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Month: June 2017

Amazon to buy Whole Foods – Realization of New Grocery Shopping Paradigm in the Making or Amazon Fail? -RHujar

Link to RetailDIVE article about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods:  http://www.retaildive.com/news/breaking-amazon-to-buy-whole-foods-in-137b-deal/445206/

My first reaction to this article was sorrow for the soon to be dead Whole Foods Market. This is a favorite place for my family to shop being vegetarian/vegans and whenever a multi-billion company buys a smaller company it generally means the end of the shopping experience that you came to know.  I have no doubt that this will be the case with this acquisition as well.  What makes Whole Foods great is the organic and environmentally friendly products they found and bought from up and coming new companies with new ideas and the produce (and meats for non-vegan/vegetarians) that came from local farms that was much fresher than what was available from other markets.  Clearly, this must change as you cannot mass-produce this formula and retain the integrity of that formula with the consumer.   This was already happening and causing problems for Whole Foods as they grew extremely fast and other supermarkets were beginning to cherry pick sales by offering some lower cost alternatives in new healthy food sections of their stores.

Enter the mega-giant Amazon with state-of-the-art distribution and logistics technology and methods and lots of cash reserves.   If the mission is limited to providing a better in-store experience with Amazon Go and improved pricing to compete in the retail grocery space with Wal-Mart and others grocery stores then this is probably going to be another Amazon failure of getting into a market they just do not understand.  (See article by Patrick McCarthy “8 Times Amazon Completely Failed to Hit the Mark”  http://www.dealerscope.com/slideshow/8-times-amazon-completely-failed-to-hit-the-mark/amazon-webpay/#slideshow

On the other hand, if the plan is to upgrade the in-store experience and supercharge the Whole Foods formula and deliver healthy foods and products right to your door every day then this could be the realization of the home grocery delivery paradigm that has yet to be effectively realized.   Amazon uniquely has the logistics and distribution expertise and technology and the near endless capital to cover losses in implementation until critical mass can be realized.   The timing is also right as the under 30 demographic wants to order online and have their groceries delivered so getting this right now means steady growth.

It remains to be seen if this is another corporate disaster or the beginning of a permanent change in how groceries are bought and delivered that will forever change the food industry.

-Randy Hujar

10 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew About Them

 

An excellent Infographic (see below) put together by Help Scout (www.helpscout.net),  summarizes the central concepts behind customer-centric selling and how it applies not only to direct B2B selling but to e-commerce and mobile applications sales as well.  In particular, personalization, while the example in this infographic is weak (bringing a second set of mints to a dining customer) the point is critical.  A better example would have been saying that if your waiter addresses you by name would have a significantly bigger impact.  Or, putting the name of the customer in chocolate sauce on their dessert.  The importance of remembering and using a customer’s name is brought out in point three.  In selling direct or online anytime you customize and personalize a presentation or information will make it much more valuable and memorable.  Further, it differentiates you and your company from the competition.

Another area of particular importance, in my opinion, is customer communication and interaction as covered in points 7 and 8.   Useful in both direct B2B or mobile applications is the notion that I regularly interact with my customers and use my customer base to drive features and content.  Customers know what they want and are happy to let you know it.  Inversely, they become very unhappy and lose interest when they feel ignored.  This is not to say that a company should only add features and improvements dictated by their customers.  Customers are generally not aware of new technology or methods that can fundamentally improve their customer experience.  The best companies balance improvements that are driven by new technology and internal directions with features asked for by the customer.

More applicable to mobile/e-commerce is interaction and communication that enables and promotes customers to build or add content themselves.  Not only does this make for a happier user/customer base but has the benefit of your customers adding value and content making the brand and customer experience have more value with little to no company investment.  All the most successful online applications embrace this “social” customer experience.

The rest of the points are right-on as well and worth reviewing and internalizing for anyone selling.

– Randy Hujar

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