A very Happy New Year to you all as we continue with our second edition of “What’s new in Corporate Innovation”. Following on from our last blog, showcasing a number of interesting and highly topical articles, this week we have picked another three noteworthy pieces that we hope you will enjoy.
This article demonstrates how the Jet.com acquisition has given Walmart access to a whole new, upmarket clientele – including the $600bn annual millennial consumer market – and also strengthened their e-commerce operation. As the demarcation between the physical and online retail markets evaporates with changes in consumer (shopping) habits, they are combining Walmart’s market leading, physical infrastructure and exploration into new technologies with Jet.com’s premium brand portfolio and highly customer centric focus.
Imaginatik’s take: Much has been written about Jet.com and Wal-Mart, too much of it focused on obvious points, or clichés aimed at click bait. The real story about Wal-Mart’s play, as explained by Jet.com Lisa Landsman, is more nuanced. Corporate innovators should take note of how Jet.com and Wal-Mart are not, in fact, attempting a “me too” competition on Amazon’s terms. Rather, they are building for the next wave of retail innovation, including (among other things) the growing prevalence of pop-up physical retail, last-mile delivery services in remote areas, etc.
Order your supper with Uber (or Uber providing food for thought with their new app). Having seen Deliveroo take the country by storm with the roll out of their subscription delivery service last November and having seen other major players – including Amazon – cashing in too, this article explains how the taxi tech giant is muscling in on the $50bn home food delivery industry. The article explains Uber’s thinking on how the market is developing and how they are addressing and improving the reliability, speed, and quality of their offering while at the same time reinforcing and complementing their primary brand.
Imaginatik’s take: Uber is well-known for disrupting the taxi business, and more recently for reports of bad corporate behavior. It has also long been a firm interested in moving the larger ecosystem. UberEats is an example of how the company is thinking of its technology and customer base as leverage to expand beyond transportation. This type of “ecosystem thinking” is smart innovation strategy that corporates would do well to emulate. It also suggests firms would do well to think of Uber as a potential partner or competitor in spaces which on the surface have little to do with ride-sharing.
Reinventing The Hotel: How One Of The World’s Largest Hotel Chains Is Meeting The Airbnb Challenge Head-On
AccorHotels, one of the world’s largest hotel chains is implementing a highly focused and targeted strategy aimed at taking the initiative back from Airbnb. The 50-year old veteran of the hotel industry has embarked on a digital transformation to revitalize its fortunes and re-establish its market relevance and position. The strategy includes a program of investment in a number of travel tech start-ups, a broadening of its own direct booking platform, a reduction in the reliance on OTAs, the addition of new services, and an expansion within its luxury market segments.
Imaginatik’s take: Accor Hotels has been the most aggressive of the large global hotel chains in taking action to counter AirBnB’s rise. Much of their investment has gone into digitization to keep pace – improved online booking, etc. However the chain has also discovered a strategic niche where AirBnB may have trouble keeping pace: luxury hotels. Whether this is enough to avoid falling margins and diminished market share remains to be seen.