Online retail is rapidly disrupting dealerships as a preferred method of selling cars, with direct online sales expected to surpass 11 million by 2020 and reach 6 million by 2025, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.
Online sales reached in 618,000 in 2018, which was double the figure in 2017. The firm says that original equipment manufacturers are able to keep prices low, while quickly introducing the cars to market by selling directly.
“The popularity of the e-commerce model among the younger audience and the success of Tesla’s online retail strategy is likely to encourage other automakers to explore online retail beyond just pilots,” Isaac Abraham, senior consultant, automotive retail and business strategy, said in a release from Frost & Sullivan. “With the emergence of novel purchase models such as vehicle subscription and short-term leases, the dealership of the future is expected to become more experience centric.”
He said that Alibaba is expected to take the lead in China, selling through various partnerships. Hyundai is expected to launch its own in-house program in the U.K., Canada and Singapore. Meanwhile, a firm called Polestar is expected to launch a program in North America through its Volvo dealership network.
Grab plans to spend $500 million to boost its food delivery, payments and ride-sharing busineses.
Grab Holdings, the Southeast Asian ride sharing, food delivery and payments app, is investing $500 million over a five-year period in Vietnam, part of a massive plan to grow the country’s digital economy and increase the level of financial inclusion among workers.
The funding will be used to expand Grab’s transport, food and payments business in Vietnam, and explore new opportunities in fintech, mobility solutions and the logistics industry.
Grab, which has operated in the country since 2014, has grown into the leading super app in Vietnam. Grab Food has 300,000 daily orders and Grab drivers have earned more than $1 billion, while its payments partner, called Moca, has grown into one of the nation’s largest mobile payment apps.
“We will use the investment to roll out new services in the country, such as ticketing, groceries and multi-modal solutions, and scale our transport and food business and increase the adoption of cashless payments via our partner Moca,” a spokesman told Mobile Payments Today via email. “Our investment in new mobility solutions, fintech and logistics, would either involve investing in startups holding those core competencies or investing in the development of promising solutions and services for the country.”
As part of the announcement, Grab said it will partner with Sovico Group, a Vietnamese conglomerate, to invest in logistics and mobility in order to grow first and last-mile delivery in Vietnam.
The announcement comes one month after Grab announced a similar $2 billion investment in Indonesia using funding from SoftBank.
Gemini Trust Co., a cryptocurrency exchange led by the Winklevoss brothers, has named David Damato, the former chief security officer at Tanium, as its new CSO.
While at Tanium, Damato was in charge of building and managing a team that handled security for major Fortune 500 companies, banks and government agencies around the world. He previously was a member of the leadership team at Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm that was later acquired by Fireeeye.
“Security is the bedrock of our culture and Dave adds to that legacy,” Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini, said in a company release. “His depth of security knowledge and experience defending global networks will be invaluable as we continue to build the market’s most secure cryptocurrency offering.”
Geminii in June announced that it would open an engineering center in Chicago.
Groupon announced the launch of Groupon Select, a membership program that gives special customer discounts and insider perks to members, for a price of $4.99 per month.
The company said the Groupon Select program is designed to boost user engagement and increase purchase rates on a range of purchases, with special discounts of up to an additional 25% off local activities, restaurants and spas. The program provides lower discounts on other purchase categories, including 10% off trips and events. Member discounts are applied automatically and don’t need promotion codes added during checkout.
“Groupon Select is the best way to experience Groupon today and discover even more value on local services, experiences and goods,” Rich Williams, Groupon CEO, said in a company release.
Groupon is offering a 50% discount off a single item for existing and new Select members.
Insurance by smartphone — younger customers today in particular want digital solutions. Insurtechs have recognized this customer need and the established insurance companies are following suit. The industry is on the verge of upheaval. The technological potential is massive, and so are the challenges.
Digitalization has reached the insurance industry later than in other sectors. The pressure is coming particularly from the customers themselves: They expect a consistently digital insurance experience, starting with the conclusion of the contract, through consulting, to the reporting and settlement of claims.
The established insurance companies are aware of these customer expectations, but consistent implementation is still missing. Most processes are still paper-based; contractual changes must be made in writing; many employees spend most of their working time on trivial copy-paste tasks. This is time-consuming and ties up resources. Repetetive work processes are also more prone to errors, as employees become tired and less able to concentrate over time.
At the same time, the potential for the use of new technologies is enormous: many customer enquiries, damage reports or data analyses could theoretically be standardized and automated – ideal prerequisites for using intelligent machines.
