Posts tagged with "e-commerce"

Hive's Fashion Takeover via 360 MAGAZINE.

HIVE’S FASHION TAKEOVER

*Featured image by Lynn Rossi

The month of September is a yearly indicator for change. It’s mostly for the seasons, but for fashion, it’s brought something extra. The advent of NFT, a digital fashion, has transformed the retail industry in recent times. Shows like HIVEMIND, inspired by purveyors SAIbysai and This Man’s Brand, provided a visual depiction of this phygital trend. Featuring innovative NFT drops in tandem with a live catwalk, the production catapulted spectators into a new age of style.

Hive's Fashion Takeover via 360 MAGAZINE. Photography by Danica Robinson.
Hive’s Fashion Takeover via 360 MAGAZINE. Photography by Danica Robinson.

SAlbysai’s phygital NFT collection with art by Danica Robinson, dropped during her first runway show on September 16 in NYC. The NFT project was produced by Hive and is available on the foundation marketplace.  The event sponsored by Hive and Satoshi’s Closet included a tangible fashion presentation by SAIbysai. Lastly, we held a pilot screening of HIVEMIND by Hive–which recently won “Best NFT Film/Video” at the iHollywood Film Festival. Subsequently, Hive released their WLT skin which permitted access to additonal NFTs and upcoming exclusive events.

The fusion of fashion and technology was groundbreaking. It sparked a deeply rooted conversation from an acclaimed panel of professionals: the founder of Satoshi’s Closet, Michael Pastko; founder of Hive, Bee Davies; and designer of Made by Mena, Chris Mena. Both participants and guests tremendously benefited from this mind-blowing presentation.

Another spectacular event was Holotopia. It’s a new XR fashion event which took place September 24 in Long Beach at Thunder Studios. Of late, This Man’s Brand, powered by Hive, dropped a phygital NFT collection with art fabricated by Chris Arvan. Lastly, cutting-edge AR technology was exhibited from NFT Marketplace DRESSX while XR production was showcased from Holotopia’s team at Metajax, form-u.la and Thunder Studios. The show was streamed live on Decentralland and Twitch, allowing attendees a whimsical behind the scenes peek into the new world order.

For those who missed out on this avant affair go HERE.

Bee Davies' Hive's Fashion Takeover via 360 MAGAZINE
Hive’s Fashion Takeover featured in 360 MAGAZINE. Photography by AndrezLiguz.

Kendall Jenner hosts GQ FWRD featured in 360 MAGAZINE.

KENDALL JENNER × GQ FWRD

To celebrate the FWRD Fall Campaign, Creative Director, Kendall Jenner and GQ Global Editorial Director, Will Welch host a party with music by Kitty Cash and Zack Bia at The Ned Nomad in New York City.

Among the attendees were: Ben Simmons, Brent Faiyaz, Cindy Bruna, Draya Michele, Emily Ratajkowski, Ella Emhoff, Fai Khadra, Francis Tiafoe, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Giorgia and Gilda, Iann Dior, Jerami Grant, Jerry Lorenzo, Jordan Clarkson, Justine Skye, Kendrick Sampson, Kyle Kuzma, Laura Harrier, Mario Carbone, Noah Beck, Rajon Rondo, Rhuigi Villaseñor, Shay Mitchell, Syd Bennett, Tinx, Travis Bennett, Tyshawn Jones, and Venus Williams.

About FWRD:

Translating the brick-and-mortar boutique into a singular online shopping experience, FWRD transcends traditional e-commerce with its combination of first-class customer service and an elite roster of designers ranging from iconic Maisons de Couture to the latest emerging talents. For more information, please visit HERE @fwrd.

Kendall Jenner hosts GQ Magazine event in 360 Magazine
Will Welch, Kendall Jenner
Gigi Hadid wears Guest in Residence in nyc shot by Michael Stewart inside 360 MAGAZINE

Gigi Hadid Brand Launch

Gigi Hadid Wears Guest in Residence While Out In New York.

Gigi Hadid has announced the launch of Guest in Residence, her inaugural direct-to-consumer, luxury, cashmere brand. Hadid is the Founder and Creative Director of the brand, conceived to honor and evoke a fresh appreciation and respect for the timeless designs, materials and craftsmanship of heritage heirlooms for all generations.

