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On April 22, 2018, Iryna commented on Wayfair – A Zillion Things Home :

Thanks for the post, Eliza! I think that VR experience could be an amazing boost to company’s sales and I was wondering how Wayfair can improve the adoption of this new unique tool. Looking back at some of our cases, I think that the idea of having several physical locations aka “pop-up stores” could help solving the problem. While asset-lite model of Wayfair makes their business model viable, I think opening pop-up stores in a form of showrooms for the new tools like VR, could improve customer loyalty and drive VR usage online. These pop-up stores don’t need large space – all they need is 1 or 2 consultants, few catalogues for clients who are waiting (with a possibility to order online on the spot), a white wall and a VR head-set. These stores can migrate to a new location every 1-2 months. Another idea of physical stores could be to combine the VR showroom and storage space for picking the orders. This idea will require larger space and probably will be more expensive, but on the other hand, it can help improving delivery times – one of Wayfair’s key objectives.

On April 22, 2018, Iryna commented on BCG: Digitally disrupting … or disrupted? :

Thank you for the post! I completely agree with you that BCG has to disrupt itself or it will be disrupted by the large software providers (and they already have leg-up in the game with their advanced software products). I think in order to keep its clients, many of which struggle with digital transformation too (think large old-fashion companies like Disney, General Mills, Havas), BCG should embrace the role of an educator – be the first (instead of Microsoft and alike) to introduce data-driven solutions to the client, work together to generate best practices and use-cases for the products it has to offer. It will thus build adoption and trust. Finally, looking at their long-term strategy, I believe it is inevitable that BCG will be digital-first. Because of that, they need to start integration already now, and while for the moment it makes sense to keep units like BCG Digital Ventures separate, the company should start blending it with the general practices very soon.

On April 22, 2018, Iryna commented on Digital Disney: Transforming the Happiest Place on Earth :

Thank you for the post. Disney is indeed in a “digital” trouble all around. When researching Disney, I have learned how bloated the organization has become over the years and I struggle to see how a politically-charged hierarchy can appoint anyone from outside of the company and of Hollywood to some of the top political positions. My post about Pernod Ricard talks about exactly the same problem. I wonder if in case of Disney digital change can come from the bottom to the top? Maybe, in this case grassroots strategy should be recognized and implemented by business units and studios so it can disrupt the organization in a more realistic way. It will take longer indeed, but at least it will have a chance to survive and become native to Disney.

On April 8, 2018, Iryna commented on Nielsen: What people watch, what people buy :

Thanks for the post. Having worked in a consumer goods company before, I used Nielsen reports extensively and am familiar with all 3 directions they offer services in. I used a lot their “Buy” direction to analyze sales and distribution vs. competitors. Nielsen limitation in retail has always been coverage of the supermarkets with the available data: the less developed market was the less coverage Nielsen would provide (between 20% and 80% maximum of the available stores), which I found at times could be very misleading. I wonder whether Nielsen could overcome this historical challenge by investing in new technology, that does not necessarily require the supermarkets to reveal their data (which has been the bottleneck until now), but instead tracking the item from the warehouse all the way to consumer. Such technology could improve Nielsen coverage dramatically and bring more value to the companies it works with.

Thanks for the post! I think it is a fascinating development in machine learning science and will become inevitable moving forward. While I completely agree with you that human intervention is a must to monitor and update the algorithm in the right direction, I also wonder whether machine learning could make chatbots more emotional, so they can be more sensitive to understand human perspective. It has been proven with studies, that humans sometimes struggle with the reaction to a response purely based on the complexity of emotions that we have. Thus, developing chatbots that can actually understand our emotions and interact with us respectively would be incredibly helpful.

Great post! I love your examples of how data has transformed McDonalds performance in recent years. Will be interesting to see how the company will upgrade their store and dial up data usage to increase customer satisfaction. One thought would be to start customizing menu for its loyal clients based on their preferences or past purchases. This would not mean changing the whole menu across all the franchises, but rather suggesting the items that would match customer preferences. This can increase both loyalty and ticket size. On other hand, given McDonalds dense penetration, at least in the U.S., I am curious to find out how the “digitalization” of the stores will be realized in the rural areas, where customers are not that sophisticated and might resist the change as it will make their preferred fast-food chain too complex.

Love the post! I was especially impressed with the Ikea hackers’ community – it shows an impressive brand loyalty and engagement and it is great that IKEA found the way to harness it! I agree with your points regarding the cost-minimization and the community satisfaction as a result of this innovation! What I think IKEA should be careful with is protecting its visual and design identity while outsourcing its designs from all over the world. This would mean setting up very clear design requirements and choosing criteria for the participants, yet not restricting the creative freedom. Outsourcing design also requires a clear agreement on the IP ownership to avoid any negative PR that can affect its reputation (we had a similar project with Absolut vodka back at Chivas Brothers and the legal context is quite tricky and requires a lot of attention).

