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Ed Dunn

  • Posted on: 10/20/2017

    Drone-to-hand delivery could become a thing

    This use case was covered here before with a store in Japan delivering shoe boxes via drone from the backroom to the customer. There are too many variables outside but I seriously see this taking off as an in-store fulfillment process in the future, such as delivering sushi to a table or dropping off t-shirts to a football game where the fans can pass the box to the correct fan based on beacon proximity.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands

    There is a revolution in retailing lying underneath that needs to be addressed. The future of retailing will be nothing more than large flat-panel screens and handheld/table-mounted tablet screens.QR code payments have already matured and are predicted to take over in America as Asian shoppers bring the QR purchase behavior here. Hardware card processors and back-end systems subject to hacking are no match to dynamically generated QR codes and tokenization for security and payments.Large screens can be fed real-time information on sales data, inventory availability and serve as personalization assists with a microphone and camera to conduct computer vision. Future retail malls can simply provide a space with screens and tablets and quickly move in and out tenants and future retailers will have cloud-based services to get retail locations up and running quickly.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2017

    IKEA buys TaskRabbit to give consumers relief with furniture assembly

    I find this move to be risky for IKEA. These "gig economy" firms such as TaskRabbit and Uber are not profitable or even forecasted to sustain -- they were service commodities at best. So this was a fire sale. Furthermore, IKEA/TaskRabbit appears to be a generic implementation of Sears/Home Depot/Lowe's contractor installation services. Except Sears, Home Depot and Lowe's contractors are trained experts and carry insurance whereas TaskRabbit gig workers are not trained, experienced or most cases insured. This look like a cheap contractor service buy that is going to be a big liability cost to IKEA later.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2017

    Will a window to Disneyland bring Disney fans to the mall?

    It is almost guaranteed a disaster to use live stream or any stream for digital signage in a commercial environment. Disney would have been just as effective using a pre-recorded file.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Will a new lunch menu make Starbucks a food giant?

    In the real world Starbucks is horrible at food service and it impacts customer experience. I have been in long lines where the customer is at the cashier ordering food and making 20 second silent decisions on food as if they are at McDonald's or a greasy spoon and I just want a cup of coffee. Starbucks may want to make two separate lines, one for food ordering, if they want to pull this off efficiently.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2017

    Retailers: Beware the Equifax breach

    The number one cause of data breaches is unencrypted data. It is shocking to see over and over customer data in plain text in databases by a major corporation or retailer. Many firms choose not to encrypt data to provide faster data retrieval but this is an old argument that does not hold up with faster computers in 2017.Equifax held this data unencrypted on a database that is connected to their website -- the same way many e-commerce operations are set up.It is important to work only with data providers who can provide encryption as well as tokenization. More importantly, there are ways to perform a text search against an encrypted dataset. Do not allow your data to be stored in plain-text to justify plain-text search features, demand an encrypted search solution.Keep in mind there is a fine the government imposes per-user for exposed data that can run in the millions of dollars for data breaches, not including EU fines for European customers.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2017

    Did this startup make a big mistake calling itself Bodega?

    This will fail. Common sense should prevail and this startup will have to compete on volume and margins rather than established vending operations including CVS, Publix, Kroger and more. I can slide my card or tap my phone against any modern vending machine today. This is nothing but a "mobile-commerce" solution looking for a problem.The problem with the Bodega Box business model is not understanding how the "informal economy" operates. For example, in an underserved inner city housing complex, someone is selling the same products out of their apartment to the entire community and seen as the "go-to" person. A real bodega in NYC serve the same purpose in many boroughs in underserved communities. Corner stores in many urban communities serve the same purpose. No cabinet stuffed with items with a mobile-phone interface is going to replace informal economy dynamics.The cat logo struck a nerve as since the early 1900s, cats earned their "street reputation" for the number of rodents they would catch and would become personalities at bodegas with nicknames. This startup in California appropriating the NYC culture of bodegas, informal economy of the boroughs and even the cats is what caused the controversy and backlash.Several weeks ago, a news story came out where an employee offered to RFID chip their employees. The RFID employer has the same business model -- allow people to use implanted RFID chip help themselves to self-service vending.No amount of "publicity" is going to overcome the amount of multi-product replenishment demands and logistical nightmares to stock these "micro-boxes" and will destroy their margins competing against a bigger player. This model will fail fast.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2017

