PROFILE

Keith Anderson

SVP, Strategy & Insight, Profitero
Keith Anderson is senior vice president, strategy & insights, for Profitero, where he leads product strategy and the analyst team.

Keith’s insights on technology and retail have been featured in Financial Times, re/code, Bloomberg, Forbes Magazine, and Shopper Marketing Magazine.

He has been a featured speaker at RetailNet Group, Brand Activation Association, Food Marketing Institute, Retail Council of Canada, and other retail, technology, and media events.
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  • Posted on: 05/09/2018

    Uber isn’t going along on Walmart’s online grocery ride

    One under-reported facet of grocery/restaurant delivery and other "alternative" use cases for Uber (and Lyft) is that the economics are worse for drivers compared to typical fares. I don't have insight into whether perhaps Walmart's partners were struggling to provide prompt service at scale via a network of independent contractors, but it's a possibility.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2018

    New Brookstone concept brings makers to the mall

    I love the way Brookstone draws shoppers in with unique or quirky items, especially those with a sensory or experiential draw like massage chairs, drones, speakers, mattresses, and more. If the Makers Showcase helps shoppers discover things they didn't know they wanted, this could be another successful approach for Brookstone.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2018

    Will pickup drive e-grocery’s growth?

    Online grocery pickup is economically viable in more markets than full service delivery is. And store-based retailers favor it over delivery for obvious reasons. That’s why Walmart, Kroger, and dozens of Instacart partners continue to expand the availability of online order pickup. And availability is a precursor for trial and adoption. In high-density, large and affluent urban metros, delivery will still play a key role, but pickup will broaden access.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

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

    Marketplaces are an efficient way to massively expand selection without absorbing inventory risk or necessarily overwhelming an existing logistics network. But marketplaces also invite complexity in areas like product quality and authenticity, pricing and customer service. Balancing growth with stability and customer experience is a never-ending journey.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

    Amazon/Whole Foods planning store pickup service from third-party retailers

    Like Amazon's existing marketplace for third-party merchants, this service would allow them to offer larger selection without inventory risk or the overhead of managing an expanded assortment. It would drive incremental trips to Whole Foods stores, create yet another revenue stream and might give Amazon visibility into demand for products they don't already carry. It does risk increasing congestion in and around Whole Foods stores, however. Physical assets like stores are most productive when optimized for a single use case (e.g. either as customer-facing stores or dark stores optimized for click and collect or online fulfillment). The more successful an initiative like this becomes, the more disruptive it can be.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2018

    FMI says switch to online grocery sales going faster than expected

    The last 18 months were a clear inflection point. Platforms like Instacart made online grocery available in more regions than many anticipated; Walmart and Kroger leaped off the sidelines; and, oh yeah, Amazon bought Whole Foods. The big drivers of profitability are fairly predictable. On the demand side are membership and service fees and pricing strategy. On the supply side are labor and fuel cost management and operational efficiency. Scale and automation will play a big role. But in the very near term, the key is not to focus on day-to-day profitability at the expense of long-term relevance. Industry shifts of this scale and pace crown new winners and losers, and there are lots of new entrants aggressively playing offense, not defense.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2018

    Amazon Go goes live

    I suspect it will take several years before this technology is widely deployed, but Amazon has a great heritage of identifying purchase barriers and using technology to solve problems and improve customers' experience.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2017

    Will last-minute pickup payoff for Walmart?

    I wouldn't characterize it as a game-changer, but it does represent a material advantage Walmart has over Amazon, whose logistics network is already under strain to deliver on-time with two weeks to go until Christmas. This will also help condition shoppers to pick up online orders in-store, which Walmart is otherwise trying to incentivize. I see it as a minor advantage but a bigger step forward for Walmart's omnichannel ambitions.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    Johnson & Johnson takes aim at digital disruption

    J&J's approach is solid -- protect the base and adapt to capture growth. The points about competing with emerging brands and winning in emerging channels are salient. The complexity, however, for large CPGs often derives from the inherent tension between the two objectives I highlighted above (protecting the base and capturing growth). The drivers of growth and change -- usually new companies with different definitions of success and sources of capital -- are on offense. For big CPGs, developing new and locally relevant brands or pursuing new channels and business models is not straightforward to reconcile with a focus on productivity and cost reduction. It can be done, but it requires a clear strategy and definition of success, organizational alignment, a culture willing to adapt and a fair bit of courage.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

    Among the heaviest users of Prime, I suspect this program may have some appeal. For those with concerns about "porch pirates," it may eliminate some friction or perceived risk. I'm intrigued that it's rolling out to 37 areas immediately. Amazon typically pilots new initiatives on a smaller scale and only rolls them out when they've been tested and optimized, but this seems like an aggressive rollout. If it does significantly improve the Amazon customer experience, it will be another lock-in factor and yet another bar-raiser for Amazon competitors.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2017

    What marketing lessons can we learn from Amazon?

    First, I'd challenge the claim that Amazon's prices are "often" not the lowest on the web. We have data that suggests otherwise (and will publish it very soon). Of the elements presented here, the comments about Amazon's customer obsession (under "place") is probably closest to what has driven Amazon's growth. Amazon builds and helps people buy products and services that are in-demand with as little friction and fuss as possible. And they're always striving to outdo themselves.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2017

    Will customers let Walmart deliver in-fridge?

    It may not catch on overnight, but it has potential. Attended delivery is one of the biggest barriers to online grocery adoption. Other solutions, like dry ice-packed totes, can only keep food fresh for so long -- and some households have concerns about leaving groceries on their doorstep. The security concerns are valid but can likely also be overcome. Presumably, households that will pay for the convenience of online grocery and have smart locks installed may also have additional home security equipment. And there's a lot that a retailer can do too, from carefully screening employees to monitoring their location. Countless other domestic services, from home cleaning and handyman work to child care, have already tackled many of these.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Will Postmates’ on-demand delivery work better as a subscription model?

    Eliminating per-order delivery charges is a proven way to drive frequency and loyalty. But, to Tom's point, it significantly impacts unit economics, requiring ever more scale to be economically sustainable. This is a big bet that will require yet more faith and venture capital. With (as Max notes) intensifying competition, this may be the right move but it's far from a sure win.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2017

    Are vendors delivering better online experiences than multi-brand sellers?

    I'd be cautious about interpreting these responses to mean that brands' own direct-to-consumer sites are a substitute for multi-brand retailers. If you're going direct-to-consumer and you *don't* provide a better experience and richer product information, you need to seriously question why anyone would bother visiting your site to begin with. But even if you do, don't expect D2C to substitute for retail; shoppers shop each for different reasons.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2017

    Will the Walmart/Google voice deal give Amazon’s Alexa a run for its money?

    Partnering with Google accelerates Walmart's rollout of voice commerce by giving it immediate access to an installed base of Google Home device owners and sparing Walmart the investment of time and capital to build its own voice search and commerce capabilities. Walmart appears to be choosing to partner instead of building or buying. That decision always comes with trade-offs, like losing control over Google's roadmap, limited (or shared) access to customer data, limited (or shared) control of the customer's experience and uncertainty about the long-term cost of supporting voice commerce. It's notable to me, for example, that Google Home shoppers will be completing multi-item purchases via the Google Express app, not Walmart's app. Ultimately it's a step forward for Walmart. But I wonder if this may not be the first of many steps. I've been told that Walmart's Store No. 8 tech incubator may also have a voice play, and I think over the long-term retailers will want proprietary or white-label voice commerce capabilities so that they maintain more control over customers' experience and data.

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