The brand’s name, unsurprisingly, was inspired by Hadid’s rigorous travel during her illustrious modeling career, which has quite literally taken her all over the globe – from Des Moines, Iowa to the Island nation of Nauru to Antarctica – between the fixed circuit of New York, London, Paris, and Milan. “Reflecting on years of travel and transience, away from creature comforts, no matter where I was a guest in residence – I always managed to find a home in myself – my internal residence of sorts. I strived to remain grounded despite the existential feeling that we are guests on this planet, and in our bodies. That we are guests when we travel. That we are guests in our clothes. That those clothes have passed through hands and may have had previous lives – and quite certainly will have future lives – cloaking other guests in the revolving, intergenerational door of life. The genesis of Guest in Residence is to honor past heirlooms and give life to new ones spanning generations,” said Hadid.

Second-hand, cashmere jumpers handed down by her multinational parents when she moved to New York in her teens, were always cozy, portable keepsakes for Hadid while on the road perfecting the art of sleeping on planes. Each piece had its own history, its own smell, its own personality injected with whomever had last worn it, and allowed Hadid to adopt a cherished family heirloom and make it hers. A sweater, to Hadid, isn’t clothing; it is a story, a marker of time and memory, and something that contextualizes her world. This is what inspired Hadid to design thoughtful knitwear that anyone can wear, style, love, and ultimately pass on to their beloved; mother to daughter or chosen family to chosen family.

A symbol of elegance and refined comfort, cashmere has long been viewed as a luxury, unattainable for some. Hadid wanted to shift this paradigm using both her world-class fashion experience, and quirky sense of style, to create a fresh offering with more democratized pricing offering an average price point of $300. The Guest in Residence core collection dubbed ‘funky classics’ by Hadid, are 100% cashmere featuring timeless, often unisex, silhouettes including cashmere jersey sets, joggers, hoodies, robes, beanies, scarves and socks in calming palettes of almond, cream, tumeric, navy, black and steel. Some pieces are sizeless and there is a cheerful infusion of vibrant contrasting colors of sunflower, royal blue, cherry, bubblegum, lime, and lavender. Hadid hopes this will encourage playful self expression and personal style twists.

For the launch campaign, Hadid chose a team from the powerful new generation of talent emerging in fashion, including photographer Pablo Di Prima and stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson. Hadid believes they embrace new ideas and self-expression, while understanding the historical importance of cultural heritage. Titled, Yearbook, the campaign is a sort of visual time capsule – memorializing a time and place for a community. Holding the conviction that humans better with age, Hadid selected 100 people from infants to centenarians to illustrate Guest in Residence’s timelessness and intergenerationality. Many of the models featured are family and friends of Hadid, including Tonne Goodman, Grace Coddington, Luiz Mattos (Hadid’s life-long agent) and Waris Ahluwalia.

The Guest in Residence collection will be available at www.guestinresidence.com in the US at 9AM EST on September 7th, 2022. On September, 11th, 2022, Hadid will open the doors to her Feel Shop pop-up located at 12 Mercer Street promising surprises for all guests! The Guest in Residence collection will be available globally on www.guestinresidence.com on September 12th, 2022 at 9AM CET.

Photo: Michael Stewart

Livby House of Style Launch Party press images via BFA for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Behold, Bespoke – Livby

Saturday, March 26, Livby cultivated a one-in-a-lifetime style fashion experience at the Livby House of Style hosted by stylist Mimi Cuttrell at an exclusive, luxury residence in Beverly Hills. The event set out to celebrate the brand’s newfound concept sure to change the world of online shopping forever.

Transforming the once bland scene of e-commerce, Livby Inc. promises to upgrade the US fashion market with a new age livestream video sale platform. As livestream e-commerce has already taken off internationally in locations like Asia, projections estimate that virtual shopping in the United States will soon, also, be elevated to such distinction.

Livby’s lead investor and CFO Yorick Evans-Freke spoke on the uniqueness of the company’s new approach to traditional shopping methods, stating,From concept to execution, Livby is the first of its kind. Far from a typical investment, Livby is a true disrupter in a world desensitized to the term. As the live e-commerce revolution makes the leap from China to the US, Livby is the most investable play.”

The launch party was full of appointment-only previews and styling experiences creating a luxurious fashion event like the new platform that Livby has been working on. The guest list included top influencers, celebrities and fashion/beauty pioneers that help to elevate the fashion industry day in and day out. These innovators in the fashion industry play an integral part in Livby’s new e-commerce platform, too.

