Sneha Biswas

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On May 2, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

Agreed Jennifer! I would love this to continue post pandemic too – could be a fun experience! Especially for families with babies and kids who feel awkward going to theaters as their children disturb other people by screaming and talking 🙂 They can still have big theater experience from the comfort of their own private cars!

On May 2, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

Completely agree Loti! I believe in today world of data and technology, reviving old ideas that were discarded in the past can bring more value than earlier. Like drive-ins, now with digital apps for example EVO can collect so much information about their customers and later use it to improve its services- a thing that was not possible in the past.

On May 1, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Uber Medics and Uber Work: Limitless opportunities for Uber? :

Thanks for the post, Kumiko! I did not know about Uber’s Work Hub initiative. It sounds like a great idea. However, I would be interested in knowing the actual number of people who have found alternative jobs through this. At this time when unemployment is so high and the number of gig workers had grown so much prior to Covid, I would imagine that there is a surplus of workers and deficit of jobs. So despite making the connections, most people are still rendered jobless at this time. Would love to know more about your thoughts on this. Thanks!

On May 1, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Nike: Just do it. Differently! :

Great post! I studied Nike’s data analytics, digital strategy and its ” consumer direct offense” for my last post:

Indeed it has been working very hard on its digital strategy even before COVID happened and because of that infrastructure in place, they are able to reap benefits now. They are focused on collecting as much user information as possible to make their datasets robust for analytics. It is, therefore, crucial for them to remain connected with their consumers at this time when stores are closed so that they can continue getting information about them. These fitness apps are one great way of doing so.

On May 1, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

Great points! For he bathrooms, EVO is allowing their indoor bathroom facilities to be used but not more than 10 people at a time and they are being cleaned after each use. Security, I agree would be a concern. Right now, what they are doing is what you mentioned- the movie viewing is free and they are making money from the sale of food and their quick move to delivering grocery online. This, according to the CEO, is in the same of a good cause ( providing free entertainment) at a time of distress. However, when they start charging for the viewing as well, security measures need to be taken to may be guard off the parking lot or have tickets to be checked before entering the parking area from where the screen is visible.

On May 1, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

Great points Nicholas. So you are right, they were able to do this when Texas laws were relaxed. They have been stopped recently, however Texas is reopening again very soon! So I believe they are starting back soon. To your point about band-aid fix- In normal circumstances, I would agree with you. However, with the COVID situation, I think social distancing will be around for very long. Even when cities open, restaurants and theaters won’t be allowed to operate in their full capacity for a long time to come. e.g. :

In that case, both the physical theaters and parking lots will be atleast half empty. EVO can then utilize their drive-in theaters to make up for the lost revenue from this drop in capacity.

Finally, to your last question about revenue before and after this change: As I mentioned in the blog, EVO was making up for lost revenue through sale of food in these drive-in theaters and impromptu opening of their grocery delivery services. For the actual movies, for now they kept it free in the name of good cause at this time of distress.

On May 1, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Evo theaters: Social distancing and watching movies :

That is a great point indeed! How Apple also has driven innovation through resurrection of old ideas or products already in use. I believe this is a great move for EVO at this time. It looks like social distancing is here to stay for long, so even if theatres reopen, they would not operate in full capacity. EVO can then recoup the lost revenue by continuing this model alongside their physical theaters ( given, parking lots will be half empty as well if only 50% of the theater capacity can be filled at a time).Would be a good combination of old and new ways of working in the world of “new normal”.

On April 27, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Thirty Madison – Urgent Care before Urgent Profits :

This is such a great reason to change ones operating model. Most businesses are doing so to survive and weather through COVID-19 and social distancing. The fact that these guys are not doing is for money is amazing! Do you think it can be sustainable in the long run though? If they do well, they could expand to other fields in telemedicine which could be good for them and also for patients ( as you point out that it isn’t a very popular channel in the US). But they would need to charge more than 10$ I believe if they want to pay high quality doctors and therapists. Was thinking what would be the willingness to pay for patients ( or insurance providers) for telemedicine services?

