Monday, November 18, 2013

Walmart's Mobile Strategy

I wanted to discuss about an interesting post I found on Walmart's Mobile Strategy. Walmart is by far the largest retailer in the world, and obviously is a leader of opinion in terms of how to use new marketing techniques. It seems that Walmart's mobile strategy has been pretty successful.

Walmart has launched a mobile application, allowing the customer to have a shopping list, and to have information about the promotions and the products.

According to the article, the application generates sales incremental of 40%. The only thing is that we don't know if it is 40% more than prior to them using the application or 40% more than people who don't own the application. 

It changes a lot, because:
- If it is 40% more than before, that means the application really has an impact on customer behavior, proposing extra value to the shopping experience. I find that hardly possible to have such outstanding performances, especially because the application seems to be standard, with no extraordinary innovations. 
- If it is 40% more than customers without it, it maybe because people who own smartphones tend to have more money than people who don't. Also, probably people with the applications are people who are more loyal, and hence,  tend to spend more.

Nevertheless, Walmart made a right move in investing in mobile strategy, because it allows the retailer to improve its customer experience + its knowledge of customer's shopping habits.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Apple Struggling In China As Xiomi Is Overtaken The Iphone

Apple is facing a lot of competition both in the tablet and the smartphone markets. Indeed, even though Apple is the trailblazer of both devices, it is struggling to compete with its competitors especially in the emerging market. Apple has always had a luxury brand strategy, trying to set itself apart of the competition, and owning unique products. But the fact is that its competitors now manufacture devices as good as Apple's ones, at a lower price. 

Emerging market people still have lower salaries and purchasing powers than western countries, which fact does not benefit to companies with high pricing. And this is what Apple is experiencing right now. I recently learned that Apple is only ranking n°5 in the Chinese market, and has recently been overtaken by Chinese competitor Xiomi

Apple has reshaped its strategy lately, by launching an entry level phone, the Iphone 5c, especially in order to be competitive in terms of pricing in those countries (China, India and Brazil), how would that work? It would be interested to see how this model perform, because the world growth of the electronic devices is based in those emerging markets. Apple can not delay its efforts in these countries, because once the competition will be mature, it will be tough to gain marketshares.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Category Management Series: Supply Chain As A Key Component

It has been a while I have not fed the category management series, even though i know it has some success. Today I wanted to discuss about one of the key of category management, especially for fast moving goods categories: The supply chain.

The supply chain is a very important part of category management. Indeed, you may have set the best product range, the most attractive promotional offer, or have a massive number of customers, if your supply chain has not been integrated properly, it may lead to a disaster.

An efficient supply chain is the one which provides you with the appropriate number of products, at the appropriate time. Problems with supply chain lead to stockout, which is one of the main cause of unsatisfied customers. Customers expect you to own the products of your product range, and it is one of the basis of one retailer's trade.

The supply chain therefore should always been integrated to the category management process right from the beginning and followed through. Indeed, a problem with the supply chain management may explain under performance for example of a promotion, if the product has not been available right from the beginning of the communication.

A strong supply chain also implies good interractions between the retailer and the supplier in order to minimize the issues that may appear once a category management program has been set.

Friday, November 08, 2013

My Thoughts On Twitter's IPO

Twitter's IPO yesterday was a remarkable success. The stock has spiked by 73% for its first day of quotatation. There were a lot of questions about how Twitter would do for its first day at the stock exchange market, due to the fact that the company has not achieved yet any profitable years. I wanted to comment a little bit about that news.

I think Twitter's stock is overrated
Of course, we are far from the 2000s Internet buble, investors know how to forecast better the return on investment of such Internet companies. Nevertheless, I may be old fashion about it, but without a consistent business modell, it is difficult to evaluate the worth of a company. Having a company worth $21 billions which is about what a company like Carrefour is worth, which sales for over $130 billion and generates hundreds of millions in results, it is difficult to understand. Obviously Twitter has a large potential of growth, but still, they need to show evidences that they can achieve such a worth.

Twitter's stock spike is understandable
Investors understand that tech companies are in the future the most profitable companies, and the companies that will grow the most. Therefore, in this crisis, having such an opportunity to invest on one of the largest Internet company (in terms of users) is a great opportunity, which is worth to be over paying at the moment. This is the reason why I believe the company had experienced such a great success.

Twitter's stock price is a threat to Twitter
The higher the price, the higher the expectations. Twitter now must be able to deliver proper financial results in order to generate profits to distributes to its shareholder. Has Twitter's business modell evolved dramatically those past few months to achieve profitability? In my opinion the answer is no. Now Twitter has financial results to invest, but they need to accelerate their sales and revenues. 

Twitter will remain in the long term.
Despite the fact I am still questionning Twitter on its business model, and I don't see yet how the company would generate profits in the next 2-3 years, I believe Twitter will remain. The service has changed the life of millions of people, the idea is great, and the service work. I don't believe that people can now live without Twitter. I also believe that Twitter has achieved to get such a high number of users that no real competition would be able to do so. Now the question is how Twitter will evolve. It will be interesting to see, but now that Twitter is a public market company things will move fast.

Monday, November 04, 2013

8 Habits of Highly Effective People

A quick note about a great article I found thanks to @guikawasaki. I am always seeking for new ways to improve my professionnal efficiency, and I believe this article and these 8 tips are easy to set up, and work. I have just completed them with a little bit of my insights.

1- Stop multi tasking: 
One man brain works like a computer (actually, it is more computers that have been designed like a human brain, but for my example let's turn it around): the more you have software open at the same time, the slower your computer will be. Be like an Ipad: Apple decided right from the beginning to have only one application at a time, to secure fast running processes.

2 - Delegate:
You can't do it all by yourself, whatever your hierarchy postion may be. You need to trust people and find way to control what they are doing. If not, you are screwed. You don't need to have a team under you to delegate. Sometimes I even delegate to my boss some work that I consider he would do better than me, due to his skills and/or hierarchy position.

3 - Use appropriate communication
This one probably requires a lot of experience. It is through experience that you know how to communicate efficiently. It is important always to work on it.

4 - Apply structure to your schedule
It is important to have an organized schedule, but also a schedule where you plan ahead of time some open loops in order to gain flexibility. Because there are always unexpected things, you need to plan ways to deal with them.

5 - Give everything a proper place
This one I may disagree a little bit. Indeed, you save time when you know where things are. But by spending too much time to range everything, then you don't focus on the things that really creates value. 

6 - Time Activities
You need to know the approximate time of certain tasks in order to master your schedule. You need also to be able to seek for ways to cut the time you spend on certain activities. This is how you complete efficiency.

7 - Commit to Downtime
Need to work on that. I used to go swimming every day at my lunch break, but got hooked by my work. Need to get back on my routine. Nevertheless, I am able to see the time of the year where work gets crazy, in order to lower my work load during weaker times.

8 - Plan Projects
What really matter is to break down projects in easilly achievable goals, which lead to progress. Project planning needs to have a clear mind, in order to think through all the potential outcomes of one project.