In this episode we bring a review of the best and brightest from the show floor at NRF 2019 - we talk Innovation Lab, "Ingredient Brands", Shoppable AR, and much more. Listen now!

Main Takeaways:

  • Phillip and Brian podcast twice live from NRF
  • Body data is still in vogue in retail-tech company spaces, but has anyone learned to implement it properly?
  • Want a 3D rendering of Brian's face? Take our survey.
  • Will Walmart finally impress Gen Xers?
  • Clothes that fit the customer, not the creator's specifications need to be the future of retail.
  • Millennials are killing the curse of boring retail.

Everything's About The Innovation Lab: NRF Edition Part 2:

  • Brian went on a curated tour of the Innovation Lab put together by Tusk Ventures, that highlighted all the latest in retail innovation.
  • Phillip attempts a French accent.
  • Allure Systems (who we last saw at Shop.org) was featured in the Innovation Lab, as were a lot of other body-data focused companies, proving that body-data is still all the rage in the retail tech space.
  • Brian notes that body-data is a consistent trend, but as of yet, retailers have struggled with application, though Amazon purchasing Body Labs for 50MM may make room for better implementation.
  • Allure is still running their Walmart case study. And it's pretty impressive to see how their body-data technology can help to cut costs and reduce time through the use of virtual models.

2019 is Going to be All About Clienteling: The Year of The Customer:

Will Walmart Become a Grown-Up Version of Itself?

  • Walmart isn't exactly known as a luxury retailer, and it hasn't always had the best reputation.
  • Walmart has been trying to shed it's notoriety lately though, it opened a Lord and Taylor's flagship store, featuring several more upscale brands like Lucky Jeans and Vince Camuto.
  • Walmart has also gone on an acquisition "shopping-spree" buying up popular brands like Bonobos and Modcloth, and expanding into plus-sized fashion with Eloquii.
  • But Phillip says Walmart may have aways to go in convincing Gen Xrs because that generation views Walmart through a specific lens, and that lens is quite dirty.
  • But still be hopeful because Walmart's future may involve becoming what Starbucks Reserve tried to be: an ultra-niche market experience.
  • Perhaps Walmart could be Amazon 4-Star but with their own products.
  • And speaking of house brands: Decision Minds, another Innovation Lab favorite helps retailers to make decisions on creating house brands and white-labeling products.
  • And Decision Minds is already working with Wayfair, which makes them officially not #vaporware.

Customer Service is Everything: Can Onfleet Deliver For Retailers?

Are Custom-Fit Clothes The Retail of Past and Future?

  • With body-data tech being all the rage, and with customers starting to expect clothes that are more tailored to their preferences, perfect-fit clothes may become a reality.
  • Future Commerce has been talking about body data for two years,
  • But with all the focus on individuality when it comes to clothes, retailers are starting to try to pair customers with clothes that fit better.
  • Subscription companies like Stich Fix and Trunk Club provide prospective customers with detailed questionnaires so that they can find out not only the customers measurements but also their preferences on fit, color, and personal style.
  • Manually entering measurements may not be the best way to get an actual perfect-fit, which is why the future of subscription boxes seems to be custom-made clothes.
  • Which is ironic, because that's how the clothing industry (or poorer people sewed their clothes at home) started anyway. All clothes (and shoes) were custom before the advent of ready-to-wear.

Survival of The Fittest: Only Non-Boring Retailers Will Survive:

Go over to Futurecommerce.fm and give us your feedback! We love to hear from our listeners!

Retail Tech is moving fast and Future Commerce is moving faster.

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Phillip: [00:01:38] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Phillip.


Brian: [00:01:45] I'm Brian.


Phillip: [00:01:45] And we are back live... This is our second session at NRF 2019 at the Javits here in New York City. And wow, what a cool show.


Brian: [00:01:55] As always.


Phillip: [00:01:56] As always.


Brian: [00:01:56] As always. So big! It's the "Big Show."


Phillip: [00:01:58] It's the "Big Show." And we're glad that you are listening. You can always find us wherever podcasts are found. You can find us at Google podcasts, Apple podcast, Stitcher Premium, or as our new audience is finding out on Spotify.


Brian: [00:02:12] Spotify.


Phillip: [00:02:12] Make sure you like and subscribe or check us out at FutureCommerce.fm. And we want your surveys because we're helping to tailor content 2019 to be more of what you want to hear all the time. You can do that at survey.FutureCommerce.fm and you can hear a little bit more about, you know, our wonderful sponsors like people like Vertex....


Brian: [00:02:31] In the booth right now.


Phillip: [00:02:32] And a shout out to Erin from Vertex. Bye Erin from Vertex.


Erin from Vertex: [00:02:35] Bye you guys...


Brian: [00:02:36] I'm holding a Vertex pen right now.


Phillip: [00:02:37] Yeah. Thank you. We love you, too. And also you'll hear a lot more from Braintree, Emarsys and others. But and our sponsors are helping us put on this survey. When you finished the survey, it will only take five minutes of your time, tell us what you think about the show and we'll enter you to win one of three Google home hubs.


