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april 2019 by danbri
The rise of giant consumer startups that said no to investor money - Recode
The MVMT and Tuft & Needle deals, plus P&G’s purchase of Native last November, raise important questions about how the next generation of great consumer brands will be built: Why are many DTC entrepreneurs ceding large ownership in their company to investors in exchange for capital, when there are now blueprints for a different way?
mvmt  tuft-and-needle  native-deodorant  glossier  honest-company  vc-funding  dollar-shave-club  recode  harrys  houzz  shopify  fashion-nova  harley-finkelstein  andy-dunn  bonobos  michael-traub  serta-simmons  bootstrapping  entrepreneurship  startups  kramer-laplante  jt-marino  jake-kassan  allbirds  rebecca-kaden  ryan-caldbeck  unilever  movado  moiz-ali  jason-del-rey 
august 2018 by yolandaenoch
The Common Language of Gesture Between Bonobos and Chimps - Atlas Obscura
A bonobo’s “big loud scratch” means “groom me”—82 percent of the time, a chimpanzee’s does too. Another example is known to researchers as a “hand fling,” and would be instantly recognizable to any child that’s ever been shooed. “It’s like, ‘move away,’ or ‘stop that,’” says researcher Kirsty Graham of the University of York.

That these meanings are shared across species and social groups is particularly interesting to the scientists. “The most parsimonious explanation for [the shared understanding] is that the gestures are biologically inherited,” Graham says, which may include inheriting them from a common ancestor. But there’s still more that the researchers hope to learn about how they’re acquired—whether they seem to kick in at a common point of development across both species, whether they’re ritualized in some way, or whether they learn them from one another socially.
animals  primates  apes  bonobos  chimps  language  communication  research 
february 2018 by StJohnBosco
A Day in the Life of Silicon Valley Power Player Kirsten Green
Oct. 3, 2017 | WSJ | By Francesca Mari.

HE DRIVER’S SEAT Kirsten Green, founder and general partner at early-stage venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures, Although Green formalized her venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures with its first institutional fund only five years ago, she has already built one of the most recognizable portfolios in the tech world. And with the sale of two of her early investments last year— to Walmart for $3.3 billion and Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1 billion—she’s become one of the most prominent players in venture capital, an industry dominated by men......In 2008, she invested in a company started by two Stanford business grad students: Bonobos. She liked the founders, and they agreed to share their insights with her. “I couldn’t lose other people’s money, but I could invest in my own learning,” .......
Silicon_Valley  women  vc  retailers  Kirsten_Green  Warby_Parker  Bonobos  Dollar_Shave_Club  Unilever 
october 2017 by jerryking
Best Buy’s Secrets for Thriving in the Amazon Age
SEPT. 18, 2017 | The New York Times | By KEVIN ROOSE.

Here are the keys to Best Buy’s turnaround, according to Mr. Joly:

1. Price, price, price

The most worrisome trend in big-box retail was “showrooming” .....To combat showrooming and persuade customers to complete their purchases at Best Buy, Mr. Joly announced a price-matching guarantee....Price-matching costs Best Buy real money, but it also gives customers a reason to stay in the store, and avoids handing business to competitors.

2. Focus on humans

Mr. Joly also realized that if Best Buy was going to compete with Amazon, which has spent billions building a speedy delivery system and plans to use drones to become even more efficient, it needed to get better at things that robots can’t do well — namely, customer service & customer experience....Best Buy fixed its internal product search engine. It also restored a much-loved employee discount that had been suspended and embarked on an ambitious program to retrain its employees so they could answer questions about entirely new categories of electronics, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home appliances.....Customers had always loved Best Buy’s Geek Squad.....sometimes, people needed help before they bought big and expensive gadgets. So it started an adviser program that allows customers to get free in-home consultations about what product they should buy, and how it should be installed....a pilot program last year, the service is now being rolled out nationwide.

3. Turn brick-and-mortar into showcase-and-ship

Best Buy’s online ordering system was completely divorced from its stores. If a customer placed an order on the website, it would ship from a central warehouse. If that warehouse didn’t have the item in stock, the customer was out of luck.....Mr. Joly realized that with some minor changes, each of Best Buy’s 1,000-plus big-box stores could ship packages to customers, serving as a mini warehouse for its surrounding area. Now, when a customer orders a product on Best Buy’s website, the item is sent from the location that can deliver it the fastest — a store down the street, perhaps, or a warehouse five states away. It was a small, subtle change, but it allowed Best Buy to improve its shipping times, and made immediate gratification possible for customers. Now, roughly 40 % of Best Buy’s online orders are either shipped or picked up from a store.

Best Buy also struck deals with large electronics companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft to feature their products in branded areas within the store. Now, rather than jamming these companies’ products next to one another on shelves, Best Buy allows them to set up their own dedicated kiosks. (Apple’s area inside a Best Buy, for example, has the same sleek wooden tables and minimalist design as an Apple Store.) It’s a concept borrowed from department stores, and it’s created a lucrative new revenue stream. Even Amazon has set up kiosks in Best Buy stores to show off its voice-activated Alexa gadgets.

