Demodern—Creative Technologies - a case study on digital change, part of our Facebook Curated series out of Hong Kong.
Kristian Kerkhoff, a co-owner, managing director (and still a designer at heart), of Demodern—Creative Technologies, founded the agency in 2008. A time when the digital change became socially noticeable.
For this study Kristian has selected two examples of how their creative technology solutions changed the digital strategy of their clients business - in B2C and B2B: SNIPES App and SKAN.
SNIPES App: Social Commerce
SNIPES is one of the leading streetwear and lifestyle retailers in Europe. Priding itself on cultivating an intense passion for its brand, SNIPES was lacking a digital presence that reflected that admiration. Together, we set out with them to create an App that could activate, reward, and connect its highly social and loyal customer base in addition to a needed e-commerce upgrade.
We didn’t just want to sell products to people, we wanted to enhance and enable a rich digital community, reward them for their purchases and participation, and keep them engaged for as long as possible.
What was the problem?
It is probably clear to everyone that purchase decisions are made online nowadays. But these decisions do not take place on the websites of the retailers. Which products are desirable and in demand is largely determined by social media. Whether car brands, beauty products or clothing, those who do not pay attention to Instagram & Co will have a hard time in the long run.
The problem is that currently the manufacturers and brands benefit from this, but not the retailers themselves. So if your customer finds a Nike shoe on Instagram, how do you make sure as a retailer that the shoe is bought from you? It is almost impossible. Either you buy the corresponding advertising space in the social networks or you have to make sure that you invest heavily in SEO so that the product search online automatically refers to your own store. But what happens if the product is sold out? Or the specific shoe size is no longer in stock? In the end retailers lose their customers here.
SNIPES recognized this early on and relies heavily on the integration of its own community in their communication. With the new SNIPES App, they are now taking the digital step that goes with it - their own social media platform for streetwear and lifestyle.
What does the app do?
The app is a digitalized blend of social media and retail commerce, or "Social Commerce". Instead of simply browsing through images of primped up models and out-of-touch influencers, SNIPES has a look-book open to its entire customer base. Users can share their style and shop the styles of others in one single place, effectively democratizing the face of SNIPES.
Users are encouraged to tag the products they are wearing, and can even bring up their recent purchase history to select a product or search through the SNIPES catalog to match their outfit. Now, simply tap on someone's photo or video and directly add those same products to your shopping cart.
Instead of simply consuming content, they can shape the content on their own terms. The result is a completely different way to browse for products online.
But why should customers use this?
We created also a new type of loyalty program that not only rewards customers for a purchase but also for their social engagement. This custom loyalty program is broken down into COINS, a reward currency based on the price of the product, and HEARTS, awarded for uploading photos and videos. The combination of these two currencies become the user’s status. Depending on their level, each status has increasing benefits such as special sales, promotions, and events.
The SNIPES App is a revolutionary new e-commerce concept that brings the brand and its customers together. But this is only the beginning, as platforms like these will pave the way for new innovations in retail commerce.
SKAN: E-Learning in Virtual Reality
Another example in digital transformation is the VR eLearning experience we created for pharmaceutical machinery producer SKAN. This showcase demonstrates the huge potential of creative technologies and how it will sustainably change the way we work in the B2B segment.
What was the challenge?
Medical technology machines are large, expensive and almost always in use. For training, production usually has to be interrupted, which leads to the loss of valuable production time. And time is often money. In addition, the very detailed operating instructions must be followed with exact precision to avoid costly or dangerous errors. And that's not all: since training has always required a real machine, trainees have usually had to travel far to learn directly at the machine. So which ever way you look at it: There was a definite need for optimization.
Thus we created an interactive virtual reality learning tool for machine operators that can be used by anybody, anywhere. Unlike the physical machines, which have to stay in one place.
What was the solution?
After a technical research and evaluation phase, combined with early prototyping, we decided on the new Oculus Quest (btw Facebook Bought Oculus VR in 2014 valued at $2 Billion). The device works without cables, complex to set up sensors, or additional expensive computers. It’s also completely mobile, readily sent to different places all over the world, with minimum overhead.
Yet the biggest advantage of using latest devices like the new Oculus Quest, is that this device in particular uses built-in hand tracking. We could get rid of the hand controllers typical for VR to make learning, testing, and simulating of the machine feel more realistic than ever. Gestures like “grab”, “pick up”, “place” or “hang” could be intuitively understood while being guided by a narrator, and required no additional user interface.
But what does this mean for the B2B sector?
Creative Technologies like VR and AR offers innovative brand and product experiences. Stories can be told and worlds can be visualized - and this apparently without spatial boundaries. Not only those industries that have a 'space problem' benefit from this. Large industrial sectors such as the automotive industry, aerospace, construction and real estate – as well as entertainment, medicine and healthcare, rely on immersive technologies to optimize processes and make them more efficient. As well as minimize any risk, improve a product or increase quality.
However, the main advantage of Virtual Reality is cost reduction - across all industries. Be it development, travel or planning costs: In particular, everything that consumes logistic budgets or would only have to be created for presentation and demonstration purposes can be saved by companies in the future. A product to be exhibited at any trade fair in the world does not even have to be built or shipped in order to be shown and sold.
Where to next?
Especially in times of the Covid-19 crisis, more and more solutions arise where you don’t even need to be in the same location to sell or show a product. In fact we’ve already developed a custom-built platform that enables visitors to fully navigate a virtual conference or trade fair while sitting a home in front of their computers.
The reality is already virtual.
However that is a topic for another interview series, as I only scratch the surface of ongoing innovations in digital transformation.
This interview and case study is part our Facebook Curated content series, in partnership with Facebook Greater China. See the case study archive.