Brian: [00:02:56] Google Home Hubs. That's a good one.


Phillip: [00:02:58] survey.FutureCommerce.fm  Brian, you went through the Innovation Lab, and you have all that everybody needs to know about what's good there.


Brian: [00:03:06] Oh, man. Everything. Everything that everyone needs.


Phillip: [00:03:09] That cannot possibly be true.


Brian: [00:03:11] No, it's not. But I did get to go on this fun, this fun little press tour, which was great. Tusk Lab helped coordinate the tour...


Phillip: [00:03:20] OK.


Brian: [00:03:22] ...and curate the selection of companies that were in the Innovation Lab.


Phillip: [00:03:26] I see some people that we've spoken with for the past here.


Brian: [00:03:29] Yup.


Phillip: [00:03:30] So that's pretty cool.


Brian: [00:03:31] Allure.


Phillip: [00:03:31] If to say, "Alloor."


Brian: [00:03:34] "Alloor." {laughter} I love Allure. They're phenomenal. We actually had them on the show. They were at Shop.org.


Phillip: [00:03:40] For those who weren't on the show, can you remind us a little bit about what they do?


Brian: [00:03:44] Allure does body data.


Phillip: [00:03:45] Yeah.


Brian: [00:03:46] They capture body data and allow for fitting and seeing clothes on different size models, things like that. So pretty cool. Pretty cool technology. There's still running their Walmart test case, which is pretty cool. But I don't know if I have any other updates other than that. But it was interesting to reconnect with them. Lots of body data companies that were...


Phillip: [00:04:15] Lots and lots.


Brian: [00:04:16] Yeah, again Shop.org was also full of body data technology. So, I mean, we've been talking about it for two and a half years now.


Phillip: [00:04:26] Yeah.


Brian: [00:04:26] It continues to be a big trend in the emerging retail tech company space. Still yet to see, you know, employed really effectively even. We saw body labs get purchased by Amazon. And I think that's made room for a lot of technologies. There's one of the startups space that looked pretty interesting. They had an app where you could actually take your iPhone and hold it like this and just do a quick...


Phillip: [00:04:57] Like you scan it around from your point of view around your head.


Brian: [00:05:00] A photo realistic 3D render of you. Phenomenal,.


Phillip: [00:05:04] Really?


Brian: [00:05:06] Phenomenal. Yeah.


Phillip: [00:05:06] That's pretty cool.


Brian: [00:05:07] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:05:07] If anybody wants a photo realistic 3D render of Brian's face...


Brian: [00:05:12] They have it in their files now, actually.


Phillip: [00:05:14] Just go to BriansFace.FutureCommerce.fm.


Brian: [00:05:17] Actually start by going to survey...


Phillip: [00:05:20] Yeah. Go to the survey first and then... Yeah. That's really funny. And they can do that all from 2D cameras.


Brian: [00:05:25] Right. Exactly.


Phillip: [00:05:27] Which is like... That blows my mind because the 2D spatial that's happening right now on consumer devices is, and I assume part of it's like AI powered. You wouldn't to be able to do that necessarily without internet connection of some kind.


Brian: [00:05:41] Correct.


Phillip: [00:05:42] Like they do some post-processing. What's really cool... I don't know if you've seen this. Have you seen any of this, like the Facebook 3D images that are sort of this new trend of fake 3D, fake perspective on Facebook images? You're not on Facebook.


Brian: [00:06:02] Facebook Smacebook. {laughter}


Phillip: [00:06:03] OK. So let me explain it to you. So there're these... They take pictures and they sort of understand what's in the foreground, what's in the background and use your phone's position, X and Y and Z, to sort of give you a perspective on the photo, even if it's not a 3D photo. Right? It's not a 3D photo. But they're faking perspective by separating the foreground from the background. This blows my mind because if you think about all the ways that you could engage with content.


Brian: [00:06:32] Yeah, product content. Really interesting.


Phillip: [00:06:34] Right. If we can do that for selfies, could we do that for "productfies?".


Brian: [00:06:39] Why not? Yeah.


Phillip: [00:06:40] {laughter}


Brian: [00:06:44] Ugh. Ugh.


Phillip: [00:06:44] Productfies. You don't like that?


Brian: [00:06:44] Groan.


Phillip: [00:06:46] Okay. All right. So we talked about Allure...


Brian: [00:06:48] Yeah there were some interesting companies that would probably do exactly what you're talking about, some custom work in the lab. I think All Things Media is one of those. There were a few others that were doing custom 3D modeling and other interesting services in content generation space.


Phillip: [00:07:07] Can I talk about some of the ones that are like blowing my mind?


Brian: [00:07:09] Right. Oh let's do that.


Phillip: [00:07:10] For a second here... I know you circled a bunch here.


Brian: [00:07:13] I did.  That's one of them right there.


Phillip: [00:07:14] Yeah, start there. HERO?


