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MEET ROMAINE COLEY

Way’s Scholarship Winner, January 2019

HOMETOWN

Atlanta, GA

MAJOR

Aerospace Engineering

UNIVERSITY

Georgia Institute of Technology

Romaine’s Interview

a. How did you first hear about Way.com?

The first time I became aware of Way.com was while searching for scholarships online. I researched the company/institution that offers the scholarship that I am applying for. I was amazed that I didn’t hear of Way.com before then.

b. Are you familiar with what Way.com does?

Initially – no, but in my research I discovered that Way.com makes parking reservations available to clients. They assist in the procurement of tickets for events – including discounted movie tickets, as well as make restaurant reservations. This is a very comprehensive and well-needed service being provided to travelers from out of town, overseas or even local patrons. Way.com think of everything to make an event (or date) memorable and special. You don’t even have to worry about parking!

c. What do you feel is the future of internet retail?

Internet retail is here. Last week, I purchased a pair of training shoes without leaving my apartment – it was delivered right to my door! And it fits! I am a busy college student with limited time and resources and currently without transportation. I would have to take Uber to travel to the mall to purchase my sneakers, but because internet retail, I never left my apartment and I purchased my sneakers without fuss or hassle. Truthfully, I only go to the store to stock up on food, everything else I purchase online. I cannot say that internet retail is the future – internet retail is here! It is fast, convenient and hassle-free. The trajectory of internet retail will continue to expand as Baby Boomers join generation Xers and Millennials (Generation Y) in embracing internet retail shopping over traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ establishments.

d. How is Way.com paving a new road in internet retail?

Way.com has come up with a genius idea – and in the process – has taken internet retail to a new level. To take the hassle and headache out of parking one’s car when one is attending a function or a date, etc. is an excellent idea. To get reservations and tickets taken care of and arrive at your destination knowing where you would park and have the cost taken care of beforehand is a unique and genius idea. Accessing these services and selecting the price you wish to pay (for parking) is like shopping for any other commodity/service and puts the individual in a powerful position – in charge. Internet retail encompasses a wide variety of goods and services. One can purchase anything online - cars, food, clothing, medication, plane tickets, parking spaces, etc. We are living in an amazing time in history and I am excited to see what’s next.

e. What inspired you to be an Aerospace Engineering major?

I have always had an aptitude for math and physics. I also have a curiosity and desire to figure out how things work, and whether the way things work could be improved. I knew I wanted to study engineering, but I was uncertain what area of engineering I wanted to study. I was getting A’s in math and physics in high school and was introduced to Aerospace Engineering. I researched what an Aerospace Engineer does, and the various areas in the field that one could work. The more I learned about the field, the more intrigued I became. I discovered that Aerospace Engineers design aircrafts, spacecrafts, satellites, and missiles, and carry out pre-model tests on prototypes to ensure that they function according to design.

My desire is to become the best aerospace engineer that I can be, making my mark on the aerospace industry. This degree will be the opening I need to be taken seriously in my burning desire to work in the field. I plan to make my contribution in the aerospace industry, designing a safer, more efficient and economically sustainable aircraft for travelers.

MEET ANIRUDH VADREVU

Way’s Scholarship Winner, January 2019

HOMETOWN

San Ramon, CA

MAJOR

Management Information Systems

UNIVERSITY

University of Texas At Austin

Anirudh’s Interview

a. How did you first hear about Way.com?

I first heard about Way.com from my friend who referred me to the scholarship website. From there, I went into Way.com’s website and explored it and found out about a whole new market I had no idea existed.

b. Are you familiar with what Way.com does?

From what I gathered based on my brief visit to Way.com’s website, Way.com provides people with parking reservations, discounted movies, event tickets and restaurant options. I see it as a package that takes care of my entertainment needs from start to finish.

c. What do you feel is the future of internet retail?

I think internet retail is the future. Today, people are so busy that we want things to come to us. I’m currently in college and I have only gone to the store a handful of times. I usually take advantage of Amazon’s student discounts and just order everything straight to my dorm. It's so convenient and I think that this is the direction retail is moving in. Brick and mortar stores will always be there, but it will now be exclusive to niche markets.

d. How is Way.com paving a new road in internet retail?

I think that Way.com is taking internet retail to a whole new level. It's eliminating the parking struggle to make sure when you travel by car, there are no worries. You can look at all the parking options ahead of time and choose the best price. It’s a unique idea and I think that it goes to show how internet retail isn’t limited to just buying grocery items and electronics. It's changing the world around us for the better.

e. What inspired you to be an MIS major?

