Great post! I really like your perspective on how a law from the 1930s is limiting value creation / capture for consumers in a digital age. I imagine the suppliers, distributors, and retailers are missing out on this value as well. While reading your post, I was struck by this line about distributors being “hesitant to adopt this new technology for several reasons, including resistance to change and concerns regarding job security at the sales rep level.” I imagine in a less concentrated market distributors may be more incentivized to adopt digital technology to remain competitive. This dilemma on how you get different layers of the supply chain to innovate reminded me of our Barilla case. Lastly, I agree the innovations like the digital fridge that ABI is working on doesn’t seem to be particularly solving any large issues that consumers are facing and they may be better served to redirect some of their efforts.
Great post! It’s really interesting to see how Starbucks has been able to win in the payments space considering that many haven’t been able to get this right. I like how you pointed out how Starbucks’ success may not be easily replicated by other firms since they have a large loyal following and that it is a habitual purchase. Moreover, I recall in my research on JPMorgan Chase’s digital efforts that they are partnering with Starbucks to promote adoption of Chase Pay, the company’s Chase-branded digital wallet. In JPMC’s annual letter to shareholders in 2015, the company mentioned that the partnership was a significant win since Starbucks customers would be able to pay with the mobile app at more than 7,500 company-operated Starbucks locations. I wonder how / if this partnership will change Starbucks promotion of its own mobile payments app.
Great post! One of the things I find interesting about this technology is customer adoption at the stores. I’m concerned for many of the reasons referenced by the previous commenters, including usability and value creation in the eyes of consumer. Thus, I believe that in addition to the implementation expenses, Macy’s will have to think about the cost of incentivizing consumers to adopt download and use the app. I read an interesting article about brick and mortar stores and their appeal to shoppers compared to online shopping. For the most part, brick and mortar shoppers are interested in the opportunity to “touch and feel” the item before buying and also the “instant gratification” of walking out the door with the item (https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/01/02/how-brick-and-mortar-stores-can-survive-the-internet-shopping-craze/?utm_term=.644d707b4443). I’m worried that fiddling around with an app detracts from that experience and that digital technology usually appeals to a younger demographic while the demographic of your average department store brick and mortar shopper is a bit different.
Really interesting post, Zach! I was really curious as to how Hello Tractor is able to price significantly lower than the typical entry level tractor. I did some quick research and it appears that they may be doing this through a lower horse power. According to an article I found, I looks like the horse power of the average tractor is 55 horse power compared to Hello Tractor’s 15 horse power. (http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/03/29/472129577/meet-a-tractor-that-can-plow-fields-and-talk-to-the-cloud) I wonder whether that difference will have significant implications on performance and whether Hello Tractor will require higher maintenance costs / have a shorter lifetime. One could argue that’s fine though because even making this equipment attainable for a small farmer is a considerable accomplishment.
The same article mentioned above also addresses the controversy of the labor implications of tractors. The author describes “On the one hand, they can help small-scale farmers plant on time in an efficient, cost-effective way. And if the farmer doesn’t have enough laborers, the tractor is invaluable. In places where there are laborers, however, tractors get the blame for taking workers’ jobs.” This is interesting because the benefits of digitization aren’t always black and white and there are often losers (in this case displaced workers) in the equation.
Great post. Super interesting fact about drinking Coca-Cola being more environmentally friendly than drinking water. I do wonder, however, if Coca-Cola was aspirational enough in setting its target for water replenishment. I am concerned about the speed with which they were able meet the target of replenishing 115% of its water usage. Five years ahead of schedule signals to me that the goal may not have been aggressive enough and perhaps regulators need to play a more active role in helping companies define their sustainability agendas.
Only within the last year did I learn about the harmful effects of palm oil and it was through a comedy series on Netflix. I echo the concern about how ubiquitous this input is in different products. In fact, I came across concerns about palm oil usage for my company research on PepsiCo. I am worried that in a haste to avoid regulation companies might be finding alternatives that may come with a whole new slew of problems. For example, when I briefly researched the algae oil which some companies like Unilever are using as an alternative, I learnt that algae oil “comes not from natural algae strains but from synthetically modified algae, engineered through the new, extreme genetic engineering techniques of synthetic biology” and that consumers are concerned. (http://www.syntheticisnotnatural.com/ecover-petition/synthetic-algae-not-solution-palm-oil/).
Great post, Piersten! I especially like the dialogue this post has generated as our classmates reflected on the similarities between H&M and our case on Ikea. My initial reaction was that we may be holding these companies to unreasonably high standards but after reflecting on the fact that “the apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil,” I think they have responsibility to operate sustainably and for us as consumers to demand it.
Additionally, consumers’ acceptance of sustainability seems to vary within the apparel industry as well. I say “acceptance” because I think in the apparel industry, sustainability is sometimes associated with lower quality. For example, Nike (in our marketing case) was reluctant to market their football jerseys as sustainable due to potential negative concerns about performance from consumers.
So interesting to read how geographically concentrated WhiteWave’s almond production is. I can imagine lack of geographic diversification being a concern for a number of other factors outside of excessive water consumption including, for example, resiliency in the face of other natural disasters.
I do also wonder how much WhiteWave is investing in operational improvements to increase water efficiency of its plants and its suppliers. For example, other companies like Pepsico as part of their Performance with Purpose strategy plans to improve water-use efficiency by 15% among direct agricultural suppliers in high- water-risk sourcing areas by 2025 and since 2006 reduced water use per unit of production by 25.8%.
Excellent post. I am most impressed by Hershey’s launch of the CocoaLink app since lack of information exchange tends to be a big contributor to several issues that developing markets face. I am interested in knowing what the adoption rate for the app has been and whether Hershey has quantified the results of any of these sustainability efforts. One recommendation that I have for Hershey is to assess the role that Fair trade can play in combatting climate change’s effect on cocoa farmers. Fair trade premium funds from sales allow farmers to invest in their businesses. One example according to the Fair World Project is the “Coocafe, a coffee co-operative in Costa Rica, used its fair trade premium to greatly reduce the amount of water wasted on washing the beans allowing for other farmers to plant trees around their crop as shade, which is good for the quality of their crop and for the environment.” (http://fairworldproject.org/) If Hershey is not engaging in these practices, will consumers tastes change to focus on brands that are offering Fair trade?