“We cannot build technology for equality and democracy unless we have and we harness diversity in its creation.”

“Continue to engage with people outside your discipline, your gender, your race. Talk with people who grew up in different places, who believe different things, who live and worship differently than you do. Talk with them, listen to them, get their perspectives… and encourage them to work in and with technology too.” – Sheryl Sandberg, in her Massachusetts Institute of Technology commencement speech.

“Even the newest technology can contain the oldest prejudices and our lack of diversity is at the root of some of the things we fail to see and prevent,” said Sandberg.

Trust, Mistrust & Antitrust. Amazon is Not Broken. Should it be Fixed?

“In Amazon’s early years, a running joke among Wall Street analysts was that CEO Jeff Bezos was building a house of cards. Entering its sixth year in 2000, the company had yet to crack a profit and was mounting millions of dollars in continuous losses, each quarter’s larger than the last. Nevertheless, a segment of shareholders believed that by dumping money into advertising and steep discounts, Amazon was making a sound investment that would yield returns once e-commerce took off. Each quarter the company would report losses, and its stock price would rise. One news site captured the split sentiment by asking, “Amazon: Ponzi Scheme or Wal-Mart of the Web?”” – Lina Kahn, Yale Law Review

Eighteen years later, it’s no longer a joke. No one seriously doubts that Amazon is anything but the titan of twenty-first century commerce.

Success, efficiency and scale are achievements to be admired. Should they be regulated?

Continue reading “Trust, Mistrust & Antitrust. Amazon is Not Broken. Should it be Fixed?”

Ralph Lauren Charts a New Course

It’s been tough road for Ralph Lauren as the company approaches it’s 50th year.
Revenue has fallen, the company is closing it’s iconic Fifth Avenue flagship store, and it’s legacy strategy and products are struggling to find a new path in the changing retail landscape.
However, a revitalized management team, led by new CEO Patrice Louvet, appears to be navigating a course toward success.
Last week, Ralph Lauren reported results that beat analysts’ expectations. On a global basis, margins improved, promotions and inventory decreased. (Although North American sales for Q4 were down, Asia and EU were up).
The stock popped +14%.
Mr. Louvet has a refreshing focus on consumer insights and path-to-purchase, a “listen more and speak less” approach. I’m a fan of Mr. Louvet, the refreshed RL management team, the brand(s) and the company, and… of discovering and delivering on the consumer’s “job to be done.”
Fingers crossed…

Private Label represents as much as 50% of some markets. Can it get that big in the U.S.?

In Europe, PRIVATE LABEL is bigger than in the U.S., with about one in three purchases made on private label brands.

For some European countries like Switzerland, nearly half of purchases made are on private label. Will it ever get that big in the U.S.?

Given the high penetration of private label sales in retail industries like home and apparel and of both ecommerce and private labels, there is much growth ahead for private-label brands in the U.S. that can promote innovation online. 

The NPD Group research reveals there is a lucrative segment of shoppers who are actively engaged with direct-to-consumer private-label brands online. Industries like apparel and home are further along than tech or accessories in the online pervasiveness of Private Label. But given the private label growth in these industries online, NPD believes things are just starting to heat up.

Moreover, as national brands lose share, the writing is on the wall: private label is far from finished growing.

Thank you Marshal Cohen and NPD for this graphic.

 

Amazon’s New Marketplace Appstore Connects Sellers to Productivity Tools

Sellers on Amazon have a new tool, “Marketplace Appstore,” to help them navigate the world of online retail using third-party apps.

The new software platform will be available to sellers based in North America and accessible through Amazon’s seller portal, Seller Central. It will assist sellers with pricing, inventory, marketing and other business needs.

More than 1 million retailers use Amazon to sell their goods through Amazon Marketplace.

CNN reports, here.

What if Amazon is Retail’s Only Hope?

 

What if Amazon is Retail’s Only Hope?

“Retail Apocalypse.” The term has its own Wikipedia entry. This transformation, of “biblical” proportions, is often blamed on Amazon.

What if Amazon is not the brick-and-mortar store killer? What if Amazon is retail’s champion?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of retail’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The retail industry is not in dire shape, it’s in a different shape. Change is essential: it’s not easy, nor painless.

And, there is an important difference between correlation and causation. Amazon’s success and the disruption of the legacy retail market are certainly related, this does not mean one caused the other. Amazon did not overturn the traditional retail model: Macroeconomics drove this disruption.

Amazon is strategically and significantly investing in mortar-and-brick retail. Further, the company provides valuable tools to third-party retailers to help them succeed. And, critical to its own success, Amazon needs other retailers to thrive.

6 Reasons the Current Retail Transformation Was Inevitable

Continue reading “What if Amazon is Retail’s Only Hope?”

Disruption & The Bridge: A Video Clip

The world’s leading experts studied the challenge, identified the opportunity, and – sparing no expense – built the solution. It was perfect. It performed as expected. And, it was useless.

Lately, the term “disruption” is often used, and misused. In the business community, disruption is used to describe economic transformations, changes to consumer path-to-purchase, shifts toward digital consumption, the “retail apocalypse,” and jobs lost.

At our factory in Central America, disruption takes on a deeper meaning.

This video is about disruption, innovation, and leveraging historical expertise…

Disruption & The Bridge Video Clip