Morrison’s move to online grocery delivery – BBC Radio interview (Shane O’Connor show)

On 10 January, 2014 Morrisons at last joined the ‘club’ of major grocers in the UK who deliver online. Their share price and reputation had been on the receiving end of negative sentiment, and so with the launch of the pilot programme in the West Midlands I was interviewed by BBC Radio, starting with a direct question “They are so behind the game, is that going to be a problem for them [Morrisons]? Coming to the party so late?”…

My colleague at InternetRetailing, Chloe Rigby, covered the story and you can leave comments and join the debate there: http://internetretailing.net/2014/01/one-week-on-how-is-morrisons-online-grocery-service-going/

Chairing ChannelAdvisor’s Catalyst EU Conference

It was my pleasure to return as Chair to Catalyst 2013, Channeladvisor’s European conference.

This year the format was a mix of presentations and ‘fireside chats’ (even though we had no fire!).

I had a fun session with the irrepressible Chris Poad from Amazon – candid, engaging and fun as ever, and continuing his track record of never ducking a question.

Ian Jindal and Chris Poad having a ‘fireside chat’ at Catalyst 2013

I then had an equally candid and no-holds barred chat with Ashley Payne of Debenhams and Helena Risdale of Littlewoods Clearance.

Ian Jindal, Helena Risdale (Littlewoods Clearance) and Ashley Payne (Debenhams) having a ‘fireside chat’ at Catalyst 2013

Details of the event are here:

http://www.channeladvisor.com/catalyst2013/

and there’s a live-blog transcript of my chat with Mr Poad here:
http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2013/06/live-blogging-from-2013-catalyst-europe-amazon-fireside-chat.html

My thanks to ChannelAdvisor for their warm welcome and ever, and for the additional and generous support of my fundraising for Sonia.

“Capability and Maturity” – editorial from the May 2011 edition of InternetRetailing Magazine

I’ve just published the web version of my Editorial for the May 2011 issue of our Magazine, “Capability and Maturity”.

You can see it on Internet Retailing’s site here:

http://www.internetretailing.net/2011/05/editorial-capability-and-maturity/

There’s also a link to the May 2011 Digital Edition of Internet Retailing Magazine (‘page turner’), also available online.

In the article I mention the MSc in Internet Retailing – a commercial qualification, academically assessed and accredited.

Applications for the MSc are now being accepted for September 2011 start: information at http://econsultancy.com/uk/training/qualifications/retailing. Open evenings on 26 May (Manchester) and 14 June (London) can be booked online . You will have a chance to chat with us, the academic staff from MMU and the Econsultancy trainers, as well as speaking with current students from the first and second intakes.

“The Thick Slice” – Editorial from the March 2011 edition of InternetRetailing Magazine

I’ve just published the web version of my Editorial for the March 2011 issue of our Magazine, “The Thick Slice”.

You can see it on Internet Retailing’s site here:

http://www.internetretailing.net/2011/05/editorial-the-thick-slice/

There’s also a link to the digital ‘page turner’ edition, also now published online.

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” – Editorial from the January 2011 edition of InternetRetailing Magazine

I’ve just published the web version of my Editorial for the January 2011 issue of our Magazine. You can see it on Internet Retailing’s site here:

http://www.internetretailing.net/2011/05/editorial-planes-trains-and-automobiles/

There’s also a link to the digital ‘page turner’ edition, also now published online.

“Purchandising” – Editorial from November 2010’s issue of Internet Retailing Magazine

I’ve just published the web version of my Editorial for the November 2010 issue of our Magazine. You can see it on Internet Retailing’s site here:

http://www.internetretailing.net/2010/12/editorial-purchandising/

There’s also a link to the digital ‘page turner’ edition, also now published online.

“No more eCommerce – it’s Total Retail” – Editorial from September 2010’s issue of Internet Retailing magazine

Here’s my editorial from the September 2010 edition of Internet Retailing magazine. You can see this article in the digital edition here:

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/bd0ff4ae#/bd0ff4ae/6

We’ve long predicted that multiple channels will give way to an integrated commercial approach, but inspired by the World Cup – and not allowing his utter ignorance of football to stand in his way – Ian Jindal reflects on the lessons from the Beautiful Game’s radical transformation in the 1970s, drawing parallels with today’s changes: welcome to the age of Total Retail.

In January’s column, we looked forward to a year in which Boards would place ever-increasing demands on the eCommerce teams, and that eCommerce leaders will need to become rounded, commercial leaders in order to secure their role on the Board. Since January we’ve also seen the rise of mobile and m-commerce and this has increased the pace of innovation and digital development, further eroding channel boundaries. M-Retailing.net, our new title, charts the increased pace of change, but there remains a nagging feeling that the game has changed.

In our businesses we expect our teams to combine deep functional expertise, with a non-trivial appreciation of other disciplines, and finally an ability to assimilate and master change situations, new skills and the changes in customer behaviour and demands. Admittedly there’ll be training – both corporate and self-directed – but there is also a need to reconsider the way we manage and lead our digital teams, as well as the wider business, to achieve against these demands.

In the 1970s there was a similar need to change the approach to football. With faster balls and pitches, increased professionalism and training demands, the static tactical approaches that ranged lines of offence and defence against each other had become turgid. The insight was to create a system where any player could take over the role of any other player – fluidly, autonomously and to great effect. A multitalented player would be expected to be an attacker, a midfield play-maker and a defender – seamlessly and without pause. A jack of all trades and master of most.

