Friday, January 30, 2015

What You See Is What You Get by Grégoire Kaufman

Another post not directly linked with CRM, marketing and/or retail. However, it is about a book written by a high level retail executive Grégoire Kaufman, currently chief of sales and marketing operations of Carrefour Italy.

Grégoire is a very creative photographer, and has released a new book: What You See Is What You Get
Its first book had a pretty high exposition: Retail is Art. This new piece is less about retail (even though there is a section about it), but more about pictures, art, and the way we perceive things.

It is composed by different quotes, photos and other pictures, which allow us to question ourselves on the way we perceive things. The book is rich by its diversity: Diversity in the countries where the photos have been taken from, in the type of art used (classical litterature, cartoon, everyday life situations...), in the topics treated.

Funny, meaningful, audacious, I highly recommend you to have a look at this book.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How Handball Coach Claude Onesta See Management

Claude Onesta has been for 14 years now the head coach of the French Handball Team. He has experienced tremendous results, with multiple World Championship, Olympic gold medals, and European titles. The French team of handball is among the longest and most prolific dynasty in collective sport.

Claude Onesta has also worked a lot as a consultant for French companies, trying to explain the way he perceives leadership, and how to adapt its success in the corporate world. I remember to have read an article where for example he was explaining that managers should not be selected for their individual results. Indeed, it is not the fact that a person is the best at what it does (for example, selling products, buying the best, the most efficient at the operational tasks) that he will be a good leader allowing people to improve and perform. Being good at the task and managing people requires different skills. This is the reason why most of coaches are not the greatest players of their sports (as a basketball and soccer fan, it is very true).

Here is a very deep insight.

Nowadays, people are asked to act under the pressure of emmergency and to succeed. With this brief, the manager tends to minimize its vision to focus on few elements he can control and focus on. There is hence a high risk to freeze. In sport as in the corporate world, there are always unpredictable things coming up. Companies needs to develop the skills of adaptability, which is impossible under heavy procedures. People need to have the ability to adapt and create, to understand the meaning of their tasks and missions. 

Claude Onesta believes in the power of delegating tasks, which allow people to unleash their creativity, energy and their responsability.

In terms of results, what is amazing about Claude Onesta has been its ability to last, always by incorporing different generations of the team, in order to secure the wins of the day, and build to win in the future.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Magnum Pop Up Stores Exceed Sales Expectations

You know that I love all the retail concepts that allow retailers to meet the customers where there are. A lot of global brands use pop up stores in order to meet with their customers to launch new innovations. The goal is to get public attention, have people try the products and also to generate press releases. 

That was the original purposes of the Magnum pop up stores in South Africa. But as a matter of fact, people loved the store. There were long queues in front of the store, and sales doubled the expected figures. Each week the sales increased by 12%. The company had to go on with the stores after the initial end date. 

It was so successful entrepreneurs inquired about buying the franchise. 

What I like about this news, is that it shows well how having pop up stores at the right time, at the right place is so efficient, and why I believe it is an evolution of modern commerce. It is just another example of it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Example Of How Corporate Governance And Ethic May Impact Your Customer Relationship Management

We leave in a world where information goes faster and faster, and where your customers are more aware than ever about their environment. They do care about their own ethic, and aslo about the ones of their "stakeholders": government, public persons, companies, brands... I found this great letter on Twitter

As it shows, corporate ethic do have an impact on the relationship you have on your customers. Obviously, this is a specific case, but it does show well couple of facts about customer relationship management:
  • Your customers know about your company: Annual reports, economic news, social media... People are aware about anything you do wrong. Also, those kind of facts show up very easilly. Before, it was rare to see scandals, but now, to hide something bad is very tough.
  • Your corporate behavior, trying to save money by lowering wages, using unealthy products, tax optimization among others do have an impact on your brand, and therefore your customer relationship management. As it is said clearly, the person associate the loyalty it has with the company with how the company manages its business

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why You Should Be Under Scheduling

I found on the web an article that I totally agree with. Most of the time, in our business world, we don't stop piling up assignments, meetins, tasks, as we want to achieve as much as we can. Some people may also believe that the more your agenda is filled, the more effective you are.

