Wearable Tech’s Big Retail Distribution Challenge

Kickstarter is bursting with startups in the wearable technology sector. Not a day goes by without some new entrepreneur or venture backed startup announcing a new gadget that is going to change your life. Companies such as Pebble, Jawbone, Fitbit and GoPro that most people had not heard of 2-3 years ago have now become household names. But big companies are competing the wearable tech sector as well. Samsung and LG have smart watches. Nike and Garmin have activity trackers. Motorola is experimenting with a temporary tattoo that can be used to unlock your cellphone. The startups are predicted to win big, but I think vendors such as Nike, Adidas, Garmin, Samsung, Bose, LG and Motorola have a strong advantage over the cool kids on Indiegogo.

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The Race for Same Day Delivery in Online Retail

One of the biggest impediments to online shopping continues to be delivery times. No one wants to wait 3-5 days for a purchase to arrive at their doorstep. They want it now. Not surprisingly, the focus of many online retailers has been how to reorganize their supply chain for faster home delivery. Amazon.com took an early lead when it introduced its Prime service. For $79 per year consumers could enjoy free two-day delivery on most Amazon-fulfilled purchases. Since then several dozen traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, online marketplaces and startups have followed Amazon’s lead with programs aimed at faster and faster delivery time. Below are some of the more interesting examples: Continue reading

Wearable Tech – Fitbit versus Jawbone UP

I had the Fitbit for two weeks, lost it three times (the last time for good). The product design is both excellent and terrible at the same time. At first I loved it because the Fitbit is so light that you forget you have it on. But then I realized that its near weightless, unobtrusive design is the worst aspect of the design. You don’t notice when you don’t have it on. So you may be awake for hours before realizing that you are not measuring your activity. You also don’t notice when it falls off your belt – while doing yard work or taking off your jacket.

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The Retail Supply Chain is Reorganizing to Support Online Order Fulfillment

Last week Walmart announced that it was building two distribution centers specifically to fulfill online orders. The new facility will be in Bethlehem, PA. Not only is this in close proximity to the Dunder Mifflin headquarters, but it is also within a one-day shipping window for one third of the online shoppers in the US and Canada. Walmart’s initiative is one just one of many examples of how the retail supply chain is beginning to reorganize around online orders.

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Polar Routes for Air Transportation

It’s almost Christmas.  Santa and his elves are busily working away at the North Pole building toys for all the children of the world.  But Santa is not the only one transporting goods via the North Pole these days.  Hundreds of commercial airlines transport cargo and passengers via polar routes every day.  Many of these containers and people are traveling between Asia and North America or Europe.  Just ten years ago the idea of flying the polar route was a relatively new concept.

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