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January 13, 2020

A very happy new year to you! After a brief hiatus, welcome back to your weekly update on the changes, trends, and movers-and-shakers making headlines across marketing, brand, consumers and more.

If you’re looking for some new page-turners to start the year off, check out the most influential books ever written about business, a few books to help you be a better leader, and Adam-Grant-endorsed books coming out in 2020.

From Deepak’s neuroscience desk, how to inspire people to love your brand the way they love Harry Potter, Starbucks, or Disney by tapping into the psychology of fandom.

Below are a few thought-provoking articles to kick-start your week and year. Thanks as always for reading, sharing and sending your contributions.



  • India’s budding eCommerce market – perhaps the last untapped retail behemoth – makes it a prime target for significant investment by Walmart and Amazon.
    • Consulting POV – The specific development in here is significant – Future Retail is the most sophisticated brick and mortar retail operator Amazon has ever partnered with/invested in (yes, this includes Whole Foods). It will be very interesting to see how that partnership develops.
  • In other Walmart news, the grocery giant is piloting a new technology designed to enable quicker, more efficient picking of online grocery orders at the store level.
    • Consulting POV – This makes a ton of sense, and is a completely predictable evolution of click and collect, which is dedicated space for in-store pickup order fulfillment, which allows the robots to operate away from human shoppers, which dramatically simplified implementation.
  • AdWeek makes five retail predictions for 2020, as Forbes offers their predictions on both top retail developments we can expect this year and five ways grocery shopping will change in the next (half) decade as well.
    • Consulting POV – Our predictions coming on January 15th and 22nd – stay tuned!
  • There are a few key themes expected in DTC as well, coming as industry observers attempt to codify the success factors of this cohort of companies.
    • Consulting POV – The D2C/CRM language in the second piece is particularly critical, as CRM will be foundational not just for D2C but for supplier-retailer relationships as well!
  • Kantar’s David Marcotte speaks to the impact of changes at FedEx and UPS on online retail amid an “ever-evolving shipping war.”
    • Consulting POV – Dave is as smart on this topic as anyone, and it’s highly likely at least one of these companies will be part of a retail ecosystem by 2025…in particular, the challenge Amazon presents to these companies as a logistics provider is profound.
  • Business Insider reports that store closures reached a new high in 2019, nearly doubling vs. 2018.
    • Consulting POV – These counts are kind of silly, since they don’t account for square footage or the competence/viability of the retailer. But yes, a lot of stores will open and close in the 2020s!