In an uncertain market that can change with a simple blow of the wind, Jim Cramer finds that it always helps to identify an overarching theme to crack the code on what is working.
Following the customer seems to be one of the strongest money-making themes out there to Cramer. The huge bid from Salesforce for Demandware and the commentary from Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday told Cramer that it all comes down to knowing what the customer wants, sometimes even before they know it.
The theme of knowing one's customer isn't just isolated to one sector. This had the essence of something that could transcend not only retail but also technology and industrial stocks, Cramer said.
"Find something you like in the category. It will most likely be a winner," the "Mad Money" host said.
Shareholders of Demandware picked up a staggering 55 percent gain on Wednesday after Salesforce announced it had paid a premium of $2.8 billion for the company. Demandware helps companies like Adidas, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste and Tory Burch stay in touch with their customers. It was clear to Cramer that Salesforce wants to make sure it can navigate the world of e-commerce that Amazon pilots so well.
Investors barely dinged Salesforce's stock, a sign that they embraced the deal.
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The acquisition was significant for Salesforce, Cramer said, because its customers are all trying to compete with Amazon, which understands the customer better than ever. Many of the companies fear that if they get in bed with Amazon, they will lose value and ability to mark-up merchandise and ultimately their full-price proposition.
"That is the cost of doing business with the e-commerce colossus, and it is too high a cost to pay," Cramer said.
Another theme is those who don't even try to keep up with Amazon.
Sports Authority couldn't keep up with the modern ways of retail and became a casualty of online distribution and Amazon.
The Sports Authority liquidation wreaked havoc on Nike and Under Armour, as it was a customer of both companies. Cramer thinks Under Armour can recover, but he is concerned about Nike. Both Morgan Stanley and Bank of America downgraded the stock on Wednesday. Morgan Stanley noted that Under Armour's endorsement deal with Stephen Curry has given that company a huge pick-up versus Nike.
"Nike no longer has a hammerlock on the customer. It's got to find a way to get back in front again. I never count these guys out, but I don't know if I can recommend buying their stock, yet," Cramer said.
In fact, the bricks-and-mortar retailers most in touch with their customers are the dollar stores.
At a time when middle income families are stretched, these stores provide what they need. It was apparent from reading the conference call transcripts that management of the dollar stores knew exactly what the customer wanted.
"The Wall Street snobs who manage hedge funds simply don't get this … They don't get the nature of the strapped consumer because they aren't strapped themselves," Cramer said.
And Amazon may even know what the customers want before they know it themselves. On Tuesday, Amazon's Bezos spoke at the Recode conference about how he has 1,000 people working on artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive learning.
Ultimately, the bid for Demandware by Salesforce and statements from Amazon told Cramer that it all comes down to knowing what the customer wants. If a company can figure it out, he thinks it will be a winner.