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On December 7, 2015, HeatherD commented on Aldi’s Crusade Against Costs :

Great post and interesting store concept! Aldi definitely seems to have stream-lined and simplified every aspect of their operational model. I’m guessing the cost-savings offset most consumer complaints regarding the potential lack of service with self-bagging and paid-for trolleys. It makes complete sense to display products in the pallets they are shipped in – displays don’t add any value to the groceries we purchase!

I’m curious about the lack of pushback regarding the exclusively private label branding. U.S. consumers seem to get very attached to food brands and I’m wondering if this model would be as successful here. The Aldi packaging does make their private labels look equally as appealing, something I’ve yet to see with private labeling here in the U.S.

On December 7, 2015, HeatherD commented on IKEA: World’s Most Successful Furniture Retailer :

Great post, Kevin! IKEA is truly an operations genius with their ability to bring furniture production to scale and provide such low costs. They are a novelty compared to traditional furniture stores where you have to wait weeks-months after placing an order to receive your furniture – even when the purchase isn’t high-end furniture! When there is such a huge market for affordable furniture, I’m surprised other big names in furniture haven’t attempted to diversify into a similar low-cost model or subsidiary. It’s potentially a lot harder to mimic the IKEA model than it looks!

On December 7, 2015, HeatherD commented on CommonBond, a new kind of student loan :

Great company choice, Heidi! As a holder of several student loans, I’m well aware of the pain points of this industry, particularly pertaining to federal-funded loans. It appears that CommonBond has brought together some clear benefits from the traditional loan financing industry and applied them in a user-friendly and cost-effective method to student lending. I wonder if their success will be hindered by other entrants to this market. It almost seems like low-hanging fruit as federal student loan rates (especially for graduate students) are significantly higher than market lending rates. I’m also curious about the share breakdown of the value they’re creating. Their social mission/core leads me wanting to believe they provide the most value to their student clients, but as financial services grow it’s easy for profits to swing mostly toward their pockets in the end. It will be interesting to watch them evolve.