Results tagged “Millennials”

The New Challenge For Retailers: Delivering Online Convenience With In-Store Personalization

I recently caught up with Anna, a regional manager of a leading retail brand. Over coffee, our conversation steered towards the mounting pressure on retailers to focus on extracting insights to improve in-store experiences for customers. Today's shoppers - the millennials, aging baby boomers and the general affluent population - seek personalization, convenience, accessibility as well as 'shareable' experiences'. It is common knowledge that retailers need to know their customers as individuals, not by segments or even by micro-segments, to provide truly personalized service. One example is Under Armour, the popular fitness and sportswear brand. They created a host of apps, MapMyFitness to track every run, walk, hike, and gym session of a user. Endomondo motivates a user and enables them to reach their goals. And to back this up they also have MyFitnessPal, a food diary and nutrition tracker. With thousands of fitness-conscious users of these apps, Under Armour gathers huge quantities of data on their users habits and wellness lifecycle to personalize their offerings to each apparel customer.

Anna had a question: 'How do we focus on customers while addressing operational challenges?' Let me share what I told her.

The Future of Consumption ─ A Closer Look

Sense, Analyse, Engage: How to Successfully Monetize Your Fan Ecosystem (Part 1)

I have a friend who still has a Betamax player from the 1980s. During that decade he enjoyed picking up videos from the rental store to watch movies at home. After a while the rental store only carried tapes in the VHS format. About two decades later, the store, and many like it, closed. At that point, people were overwhelmingly choosing to order movies to watch on their DVD players.

Today, of course, that consumption mode has been largely replaced by movie streaming services. If you look at that vintage Betamax player, you will realize just how rapidly a seemingly healthy market can be disrupted. Technology has been impacting consumption - time and again.

Technology Amplifiers for the Retail Customer Experience in 2017

Amplify the Human Experience [Source:]

I find it extraordinary that shares of Amazon have a price-to-earnings ratio of 173.35. That is amazing for any stock, but Amazon's unique situation tells us something important about the retail success of the company. Especially when it comes to amplifying the customer experience. That is, investors in the stock market place a premium on Amazon's ability to innovate and make its website and associated digital devices and platforms a seamless, one-stop shop for today's plugged-in consumers. Why else would a company have such a high p/e ratio? The answer: Investors have confidence that the company will keep pushing the digital envelope.

As I prepare for the annual "Big Show" of the National Retail Federation, where Infosys is presenting a host of tech showcases, I can't help but give readers of InfyTalk a brief preview. I am constantly asked what I see as the top technologies that amplify a customer-centric retail experience. The fact is: You don't have to be a global retailing giant to harness these technologies. They are available to all, and if you are able to get the combination of technology with responsive customer strategy right, you could well be on your way to being the next big thing.

Why Peer-to-Peer Insurance Is Coming Your Way

Why Peer-to-Peer Insurance Is Coming Your Way

If ever there were an industry that was open and ready for radical disruption, it's the insurance sector. That's one reason why so many new, nimble insurance companies have sprung up in recent years with completely different business models. Of them, in my opinion, the peer-to-peer model is one of the most promising and, quite frankly, realistic.

Why? Because the insurance behemoths commonly sell expensive policies that are 'cookie cutter' in nature. But, suppose you were a concert violinist who owned a multi-million dollar Stradivarius violin. You would have to find a specialized insurance agency who could come up with a customized policy for your precious instrument. The concept of peer-to-peer insurance is that (continuing with the violin example) you find musicians and rare instrument aficionados around the world who all have the same specialized insurance needs that you do. You form a crowd-funding community based on trust and a common theme. The more people who pay an initial insurance premium, the smaller the premium. What binds all peer-to-peer set-ups together is that if you don't make a claim during the course of a year, you receive a cash bonus. According to the peer-to-peer company Friendsurance, there have been cases recent years in which 94 percent of participants received some sort of year-end cash bonus.

Continuous Learning: Millennials Want It, Organizations Need To Foster It

My friends and I learned the hard way. As baby boomers, we entered the workforce in the '60s, '70s, and '80s with the fresh-faced expectation of 'jobs for life'. Many of us assumed we'd fill out our W-4, buy our first car, get married, raise our kids, and finally retire with the same company's name at the top of our paycheck. My idyll was shattered when my Fortune 10 employer - a company which had never downsized its staff in its 100-year history - launched the first of what became a decade of annual staff reductions. Most of my generation had received the same wake-up call by the end of the millennium.

Fast forward to 2016. The millennials harbor no illusions. Two similar studies on millennials' job outlook, one published in January by Infosys and one released last week by ManpowerGroup, underscore the sharp re-set of their expectations. They want employment security, but know that it's elusive; they've cleverly redefined security in terms of career, not job. They think in terms of serial jobs, job portfolios, gigs. Long-term career growth in one company is the ideal - but they know it is hard to find.

Engaging Millennials At Work: How Gamification Can Be A Game-Changer

Engaging Millennials At Work: How Gamification Can Be A Game-Changer

Peter walks into his cubicle at 8am. He logs on and quickly completes a 30-minute training module on risk assessment. At 8.30am, he catches up on his social media feeds and reads the news online. Soon, Peter's day at work begins.

