Black Friday in Japan

Is Black Friday Sale A Success in Japan?

Does Black Friday exist in Japan? The answer is yes! However, you can´t compare the Japanese version with the American one. The popularity of Black Friday has risen rapidly in the last few years. Therefore, this day has enormous potential for your future sales in Japan.

How Black Friday Became a “Thing” in Japan 

Here is a brief history of Black Friday in Japan:

2014: Toys “R” Us hosted the first Black Friday sales.

2015: The fashion store GAP adopted the concept.

2016: AEON, one of the biggest retail chains in Japan, started a successful campaign with TV commercials and ads in stores.

2019: Amazon Japan officially joined Black Friday with special promotions across various product categories.

Since then, both e-commerce and retail have utilized Black Friday to increase their sales during the holiday season in Japan. Now Black Friday is an event for determined shoppers to get a great deal on a variety of products such as electronics, games, furniture, and more. Additionally, products on sale aren’t just old items that are sitting in stock. Even newer product generations are offered with discounts ranging from 30% to 70%. There are several brands and retailers participating in Black Friday sales, including Amazon, Rakuten, AEON, and UNIQLO. Therefore, it is a smart way to leverage your sales.

Get to know the top 6 product categories of the holiday season.

 Save These Dates for 2022 

Amazon´s Black Friday is on the 25th of November.

Amazon´s Cyber Monday takes place on the 28th of November.

Top 9 Japan Black Friday Facts 

  1. It has become an annual event in November in some stores.
  2. The beginning of Japanese Black Friday can differ from store to store.
  3. Amazon Japan aligns its start of Black Friday with the US.
  4. It does not adhere to a specific duration. It depends on the store.
  5. It can be considered as the start of the holiday sales.
  6. Unlike Americans, Japanese people do not celebrate Thanksgiving the day before Black Friday.
  7. It often offers special bonus points campaigns with rewards for customers.
  8. You can buy limited-edition and Japanese-exclusive items at a low price.

Some retailers started to sell “fukubukuros” (the New Year´s mystery bag) on Black Friday.

Conclusion 

Taking advantage of Black Friday helps you attract customers from the start of the holiday season. With low prices, you can penetrate the market offline and online. It is common for Japanese customers to spend their yearly winter bonuses on highly discounted items from November to January. To unleash your full holiday selling potential, it’s advisable to run different promotions that include Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year´s sales.

How COVUE Can Help You

COVUE can help you streamline your business operations every day of the year. With our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services, we unlock your business potential in Japan. Our services include eCommerce, Importer of Record, Inbound Logistics, and more.

Top products to sell during holiday seasons

 Top 6 Product Categories to Sell During the Holiday Season 

During the holiday season, you will find a wide range of products on sale. Do you know what products Japanese consumers will be looking for?

Listed below are the top 6 product categories during the holidays.

  1. Apparel

During Christmas and New Year, Japanese people will look for the biggest discounts on fashion. Starting in January, consumers can purchase so-called “fukubukuros” (mystery bags) from their favorite brands. Selling these bags will allow your customers to explore your product range as a seller.

  1. Electronics

During November and December, you will find some fantastic deals on electronics. Japanese customers usually receive salary bonuses. Consequently, they purchase highly discounted laptops, smartphones, cameras, and other items.

  1. Household Appliances

You can buy household appliances at a cheaper price such as laundry machines, rice cookers, coffee makers, and others during the holiday season. Being a seller in Japan, you want to pile up your stock with new items for the next year. That is why your customers will take the chance to purchase products for a lower price that are still sitting in your stock.

  1. Cosmetics

Shortly before Christmas, so-called “Christmas Coffrets” are being sold. These bundles include cosmetics like lipsticks, makeup, and more in a set for a fraction of the original price. Knowing this as a seller, you can offer sets like these to boost your sales.

By considering seasonal sales practices, you can be ahead of your competition.

Read more

  1. Accessories

Despite that there is no gift-giving culture in Japan, it´s quite common for couples or families to exchange gifts. Accessories like rings, necklaces, bracelets, and more are popular as presents. In combination with attractive packaging and a reasonable discount, you can leverage your sales.

  1. Toys

On behalf of Santa Clause, some Japanese parents gift toys to their children at Christmas, according to this article. Children will also receive pocket money in an envelope on New Year’s Day, which they can spend on toys or sweets. Therefore, you can offer toys for a lower price online and offline.