Brian: [00:07:15] HERO was really interesting. They're software that connects the sales associates with digital information and then can feed that information back up to the web store. Yeah. Clienteling reimagined. I love that because I know in our predictions show that you're going to hear shortly, clienteling for me is going to be on that list.


Phillip: [00:07:43] What we talked about in our previous...so this our second of two live shows at NRF 2019... In our first show we talked about 2019, I'm predicting, is the year of the customer, which is like the worst way of saying anything. But I think clienteling is actually what I'm talking about. It's what I'm trying to describe, which is we're finally figuring out how to do digital clienteling.


Brian: [00:08:09] Guided commerce. Exactly.


Phillip: [00:08:09] And in traditional clienteling, which used to be a career, the best career retail associates, the ones who...


Brian: [00:08:20] Nordstrom's still does this.


Phillip: [00:08:21] Well, you see, you say that, but I've not had that experience in West Palm Beach, Florida.


Brian: [00:08:25] OK, that's true.


Phillip: [00:08:27] It used to be that retail and the high end and especially high end retail, luxury retail, it was a career. People spent 20, 30 years in those positions, and they knew who their customer was, and they had a relationship with their customer.


Brian: [00:08:45] Absolutely.


Phillip: [00:08:46] And you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that's working for those brands for longer than three to five years anymore. And even if they do, their role is so diminished, and it's not customer facing. And those sorts of roles aren't invested in anymore.


Brian: [00:09:01] Absolutely. Yeah, I know. I mean, I would go so far as to say that even, you know, in this next year you could see consumers negotiating B2B like contracts almost. Where they'll go to their sales rep who has all the information.


Phillip: [00:09:13] Right.


Brian: [00:09:13] And you're going to start to see deals cut where it's like, I will do this many things. I mean, it's almost like subscription, but it's more driven by the customer than by the retailer.


Phillip: [00:09:24] Right. So we're saying a lot of different things. So HERO...


Brian: [00:09:28] Yes.


Phillip: [00:09:28] And here's one thing. So they're using the right words. So today... This according to the brochure, by the way.


Brian: [00:09:37] Oh yes.


Phillip: [00:09:37] Today, HERO Technology enables more than 350 million online shoppers to connect live with associates in the physical store, maximizing brick and mortar to drive omnichannel sales. And you know what? They actually have logos, which is how you know...


Brian: [00:09:52] That's good.


Phillip: [00:09:53] This is hashtag, not vaporware.vaporware.


Brian: [00:09:55] Right.


Phillip: [00:09:56] Because they have real logos that we're assuming that they have. Oh, Levi's. John Varvatos. Hey, there're cool logos. And you know what? They're actually brands that I think you might care about and might want to have long term brand engagement with.


Brian: [00:10:11] Yup.


Phillip: [00:10:12] People that you want to have that real sales relationships, as opposed to everybody else. Right?


Brian: [00:10:17] Exactly. Right. The question is, iIs Walmart going to be clienteling?


Phillip: [00:10:20] Maybe.


Brian: [00:10:21] The answer is maybe not this year, but maybe next year.


Phillip: [00:10:24] Right. That's an interesting move. I would never have said that about Walmart.


Brian: [00:10:28] Right.


Phillip: [00:10:30] I have to believe at some point in the future, Walmart's future is what Starbucks Reserve wanted to be, which is this idea of an ultra luxury, ultra niche segment of an already sort of upmarket experience. I believe Walmart could create that in their own category. That doesn't have to have grocery to bring people in the door, but they could they could do it like Amazon's done with 4-star, but with their own brands.


Brian: [00:10:57] Right. Exactly. House brands. Or...


Phillip: [00:10:59] Right. And Modcloth already has its own store.


Brian: [00:11:03] Right.


Phillip: [00:11:03] Bonobos has its own store. But if you could bring all of those things in-house, not under the Walmart brand or as a grown up Walmart. I mean, if you're like me, you're a Gen Xer, and you grew up with Walmart, you have a particular lens you view Walmart with. That lens is dirty. You need to clean that lens because it's a totally different Walmart.


Brian: [00:11:22] Are you a Gen Xer?


Phillip: [00:11:24] I'm gonna just say I am.


Brian: [00:11:28] Ok. Moving on. {laughter}


Phillip: [00:11:29] Who else? DecisionMines... You're hot on this one.


Brian: [00:11:35] Yeah, that one looked really interesting to me. I got to chat with them for a bit. Making decisions about house brands or white label brands... Essentially, it's a service with data. Yeah, data associated with it. They're helping you make a decision about, oh, maybe I should do a white label brand now. They're actually already working with Wayfair.


Phillip: [00:12:01] Interesting.


Brian: [00:12:02] Yeah. Again, not vaporware.


Phillip: [00:12:04] Well, yeah. OK. We'll get there. So this is really interesting. So the idea here is that, and this is how I take it... Better insights, better decisions, a decision making solution backed by a predictive analytics platform.


Brian: [00:12:16] Right.


Phillip: [00:12:17] So you can make category or product investment decisions based on...


