I agree that services like Instacart deliver value to the customer and to Whole Foods by improving convenience and reducing friction in the food shopping experience. However, the Instacart business model is not yet stable, which exposes Whole Foods to some risk. Most recently, Instacart has been in the news for discontent among its workers for a change in compensation structure. Workers reported about a 30% decrease in their earnings  and are now threatening to strike during Thanksgiving, a peak time for Whole Foods and Instacart . While customers will still likely purchase their groceries from Whole Foods, they won’t be able to rely on Instacart, and may even switch to another service (and grocery store) in its absence. These grocery delivery and logistics companies still have a ways to go before they can be truly reliable and fully integrated into the customer journey.
This technology seems straight out of a sci-fi movie. I agree that the 3-D scanning technology can significantly improve the customer experience by shortening the time in-store. However, I’m not entirely sold on the idea that the in-person experience will disappear in the future or be reduced to at-home fittings with portable scanners. Bespoke clothing is unique for combining luxury products with high-quality and individualized service. Being served and touching / interacting with the fabrics are critical components, but neither of these translate across into the DIY at-home alternative.
While there is a lot of buzz about the death of brick-and-mortar stores, the brands and retailers seeing the most success are those who understand that online and in-person can complement one another. Brands like Bonobos, M. Gemi, Casper, and Everlane are all primarily online retailers (many got their start in e-commerce), but have since opened showrooms or physical locations so customers can interact with the products. As Ben Fischman, CEO and Co-Founder of M. Gemi, explains why they added stores. “It’s to let her try shoes on, feel the fabric and experience the brand in a tactile way that she can’t experience digitally.” 
The technology behind Under Armour’s new innovations and products is incredible; wearable tech has so much potential, particularly in the field of health and wellness. However, as a consumer, I would have concerns about what Under Armour does with all the data collected. Insurance companies are beginning to enter the wearable tech industry (for example, Aetna and John Hancock are partnering with Apple Watch ) and using the information to offer promotions or new products. These programs are currently aimed at encouraging people to be active, but it could also be used to penalize people for health issues detected by wearable tech. In addition, there is a risk that the Under Armour app’s insights and recommendations lead to adverse health problems. For example, an individual follows an exercise plan but doesn’t follow it correctly and gets injured or leads to chronic health issues.
Paul Virilio, a philosopher, said: “The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck.” It seems applicable here and it will be interesting to see what new challenges and opportunities arise from the wearable tech movement.
This was an informative read on an app filling an important and unmet need in a developing country. I think that, in addition to the suggestions you noted, there is an opportunity for Maya Apa (or a partner) to offer a parallel service for men. An article from the NYT on Maya Apa notes that many of the reviews praise the usefulness of the app for men as well . Educating women and providing them with a forum is incredibly valuable, but many of the topics revolve around partner-related issues, so it may be a one-sided solution. Especially since the marriage age is so young in rural areas of Bangladesh, it would be critical to educate men as well so young couples and families can make educated decisions. To open the services to men and women could also make both partners more evenly balanced in the decision-making process, potentially reducing tensions or conflicts caused by asymmetrical knowledge.
Interesting post, particularly as a complement to Amir’s post about architectural firms. It sounds like Lafarge has been proactive about addressing climate change through these voluntary measures. Also impressive is that they can reduce energy usage by such a significant amount, 60-80%, using technologies. However, the move to locate projects near railways and ports seems like a short-term solution and limiting for their business. I’m curious to know whether this is a strict commitment for the future or if they are doing it when convenient, more as a “nice to have” — if it’s the former, this could be a powerful signal to the rest of the industry. I also agree with Shivika’s point above that there are opportunities for Lafarge beyond the cement industry and to partner with developers or even architectural design firms. It seems that the whole ecosystem of building would benefit from moving more closely in lockstep.
Great post on Nike. It is impressive to see such a world-renowned brand approaching climate change as an opportunity to innovate. From your post, I found it interesting that Nike chose to partner externally to address the limited resource of water. They seem to be a step ahead of the industry and, by partnering with DyeCoo Textile Systems, can be the first to claim such important and innovative technology. It seems that Nike has been very successful in adapting to climate change through their internal manufacturing processes, but, as I learned from the Inditex post, the carbon footprint extends past the point of sale. Nike should extend their efforts to further engage their consumers in the process. For example, asking customers to return their used apparel and shoes to salvage materials for reuse.
This is a great post and very informative. In considering the impact of climate change on the apparel industry, I had only ever thought of the direct link to raw materials. It was very interesting to also consider the CO2 emissions and impact after the actual point of sale. I know that I have never actually considered the possibility that my used or worn clothing would be detrimental to the environment. Since Inditex is such a leading player in the apparel industry, owning brands like Zara’s and Massimo Dutti, it could be a wise move for them to expand their R&D function in order to explore new textiles with minimal environmental impact. While smaller and established companies may not be able to take this step as easily, Inditex has the resources to invest in increased R&D and to transfer this across their portfolio of brands.
I enjoyed your post, particularly as it sheds light on an industry that isn’t as frequently addressed in relation to climate change. It was shocking to see those pie charts and to learn that U.S. energy consumption by the building industry is ~50% and CO2 emissions are ~45%. I would be interested to see the same data for the rest of the world and to see which countries or regions are excelling at reducing their environmental impact. It would be fascinating to examine the global leaders, in order to better understand what has successfully motivated them. What could we learn from them? Are these models we could transfer to the countries that lag? Or are there factors specific to their context (political, cultural, ecological)? In addition, you address changes that firms are making for the future, as they design new buildings, but what can be done about existing buildings to improve their footprint and impact? I imagine this is challenging to address, but could present a new and untapped market.
Thank you for sharing on a very interesting topic. Your post has shed light on a unique opportunity to unite the world around a shared cause. Much like the most recent Summer Olympics raised awareness around the refugee crisis, by establishing the first-ever Refugee Team, I agree that there is an opportunity for the games to do the same for climate change. To that end, it is definitely a positive step for the Olympics to introduce sustainability into the agenda for the future. Another, more radical solution, is to discontinue the practice of placing all the burden on different host cities each year. I had read a thought-provoking article discussing this, in light of the challenges leading up to the Rio Olympics, that suggested reusing existing facilities (many of which are now operating below capacity or wasted) and spreading the Olympics events across multiple cities. While the article proposed this solution to address the financial burden on host cities, I believe this could also address the issues of ecological limitations and the carbon footprint in any single place. Of course, viewers and aspiring host cities would likely raise many protests from the entertainment perspective, but I wonder: what responsibility does a global event, with such viewership, have to take a leadership stance on this?