Providing insight on the formatting of the new platform, Livby’s Founder and CEO Shai Sudry simplified the workings of the new program, stating, “It’s as if the mall and social media marketing collided. Livby provides a seamless shopping experience from the first touchpoint to the last. We’re transcending fashion for the next generation of customers.”

The innovative concept generated by Livby is perfect for consumers in search of a new, fresh approach to shopping. The brand-new technology will showcase a platform allowing users to feel fully immersed in a shopping experience aside their most beloved influencers and fashion icons.

At the forefront of Livby’s new strategy is Madison Nagle, leading approaches with the executive team. Before landing this position, Nagle worked with top fashion companies like Revolve, Guess and even at Harvard University, where she graduated from, leading sustainability marketing projects.

Through collaborations with their esteemed team of professionals, Livby has created a collaborative platform that combines the top upcoming industries affecting the fashion industry today – Influencer marketing, E-Commerce and Livestreaming.

Livby has adapted the early QVC/HSN live-sale formatting with a more modern, Gen-Z approach. Their business model follows a commission-based structure, like eBay or 1stDibs. Renowned as the first company to cultivate such a platform, Livby Inc. offers a unique and admirable shopping experience with your favorite influencers.

So, how does it work?

An influencer agrees to conduct a live sale with a brand while setting their commission with the messaging and commission-slider features on the Livby app.

The brand and associated influencer encourage their followers to take part in the live sale via social media. If interested, consumers can create their own profile while adding payment details and viewing live sales.

After registration is completed, users get notifications relating to times and products in a specific livestream sale. Users tune in, can live message with an influencer throughout the sale and have the option to purchase conveniently with a click of one button on their device.

After the sale is complete, live video from the livestream is archive onto the app where prospective customers can re-watch and purchase at their convenience while stock persists. That’s it; it’s that simple!

Throughout the in-person experience, guests had the opportunity to take part in one-on-one meetings with stylist Mimi herself. Known for her red carpet and street style looks on esteemed celebrities such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, Ariana Grande, Lily Rose Depp, Madelyn Cline and Iris Law, Mimi is based in both New York and Los Angeles working for the crème of the crop across a scope of industries.

Throughout the personal styling sessions, some of the hottest brands right now were available, such as Aureum, Cult Naked, Dolce Vita, E.B. Denim, For Love and Lemons, Heart of Sun, Jaded London, Lack of Color, Lu Goldie, Montce, Réalisation Par, and Revice denim. It’s safe to say that guests were more than taken care of at the private event cultivated by Livby.

While not consulting with Mimi, guests were pampered with beauty/wellness activations conveniently set poolside. TYS Beauty refreshed guests while crafting beautiful brows and nails, and even had in-fad tooth gems to add opulent, modern touches. Pause Studio helped cleanse guests with their assortment of IV drips, wellness shots and lymphatic drainage techniques, while Jessica Stone cultivated soothing, introspective tarot card readings.

Samples from brands such as Benefit, Elaluz, Hum, Inked by Dani, Trademark Beauty, Artha and Versed were additionally offered at the event. Whether you were in search of a little beauty reset, or just some well-deserved self-care time, the activations had everything you could have been in search of.

After enjoying the beauty/wellness activations, guests were encouraged to treat themselves with personalized sips and bites provided by Decada, Sunny Vodka, El Cristiano Tequila, Hampton Water, Poppi, PATH Water, Caliwater, Sugar Taco, Craigs Vegan and a personal Sushi Chef.

Nagle spoke to the advancements and shifts that are coming in the fashion industry, while stating, “We live in a world where experiential retail is valued more than ever. With the rise of digital commerce, livestream shopping is quickly becoming the future of fashion retail. The virtual commerce technology that Livby offers allows brands and influencers to take back creativity and control. Now is the time for brands to become digitally savvy and adapt.”

