Every Monday morning, a team of Access media mavens gathers to read the latest trends and topics covered in print media (yes, we still read print media!). The team shares these insights agency wide to ensure we’re all informed and equipped for the week ahead. Every week, we’ll share learnings from the consumer, business and tech spaces here on the Access Point.
This week, we learned that food delivery is a driving force in the industry, and traditional retailers are still struggling to keep up with shifting consumer tastes.
When food delivery first became a thing, it was life changing for consumers. My favorite meal delivered to my doorstep? Sign me up. Now, it’s changing the very definition of a restaurant. Ricky Lopez, a chef and small business owner in San Francisco, owns three “virtual” restaurants that live in the Uber Eats app. All it takes is kitchen space and a few cooks, and you’ve got yourself a full functioning and successful restaurant. Lopez said delivery makes up 75% of his businesses, and it’s only growing, thanks to the elimination of numerous costs typically associated with opening a restaurant. Not to mention, keeping one profitable. Since 2017, Uber has helped start 4,000 virtual restaurants through their app, and they have a tactical process in doing so. The company analyzes data to identify the demand for particular cuisines in neighborhoods, then approaches restaurants already using the app about creating a new, virtual restaurant that meets this demand. The concern – because there always is one – is that smaller, traditional establishments cannot keep up with high expenses and competition. While delivery companies insist they are “helping restaurants, not hurting them,” restaurant owners are concerned that the growth of delivery is taking away from the emotional connection that comes with a traditional dining experience (Mike Isaac and David Yaffe-Bellany, The New York Times).
Following a 9% fall in sales over the last quarter, J.C. Penney Co. announced it will start selling secondhand clothes through a partnership with thredUp Inc. in an effort to transform alongside shifting consumer retail habits. The Texas-based chain has been struggling for years due to a bumpy retail market and leadership changes. The company’s current CEO said the brand is in the process of re-building itself while also keeping up with industry challenges. Under similar circumstances, Macy’s Inc. also announced a partnership with thredUp, following similar disappointing quarterly earnings. Though partnership details are sparse, it will be interesting to see how, and if, thredUp helps these chains stay afloat. We sense some influencer content brewing…(Suzanne Kapner and Micah Maidenberg, The Wall Street Journal).
The grocery store giant announced high sales and raised its profit outlook following a successful second quarter. According to The Wall Street Journal, sales across stores and websites grew 2.8% and e-commerce sales grew 37% from the past year. Over the past few years, Walmart has invested “heavily” in its online presence and digital capabilities (such as online grocery shopping and pickup scheduling) and increased automation in stores, which has helped cut labor costs. Walmart’s biggest accomplishment, however, is the role of Amazon’s rival. Together, the two companies dominate the online “nonstore retailers” category in a recent report released by The Commerce Department (Sarah Nassauer and Justin Lahart, The Wall Street Journal).