Episode 110
May 31, 2019

"Challenging the Design Normative"

Bonobos is the newest to try-before-you-buy brands, Walmart is killing it, Phillip loves on ULTA (again) but not for the reason you think - PLUS a new approach to designing ecommerce experiences for Gen Z. Listen now!

this episode sponsored by

Bonobos is the newest to try-before-you-buy brands, Walmart is killing it, Phillip loves on ULTA (again) but not for the reason you think - PLUS a new approach to designing e-commerce experiences for Gen Z. Listen now!

Show Notes:

Main Takeaways:

  • A pilot program that would have had facial recognition technology being used in a public school is put on hold, for all of the reasons.
  • Are stripped down, discovery heavy e-commerce sites the future of user experience?
  • Phillip's pretty much obsessed with Ulta, and for some pretty good reasons.
  • Walmart is basically just a tech company that happens to sell products.
  • The try-before-you-buy model is changing the way consumers shop online, and in-store.

Facial Recognition Being Used in Schools: Yay or Nay?

Will The Entire World Get on Board With Entireworld?

  • What does the future of e-commerce look like, could it be that it looks like the category-less kind of zany The Entireworld brand?  
  • Phillip definitely seems to think so, and apparently so does Nike.
  • "The future of e-commerce is a model that goes beyond the traditional checkout model"
  • Nike has set up a website that is very much in line with the layout of Entireworld and acts as a brand-bible that is basically a guide to materials and ethos and brand position for Nike.

This Show is All About Ulta: They're Killing The Merchandising Game:

  • Ulta: The Sephora alternative with pretty much everything, and seemingly immune from the broader "retail apocalypse".
  • So what is different about Ulta, why is Yahoo Finance calling them a "Diamond in the Rough?"
  • Here are some important data points: Ulta has grown exponentially: The stock has grown 3,845% over the last ten years, and now has over 25,000 products across 500 brands.
  • And according to Phillip where Ulta really excels is in their merchandising, and the experience of the store itself.
  • Brian says that Ulta's surge probably has to do with how many hair products Phillip purchases there.
  • Ulta has its products laid out by brand and offers in-house salon services where customers can actually experience those products.

Walmart Hires a New CTO With Some Extra Responsibilities:

Try-Before-You-Buy: Giving Customers The Option to Return Nets Bonobos Gains:

Let us know in the content section on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin.\ Any questions, comments or inquiries, can be emailed to info@futurecommerce.fm.

Download MP3 (39.5 MB)


Phillip: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:00:04] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:00:05] We have your top stories of the week with a little taste and bent to the future and Brian's joining us from Skype today. He's on the road traveling. Skype is sort of like a short hand for, "He has a crappy audio and you should forgive it."

Brian: [00:00:23] Please forgive my audio.

Phillip: [00:00:25] Just forgive it. OK. I think I went first last week. Maybe you go first this week. Do it.

Brian: [00:00:32] Well OK so this was interesting. This is a tangential to commerce but I think it's interesting and I want to talk about it so.

Phillip: [00:00:43] It's your show you can do whatever you want.

Brian: [00:00:46] I know, right? So this is interesting. A U.S. public school was planning to use facial recognition on its students, but The New York State Education Department told it to delay the usage because of all the reasons.

Phillip: [00:01:08] I mean for for all kinds of obvious reasons. Very small school district, by the way, Lockport city school district would be part of an eight school district. So a smallish district, that would be part of a pilot project with an AGES system that would make it broadly operational by September 1st 2019.

Brian: [00:01:30] And that was using recognition by Amazon.

Phillip: [00:01:33] Of course. I mean, why would you use anything else?

Brian: [00:01:35] Okay hold on hold on hold on I might be reading that wrong. I'm not sure if it's recognition or not.

Phillip: [00:01:42] And it sounds like the... Oh no, it's just mentioned in the story that Amazon has endured persistent pressure from its own shareholders for salesmanship of recognition to law enforcement agencies. OK so this is not the first story of its kind that keeps coming up. I do think that while a school district is considering it, which by the way how tone deaf do you have to be to employ something like this in a public school on children? I don't know. It's kind of crazy. But I mean this is a couple of weeks after the JetBlue story... Someone complained on Twitter that JetBlue is, and they're not the only one, JetBlue is using facial recognition in lieu of passport screening at domestic airports that had international destinations. And so at onboarding, as they're boarding aircraft they're scanning their face, and apparently you can opt out for that, but you it's too late if you've already looked into the camera. It's a whole thing. But this is more and more where we keep talking about it. It's becoming increasingly trivial to employ this type of technology.

