Late Surge in Web Buying Blindsides UPS, Retailers

Do you do something to address these black swan type events (at a cost) or do you say screw it and just keep on trucking with your usual set up?

A surge in online shopping this holiday season left stores breaking promises to deliver packages by Christmas, suggesting that retailers and shipping companies still haven’t fully figured out consumers’ buying patterns in the Internet era.

via Late Surge in Web Buying Blindsides UPS, Retailers – WSJ.com.

Ecommerce sites are using data to minimize returns

TLDR: Ecommerce sites are using data to minimize returns.  I would worry if they weren’t taking a data driven approach to solving this problem!

Sellers Suggest Sizes and Redirect Discounts to Break Bad Habits…
Fashion discounter Rue La La, owned by Kynetic LLC, is testing a program that gives customers access to their own purchasing history, and also access to sizing data across its customer base, to help them make better purchases the first time around.

For instance, a customer who has continuously bought the same brand of dress shirts in both a small and a medium might see a note pop up saying: “Are you sure you want to order the small? The last five times you ordered both sizes, you only kept the medium,” Chief Executive Steve Davis said.

via Rampant Returns Plague E-Retailers – WSJ.com.

Understanding Google

A good read on Google’s strategy from an outsider’s pov.  Two points to make– first is that it discusses Google’s bet on a #multiscreen future. Second is that I pretty much agree with the thesis behind the overall article and am impressed because I don’t think the writer had the back channel access that I’ve had re: strategy.

  • Google believes that the future is multi-screen, and the most prominent screen in most consumers’ lives is the television
  • As a horizontal company, Google wants to be on every screen, and their vehicle to accomplish that across verticals, both from a technical and brand perspective, is Chrome

via Understanding Google | stratēchery by Ben Thompson.

Quote: “Google’s strategy is to get people to use the Internet more”

It’s actually a bit nuanced than this– it’s to get people the use the open internet.  This isn’t something we’re making up either.  Senior management and advisors I’ve talked to at Google speak about this openly.  It’s very advanced textbook tech strategy– something very few players in the valley have the option of following.

Mobile retail e-commerce strategy from McKinsey

This is a good post about ecommerce mobile strategy employed by some of the big e-commerce players.  It’s based on recent research from McKinsey’s iConsumer initiative.

Be clear about and reinforce the total value of the store.

Aggressively make mobile core to multichannel.

Work with suppliers to offer a more unique assortment.

Use digital offers to get users in stores.

Make it simple to buy.

Think local, act local.

via Mobile Consumer Showdown – Business Insider.

Who’s Vulnerable Among the Internet’s ‘Fantastic Four’? Techonomy Panelists Say It’s Apple And Facebook | TechCrunch

There’s a conference called Techonomy going on right now and some panelists were asked which big tech co was the most vulnerable.  My favorite part was this bit on Apple:

Apple’s stores could become a big weakness, too, Ellison said. Sure, they’re a “tremendous advantage” now, but Ellison said IBM had a similar network of stores, which “became an albatross in the ’90s.” To reinforce his point, he asked the audience if anyone had set foot in a Disney store recently, and no one raised their hands, but he said that that question would have gotten a very different answer a decade ago. Apple could follow a similar pattern, Ellison argued. If its product momentum slows, the stores could become a big drain rather than an asset. (via Who’s Vulnerable Among the Internet’s ‘Fantastic Four’? Techonomy Panelists Say It’s Apple And Facebook | TechCrunch.)

Owning your own distribution by building stores is great when you have a hot product because it builds more leverage in your value chain.  However, that leverage can come back to bite you in the ass if your product begins to stumble.

What would Apple do when it gets to that point?  Can you imagine the day that Apple has to start selling Microsoft and Google devices in their stores?  Or do you think they’d just shut down their stores?

 

Mark Zuckerberg: “We have a team working on search.”

Zuckerberg on search.

“We do on the order of a billion queries a day, and we’re basically not even trying.” Most of those are people trying to find people, but it’s also people trying to find brands and apps.

The “legacy” search business: “You type in some keywords and it does some magic.” It’s changing into giving you answers. “Facebook is uniquely positioned to give you answers.” He gives examples of finding sushi restaurants your friends have liked, or finding a job at companies where your friends work.

“We have a team working on search.”

via LIVE: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks For The First Time Since Facebook’s IPO – Business Insider.

This is actually some of the worst advice for startups, not the best

Contrary to the title, this is some of the worst advice for startups:

Some of the best advice for Startups I’ve read for a long time (II) – broadstuff.

If you do this sort of Porter’s Five Forces type analysis for every startup idea you have, you will never launch anything.  While the post is a great analysis of the 10X Revenue Club, I never recommend this as reading for aspiring entrepreneurs.  There’s a huge difference in a post that describes the quality of an IPO-ready company vs. a post that provides guidelines for entrepreneurs.  Do not conflate the two or you will do yourself a huge injustice.