Brittain Ladd

Strategy and Digital Consultant
Brittain has been focused on designing and implementing best-in-class innovative supply chains for leading retail, CPG, FMCG, Oil & Gas, and chemical companies globally. With hands-on experience working and living in China, Saudi Arabia, and Europe, Brittain has been recognized by leading universities and logistics organizations as being an expert in strategy, supply chain management, cross-border commerce, logistics, and transportation. His GRIDD concept for online grocery retailing was recognized in 2015 as being a Top 100 Idea in Business. As a former Marine, he believes that anything can be achieved regardless of the size of the challenge. As a holder of three Master's degrees and certifications in Six Sigma, Lean, and Logistics, Brittain has achieved the perfect balance of academic achievement supplemented by real-world global experience. He is also a prolific writer on LinkedIn and pens a monthly column for several publications. Brittain has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and numerous international publications.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2018

    Ocado to automate Kroger warehouses in exclusive U.S. deal

    I first recommended that Kroger pursue an agreement with Ocado in a June 2017 LinkedIn article titled "Amazon Acquires Whole Foods – Now What?" I met with Ocado and Kroger executives in November 2017 to get the discussions going. I also recommended that Kroger acquire Ocado for between $1.5 billion to $2 billion. I want to make it clear that my reason for recommending Kroger to invest in Ocado’s technology and distribution modules is to reduce costs and complexity but more importantly, Kroger can expand into the states where they don’t have a presence by opening customer fulfillment centers. Entering into the agreement with Ocado will have a significant ripple effect on the grocery industry. This is a game-changer for Kroger and the entire grocery industry.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2018

    Will Target Restock undercut Amazon’s Prime Pantry?

    I love this move by Target. My only recommendation is that I continue to believe Target should acquire Boxed Wholesale (something I recommended to Kroger last year), or explore an acquisition of BJs Wholesale in order to expand into warehouse club/bulk sales. Target has made some great moves over the last year. Let's not forget their acquisition of Shipt.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Should Starbucks acquire Blue Apron?

    I love the discussion. Thank you again, RetailWire, for writing the article. Several readers are at Starbucks and they contacted me through LinkedIn. I understand why some people are against the idea as Starbucks and Blue Apron seem an odd combination. All I can state is that I completed a project for a client where this topic was part of my research. I visited 100 Starbucks stores in 15 states; something not easy for me to do as I don’t drink coffee. I engaged customers who left the stores and I asked them a series of three survey questions related to food. The results of the survey are why I came up with the idea for Blue Apron to acquire Icon Meals and for Starbucks to acquire Blue Apron. The bottom line is this -- Starbucks is underutilizing their stores for food. Blue Apron may or may not be the best option to fill the void but nevertheless, a food void exists according to the people who matter most -- customers. Starbucks customers voted favorably for ready-to-eat meal kits. Blue Apron is a premium brand and Starbucks customers felt comfortable telling me that if Starbucks acquires Blue Apron that they would order meal kits, especially if coffee could be combined with the kit. Current Blue Apron and Starbucks customers voted favorably for the idea. Visit the Icon Meals website to get a better understanding of the type of ready-to-eat meals I believe should be sold at Starbucks. I truly appreciate everyone’s comments. I have respect for all of you.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2018

    Walmart outbids Amazon for India’s Flipkart

    Where to begin. I like and respect Walmart. However:
    • Walmart failed in Germany.
    • Walmart failed to achieve any form of dominance in the UK.
    • Walmart is struggling in Brazil.
    • Walmart China is doing well, not great.
    And now Walmart has chosen to make a $16B investment in Flipkart, a company that has been severely impacted by Amazon. I used to live and work in India and Amazon is universally viewed as the company to work for in e-commerce. Amazon has a better team of executives, better technology, better supply chain and logistics capabilities, and a better strategy. Amazon is favored to dominate India's e-commerce industry as Amazon is fighting a guerrilla campaign in India that is winning the hearts and minds of India's consumers. The danger for Walmart is that Wall Street has little patience with Walmart in terms of their earnings and profits. Amazon has wide latitude with Wall Street. Walmart's e-commerce growth has slowed in the USA and there is a real possibility that Walmart will withdraw from Brazil. Alibaba and Amazon could surprise everyone and choose to collaborate in India or Alibaba on their own could implement strategies to go after the weaker Walmart/Flipkart. If Walmart/Flipkart incurs losses at the level I estimate over the next three to five years in India, Wall Street will punish Walmart's stock and there will be calls for Walmart to exit India regardless of the potential of retail in India. Amazon understands that their best strategy is to outlast Walmart in India. Simply put -- India has the potential to become Walmart's Vietnam.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2018