Brian: [00:03:04] Yeah exactly. Oh I know we talked about that New York Times article on using a system that was less than one hundred dollars and applying to a public camera to...

Phillip: [00:03:21] Yes, in Bryant Park. That was part of the Privacy Project. In Bryant Park, New York they accessed publicly available camera feeds. You see these surf cams, like web cams that you can look at the tide... This camera and series of cameras at Bryant Park were meant so that you can see if the lawn was open for people to go out on the lawn, and they used it to basically map facial recognition to people's corporate headshots on websites of businesses that border Bryant Park to see who is coming in and out. Scary stuff. Its impact to commerce probably dubious, but we did talk on an episode not too long ago about the implications of camera laden stores, like Amazon Go, and there's another store of innovation that Wal-Mart launched recently that are very AI camera machine vision powered. We were all going to have to get okay with this but...

Brian: [00:04:32] My view on this is... When we talked about this before... This is just another example of the fact that institutions, whether they're public or private, are ready to start using this kind of technology. I was reading an article in The Atlantic by Derek Thompson, recent article, about a tale of two surveillance states, and basically there's some frightening parallels between what's happening in East New York and with states around the world that are using surveillance technology. And so I don't want to go to dark down this road, but effectively I think the point is that technology is there. Any retailer right now could be using this technology, and it's not just facial recognition. We're talking about machine vision. And actually this school was going to use machine vision to identify 10 different types of guns as well. But the point is...

Phillip: [00:05:39] That's OK. That's novel. That's useful.

Brian: [00:05:43] Well certainly, certainly is useful. But I think that retailers are going to have great use cases for it as well, let alone theft prevention and loss prevention... There are all kinds of use cases for this.

Phillip: [00:06:08] Listen you're on camera whether your computer is deciphering the images or not. You're on camera everywhere you go in public in the modern day, no matter what.

Brian: [00:06:15] If you can get the face, which gets connected to your account, and you can identify what items you're walking out with in your cart or in your arms you can tell if they're being paid for on the spot.

Phillip: [00:06:27] In those in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk we'll always trade privacy for convenience.

Brian: [00:06:31] Exactly right. My point in bringing this up is it's happening. This is happening right. If it's happening in public schools then it's happening... Retailers are going to be using it any minute.

Phillip: [00:06:43] I mean ok just... They did put a pause to the program. OK.

Brian: [00:06:50] Your turn. Go ahead.

Phillip: [00:06:51] I'm going to tie this into a story that I think is somewhat interesting. I don't know that I ever talked about it on this show, but it ties in to something else, to a story that came across our desk this week. Ok. So did I ever talk on Future Commerce about Entire World? Did I talk about this yet?

Brian: [00:07:16] I don't think you have yet on the show.

Phillip: [00:07:18] So I went kind of nuts about it on Twitter and on LinkedIn. So there is a web site called The Entire World dot com. They are a what I would describe as a Gen X brandless apparel brand. They have a very interesting user experience. Their site experience is like nothing you've ever seen.

Phillip: [00:07:47] It's like if Instagram and WhatsApp had a baby with an e-commerce web site. And as you can hear in the background you know through my speakers they have music, eerie music that plays, their merchandising is very Instagram like, in that it's endless scroll with your thumbs, and a lot of discovery is like full page, there's text that overlay is kind of everywhere. It's a very non-standard e-commerce experience. It completely eschews any kind of normative that we have in what we consider to be e-commerce. In fact they don't even really have categories, like tops and bottoms. It's like men and women. That's it that's all you get.

Phillip: [00:08:34] You want to see our products you've got to scroll. Which is very discovery oriented and very sensory based. I'm very very impressed with it. So when I said that I think that these guys are onto something and that they would be the the cutting edge, they're the one blazing a trail of where e-commerce is heading, people said I was absolutely crazy. People told me I was freaking nuts, that this is an outlier, it's weird, people don't even know how to navigate the site.

