Nicole Eckfeldt

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On November 20, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on From Online Travel Agency to Software Developer :

Like the above comment, I agree that moving to an app-based experience is particularly strategic in Latam where access to the internet is increasingly mobile-first. Also in many categories what we saw in Google was that searches from mobile were meeting and exceeding searched from desktop, so providing a mobile experience is key. However, I think a big opportunity they have is to provide alternative means for payment other than credit cards. Other airlines like LatAm airlines give users the option of printing a voucher and paying in a supermarket or making a deposit at a bank.

I guess Despegar still has some challenges, most importantly: how will they remain competitive as airlines develop their own app experiences and aim to retain customers through points programs? How will they retain customers that are not willing to pay a booking fee? Another major challenge is not to become invasive as they try to push deals to customers when they download the app, they must use customer data wisely to provide deals that are actually welcome at the right time.

Very interesting case! I was also quite impressed by the inefficient banking system when I moved to Boston – I couldn’t believe I needed an appointment to get a credit card? Not long ago, we had the CEO of the largest bank in Peru (Banco de Credito del Peru) come to the HBS Latin America Conference and talk about the digitalization project that they had gone through. They were very successful! Some initiatives seem similar to the ones you described, but what I found really interesting is that they found a mid-way between physical branches and internet services. Since in Peru internet penetration is still low, what they did was offer online services AT the bank. So for example you could go to a branch to open a bank account and be directed to an area with iPads where this service was available. This was also useful to get customers to start creating online profiles and “lose fear” of online banking. What I find very interesting about your article is that the bank partnered with a telecom company, I see how this can work by increasing reach and providing a tailored experience to customers!

On November 20, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on Will V-Commerce Replace E-Commerce at Wayfair? :

Super interesting – and also proof that virtual augmented reality is useful beyond video games! I actually attended the HBS AR/VR fair at the iLab some weeks ago, and got to try both of Wayfair applications showed in the videos above, I was so impressed! Especially the Project Tango (AR) project, because it allows you to place virtual furniture in your actual physical spaces. This is very convenient because it reduces the uncertainty of buying furniture online without going to a physical store, and I assume will reduce the amount of returns dramatically. It also provides an excellent opportunity for upselling, because through the app Wayfair will have information of the actual living spaces that consumers have. So if you are trying out a couch for an SFP one bedroom apartment, they could show you other things that are convenient for this kind of space, or that other customers have bought – and you can actually try them one next to the other!

On November 20, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on The Shazam of Fashion :

This is really interesting! It says a lot about how brands should adapt to new consumer habits that call for different shopping experiences. I wonder how the company could be more effective in encouraging consumers to try their app… they could potentially partner with streaming sites such as Netflix, so that after watching a movie TheTake could reach out to you, instead of waiting for customers to proactively browse through their product boards. Recently, Google enabled a feature in Youtube ads (called “shoppable ads”) that allows users to click to shop directly from the ads. This way the user does not have to look at the ad, move to the brand’s website and then conclude the purchase. The less steps for the user to reach the sale, the more effective! Read more about click-to-shop ads here:

On November 20, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on The Future of News: The Washington Post :

As online news sources grow, it is likely that readers will become even less likely to pay for a newspaper subscription. I wonder if the Washington Post is considering online ads as a significant source of revenue yet, I looked into their webpage and it seems that there is quite a lot of banner placement. However, I have seen other cases of major newspapers where shifting their business model to source revenues from ads seems to put quality of online news at risk. This is because sometimes the most controversial titles, or those related to superficial subjects such as celebrities and scandals seem to attract more clicks, and this allows for a “better sell” to advertisers that are looking to place ads in the pages with the most reach!

On November 7, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on Coca cola responses to threat of climate change :

Very thought provoking! It seems that Coca Cola is taking a proactive and innovative approach to climate change. I found particularly interesting their initiative of using solar-powered “eKOCool” coolers for Indian rural areas, and I see how that could be applied in Peru, because over 70% of consumer packaged goods sales is still done through the “traditional market” (small independent businesses or “mom and pop”), where business owners are not convinced to spend on electricity to turn on coolers. I am skeptical about Coca Cola’s intentions with this initiative though. Are they just looking for a way for smaller businesses to be able to sell cold Coke because otherwise they would not have electricity to turn on the cooler? Or are they genuinely looking for ways to save energy? Still, innovation is certainly a way to go!

On November 7, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on Something Fishy is Going On :

It is sad to see that climate change is affecting activities beyond production, activities like scuba diving that are also closely tied to tourism! In Peru, tourism is the third largest industry, and more than 1 million tourists visit Machu Picchu alone in one year! Not many understand though that this industry is at risk if we do not take a closer look and a more proactive stand to protect the environment. In the last few years, for example, Machu Picchu has been affected by heavy rains, floods, and even forest fires in nearby towns. These issues could potentially affect the amount of tourists that Machu Picchu can attract in a given year.

I liked your idea that Mares should provide educational or service projects as part of the excursions, it could be an interesting approach to offer tourists visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu, an opportunity to contribute to the community by doing some volunteer work!

On November 7, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on The Garment Industry’s Resource Appetite and Levi Strauss’ Leadership :

Very interesting post, Shezaad… and truly troubling to know how much water and resources go into making a single pair of jeans!

It is certainly a positive effort that Levis is making to tackle climate change. However, during this transition or as they vertically integrate, they must also make an active effort to implement strict measures across the supply chain in order to be consistent. I also think what could differentiate Levis further would be to make an effort to educate consumers about what is behind their purchases, so that we will be more responsible shoppers as well and share responsibility for the negative effect on the environment.

On November 7, 2016, Nicole Eckfeldt commented on A Growing Issue: Cargill’s Climate Change Push :

Cargill is a very powerful example of how a company can and must leverage its leadership position to become a benchmark in addressing and reducing the effects of climate change. I read an interesting article by Mark R. Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, that considers that one of the transformative approaches to save the planet is to find common ground between diverse parties, more specifically the private and public sector, and all stakeholders involved. He also states that “the bigger a company’s environmental footprint, the bigger the opportunity to benefit nature by helping the company reduce its impact,” [1] which puts on companies as Cargill a great responsibility for the future!

PD. I too bought a plant as soon as I moved in to SFP and found out I had a big enough balcony! Sadly it had the same fate as yours, and did not make it past its first month 🙁


Very interesting post, Zach! I wonder if MoFa is also taking preventive measures against floods, which does not only erode crops and land but also heavily affects the life of low income farmers as their houses and towns suffer from destruction. I wrote my own post about the effects of climate change on Peruvian agriculture, more specifically of Camposol, a leading producer and exporter of asparagus, hass avocados, and shrimp. They have tackled lower yields mainly by product diversification, and for example now are striving to become one of the regions top blueberry producers and exporters. I think this is an interesting approach, and likely is being considered by the MoFa in Ghana for the future!