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Incremental innovations for the online-grocery market

Innovation for Online Grocery Startups

The online supermarket startup scene is just taking off in Europe with big retailers currently going for the click & collect business models but an overall boom in the online-grocery space on the horizon. Looking at the current German market situation, the differences in the underlying business models are marginal and a few incremental innovations could help them appeal to the most promising target audiences.

While the startup capital is certainly Berlin, Munich brings the best prerequisites for running a successful online-grocery delivery service as legal regulations limit opening hours for supermarkets to 8pm. No wonder this layout is already attracting the first heavily backed start-ups.

With stocking and inventory management being a huge cost driver and some online supermarkets offering 20000 products, customer focused offerings could be more cost-effective. After all most overall purchases are for dinner and light breakfasts rather than multi-meal dinner parties. Proposing fast-casual convenience products and healthy breakfast cereals rather than fresh exotic fruits could help the financial bottom line.

And by partnering with local partners such as Munchee, a high-quality precooked meal provider, cooking would not even be necessary anymore. And for those clients who don’t know what to make why not partner with Schlemmertüte, a startup which provides recipes and all ingredients in one bag for the whole week. An additional profit driver could also be combo-deals such as a Netflix voucher, popcorn and ice-cream packed together.

Focus on the target group that is not going to make the supermarket closing hours like young professionals working late. Instead of touring all the single households, offer special conditions for workplace delivery, right for the end of overtime hours.

A key problematic is matching the shopper with their items as delivery times are often uncertain. So instead of agreeing on a rough time window, how about using a route calculator algorithm computing the estimated time of arrival and if the customer isn’t home yet, he can just snooze the handover (for a small service fee) and the truck is automatically rerouted.

And sometimes none of the inventory seems exciting enough for a purchase. But instead of an aborted transaction the app could offer a different kind of checkout and direct via an affiliate link to an online pizza delivery app.



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Content Platform

With websites springing up left and right and major news outlets going digital, content is becoming the number one distinctive factor. But still traditional newspapers are focusing on run-of the mill online news-portals and have difficulties to make ends meet. On the other side major corporations are building up an insaturable hunger for original content, narrating unprecedented stories to hit the vibe of the target audience just like Intel’s Creators Project. Sure, major news power-players such as Buzzfeed or HuffPost can draw from talented staff and monetize through native advertising, but eventually content needs to be viewed outside the news and magazine bracket and rather as a commodity.

The matchmaker between the need for more original content and brands aiming to stand out is Contently, creating a vast network of talented writers from prestigious outlets such as Vice, New Yorker and National Geographic and putting them in contact with procurers such as Google and Coca Cola. But Contently goes beyond providing a platform and includes an ideation section, freelancer billing process and direct publishing possibilities and is thus reinventing the editorial process.

Contently_ Tell Great Stories - Google Chrome 2014-12-15 08.24.49And Contently is not just providing the platform, but also showcasing its skills with a dedicated freelancer hub and a portfolio online magazine.

While Contently is taking the English-speaking world by storm, why not adapt the idea for the German market and throw in some additional tools. is adding extra value to the ideation process by bringing the public discussion together with personal conversations, creating a credible ideation foundation. They even have a mobile outlet with Potluck.

The market in Germany might not be so tech-savvy yet but as an industry-led society, it offers some interesting niche markets in desperate need for original storytellers. So the platform could incorporate a substantial idea process that helps to breed interesting long reads and connects companies to independent authors like Indie Mags scattered all over Germany. And eventually this project might even give birth to a new printed magazine just like AirBnB managed with Pineapple.

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Marketing for Entrepreneur Target Groups

Flydubai Marketing

Ever on the lookout for new projects, this idea incorporates both marketing ideas and the interest in global entrepreneurship, a combination that is generally coming into focus but still leaves plenty of room for great campaigns.

The idea is to sharpen the brand of a growing airline like flydubai by narrating the stories of their smartest clients and explain how the airline is fueling their way to the top.

Flydubai is offering a low-cost alternative to Emirates and Ethiad in the thriving Central Asia and West African markets, naturally targeting young professionals and connecting them inside the region. These young business men and women are running soaring SMEs that they have inherited or just started and brought to success. This generation is making the best out of growing internet connectivity, greater education and a positive impact of globalization. In short: This generation is making their parent proud.

With an abundance of great stories about hard-working founders, flydubai should not only harness the emotional potential of the topic and create a video series outshining Lufthansa or P&G, but actually build up on the competences and offer real help beyond an impressive route network.  Next to creating a campaign website, offering advice and specialized tickets around local conferences, flydubai could go ahead and co-host a Startup Weekend event in Dubai centered on the beneficial effects of globalization for SMEs.