    Walmart associates check out customers on the floor in pilot program

    Amazon has a team in place that has been working on technology to duplicate the Amazon Go experience in stores the size of a Walmart Super Center. It is estimated the technology will be fully capable by 2019 to 2020 at the latest. A company called Everseen is working on similar technology. Amazon is expanding the capability of their voice activated Alexa software to provide self-checkout simply by scanning a product using your phone. Alexa is also being integrated with media capability. Instead of working on solutions to make the check out process easier, I strongly recommend that retailers work on eliminating the check out process altogether ... just like Amazon is doing.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2018

    Starbucks and Nestle make a global coffee CPG deal

    I wrote in September 2017 that either Nestle or Mondelez should pursue a licensing agreement to distribute Starbucks coffee and tea products. However, I did a terrible job of estimating the price of such an agreement as I stated the cost would be $4B to $5B. Even at $7.15B I like the deal. My argument is this: Starbucks must leverage their brand globally and this agreement with Nestle will prove beneficial. What I don't like is the idea of using the funds to buy back stock or reward shareholders. I would rather see Starbucks attack their biggest weakness -- not fully utilizing their stores to sell better quality food to their customers.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Does Walmart need to keep around?

    Two questions need to be asked and answered: 1. Why did Walmart acquire 2. Has Walmart achieved their goals? If yes, does have long-term value to Walmart? The answer to the first question is that Walmart wanted access to's algorithms, technology and executive team, for the purpose of integrating them into and accelerating their e-commerce expertise. The answer to the second question is that Walmart has completed the integration and with no new technology or innovation on the way from, Walmart no longer needs and I'm confident the brand will be killed within 24 months. An even bigger reason why Walmart doesn't need is Flipkart. If Walmart goes through with their purported $10B to $12B acquisition of 51% of Flipkart, they will need "all hands on deck" managing their increased focus on India, and growing investments in e-commerce with and their newly remodeled website. adds cost and complexity, not value. Frankly, it's Management 101 -- invest in brands that are growing. isn't growing.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2018

    J.Crew partners with WeWork and LinkedIn to reach younger consumers/workers

    I believe an interesting question to ask is this: Will LinkedIn morph into an e-commerce platform? I don't see the value of LinkedIn maintaining the status quo. I believe LinkedIn should host the front end of their corporate customers who already have a presence on LinkedIn. In turn, LinkedIn can integrate Microsoft's Azure platform to give corporations the ability to sell direct to LinkedIn members. In the example of apparel, LinkedIn can provide an overview of the dress code at different corporations and set up a subscription service whereby associates, regardless of their age, can purchase apparel guaranteed to fit into the culture as well as meet their style preferences. Facebook, in my opinion, has the most potential for becoming a disruptive e-commerce marketplace, retailer and platform.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2018

    Sam’s Club to push same-day grocery deliveries with Instacart deal

    Once again, a retailer that should understand that the only way to achieve a long-term competitive advantage is by designing and implementing an integrated (Walmart and Sam's Club) Last Mile Delivery solution specific to the needs of their customers, instead has joined the herd and chosen the path of least resistance. I'm incredulous at the fact that Sachin Padwal, Sam’s Club’s Vice President of Omnichannel and In-Club Product, honestly believes Sam's Club partnering with Instacart is strategic to Sam's Club. At a time when it is essential that Walmart make big moves to place distance between their competitors, Walmart has chosen to think small. Walmart needs to hire someone and have them be responsible for designing and implementing a last mile delivery solution that utilizes the Walmart ecosystem, this means Sam's Club and Walmart, to its fullest potential. To think that a company with over 140 million customers can't manage their own last mile needs is inexcusable. If Walmart isn't up to the challenge of managing their own last mile needs, GO BIG. Don't partner with Instacart, acquire Instacart. Since furniture, appliance and Home is becoming more of a focus for Walmart, acquire Sears Home Services, or acquire XPO Logistics and regional in-home appliance and repair companies. I believe it would be interesting if XPO Logistics acquired Sears Home Services and rebranded the business to XPO Home Services. I can think of no other company with greater potential in last mile delivery than Walmart. It's time that Walmart finds the right leader who can not only design and implement a last mile delivery solution that will achieve a competitive advantage, but also influence Walmart's executive team to understand the importance of Walmart leveraging their overall transportation and logistics prowess on a grander scale.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    Amazon moves closer to FedEx and UPS’s turf

    Ship With Amazon is the first step for Amazon to become one of the largest third-party logistics providers in the world, with the potential of gaining 10 percent to 15 percent market share of the nearly $500 billion global contract logistics market. What does this mean? Just as Amazon markets AWS on the open market, Amazon will soon market Amazon Logistics Services on the open market to ANY company seeking logistics services. DHL, UPS, Ryder Logistics, Maersk, FedEx and so on will all have to compete against Amazon sooner rather than later. Amazon should be favored to win. How did this happen? Easy. FedEx convinced themselves that having 650 aircraft, 150,000 trucks, 400,000 employees and 4,800 operating facilities globally to handle about 12 million shipments a day gave them a barrier to entry and an insurmountable competitive advantage. UPS convinced themselves that since they manage more than 20 million packages a day globally, and because they have 500 owned and leased aircraft and 100,000 vans and delivery trucks that they had a barrier to entry and an insurmountable competitive advantage. When I worked for Amazon, what I and others saw were two massive and entrenched behemoths with inflexible business models. The way to beat FedEx and UPS isn't by matching them plane for plane or truck for truck, it's by reimagining the entire global ecosystem of logistics for consumers and industries. The next five years are going to be very interesting.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Amazon launches “$10 or Less” store