 Conclusion 

You can expect a higher profit from November to January when selling one of the product categories presented above. By adding a seasonal touch and reducing the price, you can increase your sales even more. It´s best to familiarize yourself with the Japanese holiday seasons and traditions to adapt your customer experience. Your competitive advantage lies in that.

How COVUE Can Help You 

Enter the Japanese market with our End-to-End Japan Market Entry Services. We are experts in cultural implications, import procedures, and product compliance. Be prepared for holiday sales all year long with us!

Resources

https://matcha-jp.com/en/1929

https://livejapan.com/en/article-a0000672/

https://sugoimart.com/blogs/sugoi-mart-blog/black-friday-in-japan-where-to-get-great-deals-and-big-discountshttps://www.jrailpass.com/blog/christmas-in-japan

Top 10 Best-Selling Product Categories in Japan

As Japan continues to be one of the largest economies in the world, hundreds of businesses are trying to gain a share of the Japanese market by attracting potential customers with offers and discounts.

Planning to start or expand your business in Japan but confused about which business to go into or what products can bring you more sales? Here are the best-selling product categories in Japan you should know.

1. Fashion Products

Japan has a massive, vibrant, interesting, and fiercely competitive fashion market. The Japanese people put a lot of time and effort into looking stylish. There are many unmet demands and unexplored opportunities in Japan which provide new avenues for further growth and investment, especially with foreign business owners

There is a wide range of products you can offer like jeans, corporate suits, shoes, sleepwear, jewelry, accessories, handbags, etc. Reminder: Make sure to do your research and identify your target consumers first before you sell anything. If you need help, COVUE is here!

2. Consumer Electronics

Electronics is one of the most lucrative markets for sellers in Japan, with an average revenue per user that far exceeds other listed countries. Electronics in Japan is one of the most demanded products in Japan. Almost every household has at least one electronic appliance.

The top electronics products to sell are LED TVs, digital cameras, video surveillance, generators, inverters, Bluetooth speakers, and so on.

Keep in mind that selling and importing electronic products in Japan might be regulated by Japanese law according to JET (Japan Electrical Safety & Environment Technology Laboratories).

3. Phones and Accessories

Used in daily life and discovered as fashionable accessories – phones, and their accessories are popular among customers in Japan. Brands like Apple, Samsung or Xiaomi are often sold as well as their chargers, screen guards, earphones, chargers, power banks, phone cases, memory cards, and smartwatches. Just like electronics, these products are under the regulated category and need additional documentation when importing.

Know the process of importing phones and other electronics here

4. Baby Products

Japanese parents prefer high-quality baby products and are willing to spend money. Products to sell are diapers, baby food, wipes, diaper bags cribs, baby clothes, and more!

5. Laptops and Gadgets

Laptops and gadgets are often used in daily life – at work, at school, and at home. The demand for new and better products rises. Despite that, these products have a high return rate. So it´s crucial to make sure you can offer repair and return services within Japan. Also, you should check if all necessary spare parts and accessories are available here.

Know more about return and repair services in Japan

6. Cosmetics

Japanese customers’ desire for new and improved cosmetic products can drive your sales if you use the right marketing techniques and platforms. Trends on social media are constantly changing, so it’s important to stay on top of them. Women in Japan are looking for cosmetic products such as eyelashes, makeup, contact lenses, and more. You can choose from a wide range of products and specialize in a particular niche.

Know more about importing cosmetics in Japan

7. Gaming

Games have become more popular among all genders. They are high in demand. Most people purchase and play games online from the comfort of their homes. Aside from games, you can also sell consoles, accessories, collections, and fan articles.

8. Furniture

Furniture such as sofas, chairs, and tables come in all different forms, shapes, and sizes. They are highly demanded by Japanese customers and are found in every house. Whether you run a small woodworking factory or dropship furniture, it’s crucial to find the most efficient shipping methods and to support customers in the assembly process.

9. Health and Beauty

Women in Japan especially want to maintain a youthful appearance. Therefore, you can supply the market with beauty and health products as there are many niches to cover. Skincare, hair care, and oral care are a few products you can offer.  

Content localization of your products is one important factor to be successful in Japan. Here’s why!

10. Home and Office Equipment

Whether at work or at home, equipment such as microwaves, fridges, laundry machines, or kettles are essentials. Stepping into that market allows you to participate in a category that will always be frequented by customers.