Brian: [00:12:23] Based on existing data and also some data that they have, that's beyond your own data.


Phillip: [00:12:28] So when you're talking about white labeling or house brands, they're utilizing your existing data, or helping you get retail data, to power those types of decisions?


Brian: [00:12:40] Correct.


Phillip: [00:12:40] That sounds like a consulting sort of engagement that would like... ten years ago that you would have hired a consultant for this.


Brian: [00:12:46] Sure. Sure. I just think they're backing it up with some software as well, which is cool. I appreciate them applying it. I mean, a lot of consultants use software to make their recommendations.


Phillip: [00:12:57] Oh OK.


Brian: [00:12:57] Yeah. And they're integrated with legitimate platforms.


Phillip: [00:13:02] But you said they're not vaporware. I see a lot of logos, but they're all implementation partner logos. I also see a funnel that explains how to acquire a customer which I find fun. If you still have another day left here at NRF, and you want to drop by the Innovation Lab, join me because I'm going to check out DecisionMines. There should be a service for checking to see if services like this are legit. I'm going to launch a company that basically only does that.


Brian: [00:13:35] Yeah, there should be a company to do that. And also then to help...


Phillip: [00:13:38] Wait, that's fit for commerce. You'll have to pay me a lot of money to do it. That's their business model, as well. What's next?


Brian: [00:13:45] Fair point.


Phillip: [00:13:45] Who else?


Brian: [00:13:46] So we've got some other interesting ones. I liked BYBE. They've been around for a while.


Phillip: [00:13:52] BYBE. Oh, this one.


Brian: [00:13:53] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:13:54] Oh, this is what I love about NRF. You don't get this anywhere else. You get like ultra niche category specific technology vendors.


Brian: [00:14:05] Yes.


Phillip: [00:14:06] Which is this is cool.


Brian: [00:14:07] Same with Afresh which is a pretty niche one, but we'll move on to that one in a second.


Phillip: [00:14:12] Yeah, yeah, yeah...


Brian: [00:14:12] BYBE is pretty interesting.


Phillip: [00:14:13] So what's BYBE? B Y B E.com...


Brian: [00:14:15] Yeah. So it's basically a company that's figured out all the alcohol laws, and they are complex, let me tell you. I mean this is probably more complex thing than sales tax law.


Phillip: [00:14:24] More than any of us even really understand, I'm sure.


Brian: [00:14:28] What I love is that their technology allows you to surface specific offers and content around alcohol by region and state, such that, you know, if someone's in New York, and the laws don't allow them to purchase alcohol online, they won't get surface content that someone that's in L.A. will get service because they can. Super cool kind of...


Phillip: [00:14:49] So they manage compliance?


Brian: [00:14:51] They manage compliance. Kind of reminds me of like a Vertex.


Phillip: [00:14:54] Yeah, right.


Brian: [00:14:54] Yeah. Vertex for sure.


Phillip: [00:14:56] Interesting.


Brian: [00:15:00] This has been a huge problem. I mean, Amazon stopped selling wine on their main site because they felt like they couldn't handle this, or also maybe other reasons.


Phillip: [00:15:09] Yeah, you might be reading into it. We're assuming they couldn't handle it. They're really bad at stuff like that.


Brian: [00:15:14] {laughter} Yeah.


Phillip: [00:15:15] BYBE. Like imbibe.


Brian: [00:15:17] Exactly.


Phillip: [00:15:17] I kind of like that. But it's a BYBE. Bring your best...


Brian: [00:15:21] Where are you going with this?


Phillip: [00:15:23] Engagement. {laughter} Bring your bottle everywhere. How's that?


Brian: [00:15:30] It's good. It's good. They need a better tagline.


Phillip: [00:15:34] Bust your booty elsewhere. I don't know. It's BYBE. Go to survey.FutureCommerce.fm and tell us what you think BYBE stands for.


Brian: [00:15:42] Afresh is another one...


Phillip: [00:15:46] Afresh. You like that one.


Brian: [00:15:48] Afresh is one of the interesting ones using AI to help reduce waste and perishable foods. You had some pretty strong thoughts on this.


Phillip: [00:15:54] I have very strong thoughts. Keep going.


Brian: [00:15:57] No, I'll let you talk about your strong thoughts on this.


Phillip: [00:16:00] OK. So I love any business that says we're going to help you reduce waste. Right?


Brian: [00:16:05] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:16:07] Because there's yin and yang. Right?


Brian: [00:16:10] Ok, what's your counterpoint?


Phillip: [00:16:10] So I feel like the universe always balances itself.


Brian: [00:16:13] Ohhh.


Phillip: [00:16:14] I have this... No, I really believe this.


Brian: [00:16:16] Keep going. Keep going.


