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Mobility Data Unlocks Opportunities in Emerging-Market Megacities

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Devin de Vries


Governments can use public transport data to inform policymaking. Commuters benefit from real-time data on traffic or public-transport status. Yet, the biggest—and largely overlooked—use for mobile data could be for businesses themselves. 

Infrastructure planning firms, research organizations, and banks use cutting-edge data sources to help make cities smarter. For investors, mobility data plays a role as a useful indicator of economic trends. More widely, all businesses benefit from understanding how their customers move, and where they travel every day. But what’s even better is finding the next set of customers that will help grow your business. 

Mobility Data Unlocks Opportunities in Emerging-Market Megacities

Innovative mapping and data-gathering technologies reveal previously unseen patterns in people’s movements, particularly in emerging markets, where data production starts from a much lower baseline. This information is helping firms make better decisions on how and where to invest. 

For any consumer-facing firm, mobility data can unlock a new view into potential customers, including the over 2 billion people in emerging-market megacities who rely entirely on public transport. 

Innovation Brings New Data Sources 

Traditional mobility data comes from point-in-time measurements such as traffic counts or public-transport ridership estimates. Expensive and time-consuming to collect, these older tools leave governments largely blind to the dynamism of the mobility ground truth in their cities. The methods are also of limited use to investors looking at market trends, or looking for new opportunities to build out real estate and infrastructure along transport thoroughfares. 

We can now do much better. GPS tracking from mobile phones is one example, cutting across transport modes to tell us where people walk, bike, drive, or ride. Smarter traffic lights can serve as information sources while also giving pedestrians the time they need to cross the street. Many companies are working to create platforms that integrate new and traditional data sources to build a comprehensive model of the entire city. 

Better Data for Smarter Cities 

At the highest level, mobility data tells us where people are going and when. But it can also tell us where people want to go, but can’t. 

In other words, we can now quickly see where there is a mismatch between what cities offer and what citizens want. Businesses can find opportunities in those gaps. 

Planning firms and research

Take infrastructure planning firms, research organizations, and banks, which all form part of the tapestry of organizations that help make and implement urban planning decisions. 

Their influence comes largely through advice for planning and research firms, which improves with better data use. For example, improved survey technology also allows consulting and planning firms to collect statistically significant samples of origin-destination data—telling us not just which public transport routes are heavily used, but where the passengers actually want to go. 

Using GPS mobile phone data

INRIX, a transport data firm, pulled in individual GPS mobile phone data to understand the impact of pedestrianization programs on mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, the data goes beyond anything that is publicly available. For the good data that leads to good advice, the value far outweighs the cost. 

Banks using mobility data

Banks are using data to prioritize mobility investments. The World Bank, for example, worked with a team in Kenya to identify crash hotspots (blogsdotworldbankdotorg) in the Nairobi road network. The analysis is helping prioritize investments with the Bank’s financing. 

Financing transport infrastructure investments

When financing transport infrastructure investments, banks can now account for the entire mobility landscape. For example, the World Bank contracted my firm, WhereIsMyTransport, to provide comprehensive public transport network data for seven African cities. The Bank used this data to inform its investment evaluations for bus, rail, and other urban planning considerations across the continent. 

Using a central source of reliable data

In each of these cities, the effort was the first time that the organization had benefited from a central source of comprehensive and reliable public transport network data, including the flexible and privately run vehicles that make up the vast majority of the network. In most emerging-market cities, more than two-thirds of public transport services operate in this way, without fixed timetables or fares, and with varying oversight from government entities. 

Ten years ago, collecting data on independently operated public transport outside the sphere of government-run services would have been impossible (or at least prohibitively expensive). Now, with data-gathering software built for the purpose, it’s scalable to every city in the world. 

Mobility Data Means Big Business 

Aggregated mobility data give investors valuable economic clues. For example, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Google and Apple have provided summary mobility reports that have helped inform policy but have also been crucial for investors. 

Economics research firms.