Phillip: [00:09:08] And I told them they're all wrong. And I said, "You watch," right? People are tired of samey samey. People don't want the same experience everywhere they go. People want to discover, right? We want to figure things out like that's part of what makes you human. It's not just you know let's let's all drive toward the same three e-commerce experiences that Amazon has tested and perfected through rigorous conversion rate optimizations over 10 years to teach us how to be a little monkeys who keep pressing the dopamine hit of the buy button. OK. So I said, "Just wait, there will be another brand that does it."

Phillip: [00:09:48] And by Jove they've done it. Nike has created a site that really does pretty much the same thing. It looks and feels very similar to what this experience is for The Entire World. So Nike Circular Design dot com...is a, is a, sort of... How do I explain what what Nike Circular Design is? It's basically a materials and sort of ethos brand positioning over everything from materials, sourcing, sustainability, design and supply chain...

Phillip: [00:10:39] I would say like it's a bible for all of those things. And so they outline their principles from material choices, cyclability, green chemistry, versatility, durability, circular packaging... It's a brand site that basically positions them as a brand of circularity. But when you look at the way that the site is created, when you look at how you interact with the site, it is very much in the vein of this UI UX that completely eschews any kind of normative that we have in UX. Ok. I'm going somewhere with this. Not to say that,"Hey I'm right and you guys are wrong." This is this where e-commerce is heading that is growing up out of the normal analog that we have to the real world of how you shop. Where you go to an aisle that has a category, and you take it to a checkout.

Phillip: [00:11:34] Out on Yahoo Finance today Ulta Beauty is somehow defying the broader retail trend. According to Yahoo Finance Ulta's grown its topline by more than six fold, and its bottom line's growing over 2400 percent. In the same timeframe, over the past 10 years, stock has surged 3,845 percent, beating every benchmark. In the US...

Brian: [00:11:59] It's all those hair products you're buying.

Phillip: [00:12:01] It's all the hair products I'm buying. I'm a huge fan of Ulta. Just a couple of data points, which I think are really interesting. They have over 2500 products across five hundred brands. They're the only, one of the only, pure play beauty businesses in the retail space with no one publicly traded that's anywhere close to them. They are somehow bucking the retail closure trend and they're looking to open 70 to 80 stores annually for the next several years. And they're shifting a massive amount of their customers to omni channel customers by focusing on e-commerce. And do you know what I think the difference is with Ulta from everybody else? It's that they don't follow the merchandising norm. I think that Ulta is the real world equivalent of reinventing what the store experience is like because they're not bound by what we've done in the pas. They've completely rethought what the retail experience is like. They don't put shampoos all together. They allow you to shop by brand.

Phillip: [00:13:09] They organize discrete areas of the store to focus on the things that you want to interact with, but they also provide services in the same spot. And I realy... And they allow you to basically interact with and try any of the products by providing the services that you would use those products in the store. I think that Ulta is the IRL equivalent of where digital is going with The Entire World, Nike Circular Design, and other design trends that are challenging what we consider to be the norm. And that's my monologue.

Brian: [00:13:51] So I...

Phillip: [00:13:53] Merchandising is an asset right? And the way that you merchandise might differentiate you in your category.

Brian: [00:14:01] When I look at real world, or The Entire World and Nike Circular Design, I think like early phase Chris Milk in terms of design style and sort of outside the box thinking. But if I look at what Chris Milk is doing now it's well past this and, so I guess what I'm getting at is...

Phillip: [00:14:29] Hold on while I pretend to know who Chris Milk is, and I Google it. Oh the TED talk guy. I got it.

Brian: [00:14:35] He's done a few TED talks. He's also...

Phillip: [00:14:43] I mean that's how I know him is from the VR TED Talk.

Brian: [00:14:45] So pre that. Pre his VR TED talks, he did some really interesting stuff with web and music, and he did some stuff like the Arcade Fire back on Neon Bible and he's an innovator in the the web and design space. And some of his early stuff is kind of what I'm seeing here with The Entire world and Nike Circular Design, and I guess what I'm getting on is I don't see Ulta as that.

Brian: [00:15:12] I do think you're onto something with merchandising being an asset and being really thoughtful and forward thinking there. And when I see the doing is looking at web and being thoughtful about their web efforts and then saying, "Wait a minute, shoppers are not shopping the same way anymore." I don't see them as an Entire World sort of example.

Brian: [00:15:43] I think that the people that... the businesses that are that are doing what Entire World and Nike Circulars Design are doing... those businesses are maybe simple like RITUALS or like businesses that are out on an even more cutting edge of design...