Livby House of Style Launch Party press images via BFA for use by 360 MAGAZINE
Images Courtesy of BFA
Livby House of Style Launch Party press images via BFA for use by 360 MAGAZINE
Images Courtesy of BFA
Livby House of Style Launch Party press images via BFA for use by 360 MAGAZINE
Images Courtesy of BFA
Livby House of Style Launch Party press images via BFA for use by 360 MAGAZINE
Images Courtesy of BFA
Makeup Illustration for use by 360 Magazine

Art of Pure × Chicago

Art of Pure, a curator of clean beauty grounded in purity and sustainability, will open its first retail storefront this November. The new boutique, located at 958 W Armitage Ave. will offer a handpicked selection of local and internationally sourced skincare, makeup, haircare, modern wellness, personal care products, and eco-friendly home goods. Nurturing beauty, body, and wellness through truly natural, pure and potent products, Art of Pure ensures products are responsibly sourced, ethically produced, have a minimal environmental impact, and provide social good, while being free of any harmful ingredients. Art of Pure invites shoppers and the beauty community at large to access trusted and classic brands all while discovering unfamiliar gems.

“At Art of Pure, we are on a mission to prove that beauty can be synonymous with sustainability,” said Monika Joshi, founder and CEO of Art of Pure. “For years I have envisioned a store where green beauty lovers can shop without worrying about the ingredients, and I am thrilled to be able to share that vision with the community.”

Joshi, a former investment banker and mother, felt an urge to enter the beauty industry after spending countless hours researching skincare ingredients in an effort to understand her daughter’s eczema as well as her own issues with sensitive skin. Joshi became an expert in the field and decided to share her knowledge and product recommendations by launching the Art of Pure e-commerce store in 2017.

Art of Pure promises to bring safe, non-toxic, and entirely green solutions to customers through brands that seek to promote a health and wellness forward lifestyle. The new boutique will boast 1,000 square feet of space and serve as a physical extension of the online store, featuring products with high-performing, plant-based ingredients and actives. The store will carry all existing lines and categories along with new product lines including feminine wellness, environmentally friendly home goods, and gifts. As the focus is on sustainability, the store will include a soap and lotion refilling station. Customers will also be able to book a clean makeup application session with a professional makeup artist or a clean swap consultation. Additionally, Art of Pure will host wellness events, panels + discussions, and mini markets, all while helping foster community and dialogue. A mask bar will be offered at the store in the coming months as well.

Health and safety standards are uncompromising for Art of Pure. Ensuring transparency and thoughtful sourcing, Art of Pure tests every item, ingredient, and brand for performance and potency. Building on a foundation of growth and discovery, Art of Pure continues to learn and expand its knowledge base within the cosmetics industry, focused on continued research, thoughtful partnerships, and expanded knowledge.

For more information about the Art of Pure and its offerings, visit www.artofpure.com or follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

Heather

Heather Reibsamen is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer, who has published work within 360 Magazine and issuu. Specializing in new media, Heather’s innovation and passion are a force to be reckoned with.

Currently working at 360 Magazine, Heather’s talents have blossomed in unbelievable ways.  Heather has created an abundance of illustrations ranging from celebrities such as Britney Spears and Doja Cat to heart-wrenching moments such as George Floyd and mass shootings. Heather’s most recent work details the shocking testimony from Britney Spears about the inhumane activities within her conservatorship. In addition, she has written articles on various topics and has interviewed rapper/actor celebrity Page Kennedy and artist David Irvine from The Gnarled Branch.

Heather has also worked with the migration of the 360 Magazine website to a new hosting service and continues to work on building the 360 Magazine eCommerce platform that features styles from the creative director of Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA), Armon Hayes. She also assists with copyediting articles and the recent book “Move Like Water × Be Fluid” written by Vaughn Lowery, web design, and client communication.

Heather completed her associate degree in graphic design through Independence University and will complete her bachelor’s degree through Southern New Hamphire University. She is a proactive member of the AIGA IU Student Group as well as the Director of Communications. Heather works alongside fellow officers to bring digital content to the students as well as helping to create the e-zine “Creative Layers”. Heather is also a member of the Alpha Beta Kappa National Honor Society. She has also made charitable design contributions to Dola Dolls to Love through Dementia and Love’s Law.

Heather looks forward to her blossoming career and is excited to see where the path leads her. Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram. View her portfolio on Behance.

Money illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

360 Launches E-Commerce Platform

360 E-Commerce looks to curate hand-picked capsule collections of high-quality lifestyle products to be sold through our new, online shopping interface. These pieces will be sourced from 360’s network of designers, creatives, and contributors.

As our brand is made up of cutting edge tastemakers, customers can rest assured that the utmost quality is sewn into each piece sold. Elements of the capsule will include home décor, high-end furnishings and interior accessories. One of the most noteworthy, luxurious items to be auctioned off to charity is 360’s Swarovski-encrusted, bespoke bottle.

