alright, enjoy life!” That was literally the first time I ever said it, and I was like “wow, this is kind of cool.””
  • WondaGurl used the inside of the shoe to share the most meaningful aspects of her life.
  • “It’s the things that make me happy: My family. My good friends. Love. Food. The studio. The process. Achieving my goals. Being healthy. Being free.”

Arriving in inclusive men’s and women’s size ranges, the Reebok Classic x WondaGurl ‘It’s A Man’s World’ Aztrek 96 will be available on November 5th at www.Reebok.com/IAMW

Nordstrom, NYC, flagship, rendering, fashion, top retailers, 360 MAGAZINE

NORDSTROM NYC FLAGSHIP

By Armon Hayes × Vaughn Lowery

Co-President, Pete Nordstrom, along side of corporate partners hosted a tour for retailer’s newly largest single project investment in their history. On Oct 24th, Nordstrom will launch its first flagship in Manhattan since the 1920s. An exclusive onestop shop adjacent to the Nordstrom Men’s store located on West 57th street & Broadway. The seven-level flagship store, designed in collaboration with James Carpenter Design Associates, forms in the base of the ‘tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere.’ With 320,000 square feet, it will embody an experience which is responsive and reflective of its customers. After all, a great design encourages people to stay longer and shop more. And, with 19-foot ceilings, it’s an open canvas for an interchangeable yet flexible floor plan.

The new floor plan allows for discovery, with range to explore and transition through brands freely that they haven’t experienced before. The infrastructure is designed to funnel natural light through transparency with floor to ceiling glass, intertwining the shopping experience to the city’s skyline. The atrium possesses a waveform glass façade which allows for interaction from customers inside and out. Chain-mail veils and lighting installations lend character to the location, reflecting the city’s cultural events as well as major holidays. 

“A rapidly growing younger consumer who’s engaged has emerged,” asserts Pete Nordstrom. Instinctively creating a new culture and how we shop that’s relevant to life experiences. Today one-third of sales are e-commerce, which represents 30% of Nordstrom’s business.

For over 100 years, the retailer has stood the test of time. The climate of brick and mortar for many retailers have shrunk and/or has become nonexistent. Nordstrom understands as their customer evolves, their level of service and retail atmosphere should be elevated as well. Using technology and innovation, the new store’s communication system will allow employees to order beverages and/or garments throughout the location.

In addition, customers will have access to 24/7 buy online & pickup, in-store personal stylists and tailoring while you wait. The Vice President of Creative Projects, Olivia Kim, has fabricated initiatives like Pop-In@ Nordstrom – an exclusive space for emerging designers. Merchandising will include a curated depth of products (clothing, accessories, shoes, beauty, children’s, home etc) across price points.

Lastly, there will be 7 food and beverage options with 4 full-service restaurants, 2 bars and an innovative, gluten-free doughnut stand:

¤ Shoe Bar will feature handcrafted cocktails, speciality coffee drinks and a selection of small plates.

¤ 2 restaurants are in collaboration with Chef Tom Douglas.

¤ 1 restaurant is in collaboration with Chef Ethan Stowell.

For a mega metropolis that’s often explored while on foot, this fashion marquee’s newest residence seems to be long overdue.

Canadian EV Company Rivaling Tesla Adds New Board Member

Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. (NASDAQ: SOLO) (“Electra Meccanica” or the “Company”), a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, has appointed Joanne Yan to the Electra Meccanica Board of Directors. Ms. Yan replaces Dr. Robert Tarzwell, who has resigned as a Director of the Company. “Dr. Tarzwell  joined our Company’s Board of Directors in 2015. He has been an active and valued director who has made a significant contribution,” stated Jerry Kroll, CEO.

Ms. Yan brings 25 years of experience in advising and managing both publicly traded and private companies. She serves as the President of Joyco Consulting Services, which she founded in 1994 to provide consulting services in the areas of corporate structuring, business development and strategic planning initiatives.

Ms. Yan has served on the Board of Directors of several public and private companies, including the Zongshen Industrial Group, Electra Meccanica’s strategic manufacturing partner. Recently, she led a transaction that enabled a Chinese company to acquire a 49% interest in Harbour Air, the largest sea plane operator in North America.

“We are fortunate to have Joanne Yan join our Board of Directors,” said Steven Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Electra Meccanica. “Ms. Yan is a strategic decision maker and investor with extensive business development experience. Her activities in the cross-border investment and M&A space, including the significant role she has played in our relationship with Zongshen and others, make Ms. Yan an ideal fit for our Board of Directors. I look forward to her contributions during this exciting time for Electra Meccanica.”

“Ms. Yan’s appointment to the Electra Meccanica Board of Directors is a testament to the strength of the relationship between Electra Meccanica and our manufacturing partner, the Zongshen Industrial Group,” said Jack Austin, Independent Director on Electra Meccanica’s Board of Directors.

“I am very pleased to accept my appointment to the Electra Meccanica Board of Directors,” said Joanne Yan. “I look forward to working closely with the board of directors particularly at this exciting time in the Company’s development as it initiates deliveries of the SOLO EV to customers in 2019.”