But this is not the way LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner sees things. Indeed, he on purpose under schedule his agenda to find free time.

I totally agree with his vision. At some point of my career, I was working like crazy. I did have no time to do anything but the assignments people were giving to me. I may have accomplished a lot, but was I really at my best? Was I really giving the best I could to the company that was hiring me? I don't think so. I was not able to provide any creativity, was not able to analyse the methods, the way I was organized, to see how I may be more effective, more efficient, and get better results.
It is important that you always find a way to step aside, and meditate on what you are actually doing, where you are heading on the long run. This may not be tasks you may measure in terms of stats, but this is at this time that you actually provide the best of what you can do.

As I sometimes say, Steve Jobs has not invented the Ipad while filling up some Excell sheet. 

Ami de l'art Bonsoir: Jean Baptiste Bagaria dans Troie au théâtre des 3 bornes

Un article qui n'a pas vraiment de lien avec les sujets de ce blog, mais néanmoins je souhaitais faire la promotion d'un spectacle que j'ai vu récemment: Jean-Baptiste Bagaria dans Troie. Une comédie historique écrite et interprétée par Jean-Baptiste Bagaria.

Quand bien même je sois un passionné d'histoire, ce que je trouve remarquable avec ce spectacle, c'est la richesse d'informations qu'il contient. On y apprend énormément de chose sur l'histoire de la Grèce antique, les dieux, les héros, et bien sûr, sur la guerre de Troie. Grâce à l'humour mis dans le spectacle, on arrive à relativiser la légende, et donc en apprendre plus sur la réelle nature des personnages, tel que Mélénas, roi de peu d'envergure avec potentiellement des problèmes mentaux, ou bien les raisons exactes de la discorde.

Le spectacle est donné dans une petite salle (moins de 40 personnes), donc je vous recommande de réserver si vous êtes intéressé. Par ailleurs, Jean-Baptiste Bagaria joue beaucoup sur l'interactivité du public, ce qui est plus qu'appréciable.

Le sujet est traité de manière énergique, pendant une heure qui passe trop vite. 

Spectacle très drôle, que je vous recommande d'aller voir.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Europa City: The Future of Malls and Retail

Europa City is a mall project I recently discovered, which will be located in the north of the Parisian area. The idea is to create a new kind of mall, which will be modern, and take into considerations all kind of components:
- Ecological
- Commerce,
- Entertainment,
- Real estate management and design.

The goal is to have the mall as the heart of the community.

I am eager to see the result of this fantastic work. Here are some pics of the project, expected to start in 2017.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Amazon Is Not Opening A Store In New York, but Why The Information of Their Real Estate Investment in NYC Matters

There has been a lot of expectations about Amazon opening some stores in a near futures. Indeed, brick & mortar companies are investing more and more online, seeking for this new Internet market to deliver growth, whereas it seems that owning a strong store (or at least delivery places) network will be a key strategy for e merchants.
The press has found that Amazon has bought some real estate in New York City, which was thought to be about opening its first store.  Amazon has since responded to that article, by saying they indeed bought some real estate, but not to open a store, but  they sublease the building’s retail space to others.

That still gives a lot of food for thought. That means Amazon may set some partnerships with some retailers in order to boost its business. There may be several options:
  • Retail start ups with cutting edge concept that may benefit from Amazon's supply chain, Internet potential.
  • Some concrete retailers like Walmart or Target that may work with Amazon to set up some partnerships to develop some business together (as Walmart did in its category management with some big suppliers)
  • Or to have some warehouse capabilities in order to develop fast delivery service, maybe with the Amazon fresh concept. Indeed, nowadays warehouses are big places near highways far from the towns, but maybe Amazon could try to have smaller places, closer to customers, that may lower the transportation cost.
This is the reason why I believe this news may soon unveil some new interesting concepts from Amazon.

