I was sitting at the SUNZ conference last week listening to Evan Stubbs talk about Innovation and Analytics and how over the next 3-5 years there will be a marked shortage in Analytical bods, as the demand for these skills will far outweigh the supply.

One of the examples of Innovation Evan gave was that old favourite Amazon, citing how they have gone from being an online book seller to the worlds latest cloud infrastructure provider.

One other thing he mentioned was that they are planning to go into the distribution market, as their current service providers (DHL and TNT?) are not proving the level of service that Amazon require.

It triggered a blog rambling I have been meaning to do for a while now.

When I was working for Oracle and the world of eBusiness branding arrived, we had a loverly tag line (you’re either an eBusiness or your out of business).  Funny now when I look back at Flying Pig, Ferret etc and wonder where they went.

It would be fair to say that some companies around the world have adopted an eStrategy and grown or survived because of it, although if you look at large retailers in NZ (The Warehouse, Kirks, Farmers) it’s a little harder to find examples.

As an aside Evan also mentioned that Google are looking to open bricks and mortar stores, they must have read my last blog ;_)  http://blog.optimalhq.com/2013/02/16/apple-retail-stores-are-a-competitive-advantage-goes-against-conventional-wisdom-or-does-it/

So anyway one area that has Innovated and caused a step change is the small eCommerce trader.  Via the use of sites like Trademe, Shopify, open-source products (Zencart etc) and small one man band web companies, any Tom, Richard or Harriet can grab some wholesale product, cheap overseas import or home-made work of art and sell it online for minimal effort and cost.

This has really changed the way we shop by introducing far more choice to purchasing palette and choice in shopping around for the best price.

Talking of price the afore mentioned Lazer Tag in Andy’s blog http://blog.optimalbi.com/2013/02/18/optimal-business-invasion-sunz-2013-21st-feb-at-te-papa/  was delivered to my door by Amazon for a princely sum of NZD $84 and spotted on the weekend in toyworld for $140 and Farmers for $111, thank god we now have the choice.

And that brings me to the area that I would have thought would have caused massive Innovation in support of this step change.  Which is the cots and process  of getting the goods to our doors.  In the off times I flick something on trademe I still womble down to the local NZ Post Office to send it.  For my NZD $84 Amazon purchase just under 1/2 of it was shipping and it still took a couple of weeks to get here.

I know places like NZ Post have set up new models like YouShop (as have many other companies), but is that really the extent of Innovation we can think of for this massive market?

For the life of me I can’t think of a blue ocean strategy  for shipping eCommerce goods that would provide this Innovation, I wonder if the new Amazon service Evan mentioned will be just a quicker, faster, cheaper model of the same old same old, or something Innovative?  Perhaps faster, cheaper, quicker is all we need?