Enterprise hits and misses - retailers push for pre-holiday lessons, while Adobe and Coupa make acquisitions waves

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed November 16, 2020
This week - retailers push to get ready for a pressurized holiday season - but what's the forecast? B2B shopping starts early for Adobe (buying Workfront) and Coupa (buying LLamasoft). AI risk factors get aired, and the future of work takes a customer-facing twist. As always, your whiffs.

King Checkmate

Lead story - retailers push for lessons and wins, with the holidays closing in

MyPOV: Heading into holiday season, what have retailers learned? As I wrote in Will consumers provide the holiday spending surge retailers need? Two questions no one yet knows the answer to:

  • Will consumers make up for some of the spending they haven't done during the pandemic so far, due to less eating out and so on?
  • Will safety concerns put a significant damper on in-store shopping? Will some brands overcome that, via a perceived safer environment or easier pick up options?

The brunt of the matter: will retailers be ready? Derek provides clues in COVID-19 hits Burberry’s profits, but digital channels continue to soar. Luxury brands took it on the chin this year, and Burberry was no exception. A second wave of lockdowns in multiple regions isn't helping matters, underscoring that you can't take the close of storefronts lightly, even in our digital-first times. In the first six months (H1) year over year, Burberry's revenue dropped 31 percent and its operating profit 75 percent (gulp). But all is not grim. Derek:

[CEO] Gobetti said that digital sales have almost doubled during the pandemic, experiencing high double digit growth globally. However, in America Burberry has seen dot com sales soar with triple digit growth. The company said that this shows how customers prefer to engage directly with the brand.

A different angle comes by way of Nestlé. As Derek writes, being three years into a transformation program was a boost when COVID times hit ( Nestlé's IT transformation proves recipe for success during COVID-19). Derek quotes Craig Wright, Head of the CIO office at Nestle, who says COVID put their transformation program to the stress test:

At one point we had more than 100,000 employees working remotely. But we still had many in factories and in supply chain that had to be on site. And that happened within a matter of weeks and we got everybody connected very quickly.

We had very good transactional stability, and this was key, because as a food company we had significantly fluctuating demand. In many cases, consumers were stockpiling goods at home, and therefore we had to meet increased demand in many countries and in many categories.

For most retailers, another big stress test is coming, courtesy holiday shopping and the finicky, omni-happy consumer who doesn't mind burning you for a fast-shipping deal on Amazon Prime isn't the most loyal type. We'll learn more soon.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. It was a week of pent-up vendor news, bursting for analysis:

Oracle had a big CX show, SAP continued to reveal its master plans, and Adobe went holiday shopping:

More vendor picks, without the quips, aka the Phil section:

Jon's grab bag - I've been gesticulating-and-hollering-BS carrying on about virtual events falling short of what's possible. This week, I wrote about a different twist: Pushing the limits of virtual collaboration - how ThoughtSpot used Zoom to drive the development of ThoughtSpot Cloud. Finally, Mark wrote about a company pushing beyond employee-experience-lip-service in Creating a culture of inclusivity at Natwest through better collaboration.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top six

Overworked businessman


Three headlines from the "I think the pandemic is getting to us" file:

Den Howlett fired off a bunch of potential whiffs for this column on Twitter last night, most of which amounted to the reality TV show that used to be a functioning democracy American Idiocracy at the expense of behaving like informed citizens. Let's go with his whiff nominee from 13th century Europe instead, which could well be the oldest whiff in the history of this column.

Clive sent me some doozies this week - you gotta love a home security system that lights itself on fire. Yup, that's Amazon Ring in the whiffs section again: Ring recalls 350,000 video doorbells after reports of security devices catching fire. Amazon had a geopolitical snafu this week also:

Had some more PR whiffery to light up this week:

As if we didn't need any more reasons to move to New Zealand, the UFO house is for sale. See you there?

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. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.