Phillip: [00:16:16] So this idea... So someone somewhere is going to be hurt by the fact that people aren't going to be wasting food. So if you have food waste, that food waste goes somewhere like there's a whole services sector, like a good portion of our economy depends on us managing trash, just managing waste. I love the idea that we can maximize profits by buying less and utilizing more of it. But it's like it's this panacea of this thing that's never really going to happen. Like, yes, if you told me I can help you maximize it. Or I can make you more efficient in managing food waste or food costs then that sounds a lot like a friend of ours who is trying to solve this for bananas. Like it seems like a thing that might need to be solved, but unless it's ultra specific around a specific type of waste, a specific category, or if it's in a specific vertical, like grocery, it seems very broad. And there're challenges... There's all kinds of waste.


Brian: [00:17:14] It is. It is.


Phillip: [00:17:15] There's electronic waste...


Brian: [00:17:16] No, no, no. This is specific to food waste...


Phillip: [00:17:19] I almost feel like that starts at the beginning of the supply chain. It's not just in the order part...


Brian: [00:17:24] I think you need to have a little chat with them.


Phillip: [00:17:26] I think I do. I think I'm saying that there is something that happens well before around product development...


Brian: [00:17:30] What I hear you saying... Correct me if I'm wrong here. What you're saying is we should not reduce waste because we're not supporting the trash industry. {laughter}


Phillip: [00:17:38] No. That's not what I'm saying. I love that you can make that what I'm saying. That's like a nice hot take. Phillip says we need more trash.


Brian: [00:17:46] It's exactly what you said.


Phillip: [00:17:49] That's why with this podcast exists... To create more trash.


Brian: [00:17:52] Oh my goodness.


Phillip: [00:17:54] What I'm trying to actually say is even if you reduced waste, things are delicately balanced on creating more of something and...


Brian: [00:18:09] You're going to still need to make more. There's no end to goods.


Phillip: [00:18:14] Correct.


Brian: [00:18:14] Right.


Phillip: [00:18:16] Good. Right. Precisely.


Brian: [00:18:17] Yeah, that's fair. That's fair. Fair.


Phillip: [00:18:20] Can we talk about this one? This one's my favorite.


Brian: [00:18:22] Onfleet.


Phillip: [00:18:24] Okay. Which sounds like "on fleek." Like "My eyebrows are on fleek," but it's called Onfleet with a T.


Brian: [00:18:33] Yes. I had a good chat with them actually.


Phillip: [00:18:38] What is it?


Brian: [00:18:40] So it's essentially a way to do better last mile.


Phillip: [00:18:43] They've productized last mile for delivery.


Brian: [00:18:46] Yeah exactly. And they've made it an uber like experience, so you can rate the people that drop off your packages...


Phillip: [00:18:55] Oh. So more like Shipt.


Brian: [00:18:58] Yeah it's kind of like that. Yeah exactly.


Phillip: [00:19:00] But, it's like a brand could go, specifically, and maybe white label them as their delivery service where Shipt has decided to be a brand.


Brian: [00:19:11] Right.


Phillip: [00:19:12] Right. Like Target uses Shipt.


Brian: [00:19:14] Yes. Yes.


Phillip: [00:19:15] Whereas this would just be I'm Baked by Melissa, and I'm just giving you my cupcakes, and my delivery person will bring you a cupcake.


Brian: [00:19:24] Right. Correct.


Phillip: [00:19:25] Ah, I like that.


Brian: [00:19:27] Yeah. It's pretty cool, actually. I am excited about them. I expect to see them used. Again, not vaporware. They're actually being used.


Phillip: [00:19:35] So. Okay. I love this. Hold on. "Onfleet is the new standard in last mile delivery management. Our platform empowers millions of deliveries every month for thousands of businesses around the world. Let us handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on your customers." But I will say, no logos. But here's what's really interesting about this. The first thing... You got to look to the top left because I always look at that. That's the thing they want you to know the most, is that you can plan routes instantly. Onfleet's advance route optimization engine considers standard and custom routing constraints. So this is what's really interesting about this, assuming that they've thought a lot about how this brochure is laid out. This is not a thing that I ever... So think about me as a retailer.


Brian: [00:20:23] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:20:24] And I want to hire a service like this, this immediately communicates to me that we've thought more about this than you ever have because you probably never thought, "You know what my hardest thing is going to be is just figuring out how to get this to a person.".


Brian: [00:20:36] Oh, man.


Phillip: [00:20:37] I've never even thought about that. Right? That's really smart. And that is the expectation of the customer. We always talk about Amazon setting an expectation for a customer. In actuality, I think Uber and Lyft and other sort of ride share services have set the expectation for my ability to see where you are, where my product is en route, what time it left, what time I should expect it to arrive. And they're doing this for retailers.


Brian: [00:21:06] Yeah, that's exactly what they're doing. I love it.


Phillip: [00:21:08] Freakin smart.


Brian: [00:21:10] Here's another interesting one we've talked about magic mirrors, smart mirrors a lot. Mirow is an interesting one because it's actually affordable.


Phillip: [00:21:17] And it's real.


Brian: [00:21:19] And it's real.


Phillip: [00:21:21] Is it real? I think it's real.