REMARKS BY ROLLS-ROYCE CEO TORSTEN MÜLLER-ÖTVÖS

The following below is spoken from Rolls-Royce’s CEO himself Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the House of Rolls-Royce here in Geneva!

Each year we come to Geneva to update you about our business and to share with you some truly special examples of our wonderful products.

And this year is no exception.

As the world’s pinnacle luxury brand, celebrating our 115th anniversary this year, we take great pride in these beautiful and precious items, lovingly handcrafted by the nearly 2000 people who work at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood.

This celebrated facility in West Sussex, is acknowledged as a global centre of luxury manufacturing excellence. It lies at the very heart of the Rolls-Royce success story.

Our Home is a very unique place – a creative oasis where we are constantly guided by the vision of our founding fathers, Charles Rolls and Henry Royce to “Strive for perfection in everything you do”.

Since 2003 every Rolls-Royce in the world has been created here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at Rolls-Royce, our clients are our life-blood. They are our heroes and our friends and we are obsessively focused on providing for their needs and desires. For them, being within the warm embrace of the Rolls-Royce family is an unbelievable experience, like no other. And they are deeply appreciative of our hyper-centric attention to the smallest of details.

The Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood has become a must-visit destination for large numbers of our valued clients.

They come from around the world to specify their Rolls-Royces and to meet our designers, engineers and bespoke craftspeople.

Many return later to view their creation being built in our factory or to take delivery of their Rolls-Royce in our fully bespoke Customer Suite.

So, from Goodwood to Geneva, this year, we have brought some of the best examples of products for you view and to enjoy. They are all truly lovely!

We have our complete product offering on our stand today, led by the world’s most exclusive luxury product the Rolls-Royce Phantom, described by many of you in the media and by our customers as “the Best Car in the World”.

Phantom is at the core of our company’s success. It is a global expression of ultimate achievement and I am pleased to report that more and more of our younger customers are experiencing our Phantom short-wheelbase as a self-driver’s car.

Phantom is flanked by Ghost, now in its 10th year of production and still in strong demand around the world. Ghost is a global favorite among our powerful, entrepreneurial clients.

Then, we have brought from Goodwood examples of our two highly contemporary, seductive coupe models.

Wraith – here in its Black Badge guise – is the ultimate powerful and agile Grand Tourer. Edgy and menacing, Wraith appeals to our young clients who are trendsetting, cosmopolitan citizens of the world.

And then, Dawn, our truly beautiful sexy and seductive drophead coupe. Dawn is much loved by our more social, fun-loving customers who crave the sensual pleasure of open-air travel.

Finally, to complete our product line-up we are joined this year by our hugely successful Rolls-Royce Cullinan, our first SUV.

Cullinan was launched to great global acclaim last year and has received effusive headlines in the media and an enthusiastic welcome from our customers.

I am delighted to tell you that our forward orders for Cullinan stretch into the fourth quarter of this year.

We are in full production at our Goodwood factory and continue to make substantial investments, including the employment of an additional 200 associates, in order to meet this very pleasing customer demand.

I can confidently say today that Rolls-Royce is set on a continuous and successful growth trajectory.

And speaking of success, it is with great pride that I can tell you that 2018 was another exceptional year for Rolls-Royce.

We set an historic business record, achieving our highest annual sales in our marque’s 115-year history.

We delivered 4,107 cars to customers in over 50 countries around the world and in doing so achieved year-on-year sales growth in all regions. The Americas remained our largest market.

But at Rolls-Royce it’s not all about volume.

Our unique and successful business model focuses on preserving the rarity of our products, which is a key demand of our customers, while at the same time achieving record levels of profitability.

This, we believe, is the real hallmark of how a true luxury brand should be managed.

In this regard I am happy to report that the Rolls-Royce business generates pleasing profits and we continue to contribute to the bottom line of our shareholder, the BMW Group.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please take a close look at and enjoy all the fine Rolls-Royces on our stand. Each one contains unique and beautiful examples of our world- renowned Bespoke offerings.

No other manufacturer of luxury goods can equal customer personalization to this level.

Indeed, today more than ever, it is globally recognized that “Bespoke IS Rolls-Royce”.

To more fully understand our Bespoke offering, please do take a particularly close look at this beautiful Phantom Tranquillity.

Created for those who conceive and achieve the impossible, Tranquillity is an expression of Phantom’s standing as the rarest and most desired object in the luxury world.

The Tranquillity Collection is strictly limited to just 25 examples worldwide and I am pleased to tell you that they have already all been purchased by discerning Rolls- Royce collectors.

Look into the car and see the tasteful integration of wafer thin shavings of the Muonionalusta meteor that fell to earth in Sweden over a hundred years ago.

And enjoy the highly reflective stainless steel, 24 carat gold plating and space grade aluminium elements in the car.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the contemporary Rolls-Royce of today – a 115 year old brand, completely relevant in the present and moving purposefully into the future. A vibrant, successful and sustainable business, providing the most discerning people in the world with the rarest and very best luxury products and service on Earth.

