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.
The last few editions of Essentials of Marketing have included examples of how companies are adding technology as customer service or a supplement to their core product. And of course, technology keeps evolving. I was impressed with the latest example of this from Lowe’s Home Improvement. The video below provides a brief overview that might be shown in your class when you cover Product (Chapter 8 is where we introduce this idea) or retailing (Chapter 12).
We teach our students that it is critical to analyze and understand customer behavior before developing marketing strategies. With all the data available tracking the online purchase journey, many firms are gathering insights all the time. In addition, surveys can provide further insight about how online consumers shop. This article, “Survey reveals how customer make online product decisions” would be a nice addition to a lecture on consumer behavior (Chapter 5), online retail (Chapter 12), or aspects of promotion like owned media (Chapter 16). The article shares interesting information including:
- Consumers are not very loyal — “only 14% say they likely wouldn’t switch to a competitive product if their first choice wasn’t available.”
- Many consumers are research shoppers — “82% of respondents are likely to look at multiple locations for information on products.”
- Information search often starts with online retailers (e.g., Amazon and eBay) where 44% of respondents indicated they looked first, quite a bit higher than those reporting they started with search engines (19%). Amazon now earns a lot from advertising revenue because of this trend.
The article reports a number of other findings and also links to an interesting article with data on social shopping during the pandemic.
My students are often curious about how the pandemic has influenced marketing strategy planning. The biggest example are the supply chain problems (Chapters 10 and 11) we read or hear about all the time. Those have clear implications for consumers who cannot find that new bike, toy, or automobile they are willing but unable to purchase. What are the marketing strategy implications?
First, there are implications for retailers (Chapter 12) who lose sales when their shelves are empty (or at least not fully stocked). That costs them sales and goodwill. Second, it can lead to higher prices (Chapters 17 and 18) which contribute to inflation (Chapter 3) which are specifically addressed in this article “Supply chain woes lead to pricy outdoor recreation products.” The article gives an example of a Kelty camping chair that will jump in price from $109 to $139 because shipping costs for a container have jumped up to 10x. All told, a great example that ties together a range of concepts in the textbook and the real world. A great example to share at the end of the semester.