Sebastien Gauthier's Profile
Great post Priya. I have a sense that Instacart’s data can be misleading in a sense given the structure of their business and the kind of customers they serve. In fact, I know of a lot of people here on campus bundling Instacart orders to get better pricing on delivery and tip as it can be split among several people. Therefore, using Instacart data as being representative of the average consumer at a grocery store can be misleading, especially when it comes to forecasting demand and rearranging store layout using data analytics. They seem to be serving mostly student populations or people without cars, and given the premium pricing on their service people living nearby in an apartment building will often bundle orders.
These same customers are also very price sensitive, and exhibit very little brand loyalty towards Instacart. It seems to me as if a model like Instacart is a temporary solution to a problem, in a time where services such as AmazonFresh are becoming increasingly available at lower prices while removing the need for tips to a shopper. Despite the useful data Instacart provides to retailers, I would be concerned with their ability to grow and be useful to their partners in the long term in a market where AmazonFresh and other equivalent services will gain scale and reduce pricing, only to capture more and more of the price sensitive segments of the online food market.
The trend of digitization of kids toys is both interesting, mostly when thinking of educational benefits, and scary due to the increased ease access to kids’ brains, in a sense. It seems to me like “marketing” is increasingly trying to target kids at a younger age to try and get children to build certain customer behaviors early in their lives, and Hello Barbie seems to me like a tool to do so at an even younger age, maybe unconsciously. I am all for digital toys which provide educational benefits to kids, such as learning the alphabet, math, etc. but I am critical of corporations such as Mattel trying to use the Barbie brand and digitization to get access to more young consumers in an effort to market other products, maybe Barbie add-ons or other toys. Just like the apps have the ability to sell in-app purchases to kids nowadays, I am scared that it will be the case with digitized toys as well, despite the fact that many of these kids are too young to understand purchasing decisions and the value of money. Nevertheless, if properly used for educational/training purposes, I think digital toys can be helpful for a child’s early learning.
Great post Philip. We purchased a wearable device for my grandmother several years ago and I find it not only helps getting care rapidly in the case of a fall, but it also gives peace of mind to members of the family. What we purchased, given what was available at the time, was a bracelet that would act as a fall detector but also a cellphone in case of a fall, so that communication would be possible with the people sending the care givers. I fully agree with you that response time is very important in those instances, and the issue the IoT option you are describing solves, is the situation where a person falls and does not have the ability to communicate after a fall, as it speeds up the care giving process if monitoring can be done through the system. I fully agree that in this case digitization can go as far as saving lives, and this is a great example of how it disrupts an industry in a very positive way.
I perfectly fit (no pun intended) the customer type you described, and my utility function probably weighs convenience and not having to shop at as store even more when it comes to clothing. I am therefore a customer of many of these online clothing stores myself but I fully agree with you that there is something to be done around improving fit without having to try in a store, which would be a win-win for the customer and the company given the costs associated with returns. I also think that there has to be a way of assessing body type and fit through simple measurements as well as “scanning” of the body through a smartphone, kind of like QR codes. Maybe the technology isn’t quite there yet but it seems to me like this could be an opportunity in the future, to improve the currently digitized business model and make it even more convenient for shoppers.
A big part of the solid waste management business, in which players such as Waste Management, Republic Services, Progressive Waste and Casella Waste operate, is collection. Landfill management is obviously an important factor in signing waste volume contracts but the majority of these companies’ revenue generation comes from collection contracts with municipalities, companies, etc.
I think that their incentives go in the direction of increased waste volumes, but I agree that the waste-to-energy trend is definitely positive for everyone. As a result of waste-to-energy investments increasing, landfills are being emptied at a faster rate and the issue of rising collection volumes becomes less of an issue, which aligns with solid waste management companies’ incentives and creates a win-win situation for the environment and these companies.
Why is it the case that we do not feel as strongly about environmental issues when situations feel temporary? I had this same query when the dining hall personnel switched to disposable plates, knives, etc. during the Local 26 strike. Why do we think it is OK to disregard sustainability issues in a situation where we will not be held accountable for it in the future?
I like your idea of linking tax incentives with footprint. I think a lot of the blame should be attributed to the film equipment rental companies who decide not to use the most energy efficient trucks or generators. But simple measures such as digitization of the different material used on set would also be very helpful.
Isn’t it ironic that one of the industries that probably benefits the most from climate change needs to change its product technology to address climate change challenges? To me, the HVAC industry has a twisted interest in having climate change, hotter summers yielding more AC units being sold. John Staples, CEO of US Air Conditioning (California distributor) states this quite simply: “The hotter it gets, the more our business increases!”. He also states that only 60% of California homes currently have AC, and that this number is expected to increase significantly due to climate change in the near future.
While most companies see increased costs due to climate change, I think the HVAC industry in properly hedged and should not be too worried about having to innovate with regards to their technology, as demand seems to be on their side for the years to come.
I believe the health care system is impacted in many ways by climate change, and one of them is through their practice directly. Hospitals not only have to put significant effort in reducing their emissions and energy consumption, but they must also adjust their care to the growing demand for climate change related treatment. Evidence suggests that climate change contributes to longer allergy seasons, increased respiratory disorders, etc. (see source). The health care system needs to put some effort in improving its footprint but also needs to be equipped to react to the changing needs of its customers due to climate change as well.
There seems to exist significant evidence that the fast fashion industry poses a threat to sustainability, and companies such as H&M and Zara have crafted this idea of replenishing a wardrobe every season through affordability but also through abundance of new styles and garments every being released every season.
As more and more companies manufacturing products viewed as being “disposable” are being pressured towards sustainability, why is the fashion industry not in this discussion? People view single-serve coffee capsules as being a disaster from a sustainability standpoint, yet the fast fashion industry is shielded from such criticism. I do not want to take away from the importance of the different sustainability measures H&M is putting in place, but if the fast fashion industry is to remain the way it is, a garment recycling program, similar in concept to beer bottles, would be much more effective at addressing climate change.