Phillip: [00:16:03] Yeah I think RITUALS is very much about the experience, so I think that you're onto something there. Like a cup of tea when you walk in, the we want you to stay, don't be in a hurry to go, we were gonna massage your hand... Yes that is the retail experience that everybody is talking about.

Brian: [00:16:20] Yeah or like the Nike Reserve Roastery might be a good example... Or, sorry... The Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Yeah Starbucks Reserve Roastery...

Phillip: [00:16:29] It's he other Pacific Northwest brand. Right.

Brian: [00:16:33] Gotta a lot of good stuff up here in Seattle, you know. But yeah the Starbucks Reserve Roastery brought in a really cutting edge designer, and of course now the name is escaping me... to design their store on Pike Place in Seattle. The store itself is a work of art, and the experience is, for sort of a mass market brand, it's certainly unparalleled.

Phillip: [00:17:00] And I Nike's House of Innovation is very similar to that, right? Like I said I think it was a sensory component. There's that put your hands on it component, right? For sure.

Brian: [00:17:10] There's a, "We don't care about standard merchandising thought processes...".

Phillip: [00:17:16] Completely.

Brian: [00:17:17] Yeah. "We're all about making this a sensory and outside the box design experience that you're going to enjoy." And honestly if you do something like that be prepared to have to innovate a lot because people are going to copy you and you know what you're doing...

Phillip: [00:17:35] The fact is hat itself can become stale. I think the thing that Ulta's doing is they keep reinventing it.

Brian: [00:17:41] That's what I'm saying...

Phillip: [00:17:42] They're not saying, "You know what our customers want to shop by brand we are now a categorized by brand store." They're learning from what their omni channel customers are doing, and they continue to innovate and change it around. We made a joke about it on on our Twitter and not so long ago about DSW piloting a nail salon in its shoe stores. I think that having those kinds of services where they make sense... having those sort of services live alongside other products that are complementary, like the Toms coffee shop, that's...

Brian: [00:18:21] Burger King subscription box.

Phillip: [00:18:23] Yeah. Arby's Birchbox collab...

Brian: [00:18:26] From our last episode...

Phillip: [00:18:28] But I do think that that is going to be the new norm, but even that itself will become stale. What I'm saying is that Ulta is one machine vision implementation away from having a true... to having... All they need is just walk out shopping, and they have basically a real life e-commerce store. Right? That is what they have.

Phillip: [00:18:56] And the thing that e-commerce has to transcend what a real life e-commerce store could become to another thing that we can't even begin to imagine, and that is where, that is...

Brian: [00:19:06] Well, Chris Milk is imagining it.

Phillip: [00:19:07] Well fine, some guy who had a TED talk one time might be imagining it, but I think brands that we didn't know about that are our new and exciting and capturing the imagination of an unaffiliated generation... Gen X has no expectations of what e-commerce should be like because they're just starting to engage in it, and they expect that the World Wide Web looks like Instagram. They don't expect that there is a top rail with a promo bar and a pop up, you know from Bounce Exchange, that says "I'm a schmuck and I don't like to save 15 percent" and close the window. These are not tactics that will work on the next generation. We have to reinvent that. And brands like...

Brian: [00:19:51] You mean Gen Z? Gen Z?

Phillip: [00:19:53] No I meant Gen Z. Did I say Gen X? God help me. I mean Gen Z. That is the next generation of people who have a completely different experience in their minds because the way that they interact with the World Wide Web is not the way that you and I grew up interacting with the World Wide Web. And we have to throw off the old norms to engage that generation in a new way. I think e-commerce looks a lot more like Instagram in 10 years than than anyone really realizes.

Brian: [00:20:25] I don't think it's going to look like Instagram. I think it's going to look like something else. We haven't really picture it yet. I think Instagram is getting stale, at least in its current form. I think that...

Phillip: [00:20:35] Two billion people disagree with you, but okay.

Brian: [00:20:39] You mean like maybe five hundred million people disagree with me? Because three quarters of them are fake.

Phillip: [00:20:45] That was a whole story this past week. Three billion people purged off of Facebook for fake accounts, right?

Brian: [00:20:52] Yeah yeah. No I mean, I really do think that... I was just reading another article in The Atlantic. I do read The Atlantic a lot.

Phillip: [00:20:59] Dude, it's all you ever quote. You should really try some other media.

