Published on: January 26, 2017
This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either ... they are similar, but not exactly the same. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.
Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is Face Time with the Content Guy.
Two things I want to talk about this week...
First, I want to revisit a subject we talk a lot about here on MNB - e-commerce. Mostly, it is because I think that recent events suggest that for a lot of retailers that continue to believe that online shopping will largely bypass the grocery channel, the window may be closing faster than they think.
Let me put it to you this way.
You have Amazon over here, which is clearly the big kahuna of e-commerce in general, and equally clearly focused on making food a bigger part of its mix. The reason is simple - if you want to create an ecosystem in which you are the first, best choice for consumers, you have to be in the food business ... because that's the thing that people shop for most often. And let's remember, Amazon doesn't want to sell stuff...it just wants to make it easier to buy stuff.
Then, you have Walmart over there ... and the company seems to be doing everything it can, from acquiring Jet to reorganizing its executive ranks, to make sure that this is a game it can play. I think that Walmart isn't particularly interested in creating an ecosystem ... just in selling more stuff.
Two different approaches. They may be equally valid in the end, and relevant to different customers.
At the same time, you have Kroger building up its e-commerce and digital marketing capacities, and other food retailers that are embracing e-grocery not necessarily because they want to, but because they believe they have to.
The thing is, these folks are all operating in different universes. There's plenty of space between them right now for other businesses to operate, to find their own unique take on e-grocery. They can adapt Walmart's feeling that having bricks-and-mortar stores give it an ultimate advantage, and they can find ways to adopt or compete with Amazon's approach to replenishment, which takes many forms and is extremely effective, generating a lot of its growth.
But while there is room now, I'm not sure how long it'll be there. I think as all those universes expand, there will be less and less room for slow-movers to operate and distinguish themselves. I'm not saying it'll be impossible, but it will be harder and harder.
That's important to remember. And I'm making it one of my goals to find as many ways as possible to remind people of this here on MNB.
The other thing I wanted to comment on was last weekend's Women's Marches, which took place in hundreds of locations in the US and around the world, and generated participation by as many as 4 million people.
Let's forget the politics for a moment. For the purposes of this discussion, I don't care if you marched or not, or if you agree with the marchers or not.
Here's the single most important thing you need to keep in mind - that the whole thing started when one woman - Theresa Shook, who lives in Hawaii - decided the day after Election Day to organize a march on Washington for the day after Inauguration Day. She invited some friends. And look what happened.
That's the power of the digital age and social media. These kinds of passions can be ignited by politics, or by religion or cultural events or business. Agree with the sentiments behind the march or not, one cannot deny or ignore that these people made their voices heard on January 21. Now, it remains to be seen if their voices will be as loud or as passionate on February 21 or March 21 or January 21, 2018.
But I wouldn't bet against it, just as I wouldn't bet against the possibility that your business also could be the subject - or target - of social media passions. Just ask Teresa Shook.
That's what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: