Lead story - As digital sales falter, are retailers getting an in-store payoff?
Up to now, projections about the return of in-store sales have been a Vaccine Economy hypothetical. But is that changing? As Stuart explains in Digital sales slow down at Target as omni-channel consumers return to the stores - the future lies this way?:
Total revenue grew 9.5% year-on-year to top $25 billion. Digital sales were up 10% year-on-year - that’s down from the giddying 195% growth for the same quarter last year as well as down sequentially from Q1 when the growth rate was 50%. At the same time, footfall in-store has risen 13% year-on-year, accounting for the majority of Q2 growth.
But if you think Target regrets its omni-channel wager, you'd be wrong. Stuart quotes Target CEO Brian Cornell:
The last 18 months have proven, beyond a doubt, the flexibility and resilience of both our team and our business model. And while sales in stores have been soaring so far this year, our operations and the team have demonstrated how they can pivot seamlessly between stores and digital commerce based on how our guests choose to shop.
That might sound omni-dreamy, but Target has proven the model with a host of same-day services, including in-store pickup, Drive Up, and Shipt. Together, those services grew 55% this year, and 270% last year.
Stuart finds a similar story playing out at Walmart, in Changing the business to be "more digital" - Walmart's challenge as the Vaccine Economy's 'new normal' takes shape. Walmart's digital surge has slowed, as per their CEO Doug McMillan:
Customer behaviors changed during the quarter as people were shopping with us more in stores than online.
But McMillan is backing down from the omni-push either:
Recent quarters have demonstrated more than ever that our omni-channel strategy is the right one as we serve customers regardless of how they want to shop.
I still don't think consumer behavior is predictable - not when the pandemic remains as such. An omni-channel strategy is the blatantly obvious hedge against that unpredicability. Heck, as Stuart documented, even Macy's is starting to figure that out: Macy's 5 million new customers as omni-channel turnaround plan shows clear signs of progress. That doesn't mean getting omni-channel right is easy.
What remains to be seen is how well a massive store footprint will serve retailers versus e-commerce pure plays, and Amazon's always-aggressive moves. If you want to hear me getting grilled on such topics (and returning serve), check out my appearance on the Commerce Talks retail podcast.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- The return-to-office debate gets a reprieve, but will flexible work plans prevail? The return-to-office debate has an unwelcome reprieve, thanks to the Delta variant. But will we get better hybrid policies on the other side? I'm skeptical, but there is new data to consider. Also see: Gary's nifty work futures use case: Keystone Law - going paperless to enable the future of work.
- My take on continuous close - it's not as hard as you think - speaking of futuristic, if you think the "continuous close" is beyond the reach of today's finance teams, Phil begs to differ.
- HR capital deals and how they might impact you as a customer - What’s an HR vendor got to do to get acquired or raise lots of capital? Apparently not much, says Brian. He goes on to look at what areas of HR tech are
gratuitously overhypedhot, and why. Beware "frothy valuations."
- Accenture - the importance of keeping the human touch in digital healthcare - I won't call it silver lining, but the pandemic has been a historic impetus to digitizing healthcare. As Derek explains, it won't be easy to fuse digital and human.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Salesforce wants all its users to start using Slack, rolls out first post-acquisition integrations - If you've been waiting on Salesforce-Slack specifics, Phil's got your update. No new products at this time, but several pre-configured integrations, workflows, and an new Salesforce for Slack app. Bottom line: Salesforce believes getting sales teams to work out of Slack will accelerate closed deals. Phil weighs in on that, and raises questions yet to be solved.
- Salesforce+ and chill! Turning on B2B streaming services at Salesforce, Demandbase and Terminus - As Barb reports, Salesforce isn't the only CX vendor betting on B2B video streaming. But will this content model fly? If you ask me, binge-worthy B2B content isn't spotted in the wild that often.
- Freshworks - shifting IT service management to enterprise-wide service management for better experiences - Applying AI to ITSM seems like a no-brainer, but it's not working out that way. With (fresh) data from Freshworks in hand, Derek examines why.
