retail news in context, analysis with attitude

I used yesterday's "Eye-Opener" section to highlight a series of stories yesterday about what I see as a fast-changing retail dynamic in which competitors must constantly be considering the big idea, looking for the big opportunity, and being far more targeted and precise in how they define themselves.

To which MNB reader Alison Kenney Paul responded:

I read your ‘eye opener’ this morning and couldn’t agree more…..having spent last week speaking and learning at the National Retail Federation ‘Big Show’ in NY, it is clear to me that Retail is in the midst of a massive transformation… A transformation that has been underway, but somewhat ignored, by many ‘brick and mortar’ retailers over the last 10 years.  The answer to this sea change?  You, or more precisely, Steve Jobs, said it….Innovation is the key to the future (and survival!) and without it, many retailers, in fact, many businesses, could be the next buggy whip shop.

But chasing one’s tail and trying to do what every other ‘innovator’ is doing won’t work….retailers need to look deep inside – understand their brand essence, their differentiator, and yes, their customer, and tack toward that ‘north star’….sounds simple…and it might be….but that does not mean it’s easy.

Today’s ‘Eye Opener’ nailed it Kevin….well done!

Thanks, Alison.

BTW…you get extra credit for making a movie reference (though I'm not sure if you did it on purpose). It was the movie Other People's Money where Danny DeVito's character asked the question: Does it matter if you are the world's best buggy whip manufacturer in a world that no longer needs buggy whips?

We reported yesterday about Amazon's new patent on "anticipatory shipping" software: Amazon reportedly has filed for and received a patent for a process that would allow it to use a number of factors - ranging from what products a person is looking at online and how often, what products the person has searched for and purchased in the past - to figure out what needs to be positioned in locations that will enable it to get things to customers more efficiently and less expensively. This could mean getting appropriate products to the warehouses it is building all over the country, or even, in the most extreme and predictable cases, onto trucks with labels attached, just waiting for someone to click "buy."

MNB user Marty Ramos wrote:

Hmm….Amazon patents anticipatory shipping…or per WSJ, “Amazon Wants to Ship Your Package Before You Buy It”…isn’t this just moving product to their local “store” based on historical demand such that it’s “on the shelf” when a customer wants it?, i.e. demand driven supply chain?

MNB user Mike Franklin wrote:

So…each morning, I pour my cup of coffee and go to the front door to collect all the packages of things I wanted to buy that day. Awesome! What happens to this system when I buy only from local crafts people?

You have to anticipate your own needs. Like the old days.
KC's View: