Products that are sharable are all the rage - in part 1 of our recap of NRF we come to you live from the show floor and talk about how retailers are using customer engagement to shape how their product assortment and marketing are crafted. Listen now!
Walmart is stepping up its technology game in a serious way.
2018 really was the year of open source, and sneakers, and content.
Content continues to be king of community creation, and retailers are finally picking up the mantle.
Behind-the-scenes ingredient brands are going mainstream
A 2019 Future Commerce prediction episode is coming up: What will Philip and Brian forecast?
Walmart Is Making Moves: Can They Beat Out Amazon?
Walmart was well-represented at NRF by CTO Jeremy King, and it seems that Walmart is working to keep his promise (when he started at Walmart) of Walmart's tech stack becoming 100% open source.
Brian mentions the-company-not-to-be-named (which starts with the letter A) less than 5 minutes into the show.
Walmart Technology has come a long way, especially since they started on their acquisition shopping-spree.
Brian is super excited about Walmart in every way, especially with how they are expanding their tech team by the thousands this year.
In news that should shock literally no one who hasn't been living under a rock: 50% percent of all digital retail transactions in 2018 happened on Amazon.
The real question remains: Who will win in the battle of the massive retailer?
Commerce 2040: Looking Ahead to Retail's Future:
Euromonitor International has put out a report that looks at what the future of commerce will look like, and the future looks a whole lot like Future Commerce predicted.
Drones will continue to be popular in the future, which means that Pizza delivery drones could become a reality in the United States.
And It seems that the term "experiential retail" is going to be around forever, and retailers will find new ways to engage consumers.
Also: Luxury retail spares no detail, Canada Goose is using freezer-esque dressing rooms so customers can test outwear against the elements. This is taking experiential retail up a few degrees (or down a hundred degrees).
Phillip and Brian conclude that while Macklemore would probably wear one of Canada Goose's winter jackets in a music video, he'd probably of purchased it second-hand.
Practical AR Was Big at NRF: Next Step is Running in Virtual Shoes?
Practical AR was everywhere at NRF: With Augmented Reality being able to help consumers and retailers in everyday-life.
Unity3D had a really cool sneaker demo that was nearly photo-realistic.
Even Amazon has been pushing their AR functionality (though not at NRF because they didn't show up in any real way)..
Phillip describes the shoe demo: The shoe that they used was a Nike VaporMax which has a translucent sole, and with the exact environmental lighting combined with Nike's level of accuracy with 3D models, this "sneaker" was next-level-authentic.
Phillip and Brian predict that real-time models of this level becoming the norm is pretty much only two years away.
Show vs. Tell: User Generated Content is King in 2019:
Retailers are starting to understand that user-generated content coming from social networks, is the best way forward for sales and brand authenticity.
As Phillip points out Facebook is the only social network that has both the retail integration technology, and the trust of its users.
Not even Facebook as it stands though: Basically just Instagram.
Because somehow, Instagram has been completely divorced from Facebook's scandals. At least for right now.
One great example of this push towards UGC: Farfetch has acquired Stadium Goods (the home of many a hypebeast worthy sneaker as well as limited edition streetwear) for 250 million.
The real reason for this acquisition though: Stadium Goods partnerships with brands like Complex for content creation, and the retail experiences around those partnerships.
For example: Zeitgeist-influencer-powered-content like John Mayer doing long-form interviews through Complex.
Shareable Moments For The Win (Can You Even Instagram?) :
Product development in 2019 is going to be all about creating "shareable products."
Brian says that now there will be two types of businesses existing in this space: Content-ready, or not content-ready.
Phillip says that 2018 is the year of the sneaker because of course it is.
Amazon is Trying to Stay Relevant: RIP Sears:
Amazon didn't even bother to show up in any significant way for NRF.
Phillip observes that everyone interacts with Amazon for pretty much every aspect of life, which is what Sears used to be 100+ years ago.
Brian quotes Jeff Bezos is saying that "Amazon may go bankrupt one day like Sears."
Fun fact: Amazon looks they are doing a lot more hiring than other major companies, but there's a catch. Amazon only hires within their own ranks, and have to hire in-house for each new piece of technology.
Google and Walmart are much more partnership-centric, and create many, many jobs not attributed to them (They've even partnered up with each other), so it's a much better story.
Europeans May Understand Experiential Retail Better: Can U.S Consumers Adapt?
Phillip observes that European retailers understand the idea of "experiential retail," and European customers may expect that level of service.
Sheetz, a gas-station convenience store brand has built their entire brand identity on delivering the best experience for their customers, and they can do so because they know their customers so well to begin with.
Somehow everything always comes back to Amazon.
Collaboration is Cool: Ingredient Brands Built Finally Gain Customer Awareness:
Phillip and Brian both want to see a Starbucks-Toms collaboration.
Ingredient brands, which once were pretty behind-the-scenes, are going mainstream.
Ingredient brands are brands that go into other brands products and aren't marketed directly to consumers, but they are brands that consumers already trust.
Phillip thought ingredient brands referred to companies like McCormick: Which actually makes a lot of literal sense.
Should McCormick have an ingredient food truck?
Consumers are now actually looking for these ingredient brands, as opposed to just trusting their efficacy, with retailers like Woolrich becoming a lot more ingredient brand focused.
Phillip and Brian Preview Prediction Episode 2019:
Brian says 2019 is going to be all about using data to make informed decisions about products, this can refer to using past data to re-invent and re-brand (like Story does every season)
Somehow this entire episode is about shoes.
Phillip's 2019 prediction is that 2019 will be the "year of the customer," and more specifically the year of guided commerce, giving customers the ability to have the retail experience that they want.
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Retail Tech is moving fast and Future Commerce is moving faster.