This communication campaign is more than a mere feel-good commercial, but a strong message to new clients that their efforts are taken seriously and that flydubai can be a trusted partner on really helping these young professionals in making their parents and community proud. And the claim is not just good marketing but based on hard facts as both the OECD and Worldbank have increased their efforts of harnessing the SME potential in the region. Potential that flydubai could soon be welcoming on board.

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Story-based travel feedback and booking app

Travel App InnovationThere certainly is an abundance of options to rate and book holidays. However current apps are often based around one singular aspect of the holiday experience such as the hotel quality. Travel apps make you rate one establishment at a time and flights are listed by price and proximity, misrepresenting the overall story and combined experience.

So why not allow users to truly tell their holiday as a coherent story complete with images and give fellow holidaymakers the chance to book the same experience. Users could enter the details of their last trip, add images and details about hotels and flights and allow others to book exactly the same from within the app.

Obviously filling in an experience scrapbook for nothing isn’t really appealing, so why not share the commission for flight and room sales generated through the app with the traveler.


Returned tourists could create a quick summary of their trip along with their photos, add some hotel ratings and the app automatically adds flight deals and booking links. Future travelers can now browse through honest holiday reviews highlighting the whole story and book right from the app.


And because all evaluators are earning the majority of the booking commission they are naturally inclined to share the link to their latest adventure while also helping friends with a refined review.

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EC Global Repost: The airport of the future is in sight

This is a repost from Entrepreneur Country Global, where I write as contributor for their UK sub-blog. Read the original article here and check out my author’s page here.

Recently the innovative potential of airports sparked some media interest as Google’s Larry Page announced his plan to start a new innovation hub named Google Y to tackle large societal problems and develop a model city and the world’s most efficient airport.

Looking back at your last airport experience, this may seem a substantial task. But nevertheless airports are improving and developing in recent years with a strong push towards economic efficiency. Research by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver indicates how highly efficient airports generate a large part of their revenue from auxiliary income sources such as real estate rentals, retail in terminal buildings, parking as well as outsourcing terminal activities to third party providers. Among the most efficient airports are Copenhagen Kastrup International or Zurich Airport.

However this drive towards economic efficiency and the large scale of airport costs which need to be counterbalanced often result in a lopsided effort to make money from about anywhere creating meandering shopping malls instead of welcoming airport terminals. A recent example of this shopping mall trend can be seen at Stansted Airport which just upgraded its terminal in a million-pound transformation aiming to increase customer revenue by 10%. But by blatantly increasing the amount of high scale shopping opportunities, huge potential for disruptive innovation and creative design thinking is left untapped.

Building up on current tech and marketing trends, the following innovative approaches give an overview of potential service innovations that could help shape future-proof airports that take efficiency beyond economic perspectives.

Seamless connection for a premium
Take a traveller who is departing from Stansted and is in a hurry. To save time there is the Stansted Express, fast lane security, and the opportunity for priority boarding. Currently these amenities are only offered as separate options. But how about incorporating them into a single exclusive offer directly connected to a ticket. Giving some guarantees like a maximum transfer time from the city railway station to your seat. Or even better from door-to-door. Partnering with Hailo, Uber, local transfer operators and airlines along with airports could result in dedicated offers bookable ahead. And building up on the democratization of air travel this should be available to everybody albeit for a premium. It’s time for offline offers to follow integrated solutions such as tripit.

Turn waiting time into relaxation
Instead of rushing through an over-the-top shopping mall snaking through the airport and limited seating options along with overpriced wireless, why not make the time between security and boarding a pleasant experience where users are in a mood to sample regional specialties and stock up on souvenirs. Take an example from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which offers a free library and a museum featuring Rembrandt.

Integrated marketing
Instead of plastering the airport with billboards, allow visitors to interact with a brand. Waiting time could be spent at a Netflix Cinema or preparing your tablet for the flight in the Google Play Offline Store. Or build up on the fact that many travellers are returning from a trip to visit family members and would love to go back right away. Leverage this urge and set up a travel agency booth in corporation with the tourism board, a major airline and AirBnB.

Think ahead
Work together with the arrival airport and offer tickets for ground transportation or fast lane immigration. Arriving to an empty fridge? Why not work with Just-Eat (or the regional equivalent) and have pizza waiting when you come home. You could even inform the pizza company if your flight is delayed.

Airport API
Allowing third party providers to create apps and services based on information about security waiting times, bus schedules, flight trackers or retail coupon codes could spark additional innovation and a streamlined experience, all by simply creating a dedicated airport API.

At the bottom-line, the airports economic situation relies on the generated revenue. But by branching out and offering genuine service innovations along with a well-orchestrated marketing and retail platforms taking customers into account, efficiency can increase overall.