On April 27, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Nuro: self-driving delivery accelerates :

Thanks for sharing this. I did not know that Nuro was operating in big cities such as Houston! I must try it when I move to Houston soon. Indeed it is a great time for them to aggressive with testing and pushing for regulations in their favor. However, in terms of testing for safety on roads I wonder if this is a good time. With hardly any vehicle on road currently, self-driving vehicles can show great results. But those results might not be realistic and therefore the data collected might not be as valuable for future research – to operate in a “normal” world.

On April 27, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Airbnb vs COVID: The battle for community and connections! :

Great post! Thanks for sharing. The move towards online experiences seems a logical extension to their business, especially at this time. However, I was wondering how it will differentiate itself from Masterclass and other similar startups? Price, I am guessing could be one differentiator as Masterclass is based on celebrities bringing their skills to normal people vs. here it is connecting normal people to normal people. The threat though is the quality. Professionals can bring much better quality lessons than AirBnB hosts. Do you think this is a permanent move for AirbnB or just for now to remain engaged with its customers ( hosts and guests) during COVID19?Would love to know your thoughts on this.

On April 21, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Nike – just Do it with Data science and Demand sensing :

Great thought, Jesse! I did not think about how data can be their way to “flywheel” by utilizing it in an manner that can take them off! It is a great idea for them to acquire all these innovative startups in the data analytics, AI and ML space so that they can be fast in getting to the point where it becomes difficult for others to catch up! If they were to create their own infrastructure( although they also building their core strength too on the side by recruiting data scientists etc.) and relied on building it all by themselves, others would have entered the space faster – reducing their advantage of having more data.

On April 21, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Nike – just Do it with Data science and Demand sensing :

Indeed! I read about their new app- it, apparently, is super targeted to improve customer experience. They also said that they are using the app to track consumer shopping pattern and then predict demand so that they can have the right product at the right store at the right time – ultimately improving consumer experience. Their attempt is to use this data to improve hyperlocal demand and consumer experiences, while managing a global supply chain! Agreed, that there is more value to the data that just customer experience.

On April 19, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Nike – just Do it with Data science and Demand sensing :

Thanks Walter for your perspective. I believe Nike was not privy to the customer data from many of the partner retailers anyway. So it makes sense for them to get them out of the way and control the communication with the client directly. This allows them to control branding along with gathering data. Getting out of Amazon must be a big decision! But probably for the best for the future of Nike!

On April 19, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Nike – just Do it with Data science and Demand sensing :

Thanks Andres! Completely agree! I got curious after reading your comment and went onto glassdoor to check what the range of salaries are. They are great, but lesser than other big tech companies. Indeed they will find it difficult to find the best talent. I think that is why they are acquiring to many data analytics startups alongside. Building a full fledged in house team must be difficult at this time, especially given how fast they have to ramp this initiative up!

On April 18, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on How Well Does Spotify Know You? :

Great post! I did not know about the extent to which Spotify uses AI to generate music lists. I was wondering however how it can leverage previous learning when entering new geographies. The taste of people in different places is very different. Does it mean that it has to collect fresh data to have a robust dataset to build its analytics on? Further, when spotify entered countries such as India, where the language as well as type of music ( bollywood) is completely different from that in other places, would it have to start from scratch – collecting data- analytics – AI?

On April 18, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Overjet – Transforming Dentistry Powered by AI :

Interesting approach! AI and machine learning in healthcare always fascinates me. I wonder how long the adoption of such a technology will take for users are used to having people (dentists) to carefully examine them and give the best medical advice. Consumers generally shop around to find the dentist that they can rely on. I completely buy the supremacy and efficiency of this product, but wonder if common people would believe in its efficacy. Nevertheless, amazing technology!