Conclusion

Evidently many different categories are being sold highly, ranging from electronics to baby products. When buying a product, Japanese consumers tend to prioritize innovation, quality, and popularity.

You can determine if your products are suitable for the market by identifying customer groups, their buying behavior, and their needs. When importing to Japan, be aware of the compliance regulations for different product categories.

How COVUE can help?

Our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services help you to enter the Japanese market. We can answer your questions concerning different import procedures, product compliance, and suitable business strategies. Let us act as your extended operational arm in Japan – everything you require, tailored to your needs.

Content Localization

Importance of Content Localization in Your Business in 2022

Do you want more customers to engage with your brand and remain loyal to it?

Would you like those customers to purchase a higher number of products from you and to buy them more frequently? Content localization might be the key!

The importance of content localization is often underestimated by foreign sellers. A comprehensive localization strategy will make a difference to your success in Japan.

What is Content Localization?

Content localization is the process of converting written content from one language to another. The process of localizing content is not just about changing words and phrases; it’s also necessary to think carefully about how your target audience will receive each new message.

4 Advantages Of Content Localization That Let You Beat Your Competition. 

  1. Localized content helps to improve customer satisfaction and increase conversion rates, inquiries, and sales.
  2. Less than 10% of the population has fluent English proficiency in Japan according to this study. Japanese customers are more engaged with localized content due to its concise messaging and ease of understanding.
  3. Often it´s more cost-efficient to repurpose and localize your content than to produce new for your marketing.

In some cases, it´s necessary to adapt all content to the new domestic market to avoid any misunderstandings with your messaging.

How to Develop a Powerful Content Localization Strategy.

Specify your target group and geographical area.

The more detailed you set the specifics of your audience, the better your further research results in a good outcome.

Do your market research on trends and customer behavior.

Japanese customers are different. If you underestimate how they decide to buy a product, your chances of succeed are low.

Decide on the contents that need to be adapted.

Depending on your research results, you need a set of contents like images, videos, or text that need to be localized to the taste of the target group.

Don´t localize the content on your own.

Being an overseas company, it´s not sufficient to use a simple translator to locate content. You should get support from a local expert.

Conclusion

Content localization seems like a load of work and is often not the first thing that is minded by overseas sellers when expanding to Japan. However, if you want to scale your business here, then the adaption of content is inevitable. Specifying the target group, doing research on their local preferences and last but not least localizing the content are some of the essential parts to present your brand attractively to the market.

In short: The better your content is localized, the higher will be your sales.

Need Help in Japan Content Localization?

It can be overwhelming to customize the content to an audience that you are not familiar with and a language you don´t understand. To entrust experts with this task is a smart move instead of wondering about the odds of the Japanese market.

As part of our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services, we at COVUE take over your content localization and interpret your content so that it attracts the market effectively.

Japan Ecommerce

 Getting Into Ecommerce In Japan

Tackling the ECommerce market in Japan is the best way to grow your business in the country of the rising sun successfully.

How are you planning to set foot in the Japanese market? Let´s take a look at how to get into eCommerce in Japan.

Quick Overview Of The Fast Growing Ecommerce Landscape In Japan.

As of today, Japan is the world´s 4th largest e-commerce market and it´s estimated that the eCommerce space in Japan will expand by 6% yearly until 2025 according to EcommerceDB. More than 74% of the Japanese population is already buying products on e-commerce marketplaces and this number is continuing to grow. In other words, the Japanese e-commerce market leaves plenty of opportunities for you as a seller to scale up your business by expanding to Japan.

Top 5 Best Ecommerce Sites In Japan 2022

1. Amazon Japan

As the global leader in eCommerce, Amazon has expanded into several countries, including Japan. As a foreign seller starting to sell in Japan, Amazon FBA is an excellent option for you because Amazon and Rakuten share a third of the Japanese eCommerce market volume.

2. Rakuten

With Rakuten’s E-commerce platform, you can sell directly to consumers in many categories such as electronics, clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and more. Consequently, Rakuten is one of the first choice of foreign sellers when expanding their business to Japan.

3. Yahoo! Shopping/ Yahoo! Auction

Apart from its counterpart Yahoo! Auction in Japan, Yahoo! Shopping Japan is another popular eCommerce website. Similar to Rakuten, it offers a wide range of products to its customers.

