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Ikea looks to launch sales platform that would include rival products
February 12, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Milne in Almhult.

Ikea is exploring the launch of an online sales platform offering furniture not just from the famous flat-pack retailer but also from rivals as part of its big transformation...........

Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Inter Ikea, added: “It is also about how you connect. If you take home furnishings, for instance — how you connect communities, how you connect knowledge, how you connect the home. It’s not only furniture, it’s paintings, it’s the do-it-yourself part. There are many different constellations that can and will evolve over the years to come.”
Alibaba  Amazon  brands  clothing  e-commerce  experimentation  fashion  furniture  home-assembly  Ikea  leasing  opportunities  platforms  retailers  third-party  Zalando  rivalries  digital_strategies  Torbjörn_Lööf  coopetition 
february 2019 by jerryking
Inter Ikea’s Torbjorn Loof: making the vision clear
February 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Milne.

Internal politics had supposedly never played much of a role in the tangled web of companies that makes up the world’s largest furniture retailer. But when Inter Ikea, little-known owner of the brand and concept, acquired the product range, design and manufacturing businesses in 2016 from its more famous sister company, Ikea Group, Torbjorn Loof was struck by the infighting.......The 53-year-old is running a franchise system that decides everything: from which products are on offer and what the stores look like, to the famous catalogues and flat-pack design. But rather than use his new-found power and influence, Mr Loof took a different approach..........Mr Loof is now engineering the biggest transformation Ikea has undertaken by changing its famed business model that has brought it so much success. Having giant out-of-town warehouses, where shoppers pick their own furniture and then build it at home, underpinned Ikea’s solid profitability for seven decades.

But now it is looking increasingly at city-centre stores, online shopping, home delivery and assembly, and more radical ideas such as leasing furniture and selling on websites such as Alibaba. Mr Loof says that challenging such a successful status quo is tricky, especially as the company does not have all the answers on what the new retail landscape will look like.....“We made sure that the vision and the purpose were very, very clear. Not spending too much time on what sometimes is in the middle of things — all the strategies and plans, and all of that had to come later.”......Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad said it was important to be long term and “think about where should we be in 200 years?” The managers smiled at his exaggeration and asked him if that wasn’t too much. “Yes, of course”, he said, “but then you make the short-term plan: that means the next 100 years”.....the toughest tasks is encouraging the entrepreneurship that characterised the company’s early days. He concedes that the decade-long period of growth in the early part of this century stifled Ikea’s creativity and recalls going to see Kamprad a few years ago when sales suddenly hit a bump. “I was a little bit worried. I said to Ingvar: ‘sales are not growing’, and then he looked at me and just smiled and he said: ‘wonderful! Crisis!’ So, there is this kind of [attitude] to love the crisis because the opportunities in the crisis are that you get more creative,” he adds. Ikea has experimented more with what Mr Loof calls the “phygital” — the place where the physical and digital worlds of shopping collide (e.g.an augmented reality app visualization of Ikea furniture in situ at a customer's home, as well as a virtual reality kitchen). ...Ikea will do numerous trials in the next few years: “Even if we would be the best planners, we hire brilliant business analysts, the best strategists, I think we would not make it. So, we have to be the fastest learners . . . daring to test things and make mistakes, but also again correct them.”
CEOs  clarity  Ikea  vision  mistakes  Communicating_&_Connecting  creativity  crisis  cyberphysical  transformational  city-centres  Alibaba  leasing  e-commerce  home-assembly  home-delivery  coopetition  radical_ideas  Torbjörn_Lööf 
february 2019 by jerryking
How does Chinese tech stack up against American tech?
Feb 15th 2018 | Economist | Schumpeter.

The Chinese venture-capital (VC) industry is booming. American visitors return from Beijing, Hangzhou and Shenzhen blown away by the entrepreneurial work ethic. Last year the government decreed that China would lead globally in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030. The plan covers a startlingly vast range of activities, including developing smart cities and autonomous cars and setting global tech standards. Like Japanese industry in the 1960s, private Chinese firms take this “administrative guidance” seriously.

Being a global tech hegemon has been lucrative for America. Tech firms support 7m jobs at home that pay twice the average wage. Other industries benefit by using technology more actively and becoming more productive: American non-tech firms are 50% more “digitised” than European ones, says McKinsey, a consulting firm. America sets many standards, for example on the design of USB ports, or rules for content online, that the world follows. And the $180bn of foreign profits that American tech firms mint annually is a boon several times greater than the benefit of having the world’s reserve currency.

A loss of these spoils would be costly and demoralising. Is it likely? Schumpeter has compiled ten measures of tech supremacy. The approach owes much to Kai-Fu Lee of Sinovation Ventures, a Chinese VC firm. It uses figures from AllianceBernstein, Bloomberg, CB Insights, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey and includes 3,000 listed, global tech firms, 226 “unicorns”, or unlisted firms worth over $1bn, plus Huawei, a Chinese hardware giant.