Economics research firms now view information on people’s movements as an integral source of “alternative data” that they gather and sell to hedge funds and other investors. For example, Bloomberg notes that mobility data can be “a direct reflection of economic activity and… provides insights into the direction of the economy.”

Granular mobility data can tip off businesses.

On the other end of the spectrum, granular mobility data can tip off businesses about where their customers go or where their next customers are. Just as governments want to know what type of street reforms attract people, companies are looking to invest in the types of areas that tend to prosper. They also want to invest in places where people are already traveling but aren’t yet well served. 

A simple heuristic for placing your business to reach consumers: find the roads or public transport that move people between home and work. Indeed, research shows many companies do this already. For example, a study from the Netherlands showed that when firms move, they typically choose locations near roads or public transport.

Helpful transport links on a map.

Looking at transport links on a map seems to be a fairly old-school way to locate a business, far removed from the cutting-edge recommendations that ReadWrite readers look for. Instead, the innovation comes from going a level deeper, looking at individual movements daily, and looking at places where even a map is proprietary. 

92% of the largest lower-middle-income cities lack a complete map of their public transport network, suggesting large gaps in mobility data more broadly. But, particularly with newly available datasets in emerging economies, we now have comprehensive information on how people move in the world’s largest, fastest-growing cities. While getting your hands on that data can come with a cost, doing so gives a leg up over other firms.

Direct to the customer e-commerce.

Reaching people in emerging-market megacities is one of the few fast-growing global markets where there has been relatively little serious competition from heavyweight developed-world organizations.

Although that is now changing, with investments flowing in from telecoms to direct-to-consumer e-commerce. Traditionally, businesses tend to be local, as international players are deterred by information barriers and the perception that these markets are complex and unpredictable. Nevertheless, the scale argument is easily answered: a Brookings Institution study of the world’s largest cities found that 80 percent of the top 60 performers came from emerging markets.  

The information barriers are quickly breaking down.

Traditionally, supply chains in emerging-market cities are hyperlocal by necessity, since shops and wholesalers need to be on the ground to respond to demand. As a result, companies must sell through several layers of distributors to finally reach consumers. Each layer adds costs, decreasing the market’s attractiveness. 

That is no longer the case. With city-level datasets, businesses can play on equal footing, knowing where their customers go each day, how they get to work, and which shopping centers they stop at on the way. 

Showing the Way Forward

New sources of mobility data are improving our cities and bringing new opportunities for businesses. Especially in emerging markets, now is the time to put that information to work.

Image Credit: martin pechy; pexels; thank you!

Devin de Vries

CEO and co-founder

Devin de Vries is the CEO and co-founder of WhereIsMyTransport – a mobility
technology company that develops products to improve the public transport
experience in emerging-market megacities, and delivers data services that
inform industry leading clients.

Politics

RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER

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ValueWalk


Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.

Russia’s Default

Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.

 

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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.

Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.

With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.

The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.

Data

Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.

Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.

This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.

The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses

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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses


Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.

Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.

Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.

Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.

What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?

E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
  • Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
  • Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
  • Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.

Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses

1. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.

Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.

Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.

2. Leesa

An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.

Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.

The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.

3. Modcloth

ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.

Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.

ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.

4. Amazon

Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.

Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.

Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.

5. Shopify

Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.

It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.

The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.

6. LARQ

LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.

LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.

The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.

7. Beer Cartel

Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.

Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.

One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.

8. Berlin Packaging

Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.

They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.

They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.

9. Bonobos

With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.

This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.

They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.

10. TOMS

The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.

What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.

Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.

What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?

Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.

Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.

Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.

Conclusion

Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.

If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Parth Pandya

“Nothing Is Impossible” – is a quote that guided me to climb up the toughest peak of my professional journey. Having a great zeal for excellence and ambitious nature to reach the peak, leads me uninterrupted to provide the best content to all the visitors. I like to read and share contents which are related to Technology Solution and Digital Marketing.

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What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?

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Gold Ban Mean for Stocks?


The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.

Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.

However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).

Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?

This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:

“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”

Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.

In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.

How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?

At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.

  1. The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
  2. Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
  3. The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.

Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.

Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.

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