Now does that mean Amazon will never open some stores, it is still too soon to tell. But I am sure that Amazon will also find some innovative way to create a network allowing its customers to click & collect their products.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shall You Segment Your Customer Groups

Interesting article I found back in my Twitter hotlist. It questions why so few customer segmentation analysis provide great results. It appears that one of the top issue with customer segmentation is the lack of time companies give it to experiment and to grow. Indeed, when you are working on customer group, in a customer relationship management program, you need to work on the lifetime value of your customer. Therefore, it requires time for the efforts you put on your customers segments to test, provide promotions, and then measure the results of such an effort.

One of the problem in our nowadays world is that things come at you faster. Reactivity is more valued than long term investment and view. In order to get sustainability to one project, you need to get data fast to feed the board of executive to get time and resources to go on with your projects.

Customer relationship management must be a long term vision and project. It is important to be able to communicate well in your company in order to explain what is at stake.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Carrefour's Pop up Drive Case Study

It has been a while I wanted to share with you infos about the pop up drive Carrefour has made at Knokke last summer. As you may know I love pop up stores and this new trend in retailing where the point of sales moves to go where the customers are. Carrefour hence opened a pop up stores for the summer vacations in Belgium.

The idea is simple: Propose a store where the tourists are, and propose to them some innovative way to order and to be delivered. They received up to 50 orders a day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Side Effects of Goal Settings

In our nowadays business world, everything needs to be measurable. I heard someone said talking about charity and the lack of investments in certain causes (I believe they were talking about homeless people): Nowadays, in our era, what is not measurable does not exist. And this is the reason why we, as business people, love to set measurable goals. This is the way we are able to catch a certain sense of efficiency.

Here are just a few examples of the hazards of indiscriminate goal setting. First, consider
Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s experience with goal setting in the early 1990s. Sears set sales goals
for its auto repair staff of $147/hour. This specific, challenging goal prompted staff to overcharge
for work and to complete unnecessary repairs on a companywide basis (Dishneau, 1992).
Ultimately, Sears’ Chairman Edward Brennan acknowledged that goal setting had motivated
Sears’ employees to deceive customers. Sears’ “goal setting process for service advisers created
an environment where mistakes did occur,” Brennan admitted (Santoro & Paine, 1993). 

In the late 1990s, specific, challenging goals fueled energy-trading company Enron’s
rapid financial success. Ackman (2002) compares Enron’s incentive system to “paying a
salesman a commission based on the volume of sales and letting him set the price of goods sold.”
Even during Enron’s final days, Enron executives were rewarded with large bonuses for meeting
specific revenue goals. In sum, “Enron executives were meeting their goals, but they were the
wrong goals,” according to employee compensation expert Solange Charas. By focusing on
revenue rather than profit, Enron executives drove the company into the ground.
In the late 1960s, the Ford Motor Company was losing market share to foreign
competitors that were selling small, fuel-efficient cars. CEO Lee Iacocca announced the specific,
challenging goal of producing a new car that would be “under 2000 pounds and under $2,000”
and would be available for purchase in 1970. This goal, coupled with a tight deadline, meant that
many levels of management signed off on unperformed safety checks to expedite the
development of the car—the Ford Pinto. One omitted safety check concerned the fuel tank,
which was located behind the real axle in less than 10 inches of crush space. Lawsuits later
revealed what Ford should have corrected in its design process: the Pinto could ignite upon
impact. Investigations revealed that after Ford finally discovered the hazard, executives remained
committed to their goal and instead of repairing the faulty design, calculated that the costs of
lawsuits associated with Pinto fires (which involved 53 deaths and many injuries) would be less
than the cost of fixing the design. In this case, the specific, challenging goals were met (speed to
market, fuel efficiency, and cost) at the expense of other important features that were not
specified (safety, ethical behavior, and company reputation). 

As human being, it is difficult to think about business as only focused on figures and specific goals. 

According to the article, here are some reasons that may lead to goals' inefficiency:
- When goals are too specifics: Then you have some other aspects of the work that are not taken into consideration that will go in limbo.

- Narrow goals: In our complex world, you need to have goals that take into account the complexity of the tasks of one person. 

- Too many goals: When you have too many goals, you can't achieve them all.

