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Hi Olivia! Thanks for sharing about Alibaba’s logistic strategy. It was a real surprise for me to see that Alibaba doesn’t own its logistic fleet compared to JD or e-commerce players in South-East Asia like Lazada or ZALORA when top quality logistic is a key competitive strengths of e-commerce companies, especially in this region of the world. With the recent acquisition of Lazada, I wonder if Alibaba is not going to go a step even further and try to scale up the in-house logistic capabilities the south-east asian start-up has built over the last few years as suggested in this WSJ article which was published at the time of the acquisition “Separately, an Alibaba spokesman said the company will be able to tap into “Lazada’s logistics backbone.”

Hi Sanchali! It’s interesting to see the attempt of such a prestigious traditional journal to catch on the digitalization trend. One of the biggest threat I see for the New York Times and other newspapers as they go online is their increasing dependability to Facebook and the risk that it puts on their advertising revenue stream. As it develops its technology to keep its users captive in the Facebook website or app even when their read a newspaper article, Facebook limits the traffic sent from its site to the newspaper’s website which therefore cannot monetize as easily its content as with a printed publication which has a more stable audience. At the same time, Facebook has changed its algorithm last summer to reduce the visibility for news article compared to content shared by friends and family: Both threats are real and some big challenges for newspapers going forward.


Super interesting Spencer! I love the idea of combining the data you tracked online on the customers to make him the most appropriate recommendation in the store. This omni-channel strategy trend is a good learning for e-commerce players who have started to realize how important it is to combine both offline and online shops to maximize the customer experience and satisfaction.
Another dimension of the success of those stores is that it becomes a really powerful marketing tool for the e-commerce company as it sparkles interest of the customers and the press.
On a side note, the company I worked for also launched a first “click-and-mortar” shop last year in Singapore ( Our goal was a little bit different because of the South-East Asian context: to educate non digital-savvy customers on how to purchase online once they tried the clothes in the shop. The store was a great success and brought up to 15% new customers to the online store every month!

On November 20, 2016, Clara commented on Nike’s Play in the Digitization of Fitness :

Hi George, great story about Nike Fuelband failure! It’s interesting to see how Nike has learned from its mistakes and leveraged its partnership with Apple even further to find its space in the wearable category. With the Apple Watch Nike+ released earlier this year (see: Nike and Apple have launched a joined product on top of the technology which combines Nike’s expertise in fitness data management and Apple’s expertise in hardware and software. The initial sales results are promising!

Great post ATN! I totally agree with your suggestion on content discovery. One app which has been doing content discovery very well through a combinaison of machine learning and social recommendation is Houzz, the European architecture app – see: In a world where more and more places are accessible Airbnb could use data to recommend us what place to visit next based on our past behavior on the site (places we travelled, type of flats we booked etc.).

On November 7, 2016, Clara commented on Under Water: The City of Miami Beach :

I like how Miami understands the problem of rising water and tries to solve it by finding long-term scientific solutions and by trying to build a sustainable living community. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Venise has the same problem or even a worst one but has not act to improve the situation yet. On the contrary, a lot of travel agencies actually exploits the fact that Venise has a very high risk to disappear under the water in the mid-term future and increases tourism intensity for people to “see Venice before it sinks” ( It’s a pity to see how such an important heritage is not protected well enough by government officials. I wish Venice government could get some advice from Miami’s one on the topic so that we can start to build a more sustainable tourism in the city and to protect it for the years to come.

On November 7, 2016, Clara commented on Is the world running out of chocolate? :

Mars has done a very good first step with his three-fold strategy to diagnostic and provide solution to the threat that climate change puts on its natural resources. I’m impressed they are trying to solve the problem at its core by investing R&D money into developing a more sustainable way of growing cacao.
That being said, what I like a lot about your proposal is the idea to invest their technical and financial capabilities in emerging markets in order to diversify their source of raw materials. Not only would it benefit the company because it would reduce its dependance on a few areas of the world but it would also create positive social returns to communities which is a goal that Mars seems to be concerned with. If Mars can leverage its experience to help build a more sustainable agriculture in less developed countries in the world, it should also help to slow down the effects of climate change which are currently expected to grow exponentially as the emerging markets intensify their agriculture practice. That way Mars would create value both for itself, for its partners and for the environment in general.

Levis has done a really good job in identifying its impact on the environment and not only act on its own areas of accountability (supply chain) but also encourage its consumers to act on their own area of responsibility (wash less campaign). It makes the issue much more visible and encourages collaboration around it.
It reminds me of the strategy of a French popular denim brand called APC ( which has taken a step even further by marketing that not washing your denim jeans is the way to go to be cool & fashionable. When you buy a pair of jeans from them it comes with guiding instructions on how to take care of the jeans and how you should never wash it if you are a purist. It’s a fun and engaging way to make customers work towards changing behaviors and make them more conscious of the environment.
They also developed a program whereby you can always resell you worn jeans in their stores whenever you want to get rid of it. They have set up a “vintage” section in each of their stores where they resell those second-hand jeans for a fraction of the price. With this program they encourages customers to recycle their used items . The program aims as tackling the issues of non recycled fashion items which customers usually throw away. Knowing that only 1/4th of used fashion items only get recycled today, Levis could try to replicate this program at scale as another initiative to limit their impact on the environment.

On November 7, 2016, Clara commented on Sustainable Innovation at Nike :

It’s really interesting to learn how Nike manages to leverages its major strength – innovation – to reduce its effect on climate change. I studied the impact of climate change in the fast fashion industry for my blog post and most brand take a much more reactive approach by trying to consume less energy in stores, by using recycling material for their paper bags and organic cotton for their clothes. Nike seems to go a step further by not only putting in place those kind of initiatives but also investing research and development in creating more environmental friendly material for its products. I wish they would commercialize some of the technics you described like ColorDry to fast fashion brand to increase further their impact.

On November 7, 2016, Clara commented on The Education of a Reluctant Businessman :

To me Patagonia is the #1 example of how a fashion company can successfully take its responsibilities vis-a-vis climate change. I wrote my blog article about ZARA and I pointed out how much the fast-fashion industry has a lot to learn from more sustainable fashion brands like Patagonia.
I am particularly inspired by their “Worn Wear” campaign that you mentioned in your post. I find it extremely brave for a consumer brand to encourage its customers to purchase less. I wish the fast fashion industry could see it as an example and try to reduce the consumption of clothes which creates so much damages to the environment (fast fashion is the 2nd dirtiest industry in the world).
Something you didn’t mention which also impressed me in Patagonia’s sustainable strategy is the fact they managed to get the B Corporation accreditation for their efforts (see: The B Corporation accreditation is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee and Patagonia is the first fashion brand to get it. To counter some critics saying that Patagonia talks more than actually do, I wish they could invest some time and energy in advising other fashion brands by sharing their best practices and encourage them to get the accreditation themselves.