Brian: [00:21:22] It's real. Now, they had a demo in the Innovation Lab for $199 per month Premier. It's pretty good. It's pretty good compared to many of the initial implementations where like thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Phillip: [00:21:37] What's the name of the thing?


Brian: [00:21:38] Mirow.


Phillip: [00:21:38] Mirow. M I R O W.


Brian: [00:21:42] Yup.


Phillip: [00:21:42] So it's more like you're leasing the technology.


Brian: [00:21:45] Exactly. Kind of an all in one service, which is really cool. Another one that really caught my eye that I love the service component to, really similar, was a essentially a smart shopping cart. It was a shopping cart, and it had basically a screen where the baby seat normally is. So you could get you know, you could put your shopping list in and merchandise as you shop...


Phillip: [00:22:17] Play Flappy Bird.


Brian: [00:22:18] Exactly. Nailed it.


Phillip: [00:22:21] And it's like Wayfinding, probably.


Brian: [00:22:23] Right. Wayfinding. Exactly. They said they were still working on connecting that to online account. They hadn't quite got there yet. Or maybe they had some examples they couldn't talk about or something along those lines. But I thought was pretty cool. I got a picture of myself with the cart. I was like, this is Peloton for shopping. {laughter}


Phillip: [00:22:41] So they've gamified shopping?


Brian: [00:22:43] They haven't. I mean, they've they said they could connect it to loyalty. They haven't started to quite get there yet, I think, but they will. That's the...


Phillip: [00:22:51] I don't know if you do this. I one hundred percent do this.


Brian: [00:22:54] Aha.


Phillip: [00:22:55] And you just blew my mind.


Brian: [00:22:57] What do you do?


Phillip: [00:22:57] Because I never, ever, ever have said this out loud.


Brian: [00:23:00] Okay. Well, man. Oh boy. Do we need... This is why we don't do show live. Right?


Phillip: [00:23:06] When I go to the grocery store, I think about all the things that I need on the way there. And part of it is like a game of route optimization for me. I don't ever want to backtrack. I don't ever want to backtrack. And in my mind, the game is lost if I have to backtrack.


Brian: [00:23:24] Yes.


Phillip: [00:23:24] So it's forward progress only. I'm going to take the most efficient route possible to get milk, bread, eggs...


Brian: [00:23:30] That's one way to shop. I don't shop that way.


Phillip: [00:23:31] So you browse?


Brian: [00:23:33] I browse. I'm a browser.


Phillip: [00:23:35] You're a browser.


Brian: [00:23:36] I like to browse the wine selection, and the beer selection and the toothbrushes. I love the selection at the grocery store.


Phillip: [00:23:44] How often do you shop for toothbrushes?


Brian: [00:23:46] I don't know. Not that often. But when I do, I do like to browse.


Phillip: [00:23:49] You spend a good hour.


Brian: [00:23:51] Oh, yeah. Oh, man. I'll just stand there. I like to shop.


Phillip: [00:23:54] Brian walks up to the counter, and he's like, "Is this toothbrush certified by the American Dental Association?"


Brian: [00:24:00] That's the best reference ever. Home Alone for those that didn't get that.


Phillip: [00:24:05] Yes. For those that didn't get the Home Alone reference. I can work some others in, if you would like.


Brian: [00:24:07] One of my favorite movies of all time.


Phillip: [00:24:10] So here's the issue. I do think that there are many fundamental personas of a shopper.


Brian: [00:24:19] Yeah, absolutely.


Phillip: [00:24:20] When I want something, and I know I want it, and I want it fast, I don't think I go in and pick up a cart.


Brian: [00:24:26] That's true. Yeah.


Phillip: [00:24:28] When I'm in a hurry, and I need to find something, I'm not looking at the cart application. And the other thing is that usually in technology enabled, like a shopping cart, I'd be concerned about things like loss and damage and theft. And it's a new UI for my customers to have to learn and engage with. I personally, as a retailer, would assume that putting that on their phones where they can sort of learn it and use it in their own personal time makes more sense.


Brian: [00:25:01] That may be true, except for...


Phillip: [00:25:03] Not to hate on this particular product.


Brian: [00:25:05] This is actually more beneficial for the retailer though, because actually it takes 100 plus pictures as you're putting it in your cart.


Phillip: [00:25:12] Oh I saw something like this here last year, too.


Brian: [00:25:15] Yeah, I think they've been around.


Phillip: [00:25:16] Camera enabled cart.


Brian: [00:25:17] Yeah. Yeah.


Phillip: [00:25:20] Interesting.


Brian: [00:25:20] Yeah, it's pretty cool. I think it allows you collect a lot of data, and it also doesn't allow the customers to avoid... Like if you put it on their phone, then you don't get to control things as well. I think this gives grocers a much better control over what... or maybe not just grocers...


Phillip: [00:25:39] So this is a lot like what you were saying before. I don't know specifically that... What was this company again?


Brian: [00:25:47] Caper.