On March 26, 2018, Iryna commented on Volition: Democratizing Beauty :

Thank you for the post! Feels fresh and relevant in our age of customization indeed! What I think could be a struggle is making the ever-growing number of products profitable. Assuming a healthy growth of the Volition community, there will be more and more ideas coming, which will mean that Volition will either have to a) extend their product line substantially, which might men heavy R&D expenses for products with very niche clientele; b) regularly drop old products, which might frustrated current loyal users; c) or restrict new products launch, which will mean that fewer new ideas will find its way to the shelf, thus making the community less excited and, most-probably, less engaged.

On March 26, 2018, Iryna commented on Google Voice Search :

Thank you for the post! I love the idea of using crowdsourcing for kick-starting projects like Google Voice Search! It is impressive to see, that such a large and well-funded company like Google still is obsessed with financial efficiency and minimizing costs for its products, alongside with engaging with its users and making them buy into Google products. I also believe that crowdsourcing can be used by Google as a tool to experiment with other new projects at a minimal cost. They can use crowdsourcing for both data and feedback collection, as well as a test phase before heavy investment is made.

On March 5, 2018, Iryna commented on houzz :

Love the post and a fresh view on the housing decoration solution! Out of curiosity I went and tested the platform myself and it is truly smooth and consumer-friendly experience. I love their little innovation ideas like tagging things to buy on the picture, that increases monetization aspect and helps differentiate against rising competition. My question is: did Houzz manage to build barriers high enough to avoid other players copying its features? Beyond design and features exposed to copying, I am also concerned whether the suppliers are multi-homing. What would prevent them from having their profile on multiple sites? In summary, looks like a really fresh and great idea, but they need to keep pushing their innovation pace to keep growing market share.

On March 4, 2018, Iryna commented on Can OpenTable survive, or is it losing popularity? :

Great post – OpenTable has a real struggle and it seems to me they cannot compete with the same business model anymore. They need to ensure their app is the sleekest and their software for restaurants is the simplest. And I would argue that it is possible to achieve by constantly looking at the competition and innovating. But most importantly, they need to adopt the flat-monthly-fee model used by other reservation apps, which will make restaurants more willing to cooperate with OpenTable and consumer find tables at the peak hours (since some restaurants are now saving those “hot tables” for themselves to avoid paying OpenTable for something that will surely be booked anyway.

On March 4, 2018, Iryna commented on The “Harvard” of Dating Apps: The League :

Great post! Beyond the conflict of business model of a dating app mentioned in the comments above, I would also love to learn how does the premium fee work for this business. Given highly competitive space, lack of loyalty and high multi-homing, are there actually people willing to pay for it? Maybe, The League could differentiate by offering exclusive services for free to make people come back on it again and again? Or are there truly exclusive feature that can help it stand out without getting a “niche app” tag?

On January 29, 2018, Iryna commented on Starbucks: a tech company or your neighborhood coffee shop? :

Starbucks digital transformation has been successful indeed. Looking at the company’s performance overall in 2017, however, digitalization should accelerate further across the chain to capture customer value for two reasons. 1) Growing into a coffee behemoth to a great pleasure of the Street, Starbucks has lost its neighborhood feel and has gained corporate reputation, which leads to struggle of acquiring both aspiring baristas and the clientele. 2) Younger generation of millennials is switching to hipster one-off Aussie coffee shops with piccolo latte and bearded employees. Hence, further digitalization is even more needed to ensure that Starbucks attracts mobile first millennials, combined with review of the whole customer experience inside the coffee shops, which might create tension with investors’ expectations.

There is a hope in automobile industry! This luxury experience could be further enhanced through virtual reality head-sets like Microsoft Hololens or HTC Vive Pro, and even virtual assistance offered by companies like gramLabs. Such additions could offer an intimate experience inside the car, interactive elements, and be suitable for smaller showrooms, outside of the biggest cities of the world.

On January 28, 2018, Iryna commented on “Put your Money where your Mouth is” :

While Domino truly embraced one of two key parts of its operating model – transportation, this success story probably would not happen without company changing its other part – pizza production, when Patrick Doyle joined as a new CEO in 2010. Company was open to criticism and learning and managed to dramatically improve pizza quality, while starting investing in technology.
Domino’s recent strategy is a great example of harmonious marriage of technology and quality through listening to its consumer.