- Inappropriate horizons: You need to manage both short terms and long terms goals. Both shall not fight against each other.

- Too challenging goals: This goes to the SMART goal idea. It need to be achievable.

- Risk taking: Entrepreneurship is about taking risks. Goals most of the time try to avoid this risk taking aspect, which is still important though.

- Dissatisfaction and the psychological consequences of goal failure

Now, does that mean goal setting is bad? Of course not, it just set the right questions about how to manage goal setting. It actually emphasizes the importance to set the right goals. Goals should be conceived as one component of the way to manage people but not an end as itself. I believe that managers should pay a lot of attention on the way they set goals, but also how they lead people and accompany his staff to meet these goals.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Timing Management in retailing

This is a real trend I would like to follow in 2015: How to optimize sales for a retailer upon two axis:
- The Time of the day.
- The location of the Store

Indeed, I believe that there is a lot of room for growth for retailers which are able to master these two components.

How to optimize those two axis:
The time of the day.
You need to match the time of the day with the bid you propose to customers. One of the great example I have is Mc Donald's in France. Hence, they have specific concepts and products they propose depending on the time of the day. They have the Mc Morning offer in the morning, based on orange juice, coffee and egg muffin, the "Cass Croute" Menu, which is a short version of a classic menu to eat on the go, the Mc Café concept with pastries in the afternoon, and obviously their orignal offer at night time. Hence, they are able to sell all day long, and hence maximize sales at the restaurant. 
Retailers should be able to have such a timing management technique, to provide specific bid in specific locations of the store in order to maximize sales. 

The location of the store:
You need to match the location of the store specificities with the bid. This is all the pop up stores you may find, the food truck that goes where the customers are, depending on the season or the time of the day. 
Indeed, I am sure we will see soon more and more pop up stores appear in location with high traffic, such as train station,post offices, downtowns, stadiums, parkings, or malls. Why not even see in malls some specific stores that may change every months depending on the seasonnaility of the brand, and maybe even to adapt during the same day?

I believe that retailing will need to be more flexible to be efficient. But beyond the geolocalization data you may have, beyond your customers segmentation, you should also be flexible around the timing of the day and where you may meet the clientele in order to lift sales. A lot of things are going on on this topic right now.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

8 Trends That Will Shape Retailing In 2015

As the new year is starting, it is the time to make some forecasts and predictions on what the unfolding year will be about. I found this very interesting article which comments 8 trends that will be key in the retailing world for next year.

1. Mobile payments (in particular Apple Pay)

Mobile payments have officially launched, and retailers have mostly Apple Pay to thank. But some retailers—​notably those involved in the group developing CurrentC, which has yet to be launched but has already suffered a hackhave at least toyed with not accepting Apple Pay.
But that would probably be a mistake. The inward focus of CurrentC’s development could easily be the basis of its downfall. Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and others, for that matter, use NFC systems that many retailers already have in place. (Remember, those eschewing Apple Pay, in fact, said they were disabling their NFC technology.) It stands to reason, especially with Apple Pay getting good reviews from users so far, that retailers with NFC should want to accommodate the customers who want to buy things with Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Yet right now, many can't (or won't).
Ultimately, refusing to take Apple Pay and other NFC-enabled mobile payments is likely to do retailers more harm than good. 

2. Mobile shopping

Mobile shopping really hit its stride at the end of the year to many retailers’ surprise. For the first half of the year though, mobile web and apps were notoriously hard to use and discouraged customers. Marketing personalization company Monetate found that m-commerce “skyrocketed” on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year, with 44% of Thanksgiving Day’s online traffic coming from mobile and 42.5% of Black Friday’s online traffic coming from mobile.
Still, desktop users converted at an 82% higher rate than mobile users, according to data from omnichannel marketing firm Sailthru's Trust in Technology survey of holiday data. They also found that most email was coming to consumers via their smartphones, a bit of a disconcerting disconnect that could indicate that retailers are not quite ready for mobile the way their customers are.​
Consumers are clearly ready to shop and transact on mobile, and retailers must get ready for that if they aren’t already.