    Nordstrom tries a no-merchandise store

    The concept and model is excellent, the West Hollywood location is horrible. First, it is exciting to see Savile Row bottled as a bespoke shop for men. Offering features from custom consultation is what made Men's Wearhouse grow so fast so the elements are there. However, like Savile Row, this model can only be sustained in a high-density big city like Hong Kong, Boston, New York, Chicago or Miami -- not West Hollywood.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2017

    Burger King goes all crypto with its own currency

    Retailers will 100 percent have to embrace the concept of blockchain/cryptocurrecies but not in the method Burger King Russia rolled out. I would recommend anyone interested in this topic read the white paper "Making blockchain real for customer loyalty rewards programs" by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services.The current model of cryptocurrency is considered "good money" where the currency is so good, people want to hold onto and speculate on the value and raise the currency value. This creates hoarding and no transactional activity.The ideal model of cryptocurrency should be "bad money" where people want to quickly transfer the money for immediate value to create economic activity. UBS and other banks are working on a "settlement coin" based on the U.S. dollar that operates as "smart money" to track the movement.For retailers, this is game-changing where retailers can view how their cryptocurrency travels through a value chain, where a customer obtained coins at loyalty points, where they spent it and how long it took for the transfer to occur. Retailers will be able to view in real-time the amount of "outstanding tokens" similar to "outstanding shares" and make decisions to get their cryptocurrencies to engage in transactional activity.I do not believe this will be in five years but much sooner based on use cases and platforms currently slated for 2018 release.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2017

    Will CVS’ sales take off in airports?

    I feel this is the classic Blockbuster (stores) dismissal against Redbox (vending) argument. CVS still have to compete not only against Walgreens but also against disruptive innovation. The real estate cost per square foot of a vending machine footprint versus a full-service retail store for expansion is compelling both to investors and the bottom line. It can be argued that vending machines can serve to test the waters of a location before moving in with a full physical presence.Our research show that in other countries the fastest moving products in these types of vending machine are eye care (contact lens cleaning solution), family planning and feminine needs -- faster than OTC drugs. These kind of products are vulnerable to Blockbuster-style disruption if someone else comes in and offers these products via vending machines at new touch points such as mixed-used housing.This was the right call by CVS to stay ahead of the game.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2017

    Will AI mimicry ruin online user-generated reviews?

    The robots are our friends. The growth of AI-based stylometry is an indirect win for retailers and a big loss for Yelp and other online review sites. The fake reviews automated by a robot undermine the fake human reviews posted on external sites like Yelp where there is no record or verified purchase -- this is a good thing.By zero-summing the external review sites, retailers can offer "verified reviews" from their customers to provide a more accurate review of a product/service. Yelp is pretty much out an obsolete business model thanks to the fourth Industrial Revolution and the focus shift back to retailers who can verify their customer voice.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2017

    Does e-commerce need 3-D shopping?

    Google Maps already offers this service allowing users to walk around inside a store using photo mapping technology. The only channel where this 3-D will work effectively is in virtual worlds like Second Life that are still running strong, believe it or not.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2017

    Are Whole Foods’ price cuts game-changing for food retailing?

    Definitely looking forward to the headlines about Whole Foods "future concepts" of no-cashier checkout and self-driving shopping carts delivering groceries to numbered parking spaces after checkout -- it works well for Amazon PR.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2017

    Is thrifting going mainstream?

    The profit margins on off-price/second-hand products cannot be glossed over. Goodwill for example is considered a Fortune 100 company and produce $5 billion in revenue and has grown since the 2008 recession. In Atlanta, Lenox Mall is not the place to be -- on the other side of the highway is a shopping complex with Marshall, DSW, Nordstrom Rack and more off-price retailers crowded every weekend.Off 5th, Nordstrom Rack and Macy's Last Call are more than enough evidence for retailers to start looking at creating a hybrid inventory of new/used with trade-in options as the new loyalty program.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2017

    Why don’t more retailers ‘get’ curation?

    I believe retailers replaced curation with loss-lead strategy and discounting practices to compete on price and the hot thing. We have seen awkwardness in curation where fidget spinners and hover boards are promoted at retailers interested in having the "in-thing" during Black Friday.Car dealerships are great at curation and if they do not have a car in-stock, they can search for you or purchase from another dealer as a service. Retailers may want to pay attention to the level of service car dealerships offer their customers to retain them during the discovery process.
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