For many decades, the location was one of the most important strategic factors for the success of a retailing operation. Retail companies fiercely competed against each other to secure the best sites for their stores. The prices of commercial real estate subsequently went up and the retailers needed to be more careful regarding the product selection they carried. Consequently, sales and profit per square foot turned into the most popular metric in the retailing industry.

I will call this first wave of retailing, the walk-in retailing wave. Here, the retailers could provide rapid gratification to their clients. If a consumer…

More than 5,000 retail stores closed this year. This figure might be an all-time high. During the worst year on record (2008), there were about 6,000 stores that closed. In contrast, forward-thinking retailers opened about the same number of stores that others closed. One winning example is Aldi — the German grocery chain — which announced it would invest $3.4 billion to expand its U.S. store base. Another good example is Amazon, aggressively growing its physical presence through acquisitions (Whole Foods), partnerships (Kohl’s), pickup lockers, pop-up stores, pickup stops, and completely cashier-free stores, among other innovative retail formats.

In my…

The progress in the field of computer vision is impacting several industries. It is one of the central technologies for self-driving cars, is becoming an integral part of the new generation of smart appliances, and is already embedded in most of the latest smartphones, just to mention a few examples. I think this technology will mark the end of the retail catalog as we know it. It will be, the third retailing wave.

In my prior notes, I emphasized the strategic importance of embracing the peripheral retailing model, which combines the benefits of the traditional pipe business model with the…

The following are some of the reasons why I predict, online marketplaces will foster a new age of global acceleration among retailers: the first-to-foreign market advantage, the democratization of marketplace technology and the rise of an early majority of cross-border sellers.

The First-to-Foreign Market Advantage

I had an interesting conversation with the Director of the Network Dynamics Group at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Damon Centola. Our dialogue was mainly about virality in networks and its impact on online marketplaces growth.

In my last notes, I discussed the peripheral retailing model, the smart and small retail formats, and the rise of the surrounding catalog. These strategic changes will demand to funding to be implemented. A big chunk of the solution will lie in the savings generated due to the deployment of smart automation. The sooner smart automation is deployed in retailing, the faster the funds will be available for the strategic moves mentioned above. As a matter of fact, several analysts agree that smart machines might increase business efficiency by up to 40% in the coming years. In this regard, a…

Upido is a Swiss-based startup in the area of artificial intelligence as it applies to logistics. Jose Anson is the CEO and founder of this company. During our conversation, he said, “The postal and logistic industry should start searching for its hyper collaborative model as soon as possible. They should be thinking about sharing their capacities and easing the reciprocal exchange of information and data to increase efficiency and co-create more effective delivery solutions.”

I agree with him. In the age of digital globalization, most businesses will need to embrace massive collaborative efforts with constellations of firms to remain competitive.

Dr. Evaristo Doria

Author and consultant on business strategy

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