Saturday, September 23, 2017

London Deems Uber Unfit to Operate in the U.K. Capital


By: China Clayton

Title: London Deems Uber Unfit to Operate in the U.K. Capital
Link to website: https://www.wsj.com/articles/london-wont-reissue-uber-s-license-saying-it-is-unfit-to-operate-1506076089

Time published: Updated Sept. 22, 2017 6:28 p.m. ET

Transportation authority in London has threatened to close down the largest growing transportation company Uber and will not be renewing their license to operate once it expires on September 30th. In the mist of the storm, Uber is also facing backlash from the community in London because of past scandals, probing events, and having conflicts leading to physical altercations between employees and riders. Due to this, transportation authority in London quoted “Lack of social responsibility” which could threaten public safety and security.


The last co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned in June because he failed to manage a series of issues and scandals which could have improved people in London perceptions and reestablished their social responsible efforts and improve unnecessary concerns from government and social community about the company. It really matters what people think, say new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi and I couldn’t agree with her more, especially for international marketers which could lead to increased revenue and partnership with social community and firms for Uber.

South African Political Scandal Spreads to International Firms


South African Political Scandal Spreads to International Firms

A political scandal is developing in South Africa and affecting large International firms such as auditing company KPMG, the german SAP, consulting firm McKinsey & Co, among others for the work they did for one of the most prominent families of the region. 

The Gupta family, originally from India has been able to develop a successful empire mostly around media and mining holdings. Most recently the family had partnered with the President's son, event that is giving this scandal a bigger political focus.
Many groups in Africa such as the opposition leaders, the African Congress and some civil-society groups affirm that the Guptas hold undue influence over the government.

Resultado de imagen para south african political scandal

Many documents and leaked e-mails have started to appear that show how the family has been able to benefit from many contracts from the government, avoid taxes etc.

Is it very interesting to see how in some countries there are a few businesses, families or conglomerates that have so much influence in the economy, and how is some cases with alliances with government members or relatives they can use their power position in their favor.

This article shows us again the importance to review the political context of a country before deciding to enter it and launch products and appreciate the influence of the political economy on social institutions, cultural values and ways of thinking.


Article written by: Gabriele Steinhauser at gabriele.steinhauser@wsj.com and Nick Kostov at Nick.Kostov@wsj.com
Avaiable online at:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/south-african-political-scandal-spreads-to-international-firms-1505503212


How Grocery Giant Aldi Plans to Conquer America:Limit Choices



Tyffany Martinez
Article by Zeke Turner
WSJ Link

Aldi a discount retailer was started as a single store  in a small mining town in Germany over 70 years ago by the Albrecht brothers after World War II. The store offered only the essentials that families needed to survive, from there a business model was created. Today, Aldi stores have stuck to their original business model and have discovered their competitive advantage lies in  offering a limited selection of quality items at low cost while also believing in minimizing waste as much as possible. Aldi stores only offer a limited selection of about 1,700 items in their stores, this is a big difference from other retailers such as Walmart that offer a wide selection that includes about 120,000 items. The discount retailer's limited range of items means faster turnover, smaller stores and less expenses. Aldi has become one the world's largest retail groups with over 10,000 locations and $83 billion in revenues. There have recently decided to expand business and are set to open 2,500 new stores in the United States. They believe that they will be able to change shopping behavior of spoiled American consumers who are accustomed toeing given a variety of options in grocery stores, and they may be right. Consumers do not necessarily need a large variety to pick from instead they can be introduced to a small selection of quality products. This small German retailer with humble begins is certainly changing the way American retailers do business or at least teaching us a thing or two. 


iPhone 8 slow sales, may be not bad after all...





Long waiting lines, excitement and enthusiasm filling the air, this is what Apple faces when they open their doors for their loyal customers when a new phone is released. However, not this time!
Seems like Apple's announcement to release iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X all in the same year has created some sort of confusion on what customers should buy, should the customer spend his or her money on iPhone 8, which has only minor improvement over iPhone 7, or wait for the more advanced iPhone X. 

In China, sales of iPhone over the last year and a half have plunged down as result of local competition, and low-price manufacturers that eroded Apple's market shares. Despite that, China's demand for iPhone will determine much of Apple performance over the next year.
The company has estimated up to $52 billion in revenue from the release of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, excluding iPhone X. It is predicted that may be Apple had a strategy to launch them first in purpose, as a hedge, keeping the good sales for new iPhone X, which sells for $999 to $1,149 in the United States.



