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On May 1, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on “Darlin’, we need a new couch. And desk. And chairs.” :

My biggest concern about this Wayfair growth is that it is only a short term pop. Specifically, I almost see it as a move of revenue from a year out to just right now. In terms of buying furniture and home goods, there are longer life cycles on those items and so if you purchase so much now, then you likely won’t have to buy as much of it especially in the next year (especially if unemployment holds up and we potentially go into a recession / people have less disposable income). I also wonder if a potential recession will spike up the furniture resale market (especially since there are more platforms for these types of businesses now) and if that will lead to even more struggles for Wayfair after the pandemic.

On May 1, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on Nike: Just do it. Differently! :

It’s really cool to be able to see how Nike’s digital strategy is actually playing out during this pandemic. I am curious to see if these engagement / online sales numbers extend after the pandemic is over. Specifically, since online sales are increasing across the board at most ecommerce compnies, is this just a macro effect, or is it really because the digital apps that Nike has invested in is really helping to drive that growth? Another question I had was whether this growth will be sustained throughout the pandemic. It does seem that a lot of people were massively buying items especially in the beginning but as quarantine became more normalized, the buying has been shown to taper off. Will that especially be the case for sneakers since we’re not going outside as often now?

On May 1, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on “Zoom by Day, Houseparty by Night” :

Very interesting post! I am curious about the potential solution of partnerships and what specifically would be most important in picking such a partner. Specifically, would you be looking for an app with similar demographics as you (to keep your customers on the platform)? Or would you be looking more for a widely used app so there’s potentially just more volume coming to your app? Or is perhaps a smaller company partnership the way to go in order to have more “homegrown” apps and making the value proposition more unique?

The technology used in this vineyard is fascinating! I’m interested in seeing how this Vineyard Infrared Growth Optical Recoginition technology will be used especially in other agricultural settings. I do wonder if there is a licensing opportunity for the data collected from this vineyard and when the data becomes helpful in helping to achieve goals such as more sustainable farming, and when the data becomes harmful to the business as it provides the competition with too much information.

On April 21, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on Stitch Fix: Your Personal Shopper :

Really interesting post on Stitch Fix! I am curious about the inventory management aspect. Specifically, there is obviously a huge financial risk by taking on this inventory. However, I was wondering if there was a way to do the model without this inventory. For example, if they transition into offline, would they be able to offer the Bonobos model and offer showrooms instead? And is there a way to translate this to online (perhaps only sending “samples”)?

On April 21, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on Walmart: Using machine learning to reduce food waste :

This sounds like a really cool initiative on Walmart’s part. What I’m a little concerned about was whether this was the best use of Walmart’s resources – and if partnering with someone who could focus on this full time, such as the startup Zest Labs, who was developing a similar product already, would have been a better use of their resources. Walmart tries to do a lot and especially given their recent huge organizational overhaul (combining the in-store and e-commerce teams), I think there will be a lot of things that slip through the cracks in terms of data and systems.

On March 23, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on Instacart – A Platform Thriving in a Pandemic :

I am very curious about the decision to move to Enterprise and help these retailers create their own app ordering platform. I’m slightly worried about what that would do to the Instacart brand – specifically, would you then delist that retailer from the Instacart app once they have their own app? Doesn’t that then devalue the Instacart app and brand? And if they don’t delist it, then what motivation would someone have to move over to the retailers app (unless there’s no Instacart annual fee charged to the customer – but then is this profitable for Instacart)? I’m very curious as to what knock on effects this might have

On March 23, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on ClassPass: Uncertain future for boutique fitness platform 

The SmartTools that ClassPass offers is an interesting benefit I hadn’t necessarily considered. I do wonder with the increased competition of boutique studios out there (it seems like a new studio line is the new fad every other day), how that will affect ClassPass’s business. I would guess that as competition increases on the supplier side, ClassPass’s ability to span across the many different offerings will only become more and more valuable to customers and may actually increase demand for the platform and drive less disintermediation

On March 23, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on Drizly: A refreshing business model in the delivery app landscape :

I am curious about the scalability of Drizly’s profits. Specifically, if Drizly only charges a flat fee to its suppliers (the liquor stores) and doesn’t take a cut of the revenues or the per order delivery fee, then with a greater number of transactions on the platform, Drizly ISNT necessarily seeing an increase in revenue and therefore profits. I would love to understand their economics a little more but I’m worried that without tiered pricing on the supplier side (I.e. after you get 50 transactions that month, then you get charged $X more), that Drizly will eventually max out on the number of liquor stores and have called their revenue

On February 11, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on Venmo – Winning a Larger Share of Consumers Wallet :

Totally agreed that Venmo is a digital winner. One of the questions I had though was on the common misconception that Venmo doesn’t invest the money we have sitting in “Venmo balances”. I do wonder why that’s the case since if most consumers already think that (aka you’re already taking a reputational hit), it will be a missed revenue opportunity with no perceived volume demand downside. If they are worried about potentially the financial risk associated with that, then perhaps it might be worth marketing that they don’t invest the Venmo balance and that marketing might encourage additional users to join, thereby increasing the network effects of this platform.

On February 11, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on Glossier: Disrupting the Traditional Beauty Industry :

Glossier is a really fascinating digital branding case! One of the things I do wonder about is whether giving so much power to the average consumer is a good thing. Because of “Into the Gloss”, there is a digital online community where technically any one of these “Glossier Girls” could post negative things about the products created by Glossier. In a sense, you could be creating your own influencers who do not seem motivated by anything more than their love for good personal care. So I do wonder, if you are using digital to empower consumers, are you then also giving consumers too much power to potentially dislike and influence others to also dislike your product? It will be interesting to see how Glossier deals with one of their products that may not have the community backing (for example, if it doesn’t live up to the product co-creation quality expected from its community).

On February 11, 2020, Genevieve Chow commented on The Louvre: Winning at Digital Engagement :

This was super interesting to read about since I hadn’t really ever thought about the art museum industry – one typically steeped in the historical and ancient – being enhanced by digital. One major thought I had was whether the digital aspects of the website and in-person experience were helping with repeat visits. While it is amazing that they are able to achieve 15M unique website visitors per year – with 10M or 2/3 coming to visit in person – I do wonder when they will “max out” on the % of the population who would be interested in this type of service (once you’ve seen it once, would you go again?). And if they will constantly need to innovate digitally in order to achieve relevance among this community – a need that might require continued investment that might not necessarily pay off. It will be interesting to see how they balance this investment versus investment in the physical pieces of art as well.