Scott Galloway provides a short video where he shares some crazy statistics about Amazon. For example, did you know that within 45 minutes of an order being placed at Amazon, it is already loaded on a truck! In that video, Prof G also references a book where you can get many more details, Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door — Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy. This short video might be fun to show in class when you cover Chapter 3 (where we have a chapter opening case study of Amazon), Chapter 11 (logistics) or Chapter 12 (retailing).
This short (9 minute) Planet Money podcast titled “Full (ware)house” covers some interesting trends in the warehouse space. One current situation is that in spite of a boom in warehouse construction, there is a shortage of space. A second trend is a movement in where warehouses are located — with them moving from rural locations, to the exurbs, suburbs and even into urban environments. The idea is to have goods stored closer to consumers for faster delivery. All this is driven by changing consumer shopping habits.
This is a great example of the effects of the pandemic. As the pandemic accelerated online shopping, companies found they were more willing to pay for higher priced storage closer to consumers. I find my students like to listen to short podcasts as a supplement to the textbook chapter. The topic can lead to interesting classroom discussion when you discuss Place in Chapters 10 and 11.
My kids have started talking about social e-commerce. Of course that is not the term they use, but buying via Instagram is growing fast. “Social e-commerce is the business of selling goods online—in quantity—through people’s social networks” – quoted from this great Fast Company article, “This $360 billion e-commerce trend is huge in Asia—and it’s coming to the U.S. next.” The article describes the growth of social commerce in Asia, where is now comprises 13% of all online sales in China. The article delves into the two most prominent business models – group buying and live e-commerce. This could be an emerging online retail practice to keep an eye on – and to share with your students.
Earlier this month, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest report on the climate. It was not encouraging and clearly points to the need for the world to limit carbon emissions. Many cities and businesses are stepping already trying to do just that.
One opportunity for lowering emissions is the so-called “last mile” for online retail. This is the delivery to customers’ homes and businesses. This is seen as lower hanging fruit. So the city of Seattle is experimenting with some low-cost options, including cargo bikes, electric vehicles and pallets, and food trucks. This opportunity is leading to some innovation around delivery.
This Fast Company article describes “Seattle’s new zero-emissions delivery hub is an experiment in slashing e-commerce emissions.” This video (also shown below) describes some of that innovation. In Essentials of Marketing, we discuss innovation as a benefit of marketing (Chapter 1) and as part of new product development (Chapter 9). And of course this topic is relevant to distribution (see chapters 10, 11, and 12) Our textbook also covers sustainability in chapters 1 and 19.
As regular readers of this blog know, the recently published 17th edition of Essentials of Marketing includes several examples each chapter of companies, brands, or practices that demonstrate “Marketing for a Better World” (#M4BW). Marketing managers are not always looking to do the right thing for society — but many are finding ways to increase profits and make for a better world. This article “Supply Chains as a Game-Changer in the Fight Against Climate Change” (BCG, January 26, 2021) includes lots of practical advice you might share with your students.