Brian: [00:21:03] Oh it's so good though. The Atlantic's amazing. If you're not reading The Atlantic, you're missing out.

Phillip: [00:21:06] Listen Ulta is bucking the trend. I'm sorry to interrupt you. Ulta is bucking the trend in a time where retail is not doing so hot. Ok?

Brian: [00:21:15] Yes.

Phillip: [00:21:16] And traditional in-store brick and mortar retail is... especially very ultra category specific... Dress Barn. Right? I'm not saying that they have anything to do... I'm just saying very very category specific retail... Ulta is not having to reduce itself to cheap tricks to keep growing. And by the way it's not like they're promotion heavy either. At most once every couple of months they offer you $3.50 off $25. They're not discounting heavily. They're differentiating themselves by merchandising in category. I think that's really interesting. All right. Sorry you've got the next...

Brian: [00:21:59] Since you brought up Dress Barn, really quickly. I know that we talked about this a couple episodes ago. But I do want to bring up something that we were talking about after that show and that is there are a lot of articles that have come out about how retail is in transformation.

Brian: [00:22:13] That's not you know it's not a real retail apocalypse and e-commerce is growing... One thing that we talked about that I thought was worth mentioning was this this whole retail apocalypse thing and all these store closures... These brands... One thing that's really clear is that they did not do a very good job of iterating themselves by staying up to current cultural trends.

Brian: [00:22:41] I think that if you look at a lot of the brands that have failed they just, they just weren't relevant and they aren't relevant. And there are several more of them that aren't relevant. And you look at... The Abercrombie CEO just finally came out and said something to the effect of, just this past week that, smaller stores are the future... It's like yeah that's right. You finally caught on to that a little bit.

Phillip: [00:23:07] By the way it was a digitally native vertical online brand. You know, five years ago...

Brian: [00:23:18] So you know I guess... I just wanted to bring up as a quick caveat since you mentioned Dress Barn, well not a caveat, just a side note... I think that brands that are not taking current cultural trends seriously are... or they're addressing them in a really false way, they're the ones that are suffering, like Dress Barn, or even like L Brands. I think that they've missed out on stuff recently, and I'm iterating.

Phillip: [00:23:48] Why is it that L Brands, Victoria's Secret's parent company... Why is it Victoria's Secret has no discernible sustainability message?

Brian: [00:23:57] Right. Why? Good question.

Phillip: [00:24:00] I think we should write a whole hit piece on this because the world that we're moving into is a world where consumers care about that sort of thing. And it's it's a pretty noticeable thing in this day and age when you don't even have a message that anyone could recall in recent memory. Yeah I feel like we should dive deeper into that. But I digress.

Brian: [00:24:28] Ok so next the next story. Here's my story. That was just an aside. Jeremy King has been replaced.

Phillip: [00:24:37] Oh my gosh, yeah.

Brian: [00:24:37] Former CTO of Wal-Mart left and went to Pinterest. Wal-Mart just hired a new CTO who's also been given the title of CDO, and this person, Suresh Kumar, is former Google. Before that, Microsoft. Before that Amazon. Before that IBM.

Phillip: [00:24:59] Wow.

Brian: [00:25:00] This is a technology guy.

Phillip: [00:25:02] Well because Wal-Mart is not a retailer. They're a technology company that just happens to sell... I couldn't even say... I couldn't even get through the... I know. I'm sorry.

Brian: [00:25:15] But I do think it's interesting. I think it's a really interesting hire. I think that Wal-Mart is making...

Phillip: [00:25:28] Making moves, man.

Brian: [00:25:29] They're making moves. They're making moves. I'm not going to pass judgment on it yet. I'd like to hear more about what his strategy is going to be before I say if it's a good move... Every person is different, but I like his resumé. I think that is a really smart move in terms of resume.

Phillip: [00:25:49] Well yes. Also Wal-Mart, you know for what it's worth, recently lost... I mean Wal-Mart has had some senior leadership move on to other technology companies. So it's not surprising that they're going to w continue to hire and retain big hitters who have a track record of success. Right? So.Yeah.

Brian: [00:26:22] Yeah. No I totally agree. I think it's interesting that not only is he taking on the title of CTO but also CDO...

Phillip: [00:26:33] By the way four years ago when we talked about who is changing retail, Wal-mart was not in that conversation. We were not talking about Wal-Mart from a technology player perspective. We were saying wow Wal-Mart bought Bonobos?

