Christopher Jordan

Chief Business Officer, Hubba
Chris is the Chief Business Officer at Hubba – a global wholesale marketplace that connects craft brands with independent retailers. Hubba facilitates thousands of these wholesale relationships and transactions each week.

Prior to Hubba, Chris spent the bulk of his career at BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) where he led the Enterprise Specialty Software organization. In this role, he oversaw overall operations for several acquired organizations (including Ascendent Systems and Chalk Media) and directed their post-acquisition integration into BlackBerry.

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  • Posted on: 04/20/2018

    CVS gets real without retouching in new beauty campaign

    Definitely -- and it does resonate with today's consumer. The lesson here is, moves around health don't always need to be big swings like ceasing cigarette sales. As long as it's genuine, even small gestures solidify CVS's branding around health.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Does Walmart need to keep around?

    Should they? Yes, Walmart should keep the property around. The challenge is the branding, consumer connotation around has it destined to live in the category of "Amazon Lite." This stands in direct conflict with a clear portfolio strategy they've taken with recent acquisitions. Will they? If anything, I suspect they may double-down on building a new brand. Understanding how concrete the current consumer perception is of -- to build something that matches the "curated" strategy with the Modcloth, Bonobos, etc. acquisitions, they may be best to create some new branding around (maybe "Walmart [X]") for the collective online portfolio. Short of that, I do think the individual brands continue to exist.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Brands find unexpected opportunities to reach next-gen customers

    I don't see the success of brands like Red Aspen being as much about market trends as it is about having a genuine story and shared values with the consumer. The difference between being on-trend vs. having true shared values is nuanced, but it's something that Millennials and Gen Z have a radar for. Jumping into the fray hasn't typically been successful for (particularly) big brands, as short of making an acquisition, they simply can't manufacture a back story. As a result, the sell becomes about the widget -- Millennials/Gen Z have clearly shown they're less about the features of the product itself than the story.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Walmart slows push to add third-party sellers to its online marketplace

    They are pulling back on the everything-and-anything SKU strategy. It intuitively makes sense in the context of Mark Lore and team's strategy. The "breadth at all cost" expansion plan Walmart had been following pre-Lore results in Walmart stuck in a position of Amazon Light. There was no point of competitive differentiation and Amazon had a ~5 year head start. I believe the new plan is still about the long tail, though now there's a clear market position (unique, curated, in some cases exclusive assortment) -- which ties in nicely with the Bonobos, Modcloth, etc. acquisitions.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Barnes & Noble’s crowdsourcing app engages readers and earns solid reviews

    I'm bearish on typical retail mobile strategy -- i.e. build a smaller format version of the web, expect people to shop using it, end. It's not surprising why these apps typically fizzle. There's generally not a clear incentive/reason for the user to engage. Barnes & Noble's approach to mobile does appear to have some logic behind it. With Browsery, they're carving out a "community" niche that certainly isn't in the wheelhouse of Amazon. What I suspect will define whether the app is a difference-maker or just a decent idea is having a seamless user experience between community, transacting and reading. If they've got the user in the Nook app reading, they've got a number of reasons to direct the user to Browsery other than simply saying "engaging is fun." Of the users engaging in Browsery, some proportion are doing so to find their next book, which gives reasons to direct to the store, etc.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Thrive Market wants to change the world with new organic meat and seafood line

    Yes, I believe there's a ceiling on Thrive Market's business in absence of a long-term strategy that includes perishables. Everything they're doing (e.g. small/medium suppliers, ethical sourcing, etc.) is beyond on point with where the market is headed. However, there's no ignoring that perishables - or put another way, "fresh" are a big deal for this consumer segment. Without a plan to expand in this direction, you're stuck in a niche (though a reasonably large one) and missing out on a significant amount of spend over the long term. That said, I don't think the frozen boxes will be a home run. It's a move in the right direction, though something about the messaging of frozen vs. organic/craft/locally sourced feels conflicting.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    Yes - with a caveat. Despite the problems for many retailers in 2017, one segment that did incredibly well is dollar chains -- many of which have expressed clear intent to double down in food. If Aldi were to do nothing, I see this group gradually becoming key competition. Undergoing the renovations could provide Aldi with a clear, differentiated brand identity. With its European roots and heavy reliance on private label, a very apt analogue is IKEA. The key here is using this opportunity to solidify a unique identity ("minimialist" still works in a lot of ways), rather than simply swapping from low-cost into an equally busy space vs. Kroger et al. I get bearish if I start hearing cliches around "experience," movement towards pre-prepped meals, etc.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie parent expects to thrive after Chapter 11

    The glaring challenge (which will likely be an impediment to a long-term turnaround) is the relationship with C&S Wholesale. The related changes to the procurement agreement are the cornerstones to making the restructure work -- given that 70 percent of inventory comes from C&S, current outstanding debt -- and how the changes impact cash flow in the short-term. The issue lies around the statement about providing “customers with fresh, new concepts and products to cater to the local tastes and needs of the neighborhoods.” Strategically this sounds right -- but the concept revolves around local, independent and unique product. This becomes very hard to make work given product assortment/inventory is (now more than ever) assured to be tied to a legacy behemoth like C&S.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Should retailers emulate or differentiate from Amazon?

    No question -- successfully competing against Amazon means taking a different route. Aside from the obvious innovations made by Amazon in supply chain efficiency and e-commerce UX/flow, at their core is a ridiculous breath of assortment. What this means is they'll capture the lion's share of "search" traffic -- instances where the user knows what they want. A number of large retailer have tried to join this arms race towards sheer volume of product over the past couple of years to poor result. Where you'll tend to see wins against Amazon is where competitors focus on the quality and narrative of their assortment (and not quantity). Take independent record stores as an example/analogue. The space has seen a resurgence over the past five years -- due not to the volume of albums, but to highly curated assortments for the "browse" customer ("I go to XYZ Records because they KNOW what's cool in electronic dance music.")
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    In this digital revolution, stores are media

    The underlying message behind those that've been successful with these concepts is there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether the physical location is used for sizing, experience, distribution, etc. is entirely dependent on the line of business, market position and strategy. The converse has been the downfall of traditional (cringe) omnichannel strategies by big retail -- assuming that unifying inventory, messaging and data 1:1 between online and offline is a blanket solution.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2018

    Albertsons launches an online marketplace for small CPG brands

    Moves towards differentiated, independent brands (when well executed) tend to be winners. Executing means building a position around curated assortments that are truly unique, differentiated, and speak to shared values with the consumer — think vegan, paleo, non-GMO, etc. To Stephen's point, you aren't going to out-Amazon Amazon based on sheer volume of assortment. Stealing the "search" user from Amazon is a near-impossible task, but the "browse" user is very much up for grabs. The trick to getting the share of these users isn't blindly going for sheer numbers for the sake of numbers (a number of similar retail programs have sputtered going this direction) — it's getting a smaller, oft-updated, very tightly curated assortment.

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