Nordstrom Innovation Lab: The Lean Start-Up Within The eBusiness Giant

In April, I published research about the importance of innovation in eBusiness, and how eBusiness professionals can prioritize the many opportunities that lay before them.

To harness these innovation opportunities more effectively, eBusiness leaders must learn how to prototype more quickly, so they can more quickly and cheaply learn what works, and what needs further rapid adaption.

No video showcases these concepts more effectively than this one, from Nordstam Innovation Labs, which I found on Eric Ries' Startup Lessons Learned blog. Enjoy.

Where's The Meat In ANA's Claims Against ICANN's gTLD Program?

My colleague Chris Stutzman reports from the 2011 ANA Masters of Marketing conference that Association of National Advertisers (ANA) CEO Bob Liodice used his keynote presentation to continue to hammer ICANN's generic top-level domain (gTLD) initiative. Maybe he should listen to Dana Anderson, SVP at Kraft Foods, who spoke about how "lasting change happens in leaps and bounds, not through incremental shifts."

I've been advising companies since ICANN's announcement in June on how to evaluate the .brand or .category opportunity, and most of those companies haven't found a bona fide new business opportunity that justifies the investment in a gTLD. But with few exceptions, they're looking at ICANN's plans as one of the biggest opportunities since the dawn of the Internet to take more control of their brand online, which is why the ANA argument troubles me.

The heart of the ANA’s arguments come down to claims that it will cost brands billions of dollars in defensive registrations to protect their trademarks from cybersquatters and other web perpetrators of all sorts. But let's dig into that a little deeper:

  • Will it be billions of dollars? I have yet to see ANA produce any data to support its claims that the costs will be staggering.
  • Will there be squatters on your .brand gTLD? If you are a brand owner with any IP rights to your brand, there’s no way a perpetrator will win an application for your .brand TLD. Even if one could, no squatter will spend $185,000 on it.
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Four glaring opportunities in Australian eBusiness

eBusiness in Australia is in a period of extraordinary development. On a near-daily basis, we see the launch of determined new retailers — from fashion eyewear vendor Sneaking Duck to subscription pet food provider Paws For Life — as well as new services to support the sector, like Want It Now's same-day delivery system. Yet ample "blue sky" remains for entrepreneurs who are willing to take a crack at this sector. Of these countless opportunities, four come to mind immediately:

  • A personal finance-management system. Mint still hasn't come to Australia. The Australian Taxation Office's e-Tax is still a painful way to submit tax returns. You still never meet someone who says "I use ANZ Money Manager".  Saasu and Xero still support businesses but not individuals. If anyone stepped up to offer in Australia what Mint offers in the US and Canada today, thousands of customers — incuding me — would rush to get onboard, and Australian's finance-sector eBusiness professionals would have a collective heart-attack.
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Executive Q&A with Sona Chawla, President e-Commerce, Walgreens

I'm thrilled that Sona Chawla will be a keynote speaker at Forrester's Consumer Forum in just over three weeks! As the President of e-Commerce, Sona oversees operations and leads the team responsible for building the sales, service and customer experience of Walgreens.com and drugstore.com (acquired in June 2011). This includes driving store traffic through the Web, growing online profitability, and the development of new product and service offerings via emerging digital touchpoints such as mobile.

Earlier today, Sona provided me with a sneak peek of her upcoming presentation for our forum "110 Years Of Agility: Continuing Our Evolution To Meet Customer Demands" and all I can say is that it's not to be missed! I don't want to reveal too much and spoil it, but Sona will touch on the dynamic forces at play within healthcare and retail that are driving Walgreens' digital transformation, the framework they are utilizing to enable that transformation, and finally what Walgreens sees for the future. And of course throughout the discussion Sona will have key lessons learned and advice for firms across industries going through similar transformations.

I do however want to share with you Sona's responses to some questions we asked her in advance of the event. Her thoughts demonstrate the growing importance (and let's not forget the financial benefits) of serving customers across touchpoints with innovative, digital products and services.

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