Brian: [00:26:53] Right.

Phillip: [00:26:54] "Wow. Wal-Mart is acquiring ModCloth and Moose Jaw?" Interesting.

Brian: [00:27:00] Well it started with Jet.

Phillip: [00:27:02] Well Jet. Yeah yeah. I just find it interesting that we take them seriously now. We absolutely take them seriously.

Brian: [00:27:12] Yeah. I just think so... Here's the other thing it's interesting. He's gonna report directly to Doug McMillon, who is the CEO of Wal-Mart, and they actually do... Doug McMillon released a memo to their internal teams, and he really does differentiate between Suresh's role as CTO and Suresh's role as CDO. And so I would recommend going and reading that memo. It's available in Tech Crunch and other places. I just love.. At the beginning of year one of my predictions was that WAL-MART was gonna be more than just a thorn in Amazon's side. I think that this is a great move towards that.

Phillip: [00:27:59] Yeah. In the words of Brian Lange, "I don't disagree with you."

Brian: [00:28:11] I don't think I've said on the show yet. Maybe once. All right. What's your last... One more. It's all you.

Phillip: [00:28:20] You covered Abercrombie and Fitch kind of sort of. Bonobos try before you buy. I mentioned bonobos. Can we, can we...

Brian: [00:28:29] Yeah. That's another transition there.

Phillip: [00:28:32] I mean since since we mentioned Bonobos we'll end it with this. Retail Dive sort of confirming... There's going to be one of these every week. We should just make a recurring segment of subscription... One by one, businesses that come up with some sort of low risk retail fashion try before you buy or subscription service model. So yeah Retail Dive actually reporting on a Digiday story that 65 percent... Or 35 percent of the service users of Bonobos who are doing the try before you buy service are new customers, and the remaining are 65 percent repeat shoppers. And the idea here is that... So Bonobos had these small showroom only shops. Right, Guide Shops. They call them Guide Shops.  This idea was that it's not a full service store. In the Guide Shop you don't shop and then take it home. In this case you can actually ship the clothes to you, try them on, and then buy them if you like, and if you don't you send it back. That's the Stitch Fix model, right? That's the Stitch Fix model. It's Amazon wardrobe.

Brian: [00:30:03] Right. It's Amazon Wardrobe, which is a phenomenal experience.

Phillip: [00:30:08] You seem to be a big fan of that. I didn't have a great experience with it but I'm willing to try again.

Brian: [00:30:12] Not all of Amazon's fashion stuff is created equal, for sure. Some of their lines are not as good as their other ones.

Phillip: [00:30:22] Okay. Yeah so I find it interesting that this is... I think there's plenty of other brands who are going to continue to do this. I think people want to have some assurance that the products that you buy online they're not stuck with, and it's not going to be a hassle to return, and if you bake the return into the actual product purchase experience itself that there's an expectation you'll be returning something. Ala Warby Parker, right? Then I think, you know, it's a hit. And if it's a brand that you trust, like Bonobos, and it's not necessarily like a recurring service like Stitch Fix... Yeah this is super interesting.

Brian: [00:31:05] I think what's what's nice about this is as well as it's predictable. Right. For the for the retailer. One of the troubles with with online purchasing, and you can look up... there's a lot of stats about this online I did some research and a presentation that I gave to Wal-Mart a while back... to Wal-Mart labs... about returns and the effect that they were having. A you know it's a billions of dollars problem, and it's because people are... they're bracketing their purchases, and so they're doing this anyway. They're going to buy two to three sizes, they're going with free shipping and free returns, and then they're going to return the ones that they don't like, or they don't fit them properly, I should say.

Brian: [00:31:43] It's all the same style, and the problem with that is that it's unexpected. That's the thing that's great about this is people are doing this anyway, so you're leaning into it. You're able to predict what your return costs are going to be, as a result. So it's smart. Of course being able to solve the size problem to begin with is really the way to cut this off and save money on all the waste on shipping. But that we're not quite there yet. There's still some stuff ahead.

Phillip: [00:32:17] I want to leave us with one more footnote, and then we'll wrap it up.

Brian: [00:32:22] Oh, can I have a footnote, too.

Phillip: [00:32:25] Go ahead. You do yours first.

Brian: [00:32:27] One thing that I think is super cool about Bonobos right now is that they've actually grown under Wal-Mart, and they've done really well. So this is one of many strategies that they've recently employed. They've also debuted its first women's collection.