I was inspired to major in MIS because I loved technology and business. MIS is the perfect blend of those. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the world around us is being changed by technology and I think it’s crucial for us to know about it. I’m grateful to be studying this fascinating major and I would like to thank Way.com for helping me make this financially possible.

1. How it Works

a. Essay Topic

You must write a 750-1,000-word essay on the subject "The impact of Artificial Intelligence on Internet Retail"

Artificial intelligence has become an emerging area of interest for people of all industries. Artificial intelligence relies on deep learning and natural language processing to process copious amounts of data, recognize data patterns, and perform human-like tasks.

Artificial Intelligence provides virtual shopping capabilities that offer personalized recommendations and discuss purchase options with the consumer. It centers around client needs and ensures that the products marketed towards consumers are those that are of interest to them.

Today many Internet retailers use Artificial Intelligence to create a more personalized experience for the users. Based on this, in a concise essay answer these questions. Write an essay on your theory of the impact of artificial intelligence on Internet Retailing encompassing these 3 points of discussion:

1.How will customer relationship management be impacted by artificial intelligence?

2.How does artificial intelligence create personalized marketing for internet retailers?

3.How does artificial intelligence create a more efficient sales process for internet retailers?

b. Guidelines

Your essay should be written in a format that adheres to Academic Elements of Style using:

1. Introduction: a paragraph which outlines the 3 points to be discussed.

2. Body: paragraphs discussing each of the 3 outlined points in order.

3. Conclusion: A paragraph summarizing your 3 points and your theory.

This is an academic exercise in creatively writing about a subject. The essay will be checked for plagiarism. Footnotes are only required when quoting statistics. The quote should account for no more than 10% of the total word count and only used as support for your thesis.

Send us this essay, as well as the details listed in the Submission Process section below. We’ll review all the applications and award a scholarship to the best candidate. We’ll also take your financial needs, academic standing, and community participation into consideration.

2. Terms & Conditions

By participating in our scholarship, you agree to our terms and conditions.

  • Only graduating seniors in high school, freshmen, sophomores, under graduate in college between the ages of 16 and 25 are eligible to win.
  • We reserve the right to verify any information provided. If you do not comply with our requests for information within the deadlines provided, you will be automatically disqualified.
  • Your participation in our scholarship constitutes your consent for us to use your essay and personal information for the purpose of offering the scholarship and reporting to tax authorities where required.
  • There is no cost to apply for this scholarship. We will not request for any monies from you.
  • We will review all submissions but will only contact the winner. We reserve the right not to respond to any enquiries asking us if we have received your application.
  • It is our sole discretion in choosing who to award the scholarship and the winner may not be announced in public.If there are less than 10 applicants to the scholarship in any semi annual period, we may elect not award the scholarship.
  • The terms of this scholarship may be changed by us without any due notice.
Apply Now

To complete your application, please provide us with the following information:

  • Your essay
  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality & Where You Are Residing
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Last Attended School & Year of Graduation
  • Your intended place of study and course

Please submit your application as follows:

BY EMAIL – Send to Sharada Bose, waycare@way.com

We will pick a winner twice a year. We must receive your application at least 7 days before the deadline.

If you are the winner, we’ll contact you to confirm your mailing address before sending you the scholarship funds.

Thank you for applying. Get your education your Way!

Meet the Winners
Romaine-Coley

Romaine Coley

Winner, January 2019

Romaine is a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he’s studying Management Information Systems.

Anirudh-Vadrevu

Anirudh Vadrevu

Winner, July 2018

Anirudh is a student at the University of Texas at Austin, where he’s studying Management Information Systems.

MEET ROMAINE COLEY

Way’s Scholarship Winner, January 2019

HOMETOWN

Atlanta, GA

MAJOR

Aerospace Engineering

UNIVERSITY

Georgia Institute of Technology

Romaine’s Winning Essay

A company’s ability to be adaptable to market trends is key to growing customer-base and profit margins. Their adaptability to new and ingenuous ways to attract and satisfy customers, will determine their success. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications become more deeply imbedded in our world today, it continues to drive the growth of internet retail, offering personalized virtual shopping at a fraction of the cost of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

Forward-thinking companies are wisely incorporating AI in their business operations, including customer relationship management (CRM). Usually, CRM focused primarily on collecting, storing and providing data; omitting the ‘processes of extraction, analysis and interpretation’, which give value to the information received. Considering the continuous growth of information that organizations handle during the course of its operation, CRM needs the support of AI to adapt to the age of digital transformation.

