When seeing Sunil Chopra, talk about the channel strategy for Dell, he mentioned the example of Blue Nile diamond (see link below), and praised the centralized model they have implemented because it allows them to carry products and offer them to a wide variety of customers by keeping their products in a warehouse and offering them online. If they had to distribute diamonds directly to the stores, they will require more inventory, and their products will be just waiting in a shelf ready to be discovered by a customer that walks in.
If I was to apply this concept to the Television Industry, I would have to think of the programs produced like the diamonds sitting in a store which in this case is the television channel. The programs are sitting in a time slot waiting to be discovered by an audience browsing channels, or looking for a specific program they saw being advertised. OTT platforms such as Hulu, or Netflix on the other hand could be compared to the warehouse offering a wide variety of options waiting to be streamed saving a lot of money in distribution and infrastructure.
Well, today I woke up wanting to join the prediction business. What else could be disrupted if we start applying this model and include new technologies? How would the fashion industry look like with the popularization, and always improving technology of 3D printing?
I imagined a future where 3D printers and the materials used to print the products, got so popular (maybe even recyclable) that everyone in their house eventually had one. It has happened before, just look at computers, scanners and regular printers. It was rare to see them in any household when I was growing up, and now they are everywhere. Fashion retailers, let’s say Zara, which specializes in quick seasonal turnaround, could start selling their blueprint design files, that people can download and print in their house.
I imagine that this, just like in the music industry, could trigger the Napster of Fashion, and piracy could dominate the clothing market until they put a lot of stores out of business.
How could they evolve? Maybe they will start selling printing raw materials and guarantee their quality, creating a new industry of commodities ready to be printed. They could start selling their own Zara 3D Printers with the same purpose. Another possibility will be to evolve into a business model such as the Spotify for fashion. Instead of charging for individual blueprint designs, they could create a monthly subscription service where you could print anything you want from their blue print catalog, just like the music streaming service did to try to replace the MP3s.
This technology could open the door to new competition, or what I like to call the democratization of the Fashion Industry. Independent designer’s communities could form, and sell their blueprint files while promoting them in Instagram. They won’t have to worry about production or distributions costs. If we had the technology of Blockchain in the mix, we could think of a Blockchain ID to control the copyright of the design, and track every movement of every transaction to protect the original source. Who will enforce the copyright protection? I want to believe in the good faith of people, but with the example set by the music industry, it is better to think that eventually law enforcement will have to create some sort of Patent Police to control and protect copyright holders. Multiply this to any other industry, and the future could be mind blowing.
STATUS: FEELING UTOPIC, , FEARING DYSTOPIA
Further material: Sunil Chopra talks about Blue Nile Diamond strategy (12:25) https://youtu.be/81awuyDhfA8?t=12m25s