As for the future: well, as you can imagine, we are not standing still!

We are imagineering and already engineering an exciting future for Rolls-Royce. A future that will be fully electric, digital and technologically innovative while never overlooking our commitment to the custodianship of the great Rolls-Royce brand.

This is what our customers and the world expects of us and rest assured, this is what we will deliver.

But for now, thank you for listening and I invite you to join me and my colleagues on the stand for a closer look at our lovely cars.

Thank you.

Bentley Announces World’s Fastest Wi-Fi

Bentley announced the launch of Advanced Connectivity – the world’s first super-fast, reliable and secure in-car WiFi system.

Customers can now benefit from uninterrupted mobile network coverage while traveling, providing a fully functioning and fully connected executive office on the move.

For example, when using the Advanced Connectivity WiFi system while travelling at speeds of 110 km/h (70 mph), a passenger is able to access a number of simultaneous entertainment and business applications – including high-definition video streaming across multiple devices – with uninterrupted service quality.

The Advanced Connectivity system can be simply accessed via a dedicated app on the customer’s smartphone.

Users will also benefit from Bentley Skype for Business and significant virtual office applications, such as the ability to access and edit files on the go, hold vital video conferences, conduct multiple meetings and be present for crucial discussions, all in a secure virtual environment.

The super-fast and highly reliable connection also offers customers new, unrivalled levels of in-car entertainment. Bentley Advanced Connectivity allows online video services to stream content uninterrupted in the car, for a truly luxury viewing experience.

How Bentley Advanced Connectivity Work

Bentley conducted an exhaustive international search to find the perfect partner for its in-car connectivity requirements, and has enlisted global communications company, Viasat, to provide the world’s best and most secure in-car technology for its customers.

Bentley Advanced Connectivity is a multi-channel virtual private network (VPN), which can aggregate up to three mobile network operators on one super-fast signal. The connectivity system is placed discreetly inside the boot lid, with the router connected to the on-board DC power supply.

The Wi-Fi router links to a broadband connected hub located at a static site. This hub then links the Bentley system to the broadband connection at the host site, for unparalleled connectivity, reliability and security.

Viasat is recognised internationally for having managed 14 million WiFi hotspots; for having operated a managed hotspot network in nearly 30 countries; and for bringing satellite-enabled in-flight WiFi to major commercial and government aircraft worldwide.

This new super-fast Wi-Fi service is available in all Bentley models in 2019.

Is It Time to Revamp Your Ecommerce Store?

The fact that technology never stops evolving is a double-edged sword. Innovations have allowed ecommerce merchants to sell to consumers via mobile devices, personalize product recommendations, and accept a flexible variety of payment gateways—all of which help strengthen bottom lines.

The flip side of this is the effort required to keep up with the latest advances. Just when you feel you’ve implemented a new tool or tweaked your website for the better, a new trend emerges.

As a result, the answer to the question “Is it time to revamp my ecommerce store?” is almost always yes. There’s always something you can do to improve your methods of doing business.

User Experience Is Key

First, consider your user experience (UX). When people visit your website, can they find what they need without hassle? Are you facilitating smooth forward and backward navigation? Are there any changes you can make to your layout or menu options to help speed up the customer’s journey?

Conduct an audit on your own website, paying close attention to navigation and design. Analyze visitor behavioral data to see where people are dropping out of your sales funnel—then turn to your website to see why that might be. Any hiccups or hurdles customers are experiencing may be enough to cause them to abandon their efforts, so this is a chance to eliminate friction and improve the overall UX.

While the simplest ecommerce definition is “conducting transactions online”, merchants must be aware of all of the processes that must occur before customers are ready to click “Confirm Purchase.” Only then do they take advantage of the opportunity to optimize the purchasing journey from start to finish.

Said simply, it’s always a good time to refine your UX.

Optimize Checkout to Reduce Cart Abandonment

It’s incredibly frustrating to discover how many consumers put items in shopping carts only to abandon the checkout process before completion. Shopping cart abandonment hovers somewhere around 70 percent these days. If your shoppers are bailing out before making a purchase, take a closer look at why they may be doing so to improve your site.

According to one survey, here are a handful of the top reasons for abandonment during checkout:

– Website required users to create an account (35 percent)
– The checkout process was too long or complicated (27 percent)
– Customers could not see or calculate their costs up front (24 percent)
– The merchant did not accept enough payment methods (8 percent)

The best ecommerce checkout processes are simple and flexible. Allow customers to check out as guests instead of scaring them off by requiring account creation. Show consumers where they are in the process with a progress bar. Be transparent with costs early in the process. Integrate a variety of secure, flexible payment methods with your platform so customers can conduct transactions their way.

Update Your Site Design

Website design has more to do with your bottom line than you may think. You want your web store to look great—perpetuating your brand personality—while also remaining highly functional. For example, fast loading is non-negotiable, as load times over a few seconds start to deter customers, especially on mobile.

Is it time to revamp your ecommerce store? Yes. But don’t panic yet. If you keep abreast of the latest trends and best practices, you’ll only have to make small tweaks as you go.