3. Pop-ups

These days, retailers of all types and sizes are experimenting with the pop-up concept. Nordstrom, seemingly ready to shed its staid upscale reputation, has jumped on the store-within-a-store approach. And e-commerce retailers are using pop-ups to expand their reach and give consumers a first-hand look at their goods. Jewelry e-retailer BaubleBar, for example, says it has expanded its pop-ups because they drive sales
PopUp Republic has taken on the difficult task of defining and quantifying pop-up retail, and its study found that pop-ups, as the company defines them, are taking in some $50 billion annually. 
Ten years ago these shops were a way for retailers to cheaply find space without commitment, and for landlords to fill up dead spaces with temporary leases. Back then, no one thought the idea would last. But now, retailers from e-commerce to traditional brick-and-mortar are using pop-ups to entice customers, provide retail “experiences,” shake up staid images, and manage partnerships and product lines. They're here to stay and something to consider for retail businesses large and small. 

4. Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup

A little bit buried in the success of e-commerce and m-commerce over the big Thanksgiving holiday weekend is the fact that a lot of the retailers enjoying that success are traditional brick-and-mortar types. Target, Best Buy, and a slew of other retailers have drastically lowered or eliminated their minimums for free shipping and are offering in-store and curbside pickup.
In select cities, the delivery battles are especially heated, with services like Google, Deliv, and others providing same-day service from stores and malls.
While same-day delivery is still essentially experimental, cheap or free shipping is increasingly a consumer expectation. Target and Best Buy may find that they can’t go back on their shipping policies very easily in the new year. But those retailers still charging a lot for shipping or not offering some kind of possibility for reduced shipping are way behind, and probably inviting their customers to abandon their shopping carts at checkout. 

5. Minimum wage increases and working conditions

November’s elections saw a wave of success for Republicans, but also for a decidedly less right-wing issue: hiking the minimum wage. Raising hourly pay has been a topic of discussion in Washington, in many state capitals, and in several cities. Five states, San Francisco, and Chicago have all succeeded in passing measures to do so. 
It's not just wages, though. Retail employees’ working conditions have also become an issue — and San Francisco has already taken that on, passing a “Retail Worker Bill of Rights” this month that is unprecedented in scope. The law addresses erratic scheduling and requires retailers to pay for time when workers are on call or face last-minute changes. Retailers will also be required to give part-time workers more hours before hiring more staff. The law affects retail chains that have at least 20 locations nationally, including about 5% of the city’s workforce. Seattle voters last year​ approved a similar law requiring businesses to offer more hours to part-time employees before hiring additional workers, and Rep. George Miller from California has introduced a similar bill in Congress.
These two issues are growing concerns, and retailers should take a good look at the fairness of their pay and scheduling. Not only will it help them prepare for possible policy changes ahead; many retail experts say it could also helpboost their own bottom lines

6. The demise of Black Friday

Let’s face it, Black Friday is a shadow of its former self. Not only did Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday intrude, but retailers had been announcing special deals for days and weeks before. Amazon began its “Black Friday” deals a week ahead of the holiday. And while Wal-Mart Stores stretched out its “New Black Friday” from Thursday to Cyber Monday, it similarly began advertising “pre-Black Friday” deals a good week before Thanksgiving. 
Retailers should probably find another way to spin the holiday shopping season. “Special” isn’t feeling very special anymore

7. Alibaba

Alibaba looms large in everyone’s mind, but despite its massive IPO and increasing global reach, it may not come near dominating its U.S. rivals. For one thing, the company will continue to be under great pressure to further curtail counterfeit sales. But Alibaba is no longer just huge, it’s also massively rich. Retailers this month told Congress that it must close the e-commerce tax loophole in order to rein the Chinese retail giant in. 
One thing that Alibaba, like Amazon,​ is unafraid of is being disruptive. Both retailers try things and fail quite often, but find successes along the way. Of course, Alibaba certainly can afford to do so.