Phillip: [00:25:47] Caper. I don't know that Caper does this. I don't know that I remember. I don't think I've ever met Caper. But something that you were saying earlier is that there's someone that was using facial recognition data to power product suggestion. So understanding persona based on...


Brian: [00:26:07] We're going to get to that one.


Phillip: [00:26:08] So this is an obvious... This is the expectation of the customer in 2019 is that you should be able to do that. If you're going to put a thousand cameras on this shopping cart, and push it around all the time, it better be worth something to me.


Brian: [00:26:22] Yeah, absolutely.


Phillip: [00:26:22] I should get something out of that, right? Not just surveillance.


Brian: [00:26:26] No, not just surveillance, but you get recipes and things like that. You never miss an item that you should have bought. Things like that. Create your own... You can curate a shopping list for someone.


Phillip: [00:26:38] Route optimization.


Brian: [00:26:39] Exactly. All of the above.


Phillip: [00:26:42] I need Onfleet, but for grocery shopping. That's what I need.


Brian: [00:26:45] I love that. Or like you should be able to leave the grocery carts all over the store, all over the store, and have like a Bird like app...


Phillip: [00:26:54] Yeah. You just press the button and the cart drives you to it.


Brian: [00:26:57] Yes. No. Yeah. Yeah. Or the cart just comes to you. Yeah.


Phillip: [00:27:00] I stayed at a hotel in Los Angeles and you could have room service deliver things to your room, but it's a robot.


Brian: [00:27:13] Oh really? I haven't had that, yet.


Phillip: [00:27:13] Yeah. Yeah. So you have this...


Brian: [00:27:16] Which hotel was that?


Phillip: [00:27:19] That was the H Hotel. LAX


Brian: [00:27:20] Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.


Phillip: [00:27:22] So the robot actually drops, like it'll come to your room and there's all sorts of challenges with implementing this sort of thing... Like the robot has to be able to ring the room, the doorbell, because it can't knock because it's really just a cylinder on wheels. So the room has to sort of understand and be connected to all of that. It's really interesting though. I didn't use it, but I had to walk around it while other people were like futzing with the robot. And the robot is sitting in front of the doorway, and they're opening the door, and they're taking pictures of the robot. It was it's a real distraction, actually.


Brian: [00:27:54] Instagramable moment. We've talked about Instagramable moments.


Phillip: [00:27:57] Exactly. Who takes pictures in the corridor of the hallway of a hotel? Nobody, unless you have a robot. But here's the point that I'm making. I'm getting off robots. Robots are innately programmed specifically to do the things quickly that shouldn't need human intervention.


Brian: [00:28:20] Right.


Phillip: [00:28:21] One thing, shopping on Shipt for target... One of the things I've seen a lot is product substitution is really difficult. Having human intervention like people that can browse and be like "They didn't have this. But is this OK?" That human interaction is still very, very vital. So, you know, having an idea of a Caper that's assisting you actually. It doesn't just assist the end user, the customer. It assists product companies, companies that are like Onfleet that are productizing product delivery. I keep saying product, but I think you know what I'm saying.


Brian: [00:28:57] Yes, I do..


Phillip: [00:28:58] So if I'm delivering a service where I grocery shop for you, I can optimize that. And that is a persona of a shopper that might need something like that.


Brian: [00:29:06] Right. Exactly. You couldn't sort of tune it to the persona.


Phillip: [00:29:09] Not just me...


Brian: [00:29:10] Right.


Phillip: [00:29:11] Phillip, shopping for Halo Top, and not just...which is usually what I'm shopping for. And peanut butter cup... If anyone wants to send it to 313 Datura Street, Suite 200... Just ship a whole bunch to me at West Palm Beach, Florida. But anyway, that's just one of those things where like every persona is going to have a different form of wanting to accomplish something at a different speed. And something like Caper might, you know, let you do that more efficiently.


Brian: [00:29:40] No, I love that. I'm excited about them. I'm excited about the future that that will usher in.


Phillip: [00:29:47] They said predict the future. It says it right there on the brochure. Predict the future. Hmm. That's great.


Brian: [00:29:57] More body data... Perfitly. Just another one of the many body data companies. That was interesting.


Phillip: [00:30:04] Yeah. What's about that one?


Brian: [00:30:14] I don't know. I don't know if it's really that different than all of the other ones that we've talked about. {laughter}


Phillip: [00:30:16] What is the promise of all of these? What's the end goal?


Brian: [00:30:20] Here's their promise. Their promise is nearly doubled conversion rates while cutting returns in half. Which makes sense, right? If you get clothes that you know are going to look good on you, you're more likely to buy them and you're less likely to return.


Phillip: [00:30:31] I don't know if you remember a few years ago at NRF, I felt like True Fit was everywhere.


Brian: [00:30:37] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:30:38] Are they here? I can't. I couldn't even tell you. They were always like position toward the front of the expo.


Brian: [00:30:45] It was usually like right in the middle.


Phillip: [00:30:47] It was like you couldn't miss them.