Central to the tactical approach of Total Football were the notions of creating space, flexibility and collaboration, founded upon rigorous and demanding training and a proactive attitude, always seeking opportunity and taking initiative.

Likewise the modern eCommerce team. For ‘creating space’ we have the need to create commercial opportunity – even amidst the mayhem and turmoil of minute-by-minute trading. Members of a Total Retail team are expected to act commercially, create opportunities, despite the pressures of daily activity.

The notion of multitalented team-members is also vital. Not only must there be an appreciation and understanding of other people’s skills, but team members must also be able to make a credible contribution in other areas. No more “I am a marketeer” or “I am a technologist” – eCommerce professionals must be both (as well as operationally savvy and commercially astute). Indeed, we created the MSc in Internet Retailing as a programme to assist the development of multi-talented leaders for our industry.

One aspect not present in the 1970s was “fan power”, or ‘customer power’. Our colleagues in store have the most intimate human contact with some customers, but across the whole business it’s the multi-touch, extensive digital contacts that give eCommerce professionals a privileged insight to the customer’s activities. With social media we have an enviable view of the customer’s attitudes and activities beyond the shopping experience in our domains. Further, considering m-commerce and mobile interaction, we’re increasingly able to gain more insight into customers’ behaviour even when they’re not “online” and explicitly shopping or researching.

Total Retail is the opportunity for us to progress from a simple injunction to ‘be more skilled and commercial’ to an approach of being more engaged with customers – at every stage of consideration, socialising, learning, buying and sharing. Being of service to a demanding, knowledgeable and social customer, at all times, places and points of attention. It’s a fully committed approach. To deliver upon this demand we need both to hone our individual skills as players, and to develop a ‘game play’ that is open, flexible and enterprising. The tenets are skills, flexibility, collaboration and creating opportunity.

This shift will be uncomfortable and demanding, even upon those who believe it to be a necessity (and an opportunity). However, it’s likely that our customers will come to expect this sooner than the majority of retailers will respond – meaning significant spoils for those who can bring sparkle to the retail game, much as the Dutch shook up football 40 years ago. Time for us all to embrace Total Retail, and we’ll return to this theme again over the coming year.

Speaking: the Endeca Retail Dinner

201009152323.jpg

Just back from the rarified atmosphere of Mosimann’s  for the Endeca Retail Dinner.

Great group of people – Shop Direct, RS Components, Wiggle, Game, Tui… fun to catch up with people and meet new faces.

Endeca sponsored the last InternetRetailing CEO Dinner (see the photoset of Dinner05) and we had a wonderful and relaxed evening, so I was pleased to accept the invitation to say a few words to open (or delay!) dinner. I covered some topics from recent editorials – changes in retail, the growth of the voice of the customer, the challenges to eCommerce Directors as they embrace multi-channel and move to the Board table, and – of course – my most recent editorial on Total Retail, brining the skills, attitudes and approaches together.

We eat in the “Mappin & Webb” room (goodness only knows why the rooms are named after retailers and brands – the others are Mont Blanc, Davidoff, Bentley, Parmigiani Fleurier…). I had visions of watch salespeople jumping out mid-course, but the goods were locked in glass cabinets around the outer edges of the room. Mosimann’s is in a converted 19th century church and the M&W room was the old belfry.

Great venue, but I wonder why it wasn’t just called the Belfry… 😉 Meanwhile, any guesses welcomed as to how much M&W pay to sponsor the room, whether anyone takes that seriously, and how would you measure the ROI on the cost?

Thanks to Endeca for being great hosts and making the evening happen.

TheAppLounge – launched tonight

Just back from Wardour Street where I was pleased to have spoken a few words at the launch of TheAppLounge ‘pop up’ experience store.

You can see details at www.theapplounge.com, but in brief it’s a place to meet, socialise, experience and understand software and technology in support of one’s ‘digital life’.

Alexander Grünsteidl (Senior Director of User Experiences at Method), who conceived the AppLounge sums it up:

“The AppLounge is a pilot store that aims to bridge the gap between the in-store and online retail experience. The space is designed to encourage customers to slow down, have a drink, and sample a variety of applications and accessories on display.”

I’ve had numerous discussions with Alexander over the years since we were introduced by Nico Macdonald at an Innovation Reading Circle evening, and he’s been working on ways to change the relationship between brands and customers, and the way products are designed for markets, for a number of years via his Digital Wellbeing Labs.

The AppLounge will be open as follows:

15 September, 2010 – 2 October, 2010 at

Meza, 100 Wardour Street, London W1F 0TN

Global eCommerce Summit (GES): Chairing a roundtable

I was pleased to be invited to the GES in Monaco, an attempt by our friends and Shop.org and BBP of the Netherlands to work with EMOTA and other associations to create a pan-European high level conference in a similar vein to the big US conferences (like Shop.org and Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, IRCE).

IMG_3146.JPG

The venue was astounding and the weather, erm, “convivial” to say the least. The hotel/resort had much of the US golf/leisure complex feel of Florida-based conferences, but I’m stunned to discover that the costs of putting on an event in Monaco are so much cheaper than London, Amsterdam or Barcelona. Mental note for the future, even if the destination has unfortunate resonances in a time of parsimony and corporate belt-tightening.

The speaker list was excellent, the company stimulating and the conference venue was just excellent, if a little on the massive-and-vacant side. Stepping out onto sun-drenched balconies, of course, removed even the slightest, curmudgeonly tendency to complain 😉

Some images from the Summit below, and more photos available on my Flickr set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ikj/sets/72157622703241718/with/4061051725/)

IMG_3161.JPG IMG_3160.jpg

IMG_3163.JPG