International WSJ Insights
"Why Slow iPhone 8 Sales May Be a Good Sign for Apple"
Published By Tripp Mickle in San Francisco and Yoko Kubota in Beijing
Updated Sept. 22, 2017 1:29 p.m. ET
https://www.wsj.com/articles/good-news-for-apple-as-iphone-8-sales-off-to-a-slow-start-1506067166

Whole Foods Slowly Getting the Amazon Makeover

If you've been keeping up with business news lately, you probably already know that Amazon recently acquired Austin, TX based Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. You might be thinking that this is the continuation of online grocery shopping and process improvement for the online shopping experience. If we really think about, companies like Amazon that acquire any company is bound to make better strides towards buying everyday goods easier and faster. But what kind of changes are we to expect from this acquisition? Anyone that has ever worked in the corporate world knows that a merger/acquisition can have some growing pains which can result unhappy employees or even increased attrition. Is any of this worth it to increase sales and the customer experience? Let's take a look at what's in store for the future...

There are so many changes that are happening with the Whole Foods shopping experience. Prices are going to be cut, Amazon products are going to be sold in the supermarket, Prime members are going to get discounts, and those pesky brand reps are being banned from pitching their products to shopping customers. All of these new changes sound great, but you might be a bit ambivalent about that last one. You might be one of those people that get slightly upset when someone tries to talk to you about their product at Whole Foods when you're trying to purchase your acai berries and organic virgin coconut oil in peace but some people actually look forward to meeting some of these brand reps to hear about new products hitting the shelves. In order to improve the customer experience, Whole Foods employees will be trained on how products work and the different benefits they can provide which will mitigate the cut from the outside brand reps. Whole Foods is becoming more centralized after the Amazon acquisition which means more top-down decision making when it comes to product assortment.

We understand from this point that some stakeholders are affected positively and some negatively. From the current analysis of this article, it looks like sales are going to increase, grocery shopping at Whole Foods is going to become more efficient, and there is going to be a wider product selection at the store which all result in a better shopping experience for the customer. The unfortunate news is how some of the recent decisions will affect those outside brand reps. Whole Foods still plans on supporting local businesses and products, but cutting out the outside brand reps which could mean a loss of jobs for those third party companies and all of that product knowledge will be placed on the Whole Food employees which could mean more work for them. All in all, the acquisition is still very new and more changes are bound to happen to the popular healthy food store. Only time will tell if these changes are positive or negative.



"Amazon Puts Whole Foods on Fast Track to Conventional Supermarket"

Published by: Heather Haddon and Annie Gasparro  21 Sept. 2017

https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-puts-whole-foods-on-fast-track-to-conventional-supermarket-1505986380


Friday, September 22, 2017

Cheaper Air Tickets a Illusion 

The news flashing back cheaper air tickets have become an Illusion. As the there is an add on gate service fee added to the base economy ticket to avoid people carry on baggage to the overhead bin and under the seat.

The revenue generated each time with a new add on fee from past has been tremendous.
In 2016 the US Airlines collected 4.2 billion in baggage fee.
At Carlson Wagonlit Travel a major business travel vendor, more than 50% of the clients at Carlson Wagonlit have chose to go ahead and block the base fare price as they believe in restrictions for business travelers are not sound strategy.
The travelers are been fooled with shopping on cheaper prices and miss on the fine print.

The gate fee concept has been a confused statement for the travelers.
The fee is upon the base fare and the taxes. The add on fee simply on the ticket are the same for all the seats as they do not allow assign of the seats nor the baggage.

Most of the travelers, and the companies associated in block booking for these low frill airlines have been on a surprise when an extra amount for the baggage has to be paid and are penalized for buying a ticket on base economy fare for those airlines.

The strategy to generate revenue in the sector could be a smart move or a deceptive either way.

At American and United, travelers on Basic Economy discounted tickets may have to pay a baggage fee for carry-on luggage plus a new $25 add-on gate service charge.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-surprise-airline-ticket-fee-1505311888

Another loss for Uber

Image result for Uber london

This week the city of London has deemed the transportation company Uber as unfit and improper, regarding customer safety and crime reporting. These claims–emitted by London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan- will not allowed Uber’s license to be renewed after a five year contract currently running; consequently, losing one of the company’s three big cities worldwide. 