Brian: [00:32:44] And last year they launched plus sized lines and they've grown up 74 percent from August of 2017, and they're up 34 percent from the year prior. I guess my point is that experimentation and innovation in retail is netting real results for them and getting beyond their core competency, which has really traditionally been men's clothes that fit well. Right? They're going beyond it. They're trying more interesting things, and they're turning a profit as a result. They're doing well. So I love hearing a story like that, and I think that plays really well into a lot of stuff we've done.

Phillip: [00:33:31] So that's I agree with all of that. I'm going to take a sort of frustrated footnote here. Everything that we're talking about, right, this future Future Commerce... All of these things that people are putting into place now, all of these programs, all of this consumer expectation that they have around being able to engage with brands like this, especially when they're doing direct to consumer... especially when they're shopping at brands that are direct to consumer brands...Not a single one of these... Not a single one of these brands are doing this with off the shelf software, right? E-commerce platforms do not do these things.

Phillip: [00:34:16] And to be a differentiated e-commerce brand, to have a digital commerce experience that gives customers the experience that they desire, whether it is an Instagram discovery model that is crazy eerie music playing in the background, with you know uncategorized scroll with your thumbs till you die Entire world, or Bonobos build out your box and ship it and you can ship it back, or even Stitch Fix to that degree, or even any subscription model or rental model, like what we've talked about Urban Outfitters doing last week... None of this, in fact even the way that you shop online... Category search and discovery is very different to what e-commerce platforms do out of box.

Phillip: [00:35:10] I think it's awesome that this is where we're heading. I think it's very interesting that the platforms are so far behind in digital consumer experience. In fact most customers expect, especially if it's a beauty brand like Ulta... When I go to Ulat's website, I expect that they know that I'm a man, and that they know my age, and that I have oily skin, and I want you to remember that and I want you to tailor my experience to tha,t and I want you to ask me questions periodically to see what I'm looking for and how you can refine how you make that experience better for me. E-commerce platforms don't do that either.

Brian: [00:35:52] What if it's too much? What if this is the complaint that's not necessary? And what I mean by that is what if... Now that's one you could've quoted me on.

Phillip: [00:36:01] Yeah right there. Yeah.

Brian: [00:36:03] What I think what I'm seeing is, there's too much functionality to contain it all in one spot.

Phillip: [00:36:11] Sure.

Brian: [00:36:12] There's too many things to do. And actually I bet you that a lot of retailers are using some off the shelf software, but they're having... There's a lot of connection points now. There are more connection points in e-commerce right now than I think that I can count. There's so many things you have to do.

Phillip: [00:36:33] And the consumer expectation is at an all time high. I believe that... Can the entire ecosystem survive on a handful of third party tech partners that power those experiences? Right?

Brian: [00:36:47] Or does there need to be more consolidation? Is that what you're getting at?

Phillip: [00:36:50] Right. I mean once upon a time layered navigation and slice and dice was a thing that only Certona and SLI did, right? Once upon a time. And now it's part and parcel of every e-commerce platform's base offering. I'm hoping for a day where subscription and...

Brian: [00:37:06] Guided commerce.

Phillip: [00:37:11] Guided Commerce are the normative.

Brian: [00:37:12] And clienteling.

Phillip: [00:37:13] Clienteling. It's what we keep talking about. I want to know what you think. Tell us what you think. We want to hear. What is your e-commerce experience look like at your brand? You can tell us what you think over at Future Commerce dot fm. And we need your likes and subscribes. By the way, we are in the top 10 in shopping now on iTunes in Germany. And and we are number four I believe... No, number one in shopping in Sweden. I think that's right. That sounds right. We are a global economy podcast...

Brian: [00:37:46] We're a shopping podcast, not a commerce podcast.

Phillip: [00:37:49] We're a retail podcast, and to keep moving up the ranks we would love your feedback. Please do that at iTunes or Google Play. Leave us a five star, and tell us what you think. Lend your voice to the conversation. Future Commerce dot fm, and hey send us an email... Phillip@FutureCommerce.fm or Brian@Future Commerce.fm  All right we'll see you next week.

Brian: [00:38:12] Retail tech moves fast,.

Phillip: [00:38:14] But Future Commerce is moving faster. You are on it today.

Brian: [00:38:17] Oh yeah.

Phillip: [00:38:18] Peace.

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