4. Mercari

Mercari is another popular marketplace that seems like an advanced online flea market. This platform allows those in need of a product to get in touch with those who wish to sell their unwanted items. Through Yamato Transport and Japan Post agreements, users can anonymously send products from local convenience stores through Mercari.

5. Zozo Town

Zozo Town is Japan’s most popular fashion-specific e-commerce site. Their customers can choose from a wide range of mainstream and niche products from domestic as well as international companies.

 How To Get Started In Japan Ecommerce  2022

Selling on eCommerce platforms in Japan can be challenging for you as a foreign seller who takes first steps into unknown waters. Before you dive into the expansion of your business actively, there are four questions to consider when you wish to accelerate your business in Japan successfully.

1. Do your expansion intentions align with your current business situation?

When expanding your business to a foreign country like Japan, great chances await you. However, the risk is often higher. If you are already an established seller in your own country or several others, then you are aware of the potential opportunities and issues as well as the financial aspects that will occur. In this case, you are better prepared to start selling in Japan. Therefore it´s not recommended to expand to Japan when you are still an inexperienced seller.

2. What are the legal and tax regulations of Japan when importing?

Knowing and following the rules prevents problems from coming up when you enter the Japanese market. Before selling your products, you need to import them to Japan. Some preparations must be made in advance and there is one mandatory that helps you to get your goods into the country. You need an IOR (Importer of Record) who is liable for submitting the legally required paperwork and the payments of import taxes and duties in Japan. With the right IOR by your side, you can simplify the import process.

Learn more about IOR (Importer of Record)

3.   What is the best shipping option for you when your products land in Japan?

An eCommerce marketplace is a great place to start if you are just about to expand to Japan. The platforms with the largest market share are Amazon Japan and Rakuten. They are frequented by millions of Japanese customers every day. Among the top Japanese marketplaces, Rakuten Ichiba offers support in English to foreign sellers. Moreover, Amazon Japan offers Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) in Japan, meaning that Amazon handles your inbound logistics in Japan. As an ecommerce seller, you might find it easiest to ship and sell through one of the biggest marketplaces if you do not want to deal with distributors and third-party logistics.

Learn more about selling on Amazon and Rakuten.

4. What market research do you have to conduct?

Expect the unexpected – that is the best way to describe the nature of the Japanese market and its customers. Their mindset and preferences are quite different from what you are used to. Unless you want to stumble and fail by exploring the market without further research, you better do an extensive analysis of the Do´s and Dont´s when selling to Japanese people. An overall localization of your products, your web shop, your brand and more has to be a part of your expansion strategy in order to scale your business in Japan.

The  6 Biggest Challenges Of Doing Ecommerce Business In Japan Today. 

  1. Rising finished product costs.
  2. Creating steady supply chains for the market demands.
  3. Developing and executing an overall digital strategy for Japan.
  4. Understanding the Japanese market and its consumers.
  5. Localization of the content tailored to Japanese preferences.
  6. Providing customer support with proficient Japanese-speaking staff.

Conclusion 

Establishing a successful eCommerce business in Japan is determined by the strategy you put in place from the start. Choosing which product is best to sell on which platform in Japan is only one milestone on the path of decisions you have to pass. Without further market research, your chances to set ground in the Japanese eCommerce market are low. However, if you take advantage of the existing options and select the ones that suit you well, you can expand your eCommerce business smart, easily, and fast.

How COVUE Can Help  You

We at COVUE understand the challenges you face when you are about to expand to the promising eCommerce market in Japan. That´s why we offer our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services to serve your needs, answer all your questions and act as your extended operational arm in Japan.

DAISO

Popular Japanese 100-yen store Daiso now has an online shop

You can now shop for 30,000 products all day, every day – if you’re in Japan

Daiso is a great place to shop for, well, pretty much anything. Need kitchen or tableware? Daiso. Boxes, folders, and bins to keep your home organized? Daiso. Socks, mittens, and caps to keep you warm? Daiso. Seasonal decorations? You guessed it: Daiso.

If anything, the beloved 100 yen store chain might have too much cool stuff. Daiso’s product lineup is far too extensive for any one shop to stock all of it, so you might not be able to find the exact thing you’re looking for at your local branch. Thankfully, though, there’s now a Daiso that not only has tens of thousands of items, but is even open 24 hours a day, thanks to the opening of the Daiso online shop.

