Lead story - Direct-to-consumer retail - where do we go from here?
The pandemic sparked a change - and retailers aren't going back. But what's next is not a no-brainer. Stuart kicks off with 57 varieties of digital - how Kraft Heinz embraced direct-to-consumer e-commerce during the COVID crisis.
Heinz-to-Home began in response to consumer pandemic need. But in the Vaccine Economy, is competing with local retailers the best option? Stuart quotes Jean-Philippe Nier, Head of E-Commerce UK and Ireland, The Kraft Heinz Company:
The evolution that we did was actually to bring a more personalized journey, for people to come on the website and buy products that they wouldn't be able to buy in traditional retail.
Example? The highly-successful Father's Day promotion, where you could order a bottle of Heinz for pops, with his name on it. But if Heinz wants to keep momentum, supply chain challenges loom. Nier again:
We invested in a digital shelf platform tool to help us follow the availability at online retailers. We really use that to understand, have we got bigger challenges actually online than in store versus our products?
Stuart picks up the retail supply chain problem again in Overcoming e-commerce supply chain challenges - how Co-op plans to provide 100% fulfilment to its online customers. Via this session at the Accelerating Ecommerce event, we learn that to get last mile delivery right, Co-op teamed with a number of UK partners. But that, in turn, led to real-time inventory challenges. So how did they tackle this "seismic change in their business?" Real-time inventory APIs were critical. Stuart quotes Co-op E-commerce Director Chris Conway:
What that effectively means is, no matter what platform you're shopping The Co-op on, whether that be our own platform, our Deliveroo platform, our Amazon shop, you'll see realtime stock availability in that store. That's only been the case for probably about four or five months. What that means is, if we haven't got the product in the store, on that day or in that time or in that hour, you're not able to order it from that online platform. That's made a huge difference to our customers, but also it's made a huge difference to the way that we forecast our demand.
That forms a stark contrast to some of my delivery experiences in the US, where online inventory/supplies are notoriously inaccurate. Conway adds:
The immediate benefit is customers can't order anything that we haven't got. So they get what they order, which is brilliant and exactly what we wanted to do. The secondary benefit is we're able to monitor what the customers actually wanted in the first place.
So if they were looking at a product and we haven't got it, we're able to capture that information and feed that back to our supply chains and logistics teams. So rather than generate sales of the product they ordered instead or generate supply of the product they ordered instead, actually we should be generating supply of the product they really wanted in the first place.
Indeed. As Stuart say, "impressive stuff, but only a beginning." Based on my
crappy-scrappy "we substituted what you ordered for something else" local grocery delivery experiences, it's more than a beginning.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Frictionless Enterprise - digital teamwork and the Collaborative Canvas (1/2) - Phil breaks out what I consider the most important component of the Frictionless Enterprise framework: collaboration. This one required a two-parter.
- Content matters in 2022…but a good content strategy matters first - Barb examines the state of content marketing, crunching new reports and outlooks: "Only a third (34%) is creating content to build a subscriber audience." Yep, that needs to change...
- How hospices are using technology to give care workers a voice during the global health crisis - Cath wrote a different kind of tech-for-good piece: "Listening to the voice of your employees can make all the difference in staff retention terms."
- User conferences are back - will your event be a blockbuster, or a dud? - Brian and I penned a
satirical love lettertough love playbook to event producers - from the ten event practices to avoid, to 11 ideas to try soonest. My fave toxic event gotcha: the over-moderated panel.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Adobe puts pricing under review "in a good way" to reflect added value to users of more applications - As Stuart notes: "Adobe hasn't looked at its pricing since 2017...until now." So why now? Well, that's not all good news: "The firm issued a cautious outlook for the coming quarter, with the situation in the Ukraine cited as a factor. Sales to Russia and Belarus are on hold and that action is likely to result in a $75 million loss of business." Given not all firms have stopped selling to Russia, a nod to Adobe there. However, CEO Shantanu Narayen is still bullish about Adobe's prospects for global growth. As for the pricing review impact and how customers receive it, watch this space.
- DataStax CEO - ‘It’s all about real-time’ - Derek filed his in-person sitdown with DataStax CEO Chet Kapoor: "The company is putting a stake in the ground as the database to beat for real-time event streams."
