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“The retailer as conductor: Managing the resulting complexity will push retailers into a new role, similar to that of an orchestra conductor, in which the value comes not only from controlling the customer relationship but also from coordinating the numerous supply chain interactions of a web of supplies, partners, and shoppers.” McKinsey, February 2013.

When a shipper of Wal-Mart’s size decides to sell its e-commerce business in China to JD.com, while retaining a tiny stake in the domestic suitor during the ...

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