On April 18, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Hello Barbie – AI Making Children’s Dreams Come True :

This is fascinating, Loti! Speech recognition in toys! You have elaborated on concerns around data privacy and security. I was wondering if the company is using collective data to perform some kind of analytics on it to improve its software or individual conversation data that goes to the control center is used to modify each conversation individually? Would it be valuable ( albeit ethically disputable) to analyse all the data they get to see trends in children conversation so that they can train barbies better for the next set of buyers?

And ha! Dancing politician sounds like a good career option!

On April 18, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Macy’s: reinventing customer experience through data analytics :

Great post, Andres! I was reading about Macy’s recently and learnt that they are struggling financially. A shift toward digital technology could be a strategy to move to lower-cost models (e-commerce). Based on your research for this blog, do you think they can leverage data and analytics to optimize their business model such that they can revive the financial health of the company? Possibly downsizing their retail footprint ( lease costs?) or optimizing supply chains due data analytics and demand prediction? What do you think?

On March 25, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Udaan- India’s Amazon or Alibaba? :

Thanks Marius! Yeah there is risk of multi-homing and that’s why as I have mentioned in the blog they would have to work on increasing the stickiness of their platform so that wholesalers are incentivized to sell through them. Fortunately, not many competitors exist in India right now. Also Flipkart, although better know, has spread itself across a whole range of products and channels ( B2B, B2C) , while Udaan has the advantage of being more targeted ( wholesale- retail)

Logistics, I agree is a heavy capex space that they have entered in. Although an integrated approach of financing, sourcing and fulfillment sounds very attractive!

On March 22, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Boatsetter: Democratizing The Sailing Experience :

Wow, that is interesting! Worth checking out – when the world gets back to normal and we all can travel again!

I agree with Matt above that while this seems like a great idea, the platform needs to incentivize boat-owners in order to keep them on the platform, especially if this seems to be a lucrative business and more competitors come in. To increase the stickiness of boat-owners and to reduce multi-homing, Boatsetter could offer add-on services to the customers (renters) during usage if booked through their platform e.g. free goodies, special offers etc.. This way both sides of the platform are encouraged to stick to this company over other competitors.

Andres, I agree with you that there is “network-clustering” for this platform, but I wonder how large are these networks. The advantage of an online platform vs. traditional offline car dealers is the broader reach. Cars need not be physically transported to be shown to a potential customer on this platform. Therefore, all the cars, irrespective of their location, should have the same weight for a person browsing to buy. Someone from Texas can more easily purchase a car from California via Carguru vs. visiting physical dealer-store where he/she is tempted to buy something immediately available. What do you think?

On March 22, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Too Good To Go: A Win-Win-Win Situation :

Wow, this sounds like a great initiative. It is great that they have come up with a business solution to a problem that many NGOs try to solve, often with little efficiency. While I agree with you that there will be strong network effects, I believe it will be difficult to ever leverage a cross-region network effect. The food distribution and collection has to be localized. However, may be global chains ( e.g. McDonald’s, KFC etc.) can create a “global” buzz, thereby generating some broad network effects (not through direct benefit of the product – food- on the platform, but from social acceptance of being on the platform). Thanks for sharing!

On February 12, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Burberry (1856 est.) -164 years old or phoenix in the digital world? :

Thanks for your comments and questions, @iBot. Indeed it will be interesting to see where Burberry goes from here. I think they have been able to spot trend early on which enabled them to lure the millenial through digital marketing and their digital retail stores. With higher spending trends among young people, compared to the previous generation – luxury brands do not need to wait for people to reach their 50s to buy their first Burberry coat. Do they really need to balance their old-school, traditional history if they are able to create a brand identity for right set of customers willing to spend on their products? Also, these millenials are the future – grabbing their attention early could help the company keep them engaged through their later years too possibly.