According to several studies by strategic consultancies, the consistent automation of manual processes and the use of new technologies could increase premium income by almost 25 percent and simultaneously reduce costs by almost 30 percent. According to experts, the greatest savings are possible in claims settlement and acquisition costs.
For most established insurers, meeting changing customer expectations and fully exploiting the potential of digitisation is a mammoth task. They are not lacking in willpower, but the hurdles are great.
On the one hand, life, health and property & casualty insurance sectors are often separated into independent legal entities, which often work with different IT systems. On the other hand, cost and competitive pressures in recent years have led to smaller insurance companies being bought up by the “big ones” without integrating the IT infrastructure. The result is a patchwork of incompatible hardware and software in which customer data cannot be exchanged within a group or across multiple departments or divisions. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to realize a digital customer experience.
In addition, most insurers work with brokers who, in turn, know their customers’ lives much better than the insurers themselves. The motor insurer knows what kind of car the customer owns, the liability insurer at least knows the family circumstances, the household contents insurer can draw conclusions about the income and assets of the customer. But even full insurers do not have an infrastructure that allows them to bundle customer data over the entire contract term and all interfaces. In particular, the question of where customers come from remains unanswered despite cooperation with brokers.
Insurtechs, on the other hand, have two decisive advantages here: they build their insurance solutions without any inherited burdens, so to speak “on a greenfield site”. Obsolete IT infrastructure, sceptical employees who act according to the motto “We’ve always done it this way” — a foreign word in startups. Agility is the order of the day here, and while established insurers need months — if not years — to introduce new software, Insurtechs spurn reflection in favour of implementation. The (partially blind) activism of the “boys” may cause head shaking among established insurers – but it is also clear that their speed is an important strength.
Companies such as Lemonade in the USA, Bought By Many in Great Britain and Getsafe in Germany are working intensively on platforms with which they can record and analyse customer data in a structured manner. Not only do they lay the foundation for feeding self-learning algorithms with classified training data, they also manage to make the insurance experience simple, transparent and digital.
Figuratively speaking, a manoeuvrable and partly D.I.Y. sailing ship is competing against a giant steamship. The steamship has an experienced crew, well-rehearsed processes and a venerable captain who has proven his skills over many years — but the sailboat sets the pace and the course. The steamer can better withstand a storm on the high seas, but as long as the sea remains calm, it will reach its destination much later than the manoeuvrable sailboat, despite its much greater power. And: Due to its more precise data, the sailboat may not even run into the danger of a storm.
It will remain exciting to see who wins the race in the future: the steamship or the sailboat. The way data and technology is handled will be decisive. Only those who make their internal processes more efficient and at the same time meet the needs of their customers will be able to assert themselves in the markets of the future.
Finix Payments Inc. announced that it raised $17.5 million in Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures along with Insight Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures and Visa.
The San Francisco-based payments infrastructure platform plans to use the funding to accelerate product development and sales.
“Payments technology has reached an exciting tipping point, ” Richie Serna, founder and CEO at Finix, said in a company release, noting that Lyft, Airbnb and Mindbody have high valuations in part due to their own payments stacks.
“Our mission is to provide the foundation for the next generation of multi-billion dollar payments businesses by empowering them to become payments facilitators in months, not years.”
Finix claims that it can help businesses become payments facilitators in as little as two months, at a fraction of the average cost of $3 million to $5 million that it costs to build a system from scratch.
CPI Card Group Inc. said it entered an agreement with FitPay to combine its Adaptives embedded contactless technology with FitPay’s contactless payment device, called Flip.
Flip allows consumers to make purchases at millions of retail locations that accept contactless payments. Flip is linked to FitPay’s digital wallet, which allows consumers to store and manage funds from traditional bank accounts, bitcoin wallets and other payment sources.
“Along with the shift to contactless payments, we’re also seeing an evolution in consumers’ relationships with their wallets,” Jack Jania, vice president of product management and innovation at CPI Card Group, said in a company release. “People went from paying with cash to mostly paying with cards.”
The social media giant Facebook has listed 32 job openings related to blockchain technology. The listings include programmers, financial accountants, data scientists and technology communications, according to the postings.
Facebook recently announced itsLibra cryptocurrency, which users will store on a wallet called Calibra. The job listings range from researchers to engineers to legal experts.
Congress hasrecently requested that Facebook halt development on Calibra and Libra until representatives have time to examine the products. This is due to previous privacy breaches alleged misuse by the social media company.