Best Buy's biggest missed mobile-first opportunity is during the mobile activation process. Best Buy only activates for the carrier making them a "dumb pipeline" for carriers.If Best Buy subsidized the mobile activation process within their store to provide discounts for installing the Best Buy mobile app and provided information on how to use a smartphone at Best Buy for BOPIS and how to lookup product information, they would create mobile customers at the time of activation.Why Best Buy is missing this opportunity at the activation phase escape me.
Nordstrom recently wrote down a $197 million loss on Men's Trunk Club which is the same strategy Target is now pursuing but expecting a different result.As someone who purchased a foam-based mattress that arrived in a big box brought by my mailman -- it was the most exciting experience I had purchasing a mattress (next to being scared of a mattress I bought flying off of my car onto the highway on the way home). The problem is that I purchased the foam mattress from Amazon.com with Prime membership from another manufacturer.Not one of the upstarts Target is investing in has Amazon-killer qualities and they appear to be "me-too" offerings. Amazon is investing in the product channel while Target is mistakenly chasing specific vendors.
I have to agree with the economic development and mixed-used aspect of why pop-ups will be the new norm. For several years, urban renewal strategies across US cities have included transforming deteriorating Main Streets to modular retailing to accommodate pop-up shops for entry-level retailers to get their feet wet. In addition, the emergence of "mixed-use" buildings with shopping/living may have to accommodate a majority of pop-ups to keep the retail spaces filled.
Eventually, virtual assistants such as Alexa will become the new purchase influencer and Amazon and Apple is doubling down on AI research.It is easy to create "sock puppets" or fake follower profiles or even better, attract followers based on the Laws of Triviality posting low-hanging fruit content unrelated to consumer decision or choice but crude humor or cuteness.I would veer away from human influencers and look towards bots and AI that can recommend a product, present a product using multimedia and facilitate a transaction/in-store pickup 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone who owns a connected device.
Is there a reason why Kellogg could not leverage scan-based trading for their loyalty program? The retailer could have easily sent an customer account as an extra parameter with the SBT, making the vendor-based loyalty program frictionless.What I'm seeing as a huge bottleneck in retailing is unscalable point-of-sale software unable to support omnichannel or vendors trying to cut out or bypass the retailer at the point of sale, the most critical moment of the purchase path.
I have to agree with this overlooked aspect. The major reason retailers fail is because of the numbers.A small retailer can follow all the advice in the article above but if the inventory, cash on-hand, end-of-day register count and strategic location are not managed correctly, that retail operation will fail.
AI-driven corporations are not 30 years away, they are more like three years away. The first phase of AI will be "augmented" not "artificial" intelligence that complements humans in decision-making and processes.There are several technologies in place:
Private cryptographic keys -- Bots can create computerized secret keys to perform digital signatures that are legally binding since a corporation is a legal entity.
Distributed ledgers -- several ledgers from accounting, articles of incorporation, stocks and bond assets and inventory assets can be verified by employee-shareholders. Bots can analyze the ledgers to optimize processes and maximize value.
Natural language -- AI can now understand contractual terms as well as business rules in plain English as well as humans.
I'm aware of an AI-driven vending machine project where the employee-shareholders vote with their private key and their private key is their actual stock certificate proof of ownership. No CEO, no board of directors or executive team. Three to five years, not 30 years.
This was a smart hack job against Google. Burger King exposed a vulnerability with voice-activated digital assistants and IOT devices where a pre-recorded commercial took control of a home device. I can see legal problems with invasion of privacy and would not recommend marketers repeat this tactic.What if a heat wave occurs over the summer and the electric company spokesperson on TV asking people to preserve electricity just walk up to the news cameras and say, "Okay Google, turn the air conditioner off"? do we really want this hack in our homes?
The fundamentals behind accumulating inventory of low-margin, short selling-lifespan products such as electronics and appliances has to be addressed by any retailer if they want to survive, period. The retail memorial is filled with names like Fretter, The Good Guys and Circuit City while preparing to accommodate future retailers such as RadioShack and now HHGregg.Retailers are failing due to the flawed supply chain pipeline of purchase ordering ubiquitous high-cost, low-margin products that may not sell or that become obsolete by the time they reach the sales floor. Retailers need to learn to stop holding the bag and find ways in the supply chain process to ensure they receive only what they can immediately sell. If not, it is just a matter of time.
There is a major misconception with the Fourth Industrial Revolution portraying manual labor replaced by "machine" robots and nothing can be further from the truth. Manual labor produces free energy based on a human calorie burning system whereas robots require fuel and other forms of physical energy harvested by the sun or coal mines and converted to energy at an additional cost.The real 4IR threat will be in the white-collar sector among management and analysts where robots are machine-learning to think about processes and optimization. In the supply chain, an AI entity can literally "talk" and even negotiate contracts and terms to another AI entity without human involvement. AI will be capable of providing instructions to the manual labor and also measure the performance of manual labor.The employee with the text-based keyboard in front of them attached to a computer should be figuring out how they can reposition themselves to teach machines as they are the most vulnerable to intelligent automation.
There are several categories of unbanked customers. The underclass unbanked customers described by Amazon for this service are unlikely going to pursue this "food stamp voucher" process that will stick out like a sore thumb while everyone else in line are using Apple Pay.The unbanked customers that are more likely going to use this service are tweens and teenagers with their cash allowance, which is a bigger untapped unbanked market to pursue.
Target is still stuck in the mindset of creating an attractive big box store while the paradigm shifted to omnichannel, payments and beating Amazon. Target does not have a compelling competitive strategy against Amazon and is not working as aggressively as Walmart in terms of buying up next-gen technology such as Jet.com or ModCloth.Target's trajectory is looking more like Sears/Kmart as time moves on.
Just want to add a technical clarity to the conversation. Amazon recently released an Alexa voice API allowing software developers create applications that speak back to the customer. This is why the Alexa app will need to be opened first on the iPhone.It is important to understand this technical detail to know why Amazon won another one. The Alexa voice API will drive a bigger ecosystem of voice-based retail touch points such as kiosks, self-check-out and retail floor-based robots to speak to consumers.While Google and Apple voice assistants are part of their platform, Amazon just opened a can of worms where the old Kmart "blue light special" can now be an Alexa voice speaking to customers after analyzing a trove of real-time data of what to mark down as a flash sale.
Wearables can only be viable if retail-orientated. Apple Watch is successful because of Apple Pay integration for the checkout. Another successful wearable is bPay by Barclays in the UK which features watches, Key Fob and RFID sticker. Suica in Japan embedded chips into wearables that conduct transactions at the subway as well as QSR for years.The best use case for wearables is to conduct transactions and the best wearable model is accessories, not apparel. Google + Levi is not viable and more proof Google does not get it when it comes to retail tech. It would have been better to just partner with local dry cleaners/alterations by offering a "kit" to install this wearable in men's and women's existing wear for faster scalability and to promote local businesses.