Phillip and Brian deliver on their 2019 predictions - AR is here, where is it heading? Retail wages - are they rising? Brands can finally compete with Amazon - and what about Charitable Commerce? All that and more - PLUS what the "retail apocalypse" was REALLY all about. Listen now!
It's the prediction episode, so hold on to your hats, and suspend your disbelief.
2019 is going to be one big change my mind meme.
It's the "year of the customer," and retailers are starting to add value instead of deep discounts.
Can Walmart overtake Amazon in online sales?
Retail workers will have to adapt to a new skill set, and retail companies will have to pay their workers more.
Is Apple Making All The Wrong Moves in All The Wrong Places?
Phillip's first prediction for 2019? That Apple will die a slow and painful death.
Apple has been making a lot of "interesting" choices lately like it's HomePod speaker system that rather resembles a roll of toilet paper.
Apple seems more focused on gimmicky features like Face ID (which some people may find just slightly creepy), and on making cooler iPhones, but other companies seem to be outpacing them in the long term.
And Apple products are getting harder and harder to use, and do their upgraded features on IOS really make up for the hassle?
Phillip wants everyone to know he is, in fact, an Apple fanboy.
Brian makes the point that one of Apple's problems is that Apple is hitting the wall regarding innovation.
After a long reign is Apple just not cool enough for consumers anymore?
The End of Boring Retail: The Retail Apocalypse is Still Not a Thing:
At NRF Doug Stephens stated that "Millennials don't have a low attention span, they just have a higher sensitivity to things which are boring."
This may finally end talks of a Retail Apocalypse because it is all about adaptability for brands, and how they can build an experience for customers in-store and online.
And a lot of brands are starting to highlight what this experience should look like, Canada Goose has freezer-esque dressing rooms so that customers can test their outwear against the elements.
Phillip makes it clear that he doesn't go into boring stores and a personal favorite retail experience is the coach store where a customer can watch luggage tags engraved in-store.
These experiences help the customer feel like they are a part of the brand's community, and it develops a sense of familiarity between company and consumer.
This next wave of in-store experience will be the Nordstroms of the world investing in technology that will assistive in the shopping experience.
The Year That Amazon Has To Compete: Also The Year of Walmart:
Amazon may be losing its superpower: because mid-level retailers now have the ability to make up the difference with features like two-day shipping.
And as Brian points out these retailers now can build better experiences then Amazon, and offer better customer service than Amazon.
And Amazon has to watch it's back when it comes to Walmart, because the big-box retailer is playing a long game.
Phillip says that Walmart and Amazon have taken entirely different paths:
With Amazon creating several in-house brands and marketing those pretty hard.
And Walmart is buying up brands that consumers already trust, to build up credibility and sell to a new kind of customer.
Also, by the numbers, Walmart is stepping it up: with 43% growth in online sales in the third quarter.
As Retail Shifts: Higher Wages For a Changing Labor Force:
During the holiday season, all anybody could talk about was that there were more retail jobs than workers.
And on episode 83 of Future Commerce Phillip and Brian talked about how retailers were beginning to offer incentives to current workers, and also that as retail itself changed so would the retail employee.
And Brian predicts that in 2019, we are going to see a new kind of worker, with updated skills and updated wages.
And according to Nikki Baird, raising wages may allow retailers to hire more experienced, more adaptable workers anyway.
And as Brian points out being able to train these employees in technology and data will help workers be better ambassadors for the brands they represent.
Charitable Commerce Meets Second-Hand Commerce
Second-hand commerce was a significant theme in 2018, with massive investment into second-hand commerce platforms like StockX (including by SalesForce Mark Benioff).
And as Phillip points out second-hand commerce may not always be about pure profit and The American Cancer Society has discovery shops where they accept donations, and all the profits go to fund cancer research.
This venture is the cornerstone of charitable commerce and second-hand commerce because people feel good both donating to help with a good cause and others purchase those items knowing their money is going to help others.
And second-hand commerce is undoubtedly on the rise anyway, with a Thredup report that second-hand commerce could overtake fast fashion by 2027.
And with luxury goods specifically, there is a significant focus on being able to authenticate products, the Future Commerce team met Entrupy, a startup in the Start Up Zone at NRF that does just that.
Repurposing Retail Space: Building Communities Around Transportation:
The Virgin Group chaired by British billionaire Richard Branson invested in Brightline, a high-speed railway company that currently travels between Miami, Ft Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach in Florida.
Phillip predicts that this kind of model may set the stage for the future of travel, especially as we all stop driving cars.
Airports can become favorite restaurants spots and shopping hubs, especially for people who travel frequently.
And malls, which have become ghosts towns in recent decades, could fill their retail spaces by showcasing small vendors and become a hub for commuters and travelers.
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