On February 11, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Burberry (1856 est.) -164 years old or phoenix in the digital world? :

Thank you for sharing your experience here, Jack. Yeah, indeed bold to go out there all digital to reach the “masses”, hoping that the right(rich) audience will sieve through. I was particularly surprised by its presence and high activity on SnapChat which in my head is basic – but clearly, they are doing it all right – the stocks say so!

On February 11, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Burberry (1856 est.) -164 years old or phoenix in the digital world? :

Thanks Ricardo! I was actually just thinking about that. One of the blogs here is on Sephora and reading that I realized that most of their digital initiatives are to improve customer experience and deliver better product/service. Very little of the digital space is being used for actual marketing. In contrast, Burberry seems to capture most of the digital space in the form of advertising and marketing. Apart from its high-tech retail store which is blurring the line between physical and digital worlds for its customers, there aren’t much “experience-driven” digital initiatives. Great thought, thanks!

On February 11, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Mattress Firm: Losing by betting on bricks in the age of clicks :

Great blog! I agree with London L. above on how the brand that Mattress Firm has somehow created is that of a “cheap, basic” company. Funnily, that’s the image I told too!
Agree with you on the Omnichannel approach is worthy of a trial, but I wonder if simply keeping a physical store along with digital presence solves the purpose in today’s world. I think the world is moving towards a place where physical is luxury, exclusive and experience is important, while digital is quick and convenient. If that analysis of mine is to be believed, Mattress Firm did not stand a chance. I will enter a physical place to make a purchase, watch a show or study in classrooms only if the experience is what sets it apart. A “cheap, basic” Mattress Firm-like store gives me no incentive to leave my couch where I can easily shop around, compare prices and get someone to come to my place to deliver me the items. The retail experience has to be more than just a store.

On February 11, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Sephora – Blurring the line between Digital and Physical :

Great blog, Trishi! I did not know that Sephora was the only beauty brand that maintained a physical store within the lab space to test in-store experiences. This speaks about the brand’s retained focus on customer experience, and not just product innovation. Today with other forms of marketing like those through social media influencers advocating for specific brands, I wonder if Sephora (with that data that it has already) can create its own “influncers” platform or some form of “crowd-sourcing” to advertise but exclusively for Sephora.

All the digital steps taken so far seems to align with making the customer experience better. While that has an advertising component, I am thinking if Sephora will indulge in pure advertising “Digital” initiatives too.

On February 11, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Coursera – Revolutionizing Education For Anyone, Anywhere :

Great post, Danielle!

I agree with your analysis that the market for MOOC is large and multiple players catering to different segments of this market can operate together in harmony. But wonder how a for-profit organization like Coursera plans to keep its edge against an almost similar-segment player like Khan Academy which is non-profit and is free. Quality of content could be a differentiating factor. I wonder if Coursera been able to use technology to bring itself an advantage over Khan Academy?

On February 11, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on PayTm- Disasters are Subjective! :

Thanks Krish, for bringing up a thriving Indian startup to this discussion. While I totally agree that the young company could leverage its position and come across as a winner at a time of crisis (demonetization) , I would like to know your opinion on the way forward. Fintech is rapidly picking up in India and competing companies such as Mobikwik are gaining traction. With still only 21% internet and smartphone penetration in the country, obviously the potential market is huge and may be there is room for many players. But, isn’t it also a threat that a new player with more savvy digital capabilities take a lion share’s of the remaining 80% of the market? Do you know if Paytm is doing much on technology and innovation side to keep away competition?

On February 11, 2020, Sneha Biswas commented on Burberry (1856 est.) -164 years old or phoenix in the digital world? :

Thank you for your comment, Chris. Agreed that Burberry’s position in the market allowed it certain power – but I am not sure if the “millennial” segment that it identified and targeted through technology back in 2006 was where it had a leg-up back then. My feeling is that they created this market for themselves.
Yeah, it would be interesting to see how they use all these years worth of data to outperform their peers and if their strategy is any different from the rest in the years to come.