- ServiceNow’s latest release - San Diego - pulls together hyper-automation capabilities and introduces new UI - Derek reveals where ServiceNow is headed next: "Whilst workflow is still ServiceNow’s bread and butter, it’s clear that there are further opportunities to automate and integrate back-end processes through its automation engine."
A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Getting simpler to get CIO attention - the enterprise ambitions of Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami - Mark Chillingworth
- How Walgreens solves mass personalization challenge with Adobe - Madeline
Jon's grab bag - Chris filed a two-fer on the UK's controversial online safety bill: The UK Online Safety Bill - Google, Facebook, TikTok, lawyers respond. Part two: regulator Ofcom responds. Neil proved further into quantum misconceptions in Quantum computing scenarios - the case for hybrid computing models.
Finally, I asked why AI vendors overreach in AI for video editing - why is this use case being overlooked?. Bonus: art of enterprise video replay with B2B video savant Brent Leary:
Just this week, I tested another AI tool for "writing engaging marketing copy" that generated exactly what I expected: tone deaf verbiage. All the right keywords, none of the impact.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- AI and disinformation in the Russia-Ukraine war - This Techtarget piece may (or may not) require email sign up, but the gist is everything: "From false videos circulating on TikTok to AI-generated humans and deepfakes, the Russia-Ukraine war is playing out both in the physical world and virtually."
- Biden warns U.S. companies to gird up against Russian hacks - Yes, and here is where the virtual and physical wars converge: as yet, no notable cyberattacks against the US as part of this conflict, but: "The alert comes after Russia has lobbed a series of digital attacks at the Ukrainian government and critical industry sectors."
- Thoma Bravo to take Anaplan off the board for $10.7B - TechCrunch's Ron Miller on a significant acquisition move in the analytics/planning market.
- Techniques for Ransomware Detection - CIO Insight lays out some useful tips, such as: "Since ransomware tends to hit the backups first, organizations should opt for a backup solution that includes anomaly detection that can identify changes in an environment that requires the attention of IT."
- Products Don’t Matter – Whole Products Do - Gartner's Hank Barnes continues his blogging head of steam with this post on why customers evaluate products through a much wider scope than vendors anticipate.
- The Metaverse Will Be a Multi-Platform Mess - Just last week I took issue with Accenture over this very topic. Now I have more fodder to back up my side of this.
- Vertical Integration: The Collision of App Platforms and Database – RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady on why traditional software categories are collapsing.
Time to call a self-whiff - last week, I was too pre-occupied with calling out the inaccurate headline here: FTC case against Weight Watchers means death for algorithms. No, this is not about the death of algorithms at all. But: punishing companies' abuse of data by "disgorging" their algorithms is potentially a pretty big news story - and precedent. I lost track of that, but am fixing it now.
As for this breaking NPR story on how deep faked LinkedIn profiles are potentially duping people into sales conversations, I'm only surprised if you're surprised. A community jammed with
shameless "I'm just back from our amazing offsite!" brand asskissery promotional fodder posing as relevant updates is fertile ground for fakery.
Meanwhile, I took another swipe at "ecosystems." Will this one stick?
Officially proposing we can/drop/eliminate the cringeworthy "ecosystem" buzzword from #ensw in favor of... solar system.
After all, the major vendor is the sun. If it stops shining on you, doesn't permit you into the trade show, creates apps similar to yours, you're screwed
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 24, 2022
Did I mention "tech detox" articles bring out the snark in me?
What I Learned by Taking a Month-Long Break From Email https://t.co/ykKPsq5w5R
-> you do realize the biggest takeaway from your post is how nice it is to have an assistant to monitor your email so you can bail on it, right?
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) March 27, 2022
There is a vastly better productivity conversation to be had than this. Finally, Matthias Steiner had a good question for Brian and me:
Sounds legit - why did ‘ buzzword bingo card handouts’ not make the cut?
— Matthias Steiner (@steinermatt) March 25, 2022
Good point - buzzword bingo cards would really liven up a conference - or put it in the mobile event app! I was probably too caught up in my "This one goes to 11" Spinal Tap reference to give Steiner's idea its due. Next time...
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.