Integrating AI with CRM will galvanize companies’ efforts to better understand customers, offering more efficient data management and providing valuable, customized products that are tailored to customers’ needs. The integration of AI and CRM is empowered by the Internet of Things (IOT): the physical devices, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, etc., which enables connection, collection and data exchange. IOT data, social networks and digital interfaces are merged in CRM, and interpreted and redirected by AI, providing the company with realistic value. Companies will be able to streamline and improve customer interaction with marketing techniques and customer queries, resulting in a speedy and precise response to customer requirements.

The top priority for retailers is to gain a competitive edge over their competitors, thus increasing their market share. To do this, retailers are attempting to differentiate themselves by creating a customer experience that is highly selected and organized, combining the ‘personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals’.

AI is assisting retailers to create a personalized, unique customer-experience for customers, utilizing videos, social media posts, personalized emails, and web content tailored specifically to meet the unique requirements of the business. With AI every client interaction can be used for optimization. Additionally, this personalized customer experience can cost much less than expensive advertisement campaigns.

AI businesses continue to change their strategies to lure customers, which has led forward-thinking and discerning companies to explore internet bots. A bot is a software that runs an automatic script when prompted by the user. One example is a chatbot, exemplified by Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri. The user asks the bot a question or give it an instruction and the bot responds to or performs the action appropriately. Retailers not willing to get in the AI arena risk losing loyal customers to more vibrant, driven competitors. The application of AI as a technological expertise can enable new opportunities and help achieve business goals.

Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, indicates that AI drives value, based on business outcomes around customer experience, cost reduction and revenue generation. Gartner projects that more than 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020. Luna Shirley supports this view as she mentioned in her article, ‘Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Online Fashion Retail’ (April 17, 2018), on Exponea.com that, “The ever-increasing scale and granularity of personalization in online fashion retail, are impossible to manage without the assistance of AI and related automated processes.” Based on common trends in the business environment today, retailers that are reluctant to embrace AI will find themselves at a disadvantage to their competitors that benefit from available cutting-edge tools.

Chatbots are probably the ideal solution for customer support communications. Modern chatbots have the capability to learn and store data about its users in real-time that results in a more personal and familiar environment.

Virtual shopping assistants compliment this implementation of AI, crafting a highly personalized and resourceful sales process. These assistants communicate with customers to select and organize their preferences, presenting them with a normal online shopping experience.

With AI, retailers use ‘Big Data (the collection and compilation of data from different channels, previous transactions, etc.) to determine trends in shopping habits. This analysis is used to personalize product recommendation. Internet retailers such as Amazon, eBay, Macys and others have been utilizing this tool for years.

AI evaluates customer taste, preference and behavior, and uses past information to predict what a customer desires. Its powerful internal machinery is able to display highly personalized products, and uses historical information to predict future purchases, as well as design customized sales strategy, based on past customer purchases. Through automated data entry and intelligent data analysis, retailers can create more precise profiles of the customers most likely to purchase their products, take custom-made actions to avoid the use of invasive advertising, and provide products of real interest to prospective customers. This will result in a positive awareness of the company’s brand and stimulate increase in customer volume. AI will also analyze customers’ emotions and create strategies that will increase their level of engagement.

There was widespread fear that the larger companies such as e-bay and amazon, would be the beneficiaries of internet retail. AI has proven this not to be so, but rather, AI has allowed, not only the large companies, but small and medium sized companies, equal opportunity to a slice of the ‘pie’, giving businesses equal access to the market and consumers; as well as an affordable platform with which to market products, lure, service and retain customers.

With a high level of personalization, access to customer relationship management tools to differentiate each company, and a powerful sales portal, AI has added more players to the e-commerce game by creating a customer experience that is highly selected and organized, combining the personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals.

