There is a great decoupling happening in retail, a structural change. Similar to the decoupling that the computing industry went through, going from being vertically integrated to horizontal specialist. What does this mean for retailers? Retailers need to be clear on what their unique selling proposition is, that is why do customers choose them vs their competitor, or substitute; then double down on those things. Is it your wide assortment, price, convenience, customer service, maybe safety now, or some thing less rational. Everything else should be considered for outsourcing to horizontal specialist, those who are optimized to delivery a particular service, or product.
#010: This Game is Not One-Dimensional, You Have to Face the Customer with Shawn Harris, Global Innovation Strategy Lead, Zebra Technologies.
In this episode of The IoClothes Podcast, we speak with Shawn Harris, Global Innovation Strategy Lead for Zebra Technologies. The reality is, innovative products don’t just sell themselves and companies aren’t composed of just designers, developers and engineers. Someone has to interface with the customer, and keep the ship sailing along a strategic path, which includes profitability (that’s if you want to stay in business). Today, we shift gears and talk a bit about the struggles of retail, the importance of differentiating yourself in the marketplace and how are current relationship with MS Excel may be a sign of the future!
Highlights from a recent article in the South China Morning Post:
Retailers are feeling significant pressure as digital takes a greater and greater hold of the industry. Many say that digitization actually brings demonetization. This will result in a massive shift in the share pie for retailers. What once was a great traditional retail business, will become a much smaller primarily online business. I thought I'd take a stab at visualizing that. Thoughts?
While Supply Chain Management is a new term (first coined in 1982 by Keith Oliver from Booz Allen Hamilton in an interview with the Financial Times), the concepts are ancient and date back to ancient Rome. The term “logistics” has its roots in the Roman military. Additional definitions:
"When people talk about Zappos, it’s not just about the great pair of shoes they scored, but the awesome customer service they received. It truly has become a tangible asset that is synonymous with the Zappos brand. In extending the brand to hotels and beyond, the customer satisfaction bar will be set high. Execution will be key to protecting the brand’s equity. Also I could see some Amazon (the parent company) products and services being a part of this." ~Shawn Harris
"As discrete service offerings, both Ralph Lauren’s “taxi” and Saks’ merchandise delivery service would be of value to shoppers, as they should help to save a shopper’s time or otherwise bail them out in a time of need. However, they must be a part of a coherent strategy of driving footfalls that includes digital engagement. These services should feel like a natural fit to the overall experience, as opposed to feeling like a disjointed one-off." ~ Shawn Harris
"I recall one of my first lessons in grad school, “cash flow is king.” I think that a lot of people feel the same about how they manage their home finances. Though there is only a $20 annual net savings, I think that the $14.99 per month fee will significantly lower the barrier to adoption for many Prime members. I think that this pricing move, and the recently announced push for both AmazonFresh pickup locations and perishables-focused convenience stores will position them to continue to grow their online grocery business and grow share.
"I think that this offering coupled with the work they are doing in augmented reality is a winning solution." ~ Shawn Harris
I believe that 97.5 percent of today's traditional retailers will NOT survive the earthshaking transformation that is currently occurring in their industry. Changes in the customer shopping behavior and preferences, rise of on-line shopping, local and state government push to increase minimum wage, and uncertainty in the global economy have placed quite a few obstacles in front of retailers.
If Facebook announces the "Messenger Bot Store" at F8, as many predict, it would be arguably the most consequential event for the tech industry since Apple..