8. Retail data breaches

In October next year, retailers will have a very good reason to update their point-of-sales systems and boost their security: they pretty much have to
But when Target's 2013 retail data breaches and Home Depot’s massive breach in September were scrutinized further, they were both found to be highly preventable with existing technology and knowledge.
Cyber-forensics experts found the theft could have been avoided if Target had followed its own established protocols, and Home Depot actively ignored warnings from its own IT department for years. No amount of tech upgrades can make up for that kind of slack.

If you follow my blog, you will probably have noticed that much of the articles I am publishing are linked to these topics. I believe there is a trend though that has not been mentionned: The attack of brick&mortar retailers on the E commerce market. International expansion is slowing down now in emerging markets, and I believe there will be a lot of actions going on of industry leaders like Walmart, Carrefour among others to get marketshares from an Amazon which a lot of people are questionning its strategy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Some Thoughts On How You Measure Influence on Social Media

It has been a while I wanted to share with you this very interesting article of Techcrunch. The article questions the way people apprehend who are influencers on social media, and how we recognize them. Indeed, one of the first way brands and companies are targeting influencers are the number of people who follows them, and how many of them retweet or reply to their posts. Obviously, by doing so, you focus on the ability of one message to grow and to have a large audience. But does it really mean these people are influencial?

Indeed, in terms of marketing, is it enough to have people allowing you to grow your audience of a specific message? Does it really implies that it will lead to more business?

Social influence scores, such as Klout, measure how likely the Facebook fans of Mitt Romney are to engage and share his updates with the rest of their social media friends. However, given that many followers of Romney are already die-hard Republicans, would they have already seen a video he shares on the Drudge report anyway? If Romney solicits his followers for money, would they have already contributed through another website? In other words, social friends are sheep-like: they read the same articles, download the same apps, and give money to the same causes and politicians. Aral says that caring about high follower count could be a “waste of money” if so-called “influencers” are not actually changing behavior. According to the paper, it turns out that follower counts and retweets may be much less important than demographics, such as age, personality type, and gender in determining who is influential and who’s susceptible to social media manipulation.

One of the obvious issue, is to check at brand fanned on Facebook. The brands that are more liked are luxury ones, whereas we all know those brands are niche market ones, meaning they have very few clients. Does having a large number of followers imply more business with the few that are real clients? 

Probably, one of the best way to really see what impact social media have on sales would be to identify customers with their social media accounts, but this is not really yet the case. 

Thanks to the big data, the large number of users, soon we'll be able to have a clearer view of how social media impact sales, and the way people consume. It will be very interesting to follow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Retailers Lead America Most Inspirational Companies.

A lot of people favorited my Tweet not too long ago about America's Most Inspiring Companies. Indeed, whereas most of the people may believe that Tech companies or big brands (which actually lead the board of the most known brands in the world) like Coca Cola are not at the top. Except for n°1 Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, the to 5 is constituted by only retailers:
1- Tesla
2- Trader Joe's
3- Target
4- Tom's Shoes
5- Costco

What does that show? To me, that shows retailers as they are close to customers and hence to people, they tend to be more appreciate than other brands. That shows out the proximity one retailer may have, especially brick&mortar ones.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Whole Food Market Uses Digital Technologies To Improve Shopping Experience

Whole Food Market is one of the most modern concept in retailing these past few years.

They have recently added to their concept 4 new screens which enhance shopping experience.

It is always interesting to see what augmented reality and new technology may improve shopping experience, and create differenciation in a very competitive retail world.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

10 Ways To Improve Your Well Being In 2015

It is the beginning of the year, so the perfect time to work on good resolutions. I found this interesting article, that may help you out find the right resolutions to feel better both professionnaly and personnaly. I believe I am going to myself stick to these principles as I agree with them.


1. Get a better night’s sleep. 
2. Hold off on the coffee. 
3. Get some exercise in. 
4. Take a deep breath. 
5. Eat lunch away from your desk. 


6. Let go of perfectionism. 
7. Scrutinize your meetings. 
8. Stop working late
9. Stop glorifying overwork. T
10. Put your headphones on. 