MEET ANIRUDH VADREVU

Way’s Scholarship Winner, January 2019

HOMETOWN

San Ramon, CA

MAJOR

Management Information Systems

UNIVERSITY

University of Texas At Austin

Anirudh’s Winning Essay

As internet retail becomes evermore commonplace in society, the age-old battle between traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and Internet giants seems to be ending. With online sales growing 15% and accounting for 8% of total retail sales in 2016, online retail sales are at an all-time high, and don’t look to be slowing down. Free shipping, a huge selection, and large discounts are only a few of the reasons why online shopping is growing at an astounding rate, and with the industry reaching economies of scale, faster growth seems to be in the cards for the nearly $400 billion-dollar industry. Continued retail sales via the internet will continue to hurt established retailers that refuse to create an online presence for themselves. Internet shopping creates more competition as it levels the playing field for niche brands and smaller companies, all while providing consumers with more choices. Internet retail giants are allowing for niche retailers to move online with ease, while leading traditional retailers on a path towards extinction, and although prices are lower on a national scale, local and regional economies lose critical jobs. Internet retail can be helpful for the customer and for retailers of all sizes but can provide serious problems for local and regional economies.

Established retailers that refuse to create an online presence for themselves can only be hurt by continued retail sales via the internet. Although pure internet retail sales are growing at an increasing rate, pick-up-in-store purchases are also growing rapidly. Traditional retailers, like Walmart through their partnership with Jet.com, have allowed customers to purchase items online and pick them up in their local store. This technique allows traditional retails to build out an online presence while allowing customers to purchase additional items once in the store. These retailers are seeing that as online sales continue to grow, fewer customers are coming into stores to purchase their items and will slowly shift operations online. Even industries thought of as untouchable by online retail, like grocery, are slowly being brought online. Throughout the country, customers are picking up their phones instead of their car keys to purchase new items. If established retailers refuse to adapt to this growing trend, declining sales will be the least of their worries.

Many see the advent of Internet shopping benefiting giants, like Amazon or Jet.com, while leaving the little guy out. But Internet shopping produces more competition as it levels the playing field for companies of all sizes to find potential customers. Social media marketing and tools like SEO have allowed small retailers to push their products out to consumers across the world. Furthermore, economies of scale in the retail industry create opportunities for these small retailers to create and ship their products at a competitive price point, allowing for higher margins than many small businesses and a global reach. Amazon has been a key reason as to the advances in supply chain technology, and as the democratization of this technology continues, anyone can take advantage. As these supply chain and marketing tools become easier to use, smaller businesses can create, market, and ship their products to consumers across the world, leveling out the playing field with larger Internet retail companies.

The democratization and expansion of these technologies leads traditional retailers to an ultimatum: get online or become extinct. Brick and mortar stores of all sizes are threatened by Internet retail, regardless of how unique or niche their products may be. Previously, niche retailers used the growth of Internet retailers to create a strong brand, and drive customers into their stores. However, these niche brands have slowly been pushed online as well, leaving brick-and-mortar for the Internet. A niche brand hoping to sell its product can put together a website, organize supply chain logistics, and market its product in a matter of days, and create a brand that requires no investment of capital yet can reach the entire world. Websites like Etsy.com also help niche brands grow and find consumers, and handle logistics. All a niche retailer must do today is create an amazing product, and with the power of the Internet, can build their own brand or use websites like Etsy.com. Outdoor Voices is a prime example of a niche athleisure retailer that has used the Internet to build a huge and successful brand. Niche retailers can take advantage of the tools the Internet gives them to create a successful product unlike they ever could before, while traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are at risk of extinction.

Although the growth of Internet retail is great for the consumer, providing them with endless options and low prices, local and regional economies will begin to suffer as jobs move away from the traditional brick-and-mortal retail space. The nearly 5,000,000 American workers that are employed in the retail industry are at risk of losing their jobs, with no foreseeable alternative for many of them. As companies begin to shut down their brick-and-mortar stores in favor of moving operations online, workers must begin to find jobs elsewhere. Especially in rural parts of the country, the retail industry is a pivotal employer and contributor to the economy. Jobs leaving the retail industry rarely come back in other forms, and although prices for items across the country have dropped significantly due to Internet retail, local and regional economies will potentially lose millions of qualified workers, and the lifeblood to their economies.

Internet retail has changed the way consumers purchase products and view the world. The democratization and expansion of supply chain and marketing tools has lead to small retailers and niche brands being able to sell their products across the world. Brick-and-mortar retail is on the brink of extinction as companies move operations online, and consumers enjoy low prices and fast shipping. However, few see the risks Internet retail poses upon local and regional economies, and the potential havoc it could bring to millions of American workers. Regardless, Internet retail is here to stay.

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