Peter quintessentially represents the millennial generation, which, according to a study, will constitute nearly half (46%) of the U.S. workforce by 2020. He enjoys collaborating through social platforms. A continuous learner, he prefers the self-directed approach and short bursts of learning. He's also socially conscious (according to a 2015 research report, millennials are more engaged in corporate social responsibility efforts and are likely to work for a socially-conscious brand).

Insurance Companies Are Taking A Quantum Leap

Insured for the Digital Future [Source:]

According to a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft has not been shy about expressing its interest in creating the essential building block of a quantum computer. The quantum computer would be a quantum leap in human progress. It would be able to tackle calculations that today's computers simply are incapable of carrying out. Microsoft is already talking about the many applications of such a super-computer - an innovation that could potentially turn around the technology industry altogether.

I bring up the quantum computer because I want to create a dichotomy for my readers. Now that you're excited and thinking about what a completely new kind of computer could do, switch gears and think about an industry where innovation has been, until very recently, almost non-existent: insurance. Known to be a conservative industry, insurance has traditionally been sold rather than being bought - a business model that has remained just the way it is for centuries.

Startups Start Up Insurance

Elevator Pitch: An simple way to pick insurance? [Source:]

While the foundation of insurance and what it stands for - protection of life and belongings - cannot and has not changed, the way it is managed and provided, can and should. Driving this change are a new breed of startups that are doing some exciting things in this space. With the integration of technology in insurance, many new areas like online policy comparison and insurance on demand have opened up and are on the rise. Large insurance behemoths are often unable to make their way into these areas as they lack agility and resources, leaving a lacuna that must be filled. For startups, this gap is an opportunity to make their presence felt in a multi-trillion dollar industry.

But what gives startups in the insurance sector the edge to do this? Firstly, they have the flexibility that large insurers lack. With the right digital tools, startups can quickly adapt and accommodate changes as and when they are needed. Next, investors are realizing the potential of startups and are ready to invest big bucks. According to CB Insights, in 2010, US$ 2.12 billion was raised by companies looking to invest in insurance startups. Of this, US$ 1.39 billion was paid out since 2014. This shows that there is no dearth of funding for startups in the insurance space. Thirdly and most importantly, startups have the advantage of cutting-edge technology and digital tools at their disposal that enable them to conceptualize, develop and offer the products and services that customers want.

Banking For My Generation

Banking of the future [Source:]

The British rock band The Who is probably best remembered for their breakout hit, 'My Generation,' in which Roger Daltrey sings: "I hope I die before I get old!" The song resonated so well in the 1960s because it was about a new generation of consumers, born in the second half of the 20th century, who were not bound by their parents' traditions.

The same goes for today's generation. I think Max Levchin really connected with the youth when he co-founded PayPal. Why? Because he loathes traditional banking and everything it stands for. Interestingly, Levchin also helped start Yelp, which crowdsources reviews about local businesses, and has invested in Evernote, a multi-platform note-taking app. What's common between all three is that these are businesses that put consumer convenience above everything else. That's important to grasp, because financial services companies like PayPal are addressing the needs of younger and digitally-savvy consumers. These are the sorts of consumers who do not want to stay in traditional hotels on their vacations but are opting for 'experience' stays on Airbnb. They want to use their mobile phones to book or share cabs on Uber. These also do not tolerate long lines at a bank branch or banker's hours.

What Shoppers Want: Shopping-friendly Tech

What Shoppers Want: Shopping-friendly Tech

A shopaholic once famously quipped, "Whoever said money can't buy happiness, simply didn't know where to shop." The joke now seems to be on retailers as customers shop on their mobile device, television set, and not to forget, in different formats of brick-and-mortar retail stores. Given the heterogeneity of shop fronts and availability of brands at diverse price points, retailers - and not shoppers - seem to need therapy.

The shopper's digital genome compels the retail industry to reinvent itself to serve existing and emerging demographic segments. Just as the cable industry rises to the challenge of the digital 'cord-cutter' generation accessing content on their mobile devices, retailers need to serve millennial shoppers who prefer 'adding to cart' rather than paying at checkout counters. Even when shoppers visit the store, retailers need to influence their pathway to aisles that stock goods in their shopping lists.

Could Lending Startups Disrupt 1,000 Years of Banking?

Disrupt or be disrupted, right? Well, try telling that to the innovators of startup businesses in the extremely challenging financial services space. According to a report by the U.S. Federal Reserve, a typical small company in America spends 24 hours applying for loans. That's a full day's worth of work.

The pay-off, unfortunately, isn't as impressive. According to the Fed, just 33 percent of these startups receive all the credit for which they've applied. Some 45 percent of companies are denied loans altogether. We keep hearing that small, innovative startups are the lifeblood of any economy. That's because they grow into large companies and employ lots of people.

Time For A Millennial Makeover

Infoscions at a bowling alley at our campus in Mysore
Infoscions at a bowling alley at our campus in Mysore

Being a part of the human resource team at Infosys, questions that frequently come my way, across the board, are: How do you become an employer of choice for millennials? How do you become a company that addresses and exceeds millennial expectations? Although the answers to these questions are far from simple, it has become increasingly important for employers to realize the impact and potential of the vibrant talent that exists within and outside. The key to organizational success will be about leveraging these strengths and making the impossible possible.

It's perhaps wrong to call the millennials a bunch (which implies they're a few in number) from an employment perspective. According to a recent study by Pew Research, millennials are now the largest workforce in the U.S. with 53.5 million employees, which is about one third of all workers in the country. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey (January 2014), millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025.


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