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jerryking : nationwide   4

Let the grocery chains fix Canada’s cannabis-supply mess
January 11, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | ANDREW WILLIS.

Despite the long run-up to legalization of recreational marijuana last October, demand for legal cannabis is outstripping supply and the retail system is a mess. ....The Ontario government held a lottery last Friday to award licenses for its first 25 stores, which aren’t expected to open until April. Experts say the nascent industry’s nation-wide logistical issues will take months, if not years, to fix.

Who wins out of this chaos? Criminals. Removing the social stigma from cannabis without ensuring robust cultivation and retail networks are in place opens the door to black-market suppliers, the folks the federal Liberals were trying to put out of business when they started down the path to legalization. Who can set things right, by getting cannabis into the hands of those who want it at prices the black market will be hard pressed to match? How about Jim Pattison, along with the Weston and Sobey clans and the folks running Metro Inc. Provincial governments should be looking to the national grocery and drug store chains to deliver on the federal Liberals' promise of a modern approach to marijuana sales.

Mr. Pattison, who runs the 45,000-employee Jim Pattison Group, has been showing shoppers the love for six decades. Think about what greets you when you walk into one of the former car salesman’s Save-On-Foods grocery stores in Western Canada, or a large-format Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro outlet.
Andrew_Willis  black_markets  cannabis  criminality  grocery  retailers  supermarkets  raw_materials  scarcity  supply_chains  gangs  nationwide  organized_crime 
january 2019 by jerryking
Best Buy’s Secrets for Thriving in the Amazon Age
SEPT. 18, 2017 | The New York Times | By KEVIN ROOSE.

Here are the keys to Best Buy’s turnaround, according to Mr. Joly:

1. Price, price, price

The most worrisome trend in big-box retail was “showrooming” .....To combat showrooming and persuade customers to complete their purchases at Best Buy, Mr. Joly announced a price-matching guarantee....Price-matching costs Best Buy real money, but it also gives customers a reason to stay in the store, and avoids handing business to competitors.

2. Focus on humans

Mr. Joly also realized that if Best Buy was going to compete with Amazon, which has spent billions building a speedy delivery system and plans to use drones to become even more efficient, it needed to get better at things that robots can’t do well — namely, customer service & customer experience....Best Buy fixed its internal product search engine. It also restored a much-loved employee discount that had been suspended and embarked on an ambitious program to retrain its employees so they could answer questions about entirely new categories of electronics, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home appliances.....Customers had always loved Best Buy’s Geek Squad.....sometimes, people needed help before they bought big and expensive gadgets. So it started an adviser program that allows customers to get free in-home consultations about what product they should buy, and how it should be installed....a pilot program last year, the service is now being rolled out nationwide.

3. Turn brick-and-mortar into showcase-and-ship

Best Buy’s online ordering system was completely divorced from its stores. If a customer placed an order on the website, it would ship from a central warehouse. If that warehouse didn’t have the item in stock, the customer was out of luck.....Mr. Joly realized that with some minor changes, each of Best Buy’s 1,000-plus big-box stores could ship packages to customers, serving as a mini warehouse for its surrounding area. Now, when a customer orders a product on Best Buy’s website, the item is sent from the location that can deliver it the fastest — a store down the street, perhaps, or a warehouse five states away. It was a small, subtle change, but it allowed Best Buy to improve its shipping times, and made immediate gratification possible for customers. Now, roughly 40 % of Best Buy’s online orders are either shipped or picked up from a store.

Best Buy also struck deals with large electronics companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft to feature their products in branded areas within the store. Now, rather than jamming these companies’ products next to one another on shelves, Best Buy allows them to set up their own dedicated kiosks. (Apple’s area inside a Best Buy, for example, has the same sleek wooden tables and minimalist design as an Apple Store.) It’s a concept borrowed from department stores, and it’s created a lucrative new revenue stream. Even Amazon has set up kiosks in Best Buy stores to show off its voice-activated Alexa gadgets.

4. Cut costs quietly

Almost every business turnaround plan includes cutting costs. Best Buy has used the scalpel as quietly as possible, gradually letting leases expire for unprofitable stores and consolidating its overseas divisions, trimming a layer of middle managers in 2014, and reassigned roughly 400 Geek Squad employees within the company. No public rounds of layoffs, which can crater employee morale and create a sinking-ship vibe.