The store’s full version launched on October 13. Just like in the chain’s physical stores, it’s filled with treasures that cost just 100 yen each. There are roughly 30,000 to choose from, with the website allowing you to search for specific items by name or browse through various categories.

High-rollers in the prefectures of Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Hokkaido, Aomori, Fukushima, Miyagi, Akita, Iwate, and Yamagata can also order around 6,000 different items from Daiso’s 300-yen Threeppy sub-brand.

Items can be purchased individually, but you do need to put together a total bundle of at least 1,650 yen. Shipping is 770 yen for almost all of Japan, with the exceptions of Hokkaido (880 yen) and Okinawa (2,970 or 3,300 yen, depending on exact location). However, orders of 11,000 yen or over qualify for free shipping, so pooling your Daiso desires with those of a few friends into a single bundle should get you over that hurdle.

Shop DAISO here https://www.daisojapan.com/

Amazon reportedly copied products and manipulated search results to benefits its own brands in India

Amazon.com Inc has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers. The company has denied the accusations.

The employees used internal data to copy products sold by other companies on the platform in India, said Reuters, citing “thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents.” They also reportedly rigged search results so the company’s private-brand products would appear among the first two or three product listings. Two executives at Amazon reviewed the India strategy, according to Reuters. 

Although Amazon says its search rankings do not give preference to its own offerings. Only reward measures like low prices, the company used techniques to give itself a leg up in results.

The measures included ones usually reserved for raising the profile of mostly new products. Like, “whose sales are so low that there are insufficient data for the company’s technology to rank them”. Banners above typical rankings too.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company believes the allegations are “factually incorrect and unsubstantiated. Adding that Amazon strictly prohibits the “use or sharing of non-public, seller-specific data for the benefit of any seller, including sellers of private brands.” The spokesperson also said Amazon displays search results based on relevance to a customer’s search query and doesn’t favor its own private brand products. 

Not the first time…

In 2020, Wall Street Journal reported Amazon allegedly used third-party’s data to create its own products to compete with top-selling items. Amazon had 111 private brands, offering 22,617 products as of early 2020, according to Dataweave. Half of Amazon’s private products were in clothing, footwear, and accessories. Amazon has repeatedly said it does not use internal data or amend search results in favor of its own items. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reiterated that stance when he testified before Congress in July 2020. A month before Bezos testified, Amazon had established a Counterfeit Crime Unit to bring “counterfeiters attempting to list counterfeit products in its store to justice,” according to its statement. Amazon is under antitrust investigation in the U.S., Europe, and India for alleged anti-competitive practices. 

Private label marketing has a long history in retail. And many brands including Target, Costco, and Walmart, rely on in-house products for a sizeable portion of their revenues. Still, the documents show that Amazon has been able to leverage its power as the world’s largest e-commerce platform. 

 

 

10 Best Selling Consumer Products in Japan

The consumer society we live in is rapidly changing and the outcome is often surprising. Economic conditions affect our shopping habits and it seems that now we’re being smarter when it comes to spending money.  It appears that we are no longer buying things we don’t need as much as we used to and we don’t do it impulsively but we rather think twice before paying for something. However, this does not mean that we now avoid shopping at all costs or that we shop less, it is simply that consumers are now careful how they spend their money.

 Japanese consumers were not very likely to spend much time at home a few years ago, but now, according to a survey, 46% of them prefer spending time at home. We reviewed the market research in Japan, and we made a list of products and products categories that recorded the highest sales growth last year. We present to you the 10 best-selling consumer products in Japan.

10. Bath And Shower

These products can hardly decline in sales despite the poor economic conditions in many countries. Such is the situation in Japan too, where there is a great demand for bath and shower products that contain skincare benefits. They have seen a strong performance lately as consumers want their bath and shower products to be efficient as well as fragrant, for example, mineral-rich bath salts or antibacterial liquid soap.

9. Organic Beverages

Due to the latest trends and people becoming more concerned about their health and the ingredients found in the food and drinks, organic beverages are in demand in recent years, with 1% growth in value terms. However, most of the organic products in Japan are imported and organic production in this country remains limited, according to the market research.

8. Sports Nutrition

Sports Nutrition deserved a place on our list of best selling consumer products in Japan, as it saw a 2% value growth last year and sales reached JPY 24 billion. This is largely due to the fact that more people are now physically active and do sport. It is expected that sales will continue to grow at a modest 1% rate in the future.

