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We use the term Merchants to avoid the confusing acronyms DTC, DNVB, O2O, ECom, MCom omnichannel etc. Our focus is on the Merchants selling things in the best way possible. The current crisis is a remarkable opportunity for a fresh think on retail and we’re watching and learning. And sharing.
The biggest news this week is that Google have stepped up and made it free to sell on their Google Shopping tab;
With a Paypal partnership and talk of integrations with Shopify Woo, BigCartel etc this is a big play from Google and a challenge to Amazon. Google has a huge amount of intent signals and this makes it easier for Merchants to respond. And at some point does the huge volume of free listings trigger the needs for Paid listings to get stand out? (This is US only for now but should roll out quickly)
Action? Read the guide on how to join Merchant Centre and what you need to do - and get as much done as you can
One of the best resources for data on what's actually happening with the Virus is this CommonThread collection - lots of data points and some good analysis. Within the collapse in costs some people are doing well. As one of the participants suggests there is lots of window shopping going on - so if nothing else that 1st party data may be useful in the future.
I keep coming back to grocery delivery as it seems the space that is telling us most about the changes we are going through. Circumstances are driving huge amounts of trial and the incumbents have found it really challenging to flex their model to cope, but we are now seeing some fresh thinking.
Waitrose is rolling out their Rapid Delivery service - up to 25 products delivered within 2 hours. This is really interesting as it comes across as high service but can be delivered through smaller vans and maybe even bikes. And the 2 hour window makes the £5 charge seem quite reasonable.
That is significant because the sad truth about grocery delivery is that everyone loses money on it. It’s estimated that it costs £10 to do a delivery - largely down to the utilisation of the vans. Because grocery orders tend to be big, the vans can make less deliveries and because density isn't (wasn’t) that high, the vans are often half empty.
Whilst Waitrose - like most supermarkets - rely on pickers in existing stores, Amazon intend to refit some existing depots to handle grocery. The masters at this are Ocado but even they have found that these big, purpose built depots don't flex well with hugely increased demand. In the US we see micro fulfilment centres getting traction - could that be a European option too?
The new Uber services are worth a closer look. Direct is a delivery service and partners range from Australian Vets, The Portuguese Post Offices and the Bill Gates foundation for medicine distribution. Connect lets people send parcels across 25 cities.
Action? Could fast delivery be beneficial for your brand? How could you test this with a local delivery partner?
McKinsey have some thinking on how CPG brands can prepare for the new normal - drawing on learnings from China;