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On December 14, 2015, amignot commented on Zappos: Best in Class Customer Service :

Great summary Matt. Reading through several of these TOM Challenges I’ve seen a trend of quite a few companies differentiating themselves with great customer service. For Zappos I think it’s particularly important to continue this emphasis on customer service given such competitors as large as Amazon in the space. Aside from a profitability and logistics standpoint, I want to say it’s easy for any company to offer free shipping or free returns on orders – and many new clothing retail companies do that now. It’s a lot harder to offer the excellent customer service through call centers as you mentioned in the summary, let alone additional personal item recommendations. This involves people – which requires training and culture reinforcement. I think that’s where Zappos should continue to spend its time and energy. It could set it apart from competitors like Amazon who just won’t be able to offer the same personalized experience given the scale and breadth of different products it offers.

On December 14, 2015, amignot commented on Haidilao Hot Pot’s Success :

Awesome summary Yao. I’ve never heard of Haidilao but now I definitely want to go through the experience at some point. I’m particularly interested to know if there are any other similar hot pot delivery services that exist in the United States? If not, does Haidilao ever plan to expand to here in the US? I can imagine their business model perhaps transferring easily to a dense city like San Francisco or New York. There are new start ups in these cities that are able to deliver food very fast (within 10-15 minutes after order) based on the operating model of having a set menu of only 3-4 items. I could see a hot pot restaurant trying something similar by only offering a limited 2 soup bases and either just “fish”, “beef”, or “chicken”, all offered with the same veggies. I also find it fascinating that Haidilao will pick up your used hot pot materials as well. That’s an interesting concept on food delivery on it’s own. I don’t know of any food delivery service here in the United States that will essentially loan you materials. If this exists already….let me know!

On December 14, 2015, amignot commented on Stitch Fix: Personalized Retail at Scale :

Great summary Ravneet. I’ve known of a couple Stitch Fix-like business models for men (such as Trunk Club) and have debated whether to sign up myself. They definitely tend to advertise their business model as providing unique item suggestions tailored to your specific styling preferences, curated by your own professional stylist – emphasis on the personal stylist. However, it’s interesting to read in your write up how much of a role the algorithm actually plays in the style suggestions. As the company is able to acquire more data points on the customer through surveys, social media, and past preference choices it gets smarter and is able to make better decisions for the customer, often better than stylists themselves can. I could almost see stylists being limited to only their own personal experience of possible styles to suggest to the customer, while a computer can draw from the past choices of its very broad data set. Stylists at this point within these business models may simply be a PR stunt to make customers feel special while a computer does all the work. I hope the customers don’t find out! – or will it matter?