Blog Post - Frank Kochenash , Oct 7 2019

What did we learn at the Cleveland Research Council (CRC)?

What did we learn at the Cleveland Research Council (CRC)?

It's conference season...

Cleveland Research Council (CRC) held its annual eCommerce conference in Seattle, and we had some people attending. Here are a few high-level takeaways. Keep in mind that this conference is focused on helping branded manufacturers develop strategies for Amazon and its largest marketplace and omnichannel competitors.

  • Still Amazon... The majority of eCommerce bets and investments being made by brands appear to continue to be placed with Amazon, but there's increased interest in and hopes for Walmart to grow into a stronger second option.
  • Still room for improvement... Only about 50% of the conference participants polled in the first keynote believed that they were well-prepared to address Amazon growth by being strong in the areas of operations, having right-sized ad spend and right-staffed teams, and especially with having correct and complete data and measurement.
  • Metrics needed, please... The need for measurement and metrics, especially metrics that could be trusted in areas like market share was a theme. Our own Eric Heller presented on this topic, in fact, sharing perspective on how to unite supply chain, logistics, content, shelf, and media metrics together.
  • Same day/next day is the new front line... Amazon has invested significantly over the last 3 years or so to expand same day/next day delivery. This seems to be the key battleground in retail right now. Interesting observation from CRC: Amazon and Target both have a greater share of the US population within next day delivery coverage (~90%) than Walmart's ~75%. But Amazon has 10 million items available at that promise, 100 times more than either Target or Walmart which have about 100,000 items available. It's tempting to question the consumer need for 10 million items when a typical grocery store has about 25-40,000 SKUs. But if you regard Amazon a a retail platform that spans categories and need states, then it seems clear it's still playing on a different field.