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Real Costs Of Social Media Marketing

Here is an infographic I found on the website of Percolate about the real cost of social media marketing

It gives a pretty clear view about how much each components of a social media campaign costs. What is not put into prospectis is the reach you may have with this strategy. These figures are based on the Nestlé marketing campaigns, and I believe that depending on the size of your company, and foremost the size of your online community, the cost/reach will be very different from one account to another. Anyways, I would also like to see the comparaison between these figures and traditionnal media such as radio, TV etc... to see actually what is the most cost efficient.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Some thoughts about « La Jeune Rue » In Paris

The project may not be known on an international stage, but it is famous in France. AFrench entrepreneur has undertaken a big project named la Jeune Rue. The project was to buy the commercial real estate of a whole street in France in order to transform a neighbourhood previously going in limbo into one of the hypest place for foods, restaurants and entertainment.

The entrepreneur set partnership with famous names of the design, and culinary world. The project has been difficult to launch, as it requires massive amount of money, combined with a lot of time to define the commercial offer it will have.
For some months now people are questioning where the project is heading, as investors and some people who worked in the project don’t have clear answer when the project will be achieved. A lot of rumors are roaming about the entrepreneur, how much money he actually has, and if the project is still on.

I am not here to discuss about how the project is undergoing as I don’t have much information. I just wanted to share with you my vision of the project. I believe this is just a great project that must have a future.
Indeed, most of small merchants have been struggling, facing the competition of large corporations, able to invest either in malls or large stores, or the Internet. It is hence difficult to compete with those tycoons. Nevertheless, everyone seems to agree that downtown commerce has a bright future aead of them, with those same corporations that thrived out of town developing concepts to conquer downtowns. How could small businesses compete?

By proposing a strong concept, and by creating strong alliance. Indeed, downtowns are interesting, with high traffic. It also can count on businesses that have strong personalities, sometime with a unique shopping experience. A project like la Jeune Rue is about proposing a comprehensive offer, with large investments. And I believe this is the right approach. I am sure that if small businesses could have the marketing power and the purchasing power required to unleash the full potential of proximity business, it could have a great impact.

Now, what the project shows, is that it is a difficult project to do, even though the potential is clear:
-          It requires a lot of money to invest
-          It requires also to be able to work with a lot of different actors with different needs, which complexify the decision making process.
Setting this project in Paris, one of the most expensive real estate, is obviously more difficult. I just hope the project will soon become real, with whoever can keep the project on. Because if that works, I believe the worldwide potential would be phenomenal.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Shall E-Retailers Developp Brick& Mortar Activities?

Obviously, it will be one of the most interesting trend of 2015: The increasing merger of online activities and brick & mortar activities.

Indeed, brick&mortar retailers are focusing now their strategies on earning marketshares online.
As Georges Plassat, CEO of Carrefour, pointed out lately, traditionnal retailers have an edge on e-retailers as they already own a store network, which is actually quite difficult to develop right now for new comers, as legislation and new projects are limiting the expansion.

But E-retailers are eager to create stores. Here is an interesting article I found on this topic, giving couple of examples of e-merchants who have opened some stores.

But this is a very interesting question on how E-merchant strategies want to develop their brick&mortar activities.

Indeed, managing a store network and retailing in the real world is a different activity than the online one. The way they manage inventory and opertionnal costs is very different.
Moreover, the promess they may have online (large product range, merchandising, customer service through adaptable delivery options) are quite different.

Obvisouly, it is a big challenge for e-merchants, as the online market becomes mature, one great way to grow is to compee with the brick&mortar. But with what kind of strategy? 

Here are some of the strategies they may have:
- Having a showroom, allowing customers to test products. But it will be difficult to have a nationwide strategy with only showrooming as it will only imply a higher cost of operations.
- Proposing extra services, in small places: reparation, customization of product, delivery. So far I have not seen much of it.
- Proposing products that tend to be difficult to retail online: I am thinking about breakable products, or too large products to be shipped. It could create extra sales and to limit the impact on the online activities.
- Make joint ventures in other retailers, such as hypermarkets, department stores, among others. It could help the joint venture to work better some categories where he would be weak, and for the e-retailer to set up fast a presence in a large chain.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Do Amazon Really Need A Store Network To Perform In The Long Term? Delivery Lockers May Be A Great Solution

CEO of Carrefour Georges Plassat often says that he does not see where the long term strategy of Amazon will lead the company to. Plassat believes that in order to perform in the long term, brick&mortar companies are ahead of e-merchants as the key is to own a strong retail network to provide customers with better customer experience, more service, and more convenience in terms of delivery. 

