This post got me thinking about the rather unique challenges luxury brands are facing in the digitization era. Although it might be obvious for more mainstream brands like Zara and Asos to focus their efforts and capital on online platforms – not to mention market entrants who couldn’t afford to pursue brick & mortar strategies even if they wanted to – luxury brands may feel the need to make the shift more slowly in order to maintain the “elite” standing that enables them to sell at such high price points. At some point, even the luxury segment will need to get up to speed as millennials value time and convenience above all else. I’m liking Burberry’s hybrid approach to digitization, especially the emphasis on innovating within customer-facing stores. Although brands like Chanel and Celine have clung on to more traditional offline approaches to retail with some success, we’re starting to see a few high-end brands like Louis Vuitton join the e-commerce club and develop an online presence; I expect Burberry’s innovation efforts will pay off as other luxury retailers struggle to catch up.
Interesting article! Although I also question Facebook’s motives, I feel the situation is similar to our case on Ikea’s sustainability efforts; we can reasonably argue that the firms’ efforts are not entirely altruistic, but the benefits created by the “green” efforts of Ikea and Facebook’s global knowledge economy are tangible and real. I agree with AJR’s assertion that competitors and governments will put pressure on Facebook that will create more of a “fair” marketplace over time, but that the positive gain for customers outweighs any potential disadvantages at this point in time. I also believe the global knowledge economy initiative can yield significant benefits from an education perspective in developing regions, and goes beyond what any standalone governments or smaller organizations can currently provide.
Really interesting post, Nikki! Although I understand some of the concerns raised about the potential for terrorist groups/other parties with questionable interests to develop ways to circumvent biometric controls, I would expect that similar risks exist for traditional paper-passport immigration controls. I accidentally ran my passport through the washing machine a couple years back, and despite my photo being incredibly faded, I was never given any trouble when passing through immigration control. My suspicion is that people have been able to fool the immigration systems we currently have in place at most airports, by impersonating the individual the document was issued to or by creating modified or fake passports. A biometric screening system would most likely result in far greater accuracy, not to mention the obvious efficiency improvements you highlighted in your post. I would love to see this technology adopted at more high-traffic international airports like JFK and Heathrow where I can imagine a lot of us have wasted more hours that we would ever want to admit!
Although I understand some of the customer service concerns voiced by earlier commentators, I definitely feel Panera should move full press with the mobile ordering platform. Although the “friendly factor” at Panera has been a great branding strategy in the past, I think the average customer values speed, order accuracy (which I would expect to increase when cutting out the middle man at the register), and food quality above all else. Store management could easily establish a presence at the pick-up station to ensure some level of personal interaction with the customer; this way employees can also react quickly if any mistakes were made during food preparation. Additionally, if the volume of customers spending time in the dining areas significantly decreases, Panera might want to consider shifting towards smaller storefronts, thereby generating cost savings on real estate that can help fund ongoing innovation efforts.
Great article! I too am amazed by the bottled-water buying behavior that seems to be just as prevalent where the tap water is of the highest standards as it is in regions where consuming tap water could be harmful. I think “trendy” companies like Swell have helped inspire more responsible behavior, but we certainly have a long way to go. I do like the idea of re-fill stations although I’m not sure Evian stands to gain much from such an endeavor and may argue that water fountains (although people often associate these with germs) already exist and largely serve the same purpose. Advertising that bottles are safe to re-fill is a good start, but I think restaurants and hotels can also co their part by only offering “filtered” water from the tap, at least in areas where drinking from the tap is is confirmed to be safe.
I really enjoyed reading your post and I agree that a third-party firm should take ownership of the supercharger stations. I believe the fact that Elon Musk has released all of Tesla’s patents online for the public, demonstrates that achieving mass-market status of electric vehicles is the #1 priority for the firm (https://www.tesla.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you). As long as the superchargers are compatible with Tesla’s cars and are fully vetted by the firm’s engineering teams, I would be surprised if Musk is not eager to relinquish his control of the charging side of the business so that he can focus on transforming more of his creative ideas into reality.
