THE DAILY SCOPE, 12/22/21: Amazon Web Service, Amazon’s cloud computing unit, has gone down… again. This is the third time this month that the largest cloud-computing provider in the United States has experienced outages. When AWS experiences outages, the effects are transferred to the network of large and small businesses that rent computing, storage, and network capabilities from the provider. Slack, Hulu, Asana, and Coinbase are just a few of the platforms that experienced issues this morning as a result of the outage which was reported at 7:58 a.m. ET. The outages also impacted Amazon’s online retail operations, which potentially caused problems for any brands or retailers active on the platform. Brick-and-mortar locations such as Amazon Go, which sells rely on automated entry and exits, meaning that the entire purchase is facilitated through the cloud. Amazon was able to remedy the outage by 8:39 a.m. ET, but the frequency of these outages could start to be a cause for concern among companies such as Samsung, Sony, Hitachi, Philips, and Canon, as well as, which rely on the cloud-computing service to run critical operations.
Trust and customer loyalty set independent retailers apart from big-chain competitors. Supply chain issues and an on-again-off-again global pandemic make it challenging for retailers to provide customers with the rapid service they expect. Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, consumer trends have been anything but stagnant. According to a study conducted by McKinsey, three-quarters of United States consumers have switched brands, products, stores, or buying methods throughout the pandemic. This holiday season alone, 60 percent of shoppers found that their desired product was out of stock at their go-to retailer, which caused 70 percent to switch their business to a different store or brand. This instability can be detrimental to the long-term shopping relationships that independent retailers seek to establish with their customers. However, there are tactics that independent retailers can employ to maintain their quality relationships with customers. These include: Over communicating with customers (such as providing detailed information on order status) and treating loyal customers to unexpected perks as a reward for placing frequent or large orders.
Finally, in a cool piece of innovation, developers are using advanced mapping technologies to create smartphone apps that help blind and low-vision people navigate their surrounding environments. Designed to aid users navigate indoors, these apps offer detailed audio descriptions of the surrounding environment, as well as warnings about surrounding objects. GoodMaps, a service that creates maps and uploads them to a publicly accessible cloud, uses Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) 3D mapping technology to generate a detailed layout of indoor buildings, including distances to surrounding objects. Another of these innovative app services is MapInHood, which provides pedestrians detailed information to navigate obstacles such as sidewalk traffic, construction hazards, bicycle parking areas, benches, food carts, stairs, and steep slopes. MapInHood is currently available solely in Toronto, but the app’s developer is looking to expand to other cities if it generates enough funding. The use of detailed indoor mapping services has the potential not only to aid blind and low vision people in navigation but to also increase shopper efficiency. Mapping technology carries the potential for shoppers to enter a store and know exactly where their desired product is, which ultimately streamlines the shopping experience.
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