When you think of Macy’s, you probably picture Santa Claus, a Thanksgiving Day parade, or its eleven-story, 2.2-million-square-foot flagship location in Manhattan, once known as the world’s largest store.
But that wouldn’t be an accurate picture of the U.S. retailer. In recent years, Macy’s has turned into a digital hybrid nearly as familiar with GPS signals and online advertising as it is with clothes racks and perfume counters. According to its annual report, it’s now “an omnichannel retail organization operating stores and websites.”
“Omnichannel” is a buzzword that describes a survival strategy. Threatened by the growth of low-cost online merchants, traditional retailers are reacting by following customers onto the Internet. Macy’s does it as well as any. On its website, it installs 24 different tracking cookies on a visitor’s browser. On TV, it runs ads with Justin Bieber that urge millennials to download its mobile app, which tells them which of the chain’s stores is closest to their location. Once inside, they can use the app to scan QR codes on a pillowcase or a pair of shoes. Online orders now ship from the backrooms of 500 Macy’s stores that this year began acting as mini distribution centers.
I met Charly Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Icrecreams last Thursday at a Plex event where he had samples of their amazing artisanal flavors. We worked out a barter deal. On Sunday, he asked me the flavors I would like. I told him it would be fantastic if the kids who are coming home for Thanksgiving could taste the Salty Caramel sandwich I had raved about.
Today, they arrived - the sandwiches and other samples Charly generously sent. I am marveling at the packaging – with dry ice, it is colder (-109.3 F) during transit than it is is in your freezer!
Impressive Jeni’s along with Fedex make such home delivery routine even in a short, busy holiday week. Fedex picked it up at 5 pm yesterday in Columbus, OH and delivered less than 24 hours later, 1,000 miles away.
Now think about all the fresh produce that is being shipped in bulk day after day. Global Trade magazine ranks its best third party logistics providers and includes a category for Best Temperature Controlled providers like C.H. Robinson (truck in photo) in this issue.
Don’t you love logistics which make the complex look so routine?
BTW, on the barter with Jeni's, all I can say is I got the better end of the deal :)
The big change next year will be a new USB PD (Power Delivery) standard, which brings much more flexibility and ten times as much oomph: up to 100 watts. In his London office Simon Daniel, founder of Moixa, a technology company, charges his laptop from a prototype souped-up USB socket. The office lighting, which uses low-voltage LED (light-emitting diode) lamps, runs from the same circuit. So do the monitors, printers and (with some fiddling) desktops. Mains power is only for power-thirsty microwaves, kettles and the like.
My friend Troy Angrignon whose credentials include wearing out 3 Nike Fuel bands, 2 Fitbit Flex bands, and 4 Jawbones compares various “quantified self” aids
“First, let’s get my bias out of the way. I’m an athlete who loves data. I’ve tried many systems, many apps, and many devices. I also have a passion for good design and user experience so my summaries are a combination of my thoughts on these from many angles: industrial design, daily survivability, daily usability, ruggedness, user experience, feel, app quality and function, and data interoperability.”
He compares Nike Fuel, Jawbone, Fitbit Flex, Basis B1, Fitbit Force, Misfit Shine and Polar Loop
That’s the promise of Canadian startup Adfreetime.com, one of a handful of providers to offer what’s called a DNS-switching service. Launched in May by 26-year-old Richard Probst, the website offers subscribers the ability to mask their browsers’ location by rerouting the embedded geographical identifier through a server somewhere else in the world. Turn on the region-unlocking service through a simple Web interface—Adfreetime has designed these as on/off buttons, like light switches—and it will appear as if a user in, say, Iowa is actually signing on from Ireland. “We have servers all around the world,” Probst explained in an interview.
Fortune (sub required) about Commercial Aircraft Corp of China
“Comac is an aviation experiment on a scale the world has never seen. The five-year-old company aims to go from constructing model airplanes to producing commercial jetliners in less than a decade -- in an industry that's been dominated by Europe's Airbus and America's Boeing for so long that "duopoly" as a description seems to have shed any negative meaning.”
While the world outsources to China, Comac, in its time to market eagerness, is sourcing major components from around the world.
The magazine shows the components and global sources as with the Rockwell Collins below
The event last week shut down Howard Street in San Francisco to accommodate a cloud which decided to visit earth. Salesforce says its Plaza had the biggest structure ever inflated in North America. 79,000 square feet of turf was brought in to surround it – and with the rain that joined the cloud, most attendees sloshed around it like little kids. The rain also did little to dampen the enthusiasm of 9 bands that played there during the event.
Here is a time lapse video of the structure set up
And a video of the structure at the color saturated Welcome reception on Monday night
Thanks to Brielle Nikaido of Salesforce.com for the factoids and the videos.
It is a truism that the march of technology has killed Main Street media.
Well, the New Florence blog has chuckled at that comment for years now as it has benefited from my monthly trip to the magazine section at Barnes and Noble. Such a wide range of technologies covered across the publications. This summer for the book project, I interviewed the CEO of Burda, the German publishing house. He described how with business model and staffing changes many of his properties had survived the digital transition.
Larry Dignan of ZDNet was telling me how the iPad (and other tablets) has allowed several publications to be reinvented. The amazing color saturation, the interactive graphics, the embedded videos are all making the reading experience so much more enjoyable. Indeed, many of the graphs on New Florence these days come from my subscriptions on the iPad – the one above of Miami smoke art from Time, and below of the Hermes clock from a supplement in Wired.
So, I am tempted to sign up to NextIssue – it promises unlimited and archive access to 122 well known magazines for $ 14.99 a month. My only hesitation is it will make me think about cutting back those B&N trips.