But what could actually save Amazon is the initiative they launched couple of years ago. Indeed, Amazon owns in several locations now delivery lockers, located in different stores like Seven Eleven. I believe that this strategy could be great in the long term. Indeed, some retail chains don't have any interests in launching an ecommerce activity. That is the case of seven eleven, or maybe chains like Mc Donald's. Both of them could benefit from a partnership with Amazon to generate traffic, new revenues, at a low cost.

Delivery lockers have appeared not a long time ago, and probably we will find new generation lockers, which could maybe propose more service, and with the rise of the mobile usage, probably delivery lockers could become a mainstream solution to go around the bargain of home delivery (when you are not home for instance).

Monday, January 05, 2015

Zappos Experimenting Social Shopping With Pinterest: Pintpointing

Social Commerce and Social Shopping have brought a lot of hype those past two years. Social media indeed has sprung up to become part of our daily lives. And marketers are still looming on how to leverage sales and marketshares thanks to these new media. But not a lot of them have been able to unlock the real potential of social media in terms of sales growth.

Amazon's owned company Zappos is one of the most creative e-merchant. They have about a year ago a new project in order to leverage Pinterest's success into a source of marketing and sales. The project was called Pintpointing. It allowed Zappos to propose product propositions based on Pinterests posts of one person. 

Zappos already lets users share what they buy through Facebook Inc. (FB), Twitter Inc. and Pinterest. While consumers share more often on Pinterest than on the other two social networks, sales from Pinterest posts contribute the smallest amount of revenue, Young said.
Zappos users were 13 times more likely to share a purchase on Pinterest than on Twitter and 8 times more likely to share on Facebook than Twitter, Young said. Even so, posts on Twitter brought in the most revenue -- an average of $33.66 an order -- while Facebook posts garnered $2.08 per order and sales from Pinterest were 75 cents on average, he said.
Pintpointing is a real marketing one to one project, and I wonder if it really worked. Indeed, I have tried to look for concrete results to share with you, without success.

Nevertheless, I believe that such an experimentation is important, because indeed, proposing great proposals based on social media activities is probably a great marketing tool.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Amazon Allows Its Customers To Negociate Prices

What I love about Amazon, it is its ability to innovate. According to an article I found on a French website, Amazon is going to launch a new feature allowing its customers to negociate the price it will find on the website. This will be a bilateral negociation, between the merchant and the customer. 

In this way, customers are taking a new step in its empowerment over the merchant.

The Next Device Apple May Launch To Change The World

What has been fascinating about Apple is its ability to go beyond customers expectation by launching products that will change the world. It was the case with the MacIntosh, the first computer that was designed to respond to anyones need and simple of utilization. The case with the Ipod, which changed the way we consume and listen to music. Then the Iphone obviously, and then the Ipad.

What is great is that nowadays, all these innovations seem to be part of our everyday life, while at the time totally new.

It looks like a connected pen. Now, there are a lot of thoughts that are coming through my mind while I saw this news:

- This is the first real innovation that will come up for Apple since Steve Jobs death.
- This may also be the reason why we have a clear pic on what they were working on. When the Ipad or Iphone were launched, nothing was known about those projects. Now, infos are leaking.
- Is it really something out of the standards? Stylet already exist, and Samsung is thriving on the segment of large smartphones with the stylet technology. Back in 2005 I already had a windows pocket with a stylet.

The last question is the most important one: How could Apple make something outstanding, really new from a stylet? This is what Steve Jobs was good at: Innovating from devices already known, making them totally different, high tech, and easy to use. And that will be the greatest challenge of the post Steve Jobs era for Apple. I wish them sincerely good luck.