7. Vitamins And Dietary Supplements

Among the most popular consumer products in Japan are also vitamins and dietary supplements. According to the research, vitamins and dietary supplements recorded a 2% increase last year, and it is expected that in the future it will continue to grow reaching sales of JPY 1,181 billion.

6. Video Games

Video games remain one of the best selling consumer products in Japan with a 2% current value increase, according to the research. Sales reached JPY 1.4 trillion last year, which is a major improvement compared to the previous years. Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Classic Mini are the leaders of this sales growth, and it is predicted that it will remain this way in the future.

5.Writing Instruments

Even though consumers everywhere are now switching to convenient digital devices, unlike in many other countries, writing instruments in Japan continue to record sales growth in 2017. Japanese consumers continue to buy high-quality writing instruments despite the economic downturn, and this may have something to do with the fact that consumers get attached to writing instruments regarded as personal items.

4. Organic Food

Organic products seem to be a worldwide trend that is becoming more and more popular among consumers. Concerned about their health, consumers rush to buy organic food in their attempt to decrease the number of harmful ingredients. They are now more careful about the ingredients found in the food, and Japanese consumers are among them. Organic packaged food saw a value growth of 2% in 2016.

3. Watches

Although watches saw a serious decline of 13% last year, the category recovered and saw a value growth of 2% in 2017. 2016 was a tough year for watches as only a few brands saw a positive growth, but this year the situation changed, and it is expected that there will be a steady growth for the rest of the year too. Luxury products are becoming popular again and so the average unit price of watches is going to increase.

2. Organic Coffee

For many of us, coffee is the most important beverage with which we start every day. Organic coffee is among the most popular and best-selling organic beverages in Japan. Coffee lovers who are concerned about what they are drinking are switching to a healthier alternative which is organic coffee. Organic coffee saw 3% value growth in 2016.

1. Ready Meals

For working men and women, it seems quite impossible to find time to prepare a homemade meal every day. That’s where ready meals come into the picture, with a positive sales growth of 4% in 2016 reaching the top of our list of 10 best-selling consumer products in Japan. Consumers everywhere seek convenient solutions and so they turn to ready meals to save time. This is also encouraged by the growing number of single-person households.

Facebook and Ray-Ban debut ‘smart’ shades

Facebook and iconic eyewear brand Ray-Ban on Thursday launched their new smart glasses, the latest effort in a tricky, niche market but which the social media giant sees as a step toward its future.

The “Ray-Ban Stories” shades can take pictures and video upon the wearer’s voice commands, and the frames can connect wirelessly to Facebook’s platform through an app.

“We took our Wayfarer (frames), born in 1952, and we reinvented the design squeezing in some cool technology,” said Fabio Borsoi, global research, and design director at the EssilorLuxottica group, Ray-Ban’s maker.

Facebook is wading into a market that has already seen 2013’s Google Glass, which sparked a privacy backlash over built-in cameras and prompted the tech titan to pivot its focus for the device away from the general public.

Messaging app Snapchat has also released its camera-equipped Spectacles, but they are pricey and have struggled to catch on broadly with tech lovers.

Notably, the Ray-Ban Stories glasses will not have augmented reality features — technology that can mesh online computing with visual cues such as mapping or face recognition.

Instead, the shades are an early step toward efforts to create futuristic eyewear that adds to real-world views with data or graphics from the internet, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said previously.

The company had said in July it was combining specialists from across its hardware, gaming and virtual reality units to build an immersive digital world known as the “metaverse.”

Priced starting at $299, the Ray-Ban Stories will roll out in Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the United States.

Cameras are built into the front of the frames, while the arms are designed to act as directional speakers for listening to calls or streamed audio.

A white light in the front of the frame goes on when the cameras are being used, which is intended as a privacy feature to alert people they could be filmed.

Users can take a picture or a video clip of up to 30 seconds by pressing a button at the temple or using a voice command, both of which can be cues that a camera is on.

“We need the user to feel completely in control of their capture experience,” said Facebook Reality Labs product manager Hind Hobeika.

“And, similarly, we need people around them to feel comfortable that these smart glasses exist and always be in the know when a capture is happening,” Hobeika added, referring to filming.

The glasses also have a physical switch for turning them off.

Users log into the glasses’ Facebook View app using their accounts at the social network.

Ray-Ban Stories frames sync wirelessly to a smartphone app designed specifically for handling images or video captured by the glasses.