Best Buy has also found more creative penny-pinching methods. Once, the company noticed that an unusually high number of flat-screen TVs were being dropped in its warehouses. It revamped the handling process, reducing the number of times TVs were picked up by a clamp lift and adding new carts to prevent TV boxes from falling over. The changes resulted in less broken inventory and bigger profits.

5. Get lucky, stay humble and don’t tempt fate

It’s lucky that the products it specializes in selling, like big-screen TVs and high-end audio equipment, are big-ticket items that many customers still feel uncomfortable buying sight unseen from a website. It’s lucky that several large competitors have gone out of business, shrinking its list of rivals. And it’s lucky that the vendors who make the products it sells, like Apple and Samsung, have kept churning out expensive blockbuster gadgets.

“They’re at the mercy of the product cycles,” said Stephen Baker, a tech industry analyst at NPD Group. “If people stop buying PCs or they don’t care about big-screen TVs anymore, they have a challenge.”

Mr. Joly knows that despite Best Buy’s recent momentum, it’s not out of the woods yet. To succeed over the long term, it will need to do more than cut costs and match prices. Walmart, another big-box behemoth, is investing billions of dollars in a digital expansion with the acquisition of e-commerce companies like Jet and Bonobos, and could prove to be a fierce rival. Amazon has been expanding into brick-and-mortar retail with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and is moving into Best Buy’s home installation and services market....
“Once you’ve had a near-death experience,” he said, “arrogance, if you had it in your bones, has disappeared forever.”
Amazon  Best_Buy  big-box  CEOs  turnarounds  pilot_programs  nationwide  contra-Amazon  brands  kiosks  cost-cutting  luck  Wal-Mart  Jet  Bonobos  pricing  showrooming  price-matching  customer_service  search_engines  in-home  BOPIS  Samsung  Apple  Microsoft  store_within_a_store  consumer_electronics  product_cycles  customer_experience 
september 2017 by jerryking
How young entrepreneur saw a need and turned it into a $10-million firm - The Globe and Mail
SHELLEY WHITE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May 10, 2016

asked QuickContractors to be a secondary resource for installation, delivery and assembly to customers in some of the more challenging geographic areas of Canada. Mr. Bouchard says the opportunity convinced him that his company needed to be the “master contractor” in the equation, controlling the entire life cycle of a job. A new business model was born. “The idea was that we would get the revenue from the Bay and then pay the contractor on the other end to execute the work,” he says. “That’s how we evolved from being an online directory to being a national installation company for major retailers.”
e-commerce  retailers  Home_Depot  Lowe's  nationwide  business_models  Canadian_Tire  delivery  installation  assembly  start_ups  entrepreneur  home_renovations  home_appliances  home-center_industry  home-improvement  QuickContractors  HBC  contractors 
june 2016 by jerryking
Case Study: Sometimes the Market Tells You What It Needs
Jan 10, 2006 | WSJ | Paulette Thomas. .Patrick Martucci
leapfrogged to increasingly challenging jobs across the telecom
industry, setting up distn. channels, running sales depts. An
opportunity arose when he worked at a company that provided maintenance
on Rolm phone equip.. Martucci pitched J.C. Penney, which, after a
trial, offered the maintenance contract for the entire retail chain's
phone service. But his company handled only Rolm equip.in specific
geographies, not the full sprawl of a retailer with a mishmash of phone
sys. Martucci saw what could have been "a $10 M contract go to $1.5 M"
THE SOLUTION: From Chicago, he launched United Asset Coverage, which
would informally stitch together a network to fix anyone's office equip.
-- no matter the brand nor the place, a managed-care approach to the
frustrating world of office-machine maintenance. Martucci told a small
VC fund. "It's a $36 B marketplace & I'm familiar with it,". They
invested a total of "a couple million" $.
voicemail  entrepreneur  opportunistic  maintenance  product_launches  telecommunications  disorganization  retailers  J.C._Penney  managed-care  demand-driven  customer-driven  case_studies  nationwide 
october 2010 by jerryking

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