Our new publishing division will be offering signed books from partnered authors. 360 is looking to publish our own writers, as well as expanding our personal network to help find and publishing emerging writers. The magazine will be auctioning off signed books from noteworthy booksellers.

360 E-Commerce aims to host online charitable auctions to for these bespoke collections and book sales. These auctions will operate in a “name your price” fashion that allows for competitive bidding. The proceeds will be going towards several nonprofit organizations that the company works with.

360 E-Commerce’s venture into publishing and curated capsules marks a new foray for the innovative, hip, ever-evolving publication. As with all of 360’s ventures, this new division looks to uplift the voices and art of LGBTQ+ and POC creators, showcase racially and sexually diverse artists, and spread social awareness and progressive change across all forms of media.

360’s E-Commerce platform will host a shopping interface for capsule collections and publishing services, as well as a separate online marketing services shop. With 360’s online marketing services, clients can purchase editorial space within our publication, 360 Magazine. 360’s online marketing services can be accessed HERE.

Medical illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Hot Trend of Personalized Vitamins

THE HOT TREND OF PERSONALIZED VITAMINS

Based on an online survey of Influence Central’s Consumer Insights Panel, with responses from 500 consumers, May 2021. 

COVID HAS USHERED IN AN ERA OF PROACTIVE WELLNESS

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, nutritional supplement sales grew at unprecedented levels. Largely driven by vitamin, minerals and supplements (VMS) and products aimed at boosting immunity, 88% of consumers share that they now take at least one vitamin or supplement daily. 47% of consumers take two to three vitamins/supplements each day, while 36% take four or more as part of their daily regimen.

The vitamin industry has thus begun rapidly shifted from filling nutrient gaps to proactively enabling consumers to optimize their health and wellness. 83% of VMS users say that they embrace a proactive approach to health and wellness: in addition to focusing on fitness and diet, they take preventative products to help them to stay healthy.

BRAND DIS-LOYALTY

Despite increased use of vitamins and supplements, brand affinity has yet to develop in the market. Only 10% of consumers purchase from one vitamin brand to which they stay loyal. More than 50% of consumers will turn to at least two or more vitamin brands for their regular purchases. When it comes to selecting a product, all-natural ingredients (63%) and cost (62%) most impact purchasing decisions. 46% seek out multiple products combined as one, such as a multivitamin or a vitamin pack addressing multiple deficits.

MOVE TO E-COMMERCE FOR VITAMINS

When it comes to e-commerce growth categories, health leads as an industry where consumers have been moving their purchases online. As we head into the rest of 2021, 50% of consumers plan to increase their frequency of online shopping for vitamins and supplements during the remainder of this year.

THE NEW PERSONALIZATION: BESPOKE VITAMINS

The millennial preference for customizable and personalized products is allowing new and innovative brands to create services that tailor to wellness goals and deliver to your front door. Only 10% of consumers have ever subscribed to a subscription vitamin brand and only 8% are currently using one. The key reasons that lead them to initially start: Their own research (39%), a discount offer (33%), a sponsored ad from the vitamin brand on social media (28%) and a personal recommendation from friend or family (19%).  82% of subscribers took an online quiz to help personalize their recommendations.

For those who have not tried a personal vitamin subscription service, 56% share that they are interested in considering using one.  The key factors that would drive subscription are a discount offer (62%), their own online research (51%), doctor recommendation (35%), recommendation from friends or family (31%), and a trial period (30%). 96% of consumers share they would be willing to complete an online quiz to personalize their vitamin and supplement recommendations, and 55% would share results of a DNA test or blood test.

CONSUMERS KNOW THE VMS SPACE, BUT NOT THE VMS BRANDS  

Surprisingly, most consumers are not very familiar with the top five brands currently leading in the personalized vitamin market:

This leaves a vast untapped market within the realm of vitamin/supplement shoppers. It’s a space where consumers need a lot of education and every brand has a chance to become the go-to personalized subscription-based vitamin/supplement destination.

