Anna Marie Wagner
What do you think the future holds for Zipcar? It feels like this area is in a huge state of flux right now with things like electric cars, ridesharing (Uber, Lyft), and carsharing (RelayRides) coming into play. Also – I’ve noticed that a lot of the rental car companies are offering cars more cheaply than Zipcar (e.g. $20 for a full day!). In this world of fierce competition and heavy upfront investment costs, how do they continue to win?
Do you think The Onion has benefited or suffered from the emergence of so many other “click bait” type sites due to the prominence of social media (e.g. Upworthy, College Humor, etc.)? At the beginning, it feels like they were certainly helped (a new, really cheap mode of distribution to a relevant audience) but the ease of the Facebook platform (for example) has really reduced the barriers to entry for competitors.
This is an awesome concept 🙂 Love Chef Ludo!
Am curious how much of the success is due to the celebrity of Chef Ludo (e.g. is that really the only asset?) versus having a really unique / efficient concept? Could anyone else (outside of the Anthony Bourdain’s and Chef Ludo’s of the world) replicate this?
Time to go eat…
This is the $64,000 question!
Everyone is trying to speed up their processes. Some of the really big guys (e.g. Gap) can leverage their scale by committing to full plant utilization, thus speeding up production (vs. smaller competitors who have to wait for their turn in the production queue). Furthermore, they can create some easy efficiencies in the production process (e.g. consolidation and advance buying of yarns / fabrics). Others are moving their sourcing to the next level of low-cost countries (e.g. Central/South America) where they can ship goods faster. These things combined could cut out several months of the process. And while some of these things are no brainers, others (e.g. committing to yarns / fabrics before the design team knows what it wants to make) require huge cultural shifts in an organization – this will be the biggest challenge.
But as physical stores become less and less productive every year (as online cannibalizes sales and new entrants come into the space), it is becoming VERY real and is a very active conversation in the space. My two cents… Retail will look VERY different in 10 years and physical stores (at least in urban areas) will act much more like showrooms / customer service centers versus points of sale.
Great question! A couple things I’d say in response:
1. ZARA’s competitive advantage really focuses on the “great products” side of the equation. The prices are also competitive, but if you just want cheap junk, you go to Uniqlo or H&M. The supply chain speed is what really differentiates them and you need more than selling online to get speed.
2. I’d argue that online is a bigger opportunity for them rather than a threat. Their real estate strategy will never allow them to build stores in random places (e.g. middle of nowhere Midwest USA) but online allows them to access fashion-forward customers in these locales.
3. Selling online really only saves you money in a couple ways: 1) store rent and 2) [maybe] lower inventory needs (better balance across web vs. in any given store) – ZARA does pay for store rent but because they have such a consolidated footprint in flagship locations (granted, higher rent / sqft) – they have off-the-charts productivity (sales / sqft). Furthermore, ZARA spends no money on advertising so if you looked at the average retailers sales per dollar of rent + advertising, it would be MUCH lower than ZARAs. And (see point 1 above), until an online retailer can get the fashion right, it’s not a relevant threat.