Users can decide using the app whether they want to share pictures or videos they have just captured, such as posting to Facebook or attaching them to an email.

Only data needed to run the app is gathered, and no information is used for targeting ads, said Hobeika.

Driving Digital at the Speed of Expectation

Ever wonder why the term “digital” has become one of the biggest technology buzzwords? After all, we’ve had digital technology for over a half century, since the first commercially available computer correctly predicted that Eisenhower would win a landslide victory in the 1952 presidential election. Since then, we’ve been on a digital transformation journey that has fueled nearly every advancement in modern history.

So, why the renewed fascination with digital transformation?

To answer this, we must look beyond technology and understand the fundamental shift in consumer attitudes and behaviors that have accelerated technology adoption and given rise to a powerful new force: the speed of expectation. Only by understanding the consumer side of digital can we truly appreciate the groundbreaking implications of the digital economy and the tools, strategies and mindset required to lead it.

So, what exactly is “digital” anyway?

Unlike previous advancements where a singular invention, like electricity, brought about radical change, today’s digital revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that include social, mobile, cloud, internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and a slew of others. By themselves, these technologies are not revolutionary. But together, they have created a powerful set of force multipliers whose combined effect is creating a new reality to which every company must adapt.

The intersection of these four forces is the essence of present-day digital:

Pervasive connectivity – Through IoT and social technologies, people are more connected now. Not only are people connected to other people, but also to devices, and those devices are connected to each other.

Extensive mobility – Mobile has put the power of computing in our pockets, giving us the freedom to “plug in” from anywhere at any time. This enables a world that is always on and accessible.

Scale on-demand – The digital economy runs on big data that requires massive computing power and storage. Cloud services provide unlimited power and the flexibility to adjust resource consumption as needed.

Intelligent machines – Machines and software don’t have to rely on human programmers anymore. Instead, they use AI/ML to sift through massive datasets and learn to solve problems on their own.

Behind the scenes

While digital technology is disrupting the global economy, there’s another more subtle phenomenon happening behind the scenes with consumers. Every advancement throughout history, from the steam engine to the internet, has taken years to gain mass adoption and establish a lasting impact on society. It’s hard to imagine now, but electricity took 46 years before it became the primary source of power. After centuries of technology advancing ahead of human capability, consumers have finally caught up and are now demanding better experiences.

Be careful when the belt is in motion

This cycle of continuous disruption is reminiscent of an episode of I Love Lucy in which Lucy and Ethel were tasked with wrapping candy on a fast-moving conveyor belt. At first, the pace was manageable. But as the belt sped up, the women became overwhelmed and resorted to stuffing candy in their mouths. Fortunately for Lucy and Ethel, the factory foreman intervened to turn off the belt. The cycle of digital innovation, however, has no such safety valve. Companies not only have to contend with developing better user experiences, but they must do it at the speed of expectation.

Simply put

Half a century later, the digital revolution is still going strong. Today, the technology is vastly different — smarter, faster, more accessible and connected. But more disruptive than the technology itself is the unrelenting pace of innovation and the consumer adoption and empowerment accompanying it. Viewing digital transformation through this customer-focused lens, perhaps the essence of digital is more appropriately reduced to just one sentence: Your company is becoming digital if it is able to continuously deliver better customer experiences at the speed of expectation.

Notice there’s no mention of technology. Instead, the focus is on creating value continuously at a pace that aligns with consumer expectations. Technology plays an important role, but to be effective it must be matched with adjustments in organizational mindset, competency and agility.

Consider each component of this definition:

Continuous delivery can’t be achieved without an iterative development model with short deployment cycles measured in weeks — not months and years. This requires revamping organizational skills and adopting new processes for resource allocation and funding.

Better customer experience can’t be delivered using only the narrow lens of surveys and focus groups to gather insights. Companies must learn to use the social web to engage customers in co-creation activities that cultivate mutual value and earn trust. This too requires unique competencies that must be developed or acquired.

Operating at the speed of expectation requires an agile computing environment that can scale and pivot quickly. It also requires a flatter organization to expedite decision making and push it closer to where value is created and captured.

In all these examples, it’s clear digital’s disruptive forces present more of a challenge in adapting mindset than adopting new tools. Using digital-age tools with an industrial-age mindset may provide short-term gains, but won’t lead to better customer experiences that endure.

Technology will always come and go. What is here to stay is the giant leap in speed and agility required to succeed in a customer-centric economy.