MARKETING PERSONALIZED SUBSCRIPTIONS

In order to best recommend a personalized regimen to consumers, these wellness brands are utilizing various tactics to tailor offerings to the individual’s health needs and goals. Of consumers already utilizing personalized vitamin subscriptions already, 82% did so by submitting an online quiz to best curate their shipment. 96% of overall vitamin users are willing to participate in an online questionnaire to ascertain the right regimen for them should they go the subscription route in the future. Less consumers are willing to submit a DNA sample such as a blood test to reach this optimal point of personalization, however more than half would do so to find the products right for them. 24% of consumers currently subscribe personalized product subscriptions. This is very telling in how far consumers are willing to go to find truly personalized products, especially in the food and beauty categories. The top categories for these subscriptions include:

  • Skin-care or make-up(e. Curology, Mask ID) 50%
  • Food (e. Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Thrive Market) 44%
  • Fashion (i.e. StitchFix, FabFitFun) 38%
  • Haircare (i.e. Prose) 28%
  • Household (i.e. Glove Collaborative) 26%
  • Fitness (i.e. Peloton, The Mirror) 14%
  • Alcohol (i.e. wine clubs, such as Winc) 13%

Consumers will consider subscribing the below categories in the future:

  • Food (e. Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Thrive Market) 45%
  • Skin care or make-up(e. Curology, Mask ID) 32%
  • Household (i.e. Glove Collaborative) 28%
  • Haircare (i.e. Prose) 28%
  • Fashion (i.e. StitchFix, FabFitFun) 25%
  • Fitness (i.e. Peloton, The Mirror) 24%
  • Alcohol (i.e. wine clubs, such as Winc) 14%

When it comes reasons that personalized products appeal to consumers, 60% want products to address a particular issue or ailment they’re experiencing, while 40% feel that are unique and thus want products unique to them.

DRIVING NEW SALES

Aligned with the trend in personalization, a discount offer is the most likely tool to motivate consumers to try a subscription vitamin service (62%). 51% trust their own research, which also means getting your brand name and information out there is more important than ever. 31% would trust a friend or family’s recommendation and 35% their doctor’s recommendation. 30% would prefer a trial period before committing to a vitamin service. Activating discounts and trial period promotion is most organic through partnerships with influencers actually using the products and providing authentic feedback. Unlike other categories, people are likely more hesitant to experiment when it comes to products that will impact their overall health.

Christian Erlandson illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo Credit: Linden Bray) for 360 Magazine

Autofutura × Gforces Merge

LEADING AUTOMOTIVE SOFTWARE COMPANIES AUTOFUTURA AND GFORCES MERGE
 

  • Merger brings together Autofutura’s real-time data insight with GForces’ leading-edge e-commerce solutions, to create a new auto tech group
     
  • Created at a time of rapid digital acceleration in automotive retail, the new group enables car makers, dealers and finance providers to grow the lifetime value of their customers, by accelerating sales, simplifying the customer journey and improving customer retention

Two of the automotive industry’s leading retail software suppliers, Autofutura and GForces, have merged to form a new group. With the rapid acceleration of the digitization of the automotive sales process, the companies have come together to maximize sales efficiency and improve the way consumers buy cars.

The new group, backed by Inflexion Private Equity, sees the combination of Autofutura, the global, data-driven business intelligence provider, with market leading automotive e-commerce and omnichannel supplier, GForces. It also benefits from the expertise of the recently acquired Chrysalis Loyalty business, now an integral part of Autofutura.

The first of its kind in the industry, the new group aims to connect car maker, finance provider, dealer and consumer to optimize the entire customer journey – through the provision of software and data services.

The new group will be led by two highly experienced executives; data intelligence expert Christian Erlandson as CEO and automotive veteran David Riemenschneider as Chairman. Autofutura and GForces already serve 20 of the world’s leading car manufacturers and over 10,000 locations, across 96 countries. Headquartered out of the UK, its global presence includes offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, Vietnam, UAE and the USA.

Christian Erlandson, CEO, commented: “The digitization of the automotive sales process is accelerating at an unprecedented pace and now is the time to combine the expertise of Autofutura and GForces. By merging Autofutura’s data intelligence insight with GForces’ e-commerce solutions, there is huge potential to support our customers in streamlining the consumer journey, accelerating sales and driving revenue from the first transaction.”

Simon Turner, Managing Partner, Inflexion, said: “The combination of Autofutura with GForces unlocks a unique and highly relevant technology proposition for the automotive retail industry, against a backdrop of accelerating change and disruption for dealers and OEMs. We are delighted to be backing this team to create such an exciting auto tech group, by merging two outstanding private businesses with a long track record of growth.”

The newly merged group was advised by GCA Altium, Headpoint Advisors, Higgs & Sons and Taylor Wessing.

