3 Marketing Innovations Introduced In The 2020s Amidst A Pandemic

It has been roughly 15 years since Apple released the iPhone -- perhaps the most consequential product that the company ever introduced.

Twenty-two years into this new century, there have been many new products and categories introduced, ranging from 3D printing, e-cigarettes, birth-control patches and e-readers to online streaming.

But what new innovations have been introduced since 2020?

During a period in which a pandemic ran rampant, the pace of innovation may have slowed down, but there have been a number of impactful innovations. Here are a few:

No-touch shopping: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people shifted from visiting the store to buying online. In 2020, e-commerce sales grew by 43%, according to the Census Bureau. But not all sales moved to online. In 2020, Amazon opened physical grocery stores under the name “Amazon Fresh.”



Amazon had launched Amazon Fresh Pickup -- a drive-in store for Amazon Prime subscribers -- in 2017, but expanded the concept by launching stores.

Innovations include smart shopping carts, which have a computer interface and sensors to detect which items are in the cart. When the consumer places an item in the cart, the screen tells them what it is and what it costs. Shoppers with the carts do not have to wait in line to check out.

Robots: There are a multitude of robots that businesses deploy in restaurants, retail and customer service. Here is one concrete example from Heineken.

In 2021, Heineken introduced its “Beer Outdoor Transporter” (BOT) last year at this time. The BOT trails the owner by about five feet, asking “Are you thirsty?” Last year, the BOT retailed for $3,250. This summer, they are currently out of stock.

Artificial Intelligence to monitor bias in ad technology: Companies like Netflix use artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize content, and Nike uses it to sell to consumers directly.

Many companies are interested in using AI to target consumers, but they need to be aware of bias, which is baked into the system.

IBM executive Bob Lord ran an op-ed in VentureBeat yesterday asking technology industry leaders to work together in order to mitigate bias.

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