I agree that Tesla stands to lose some of the early-adapters who enjoyed the elite status that came with being some of the first to own the novelty cars. However, as electric vehicle technology becomes more widely adopted, there will be opportunities to shift focus back to developing more high-end, differentiated models – if Tesla wishes to do so.
Great post, Alec! I like Maria’s idea of looking for ways to genetically modify the vines to produce grapes more resistant to volatile weather conditions; perhaps the French champagne producers should reach out to Indigo for assistance! Alternatively, maybe there could be opportunities for the French producers to work with the English newcomers to the industry and attempt to reproduce the taste of traditional champagne (perhaps by using French seeds and transporting French soil to England).
I also wonder how quickly optimal growing conditions will keep moving North… maybe we should start setting up vineyards in Norway a few years from now!
I agree with the argument that companies as large and influential as P&G can effectively become a leader of the sustainability movement. I particularly like the idea of P&G focusing on customer education, especially in areas where recycling is not as commonplace as it may be in the Western world. As Proctor & Gamble is selling products that are used in households all over the globe, the firm has a unique opportunity to reach people at the family and individual level. Perhaps P&G could explore an educational campaign that adds information about recycling and the environment to the packaging of their products? In developing regions, the firm could work with vendors to implement a recycling program specific to P&G’s household products – i.e. offering a discount off a new bottle of laundry detergent in exchange for bringing the empty container to the store. Such an initiative would most likely be difficult to implement in more developed countries (where opportunity cost of carrying the container around would outweigh benefit of the discounted new product), but the program could work a bit like bottle recycling at a grocery store, with a slightly better financial incentive. P&G would also be able to leverage existing infrastructure in place with vendors, and could leverage distributors to help retrieve recycled containers/reimburse stores for discounts extended to end users.
I visited Miami just a couple weeks ago and was amazed by the amount of ongoing construction as well as new buildings that seem to have been erected since my last trip to the area. I agree with some of the earlier comments about the Miami tourist industry benefiting from increased temperatures as well as the likely short-term nature of much of the foreign investments made in the city’s real estate. I’m also unsure if Miami’s residents and real estate owners would change their behavior even if the government stepped up to the plate and clearly communicated the consequences of rising sea levels, especially given the response (or lack-thereof) we saw when residents of Southern Florida were asked to leave their homes last month during what was at the time expected to be one of the most dangerous hurricanes in recent history (http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/06/us/hurricane-matthew-evacuations/). I expect the residents of Miami to continue taking risks regardless of government communication, but would definitely be curious to see how insurance companies react as the threat to property values becomes impossible to ignore; perhaps the day will come when these firms will refuse to offer coverage for certain areas of the city, which is one of the only scenarios in which I could see investment in the Miami coastline coming to a standstill.
Unfortunately, as of right now, there is no universally agreed-upon source of energy capable of meeting the globe’s growing energy demands with the technology and infrastructure available in 2016 – nor is there a company or governing body able or willing to assume sole ownership of such an endeavor. Hence, the need for networks of global industry leaders to be established with defined goals and shared responsibility.
Although it’s easy to point fingers at the oil companies – and I absolutely feel it’s important that we continue to do so, as relentless pressure will leave the industry no choice but to improve and innovate – we need to be realistic about what we are asking for and within what time-frame. The only way Statoil and other firms can generate the funds required for the capital-intensive R&D required to develop ways to reduce and/or eliminate the role of traditional oil & gas, is if there’s a revenue stream enabling them to pay for it. Additionally, placing restrictions on just one firm or country is unlikely to produce any of the changes we’re looking for on a global scope, as business incentives are necessary for this type of initiative to be successful. Not to mention, we’d still like to keep our lights on in the meantime!
For more info on Statoil’s energy perspective and plans: http://www.statoil.com/en/NewsAndMedia/News/2016/Pages/EnergyPerspectives2016.aspx