Herbalife article illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 magazine

The Entrepreneurs Top Tech Tools

Rhonda VetereChief Information Officer, Herbalife Nutrition

When the world shut down due to the pandemic, everything changed, especially for small businesses. Suddenly, the ability to connect to customers became even more critical, and the safe way to do so is through technology. While companies have long relied on email or text messaging to communicate, many entrepreneurs found they needed to expand their technology toolkit, becoming more creative and resourceful with how they conduct business and compete effectively. As a technology expert who advises more than 3.4 million entrepreneurs around the world on technology solutions that can help them serve their customers and manage their business, I recommend the following tech tips to help you power your business. 

Customer service 

We are living during a time of tremendous technology transformation. Gone are the days when people waited for what seemed an eternity to send or receive a message. Time has sped up, and with it is the demand from customers for immediate attention. According to recent research, 82% of consumers expect a quick response from brands. Keeping up or ahead of customers requires staying on top of technology trends and ensuring that you have the tools to compete in the digital age.  

For website support, many entrepreneurs use a live chat tool that can help customers with basic questions. Many of these tools can be used on social media as well. If paid chat options are price prohibitive, there are also useful and free tools, including Zoho Desk.

Communication and collaboration 

Video conferencing and video chat applications grew exponentially during the pandemic. In March, video conferencing apps saw 62 million downloads. Entrepreneurs are using video apps for connecting with customers, partners and vendors. While these tools are excellent for meetings, they are also useful for maintaining connections with industry organizations and networking groups. Many of the tools allow break-out rooms for a small meeting within a session, creating an intimate and collaborative space. 

As you continue to build your reputation as an expert in your industry, video conferencing can also be used to host a webinar for existing and potential customers. Many entrepreneurs are hosting panel discussions, bringing in other partners and collaborators. These sessions can be taped and repurposed as content for your social media channels, website and email marketing. There are many video conferencing options, including, Joinme, which has a free plan that lets you invite up to 10 video participants 

Social media 

Social media is not just for sharing videos and memes – it is a top business tool. Your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and Instagram. Once you identify which channels you want to use, you need to post engaging content. These can range from news about products, sales and impactful information. Posting across several channels every week can be daunting. Thankfully, many social media tools help you schedule and publish your content that can be calendared and posted automatically. These tools range from Hootsuite (which has a free option) to Zoho Social to Buffer

Slack  

More and more brands, companies and entrepreneurs use Slack to communicate with their customers. It’s a great place to provide relevant updates, tips and advisement, and new product announcements. It also gives your customers a place away from social media to share stories and entrepreneurs a place to connect with their team more visibly easily. 

Storage  

There is a lot of discussion about the term “the cloud.” Think of the cloud as an off-site storage locker, where all your critical information is safe and secure – and easily sharable. Google DriveDropbox, or Microsoft Sharepoint safeguard your backups and allow users access from any location. Moving your work to the cloud not only benefits you to work from anywhere and any device, but it also makes it easy to share content with your customers.  

Email Marketing 

Your marketing toolkit may contain a variety of options – one of which is email marketing. Sending professionally designed, informative newsletters to your customers is a great way to keep in touch. One of the most popular companies in the business is Mailchimp. Even better, If your company sends fewer than 12,000 email messages per month to fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can take advantage of Mailchimp’s Forever Free plan. 

E-commerce 

The pandemic has changed how we shop. Overnight, people began to purchase everything from groceries to furniture online and in record numbers. Customers now expect to buy their products online. They expect the experience to be easy and fast. There are many great e-commerce platforms out there, such as Shopify, a one-stop-shop for setting up your e-commerce store, to Amazon’s beyond popular platform. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, and you can use it to chat with customers online, track orders and send invoices.  

One final note. As a technologist, I remind everyone that interaction with your customers is up to you. Nothing supplants human interaction and connection. With limits on our in-person meetings, it is even more essential to find ways to build businesses. Mix up how you connect with others – pick up the phone, or schedule a Zoom, to call a handful of customers every day. Don’t forego a personal email that is not meant to sell a customer or colleague – but to check-in with them and see how they are doing. Technology is a fantastic tool that helps small businesses act big. The challenge is to make the technology connections feel more three-dimensional vs two-dimensional. Technology can help us be more efficient and productive, and while it can enhance our communication, it will never replace the incredible power of the human relationship. That part is up to you.