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Cross the Rubicon

Helping Your Company Sell Into, Raise Capital From, and Find Partners in Emerging Economies

Cross the Rubicon - Helping Your Company Sell Into, Raise Capital From, and Find Partners in Emerging Economies

Pity the Retailer

It’s not easy being a retailer.  That’s always been the case, but with the advent of e-tailing it’s even harder than ever.  Amazon.Com – a company where I buy everything from books to music to (now that I live in Seattle) my groceries – has upended the conventional retail model.  American retailers from Home Depot to Wal-Mart are afraid that consumers will walk their brick and mortar shops, figure out what they want to buy, look the item up on their smart-phone and – if it shows up cheaper on Amazon.Com – simply buy at Amazon even though they researched it inside a competitor’s store.

That’s part of why I am curious to learn more about Amazon.Com’s India strategy.  Earlier this month, Amazon announced Junglee.com.  Through this site, Indian consumers can purchase a variety of products from Amazon.Com in what is an interesting work-around of India’s limitations on 100% ownership of multi-brand retail.  I’m very curious to see if this strategy by Amazon gets flagged by the Indian government, or whether it is yet another advantage virtual retailers like Amazon have over conventional brick and mortar retailers.  If so, it might suggest that emerging economies will be a battlefield between conventional and electronic retail.

My bet is on brick and mortar retailers in these battles, if only because the consumer needs a lot more education and engagement with products they remain unfamiliar with.  However, it needs to be said that one of the ways emerging economies surprise companies is how quickly they can leap frog paradigms, something that could favor the on-line shopping companies.

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Bag of Links

For our readers’ pleasure, some relevant reading and video on the topic of what is happening in emerging economies in early 2012 follows:

From The China Observer, How Diageo is differentiating its brand of whiskey in China.

Over at the Financial Times’ superb Beyond BRICs Blog, a review of Unilever’s results from Brazil and Russia, with a note of caution from the company about what they see as headwinds in emerging economies in general.

From the same FT blog, what the British firm Burton’s Foods needs to do in order to successful launch its Wagon Wheel food line in Russia.  Hint:  localization will always matter, finding the right partners even more.

US e-Tailer Amazon.Com announces its plans for entering India via Junglee.com, suggesting on-line retailers might have another advantage over brick and mortar companies in India.  Does this mean a multi-brand e-Tailer can be 100% foreign owned in India, but a multi-brand traditional retailer cannot?

Pepsi’s earnings make note of double-digit growth in a variety of emerging economies, while today the company announces job cuts in what the CEO calls a “transition year” for the company.

Everyone gulps over China’s most recent rate of inflation, hoping this is explainable by the CNY celebrations.

Pay attention to Nigeria as one of the pivotal African states where multinationals are eager to see the country further stabilize, successfully deal with Islamist terrorism in Ibadan and Kano.  Watch as YUM! Brands further expands into the country.

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