    Amazon is creating an ecosystem whereby they’re able to meet the retail needs of consumers across all demographics and income levels. Amazon will continue expanding their supply chain and logistics capabilities, as well as leverage Prime Now, to cost-effectively sell and deliver merchandise; even items traditionally sold in dollar stores. It is also important to point out that Amazon will expand their retail footprint across their ecosystem. This means it is probable that at some point, Amazon will create a format store that could compete directly with dollar stores. I won’t be surprised if Amazon acquires as it would be an easy way for Amazon to immediately become the online leader in the dollar store category.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2018

    Will acquiring Kroger’s c-stores be more than Casey’s can handle?

    I have received several questions on the topic of why Kroger wants to sell their stores. My recommendation to Kroger is that they should keep their convenience stores and map out a strategy for growing the business. Kroger generates $4 billion annually from their convenience stores. More importantly, it is a business that Amazon doesn’t compete. Kroger should contract a strategy firm to help them identify operational and growth strategies. I am on the record as stating I believe Kroger should evaluate acquiring Speedway or Casey’s General Stores depending on optimal strategy that is identified. M&A can be strategic but operational excellence and execution are must-haves.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2018

    Will acquiring Kroger’s c-stores be more than Casey’s can handle?

    Casey’s acquiring Kroger’s convenience stores is a wise move strategically. However, adding stores isn’t enough. Casey’s must thoroughly evaluate the competitive landscape to identify how they can introduce a new business model to delight customers and gain market share. One option I believe Casey’s should pursue is expanding the focus on groceries. I’m confident Kroger and Casey’s could collaborate on identifying ways to provide customers with an option for ordering and picking up groceries from the Casey’s store of their choice. A more interesting option is that Casey’s would partner with Ocado or TakeOff Technologies to create new format stores that expand the assortment of products. Introducing lockers for package pickup or postal stations could also be part of a new store format. Think big. Question the status quo. Can Casey’s absorb more stores? Yes. However, Casey’s must identify all areas of costs and inefficiency in their current state and then design a future state operating model that will assure their success. More stores in a poor operating model could be a disaster.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2018

    Would a Kroger/Alibaba partnership make sense?

    When I recommended that Alibaba acquire Kroger in a 2017 LinkedIn Post, one of the first individuals to respond was a senior executive from Alibaba giving his support to the idea. When one views the retail landscape in the USA, there are two dominant retailers -- Amazon and Walmart -- which meets the definition of a duopoly. Over the next 10 years, Walmart and Amazon will only become more dominant. Alibaba entering the USA, potentially through an acquisition of Kroger, would offer consumers an interesting alternative to Amazon and Walmart. The goal is not to dismantle Kroger. The goal is to leverage Kroger as a platform upon which to introduce a new retail model to Kroger customers whereby technology, general merchandise, groceries, and a best-in-class payment method, delight Kroger customers and drive increased market share. Simply put: As I wrote in my post, Kroger needs to create an omnichannel experience to prevent their customers from turning to Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target and/or Amazon for many of their retail needs. Capital, technology, and innovation are must-haves in creating such a business model. I wrote that three primary options exist for Kroger: 1. Merge with Target. 2. Be acquired by Costco. 3. Be acquired by Alibaba. Two Secondary Options were also recommended: 1. Acquire Boxed Wholesale. 2. Acquire Overstock.Com Few recommendations are perfect, hence the reason why multiple options were presented.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2017

    Will Amazon dominate the online furniture market?

    I won't provide too many details other than to state that at Amazon, I was frequently asked to provide consulting internally on topics where I had a level of experience. For example, white glove services for furniture and appliances as well as designing and implementing heavy/bulky supply chain and logistics strategies. Not only will Amazon be successful, within five years they'll have the majority of online market share in the categories of furniture, home furnishings, and appliances. As for stores ... you don't need stores when you can leverage small showrooms and virtual reality that allows a consumer to experience replacing furniture in their home, viewing how a picture will look on a wall, how a throw rug will look with a specific coffee table and so on. As I have stated publicly many times -- it is time to crush all assumptions when it comes to Amazon and the impact of technology and hyper-logistics on retail. Amazon has the ability to move into any industry, be it auto parts, oil and gas, or home improvement and be successful. Master logistics, operations, and technology to create a new and improved customer experience, and you can disrupt any retail category.
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