4. Cut costs quietly

Almost every business turnaround plan includes cutting costs. Best Buy has used the scalpel as quietly as possible, gradually letting leases expire for unprofitable stores and consolidating its overseas divisions, trimming a layer of middle managers in 2014, and reassigned roughly 400 Geek Squad employees within the company. No public rounds of layoffs, which can crater employee morale and create a sinking-ship vibe.

Best Buy has also found more creative penny-pinching methods. Once, the company noticed that an unusually high number of flat-screen TVs were being dropped in its warehouses. It revamped the handling process, reducing the number of times TVs were picked up by a clamp lift and adding new carts to prevent TV boxes from falling over. The changes resulted in less broken inventory and bigger profits.

5. Get lucky, stay humble and don’t tempt fate

It’s lucky that the products it specializes in selling, like big-screen TVs and high-end audio equipment, are big-ticket items that many customers still feel uncomfortable buying sight unseen from a website. It’s lucky that several large competitors have gone out of business, shrinking its list of rivals. And it’s lucky that the vendors who make the products it sells, like Apple and Samsung, have kept churning out expensive blockbuster gadgets.

“They’re at the mercy of the product cycles,” said Stephen Baker, a tech industry analyst at NPD Group. “If people stop buying PCs or they don’t care about big-screen TVs anymore, they have a challenge.”

Mr. Joly knows that despite Best Buy’s recent momentum, it’s not out of the woods yet. To succeed over the long term, it will need to do more than cut costs and match prices. Walmart, another big-box behemoth, is investing billions of dollars in a digital expansion with the acquisition of e-commerce companies like Jet and Bonobos, and could prove to be a fierce rival. Amazon has been expanding into brick-and-mortar retail with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and is moving into Best Buy’s home installation and services market....
“Once you’ve had a near-death experience,” he said, “arrogance, if you had it in your bones, has disappeared forever.”
Amazon  Best_Buy  big-box  CEOs  turnarounds  pilot_programs  nationwide  contra-Amazon  brands  kiosks  cost-cutting  luck  Wal-Mart  Jet  Bonobos  pricing  showrooming  price-matching  customer_service  search_engines  in-home  BOPIS  Samsung  Apple  Microsoft  store_within_a_store  consumer_electronics  product_cycles  customer_experience 
september 2017 by jerryking
Nordstrom Tries On a New Look: Stores Without Merchandise - WSJ
By Suzanne Kapner
Sept. 10, 2017

Nordstrom Local, doesn't stock's a new concept as retailers across the U.S. are wrestling with how to best to use their physical spaces and attract customers who are migrating to the web. For department-store chains like Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. , Kohl’s Corp. and Sears Holdings Corp. , one answer has been to shrink their footprint by closing stores or experimenting with smaller ones......consumer habits are changing.....“There aren’t store customers or online customers—there are just customers who are more empowered than ever to shop on their terms,”...Nordstrom Local, scheduled to open Oct. 3 in West Hollywood, Calif., will span 3,000 square feet, far less than the 140,000 square feet of one of Nordstrom’s standard department stores. It will contain eight dressing rooms, where shoppers can try on clothes and accessories, though the store won’t stock them. Instead, personal stylists will retrieve goods from nine Nordstrom locations in Los Angeles, or through its website. The stylists can also pull together looks for shoppers through a “style board” app.

“Shopping today may not always mean going to a store and looking at a vast amount of inventory,” said Shea Jensen, Nordstrom’s senior vice president of customer experience. “It can mean trusting an expert to pick out a selection of items.”..In addition to manicures, Nordstrom Local shoppers will be able to order wine, beer, coffee or juice from an in-store bar, and those who place orders on by 2 p.m. can pick them up there that day. They will also be able to return items at the store that they bought online or from other Nordstrom locations. Tailors will be available for alterations or to help members of Trunk Club, an online clothing service that Nordstrom acquired in 2014, select fabrics for custom garments.

Other retailers have experimented with inventory-free stores, including Bonobos, the men’s fashion brand bought by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over the summer. Stores such as Pirch, a purveyor of high-end home appliances and decorative plumbing, have taken the experiential route, inviting shoppers to bring bathing suits to test their $1,000 showerheads....the traditional retail store hasn’t changed much over the years. One hindrance, according to Doug Stephens, founder of the consulting firm Retail Prophet, is that Wall Street measures success by sales per square foot and other metrics that are becoming outdated in a world where shoppers still visit stores but increasingly make their purchases online.
Nordstrom  Nordstrom_Local  Macy  personal_stylists  BOPIS  Doug_Stephens  retailers  sales_per_square_foot  physical_space  experiential_marketing  small_spaces  curation  department_stores  inventory-free  e-commerce  store_footprints  downsizing  Bonobos  metrics  in-store 
september 2017 by jerryking
Bonobo builds a fire and toasts marshmallows - Monkey Planet: Preview - BBC One - YouTube
"Programme website: Kanzi the bonobo lives in America and has learnt how to build a fire, light it using matches and toast marshmallows on it. It shows just how like us some primates really are."