Three previous incidents in which company drivers did not report sexual and violent activities between passengers and their chauffeurs has forced Maria Ludkin, legal director of the driver’s union, to concur with the mayor’s decision for the ban while upholding the importance of citizen safety above all.


The ride-hailing giant will have 21 days to appeal against the decision but so far it has only taken an imprudent approach by pointing out the loss of employment the city could suffered and London’s lack of innovative ideas to bring more choices to customers. 
It seems like Uber has focused more on the service they can provide instead of the facts to which they have been accused.

https://www.ft.com/content/9f4cf168-9f86-11e7-8cd4-932067fbf946


Now, shopping can be more interesting

     Now you can get more fun when you shopping not only limited to dinning or movie theaters. Among the newcomers: high-tech golf driving ranges, skydiving simulators and “escape rooms,” in which players are locked and challenged to find a way out by looking for clues and solving riddles. These "fun" will attract people stay in the mall for longer time.     

     Today, since the competition of retail industry became more and more serious, the whole industry is scaling back. However, entertainment has become the important part of malls' portfolio.At the same time, investors are betting on the entertainment trend, with some of them showing decent profits.       

      It is clear to many in the retail business that entertainment will play a critical role in the future of malls. Furthermore, there are more and more new concept of entertainments are heading into or around malls.


Article analysis by Tian Tian
From: Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/shopping-malls-new-product-fun-1472586441
Write by  Esther Fung

Who needs who? Amazon is seeking for a second headquarters in the United States.

Amazon.com is looking to build a second corporate headquarters in another location, but the company’s human capital requirements limit its options.
PHOTO: DAVID RYDER/GETTY IMAGES - Wall street journal


          Looks like Amazon.com is searching for a second home. But, is this a good or a bad idea for the expansion and development of the cities? It seems obvious that the chosen city will have to offer good incentive packages for Amazon to build its second Headquarters.

          In our past experiences, we have seen how big companies helped some of the current wealthiest cities to pull ahead while the other cities fell behind. Mr. Enrico Moretti, an economist at University of California, Berkley, explains the network effects of being around smart and innovate people will make us smarter and more innovative. The perfect example would be Seattle. A declining city until Bill Gates and Paul Allen moved Microsoft in 1979. Later, this encouraged Jeff Bezos to start Amazon.com due to the great human resources such as software engineers and the technology.

          Some retractors to these ideas explain the implications of having such a big company in town. They said that Seattle was once very livable, and the same “transformation” happened to other “tech-cities”. Expect real estate taxes to go up, houses to become more expensive and traffic to become more congested.

          No matter where Amazon.com decides to grow, it’s going to be interesting to see the palpable results of this transformational project in the chosen city, because it is expected to create up to 50,000 high-wage jobs and $5 billion in construction spending.


International Wall Street Journal Insights
"Why Amazon Needs Some Cities More Than They Need Amazon"
Published by: Greg Ip on Sept. 20, 2017.

Silly Rabbit! Trix Should be Fun

We may enjoy the bad food more than we think. 
By: Claudia Argüelles

It seems that everywhere we look we see a new health fad. Green juices, Acai bowls, quinoa, I have tried them all and am always open for tasting the next ‘big’ hit. General Mills’ customers may not all be as open-minded as the company believed them to be. GM, along with other major food companies, is not an exception to the push for a healthy leaning product line and even pledged to “remove artificial colors and flavors from all its cereal brands” (Gasparro). The new, ‘healthier’ Trix have even been described as ‘quite depressing’ by consumers.

As much as companies may want to hop on the latest trends, they must fully understand their target markets. Through awareness of their customers and brand, companies like GM could have avoided major outcry for customer’s beloved breakfast cereal, Trix. Even though the United States scores at a relatively neutral UAI, several countries around the world do not have a high tolerance for new ideas or products. Unfortunately, GM learned the hard way that not all consumers want the same thing. 

International WSJ Insights
"Silly Rabbit! Original Trix With Artificial Colors Is Back After Customers Revolt"
Published by Annie Gasparro on 21 Sept. 2017
https://www.wsj.com/articles/silly-rabbit-original-trix-with-artificial-colors-is-back-after-customers-revolt-1506011635