First reaction – this is terrifying. What are we to do without coffee?!
Given that we are now in the 3rd wave of coffee (1st being at home Maxwell house; 2nd being the Starbucks to mass market, 3rd being the niche players – Gregory coffee; Philz coffee etc), there is a definitive market with a higher willingness to pay for quality. While personally, I’d be perfectly happy with my over-roasted Starbucks, others may not be – therefore, would market dynamics resolve this in the future? Asked another way, in the future when coffee becomes a high-priced luxury for the masses, would that spur additional innovation to cultivate the crop (a la Malthus / Malthusian thinking)?
I believe the play for Nestle wouldn’t be so much internal commitments to sustainability (as the environment effects us all), but rather, in working with farmers to develop practices that would allow them to maintain a healthy crop yield going forward in an environment of rising temperatures.
Is fast fashion inherently at odds with the environment? Much like the Ikea case; the whole point of cheap furniture is to encourage additional purchases in the future. With H&M, clothes are only designed to be worn a couple of times, only to fall apart but have consumers look on point and in trend with the latest fashions. Therefore, the same question arises – is this another version of Greenwashing? As I’m sure you are aware, the manufacturing process for apparel is one of the most poisonous for the environment, and while recycling materials is a good first step – is it enough? Ultimately, and unfortunately, as with most public goods, governments may need to implement regulations to not only implement but enforce sustainable practices.
As you pointed out, General Motors is doing a great job staving off potential charges to date. However, is it worth making a long-term (10-15 year plus) investment in a domestic factory to crank out low-cost Chevy Cruzes based on the uncertainty of our current Commander and Chief? Other responses to the TOM challenge have referenced longer-term plays that GM has made, which align with the future of the automobile industry, along the lines of renewable/electric vehicles, combined with autonomous driving capability. I think in this case, GM can use potential isolationist policies as a means to justify longer-term domestic investments in the US (where the technology to develop environmental/autonomous vehicles exists) to its shareholders, who should also understand that the capex needed to relocate/re-establish a low-cost factory in the US simply to avoid potential trade tariffs down the line is not a feasible solution.
First off, kudos to you, Toby, for great subheaders – very punny.
I agree with the concept that the authenticity of the Constellation brands are nearly inextricable to its Mexican origins, and would cite the US census projections that show that Latinos are one of the largest growing demographics in the US. As such Constellation should double down on its focus/emphasis of these brands. To get around potential isolationist trade policies, I’d recommend taking a page out of Fuyao Glass and Toyota; establish domestic production facilities ahead of time; in the event that these policies are not enacted, would still/should still drive efficiencies in the supply chain/distribution due to shorter transportation costs. Because of the clear bottles of a Corona, would also minimize the flavor distortion by shortening the time from the factory to the mouth of the consumer.
Fascinating that it has taken retailers so long to adapt to this trend; it makes complete sense what Nordstrom has done by connecting the digital and in-store experience with style boards. Another retailer that has done this extremely well is Sephora (not so much with outside brand partners, more so with influencers and their internal operations). While inventory/supply chain visibility is extremely important, I almost begin to think of AMZN more as a logistics/fulfillment company (as opposed to a retailer). Nordstrom could effectively deliver shopping experiences in its stores and allow customers to have an educational conversation with a human, in real time, which also allows them to glean insight into how customers interact with a product. Contrast this with an AMZN where customers may simply “spearfish” (enter what they are looking for in the search bar, and buy that one item). Consider this an additional benefit that Nordstrom would be able to provide to others, allowing them to maintain some semblance of a value proposition.
While the trend towards omnichannel is largely supported, I’m not sure brick & mortar is going away. The article states that Walmart needs to move online is a defensive move to continue competing with Amazon. While I don’t disagree that the acquisition of Jet.com was largely a reactionary move (not to mention other ecomm acquisitions in the space, such as Shoebuy (in reaction to AMZN/Zappos), Moosejaw, Modcloth, Bonobos), WMT may be endangering its core by chasing dilutive digital sales, warns retail analyst Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International. WMT may simply be trying to find “speedboats” that are the cool kids on the ecommerce block, and as a result, taking shortcuts to gain an online presence rather than building their online brand the right way as digitally native brands have been doing by developing a loyal following. Brick & mortar locations will be around to come, but how that experience may look like in the future will almost undoubtedly be different – perhaps moving to more experiential shopping – think Costco’s free samples. Happy to chat more about my thoughts on that offline!