A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Coupa invites third-party ISVs to build on its spend management platform - Phil
- Infor’s new UK & Ireland chief focuses in on local needs and customer success - Derek
Jon's grab bag - Facial recognition may be widely used, but that doesn't mean it's used appropriately. Derek spells out the high stakes in Campaigners call for ban on use of facial recognition tech in UK. You don't hear a defense of Shadow IT everyday, but Neil wants to call out those who stand in the way of BI ubiquity: Better decision-making requires better BI tools - and less fear-mongering about Shadow IT
my tea kettle blew a cap off I continued my series on changing enterprise events with So your company is customer-centric? Then your upcoming event better be hybrid. Fall event planners: there is still time to set a better tone on safety and virtual inclusion.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- The T-Mobile Breach Is Much Worse Than It Had to Be - Should have probably saved this one for the whiffs section. What a disgraceful hack. Alas, I'd wager T-Mobile (flawed) practices are closer to the norm than the exception. WIRED quotes an attorney: "Generally speaking, it’s still the Wild West in the United States when it comes to the types of information companies can keep about us."
- Are AI's recommendations curbing customer choice? - Raconteur, in its hits/misses debut and, apparently, finale, as it now appears as a registration wall for me. Maybe you'll be able to see it.
- Building A Guiding Coalition for Change - Lora Cecere previews content from her upcoming supply chain insights show. Keeper quote: "Moving from inside-out to outside-in processes requires rethinking technology. Companies quickly realize that most of their applications are legacy, but the shifts cannot happen overnight. As a result, there is a focus on building a unified data model and improving interoperability to embrace disparate data."
- Wanted: Disgruntled Employees to Deploy Ransomware - Krebs on Security warns that the ransomware stakes are rising: "The Lockbit 2.0 ransomware-as-a-service gang actually includes a solicitation for insiders in the desktop wallpaper left behind on systems encrypted with the malware." Yikes.
- What is Innovation at SAP and How Far Can it Go? Josh Greenbaum muses on innovation, and why those obsessed with
techno-gadget cultureinnovation sex appeal have lost the (enterprise) plot.
- Stop calling DevOps teams 'DevOps teams' - I missed this punchy little ditty from Joe McKendrick while I was
- Stanford AI experts warn of biases in GPT-3 and BERT models - How's this for an AI wake up call? "But [AI] foundation models have some very real downsides, explains Stanford computer science professor Percy Liang. They create 'a single point of failure, so any defects, any biases which these models have, any security vulnerabilities . . . are just blindly inherited by all the downstream tasks.'"
The inbox keeps on giving:
A keeper from the inbox:
I feel like your having last-minute hesitations about my offer of collaboration."
-> Yes, well, your not knowing my name does make the collaboration a tad awkward....
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 19, 2021
Meanwhile, I didn't know there was a global PowerPoint competition to look forward to each year:
Harvard Just Discovered That PowerPoint Is Worse Than Useless https://t.co/7us45AwEtB
"PowerPoint was rated (by online audiences) as no better than verbal presentations with no visual aids. (Ouch.)"
-> think I'll skip the global PPT competitions from here on out...
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 22, 2021
About that low-code thing:
PR pitch of day:
"Is Low-Code Software the End of IT Jobs?"
-> lolz, yes it is. Sorry IT folks, you had a good run.. but low-code revolutionizes everything and renders security, creative app development, applying patches and bug fixes, and cloud infrastructure mgt irrelevant
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 20, 2021
Some renowned IT experts bowed to the news:
I lay down my sword.
— Thorsten Franz (@thorstenster) August 20, 2021
Thank goodness - Robbo out 🎤
— Graham Robinson (@grahamrobbo) August 20, 2021
Finally, on T-Mobile. Tech media lathered weak sauce onto the crummy news:
T-Mobile: Breach Exposed SSN/DOB of 40M+ People https://t.co/wqls0eGOJ3
"Importantly, no phone numbers, account numbers, PINs, passwords, or financial info were compromised"
-> #Fail - I'm sure most would *rather* their phone number be impacted than their social security #
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) August 18, 2021
In WIRED's coverage, we got:
In an email overnight, T-Mobile shared details about the data breach it confirmed Monday afternoon. They’re not great.
Not great? What was T-Mobile doing with its fetishized/exposed collection of millions of social security numbers of people that are not even T-Mobile customers?
Why are we even talking about "no phone numbers were compromised, oh, that's good to hear" when the tools to capsize someone's finances were taken? Given how often T-Mobile data has been breached, they should just change their log in page to a picture of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Anyone can just help themselves to whatever they find there. Hey, at least they've been working hard on 5G, so identity thieves can swap out your SIM card even faster. There's no way to spin this one folks... see you 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.