[via: ]
bonobos  apes  multispecies  tools  2014  fire  classideas  animals 
july 2017 by robertogreco
As Retailers Race to Close Stores, a Web Startup Is Opening Them - WSJ
By Khadeeja Safdar
April 30, 2017

Online brands are treading more carefully into physical retail. Several brands, such as Everlane, Casper and Warby Parker, have opened temporary stores to test out foot traffic and experiment with new concepts. ....One challenge for online brands is to ensure that new locations increase sales, rather than cannibalize existing business.

“We have to see the interplay between our online and offline channels,” said Ms. Ulman. “A customer who shops online and offline is supposed to be very valuable, but we want to understand just how much more valuable.”....Online apparel brands are finding that they don’t need much to set up a store. The evolution of point-of-sales technology means that transactions can now be made on phones and tablets. Some newer retailers don’t even keep much inventory. Bonobos, which started out selling men’s clothing online, lets customers try on items at its more than two dozen “guideshops” and mails purchases to their doorsteps.

Greats sells eight core styles of shoes in different colors and materials, making its business more mobile than that of a traditional retailer. At its new locations, the company plans to bring its own interior elements such as shelving, greenery and lighting.

“You can do a lot within four walls,” said Ms. Ulman. “All we really need is some Wi-Fi.”
clicks-to-bricks  sneakers  pop-ups  e-commerce  retailers  store_closings  shopping_malls  landlords  bricks-and-mortar  foot_traffic  omnichannel  short-term  leasing  inventory-free  cannibalization  Bonobos  Everlane  Casper  Warby_Parker  point-of-sale  brands  Wi-Fi  mens'_clothing  apparel  physical_retail 
june 2017 by jerryking
The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy - The New York Times
Neil Irwin @Neil_Irwin JUNE 16, 2017

The decision by Amazon and Walmart to compete for my grocery business — as well as for space in my closet — is a tiny battle in a war to dominate a changing global economy.

And for companies that can’t compete on price and technology, it could cost them the shirt off their backs.....[Amazon's purchase of high-end grocery chain Whole Foods places it] on a collision course with Walmart to try to be the predominant seller of pretty much everything you buy.

Each one is trying to become more like the other — Walmart by investing heavily in its technology, Amazon by opening physical bookstores and now buying physical supermarkets. But this is more than a battle between two business titans. Their rivalry sheds light on the shifting economics of nearly every major industry, replete with winner-take-all effects and huge advantages that accrue to the biggest and best-run organizations, to the detriment of upstarts and second-fiddle turn...this has more worrying implications for jobs, wages and inequality.

Amazon vs. Walmart

Both want to sell everything!!!!

Walmart is buying Bonobos, an omnichannel innovator. Its website and online customer service are excellent, and it operates stores in major cities where you can try on garments and order items to be shipped directly. Because all the actual inventory is centralized, the stores themselves can occupy minimal square footage. The acquisition helps Walmart build expertise in the very areas where it is trying to gain on Amazon.

Walmart and Amazon have had their sights on each other for years, each aiming to be the dominant seller of goods via omnichannel.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods helps it to understand the grocery business which has a whole different set of challenges from the types of goods that Amazon has specialized in heretofore.

A Positive Returns-to-Scale World
The apparel business has long been a highly competitive industry in which countless players could find a niche.....any shirt-maker that tried to get too big rapidly faced diminishing returns.It would have to pay more and more to lease the real estate for far-flung stores, and would have to outbid competitors to hire all the experienced shirt-makers. The expansion wouldn’t offer any meaningful cost savings and would entail a lot more headaches trying to manage it the digital economy, rather than reflecting those diminishing returns to scale, show positive returns to scale: The biggest companies have a huge advantage over smaller players. That tends to tilt markets toward a handful of players or even a monopoly....The apparel moving in the direction of being like the software business (high fixed costs, zero variable costs, enormous returns to scale)..... the reason why Walmart and Amazon are so eager get into the shirt business is because retailers know that they need to figure out how to manage sophisticated supply chains connecting Southeast Asia with stores in big American cities so that they rarely run out of product. They need mobile apps and websites that offer a seamless user experience so that nothing stands between a would-be purchaser and an order....Larger companies that are good at supply chain management and technology can spread those more-or-less fixed costs around more total sales, enabling them to keep prices lower than a niche player and entrench their advantage....large companies will invest in automation/robotics...the future of clothing/apparel might be a handful of companies with the very expensive shirt-making robots---and everyone else shut out in the cold.

What It Means for the Economy

A relative few winners are taking a disproportionate share of business in a wide range of turn may help explain why the income gap has widened in recent years. How much on income inequality is driven by shifting technology — as opposed to changing corporate behavior, or loose antitrust policy — is an open debate.
increasing_returns_to_scale  winner-take-all  fixed_costs  variable_costs  Amazon  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods  retailers  economics  Bonobos  shirts  mens'_clothing  omnichannel  apparel  digital_economy  automation  robotics  competitive_landscape  market_concentration  barbell_effect  income_inequality  antitrust  market_power  corporate_concentration  grocery  fresh_produce  supermarkets  large_companies  UX  inventory-free  global_economy 
june 2017 by jerryking

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