The overall conclusion is that China is still behind. Using the median of the yardsticks, its tech industry is 42% as powerful as America’s. But it is catching up fast. In 2012 the figure was just 15%.......For Silicon Valley, it is time to get paranoid. Viewed from China, many of its big firms have become comfy monopolists. In the old days all American tech executives had to do to see the world’s cutting edge was to walk out the door. Now they must fly to China, too.
China  China_rising  U.S.  Silicon_Valley  Alibaba  Tencent  metrics  technical_standards  America_in_Decline?  work_ethic  complacency  Kai-Fu_Lee 
april 2018 by jerryking
BlackRock co-founder warns on complacency over Chinese tech
Owen Walker in Davos 2 HOURS AGO

“Apple was not in the music industry, Google was not in the mobile phone industry and Amazon was not in the groceries business — until they were,” he said. “Tech companies are going to enter the financial services market in a very, very aggressive way.” 

Ant Financial’s sprawling portfolio of businesses includes one of the world’s biggest credit scoring systems, a bank, an insurer and a lending platform for small businesses. It was reported last week by the FT and other news organisations that Ant Financial is seeking to raise at least $9bn in its latest private fundraising ahead of an initial public offering....“You have to expect there will be a threat from [Chinese] technology companies to financial services,” ....“But I would say Amazon is equally a threat to doing that.” 
BlackRock  Ant_Financial  complacency  threats  disruption  Alibaba  asset_management  financial_services 
april 2018 by jerryking
Toys ‘R’ Us versus Amazon: No contest
September 17, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | BARRIE MCKENNA.

It's a new era all right...The industry is grappling with the relentless onslaught of Amazon and Alibaba, excess retail space, the retreat of department-store mall anchors and intense price competition. Meanwhile, consumers are shifting their spending from things to experiences, including entertainment and dining-out
The harsh reality for Toys "R" Us and other big-box stores is that they aren't indispensable any more as North Americans discover new and different ways to shop. You don't have to schlep to a suburban shopping strip to find the newest Lego set, video game or electronic gadget. Order it online, and you can have it delivered to your door, often for free the next day, at the best price available anywhere.

....retail experts have warned that a tipping point was coming for the industry as more and more shopping moved online. This looks like the year.....Analysts predict that a record 9,000 retail stores will close across the U.S. in 2017. That would eclipse 2016, when roughly 6,200 stores closed....
Retailers have been filing for protection from creditors at a faster pace this year than at any time since the 2008-09 recession. Toys "R" Us joins a long list of famous retail casualties of 2017 in Canada and the U.S., including Sears Canada, The Limited, Wet Seal, BCBG, Payless Shoes, Sports Authority, Gymboree, Aéropostale and American Apparel. And there are still three-plus months to go.....The rise of Amazon is proof that consumers are embracing new ways of buying. The company's North American sales grew five-fold to $80-billion (U.S.) between 2010 and 2016. Half of U.S. households now subscribe to Amazon Prime, a fee-based service that offers free two-day shipping, music and video streaming plus other perks......What's alarming isn't so much the share of shopping that has moved online, but the speed at which it's moved.

Warren Buffett sold off nearly $1-billion worth of Walmart stock earlier this year, explaining that traditional retailing is "too tough" a business in the age of Amazon. "The world has evolved, and it's going to keep evolving, but the speed is increasing," Mr. Buffett said.

Amazon and China's Alibaba won't be the only winners in this new era. A vast array of other businesses feed off the online industry, including shippers and logistics companies, plus a vast network of technology companies, including store platforms (Shopify), analytics companies and app makers.
Amazon  Alibaba  e-commerce  store_closings  Barrie_McKenna  retailers  bricks-and-mortar  toys  Toys_"R"_Us  bankruptcies  brands  Amazon_Prime  home-delivery  accelerated_lifecycles  Warren_Buffett  Wal-Mart  big-box 
september 2017 by jerryking
The Rise of the Platform Economy - The CIO Report - WSJ
Feb 12, 2016 | WSJ | By IRVING WLADAWSKY-BERGER.

A platform or complement strategy differs from a product strategy in that it requires an external ecosystem to generate complementary product or service innovations and build positive feedback between the complements and the platform. The effect is much greater potential for innovation and growth than a single product-oriented firm can generate alone.”

The importance of platforms is closely linked to the concept of network effects: The more products or services it offers, the more users it will attract. Scale increases the platform’s value, helping it attract more complementary offerings which in turn brings in more users, which then makes the platform even more valuable… and on and on and on.
Alibaba  Apple  Facebook  Google  IBM  Microsoft  scaling  economies_of_scale  Uber  Salesforce  platforms  ecosystems  network_effects  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger 
february 2016 by jerryking
Silver Lake, Microsoft and Canada Pension Plan Mulling Bid for Yahoo - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 20, 2011 | WSJ | By ANUPREETA DAS And GINA CHON.

Microsoft, Others Work on Yahoo Bid
Silver_Lake  private_equity  CPPIB  Microsoft  Alibaba  fallen_angels  Yahoo! 
october 2011 by jerryking
Success Beyond China Seems Unlikely for Its Online Giants - NYTimes.com
March 23, 2010 | New York Times | By DAVID BARBOZA.
Post-Google, China’s Internet market could increasingly resemble a
lucrative, walled-off bazaar, experts say. Those homegrown successes,
however, could have trouble becoming global brands.

“If the Chinese government continues to favor domestic companies, those
companies that reach critical mass could become phenomenally
profitable,” said Gary Rieschel, founder of Qiming Ventures, an American
venture capital firm with investments in China. “But it may be hard for
those companies to become world class without outside competition.”
China  Google  protectionism  censorship  Baidu  Tencent  Alibaba  global_champions 
march 2010 by jerryking

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