Brian: [00:30:49] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:30:50] Because they want a bunch of retail brands to come onto their platform to say that, like, I know that you're a 34 in this company, but you're probably not in that company.


Brian: [00:30:59] The problem I have a True Fit, and don't get me wrong, it's a cool service, but...


Phillip: [00:31:02] I love the idea of it.


Brian: [00:31:04] Yeah. I think that you know, it doesn't go far enough. That's one of the...


Phillip: [00:31:08] In what way?


Brian: [00:31:09] In the way that you know, some of these brands like Perfitly are going, like exact body measurements. And so I think, as we look for the head to clothes that fit us perfectly, and we're subscribed to our box services, they're all producing clothes that are perfectly tailored for our body measurements.


Phillip: [00:31:35] I think that... Okay, fine. What happens when they make a mistake? Not Perfitly. But if you have like Stitch Fix, or Trunk Club, or whoever exists anymore.


Brian: [00:32:00] Stitch Fix definteily exists.


Phillip: [00:32:05] Yeah. They definitely exist. This shirt is from Stitch Fix. If you... I don't know why that tickled me. That was funny. If I have an integration with a service that has all my body data, it doesn't mean that somebody can't still oversize something. It doesn't mean that. It doesn't always mean I'm going to have a perfect fit, it means I have a better chance of having a perfect fit.


Brian: [00:35:19] Sure. Definitely.


Phillip: [00:35:20] I don't think a consumer understands that.


Brian: [00:35:24] Even if, let's say that, 75% of your clothes fit you perfectly. That would be pretty amazing.


Phillip: [00:35:31] Or "Perfitly.".


Brian: [00:35:32] "Perfitly."


Phillip: [00:35:34] It would be amazing. I mean, all of my clothes fit me perfectly because I don't keep them if I don't like the way they fit.


Brian: [00:35:41] Right. That's the big thing. We are returning a lot...


Phillip: [00:35:42] It's the process of returning. Oh, that's their brand promises. Reduced return.


Brian: [00:35:48] Right. And increased conversion because if you know something is going to look good on you, you're more... There's a lot of stuff I see out there where I'm like, man, if I knew that was going to fit me well, I would actually make that purchase right now.


Phillip: [00:36:00] But here's the thing. This idea of fit, to me, is such a farce, right? Because it all comes down to preference. I like really tight jeans, right? I have a particular...


Brian: [00:36:16] There's a perfect fit for tight and relaxed.


Phillip: [00:36:20] I think that's up to the designer. The designer is going to cut things big to look a certain way. If that's the look they're trying to go for. But not everybody wants to shop what the designer has in mind for you, right?


Brian: [00:36:31] That's true. That's true. No, it's a valid point. I think what this allows you to do is say, okay. I like the relaxed fit.


Phillip: [00:36:38] Yeah.


Brian: [00:36:39] Or I liked the designers that designs the larger fit.


Phillip: [00:36:42] Sure.


Brian: [00:36:43] And I want that to fit the way the designer intended it to.


Phillip: [00:36:46] Yeah. Actually that is part of the questionnaire, the guided commerce portion of getting on to something like Stitch Fix. And I think having a little bit of understanding that the first few might not get it right or wrong. They get it better over time. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Fine. I like your point.


Brian: [00:37:06] The point that I made two and half years ago.


Phillip: [00:37:07] I think some companies, though, thrive on the returns. Remember I said the yin and the yang. There's someone that always wins out. I think Navar, which enables returns better and faster, is a much more valuable company...


Brian: [00:37:21] At this moment.


Phillip: [00:37:22] Right. Exactly. Because...


Brian: [00:37:23] At this moment. Absolutely.


Phillip: [00:37:24] The idea... Everybody will have to handle and service returns at some point. Not everybody is a fashion retailer.


Brian: [00:37:30] Right.


Phillip: [00:37:30] I think that this idea around body data and how it powers fashion, we need to find a way that it powers other things, right?


Brian: [00:37:40] Oh yeah.


Phillip: [00:37:40] Body data has been to this point, the way we've described it is things that are like physical, like we can see. I like the idea of things like based on reach or flexibility or things that are less tangible than I can just see with a camera. Like requires interaction. My upper body strength or, you know, my cadence when I run. These are all still parts of my body...


Brian: [00:38:09] Yeah, we talked about that back in Episode 8. We talked about that in Episode 32.


Phillip: [00:38:14] Right. And things that are less tangible. Presence I think is still part of body data. Where my attention is focused at this moment should be a very valuable thing that I should only let very few people understand and know about me.


Brian: [00:38:26] Yeah, I think that's the big thing is this is PII, and so how do you handle that, especially when comes the face? When we talked to Allure, they were like, actually, people don't really care if you have their body data. Yeah, except for their face. Face makes everything. And yeah, I mean, you know, I think there's a certain medical element to this as well. We talked about that again in Episode 8, but I think clothing is an easy application. And so that's where everyone's starting. But there's so many more applications for this that fall well outside of commerce into gaming and other things.


Phillip: [00:39:04] Let me give you my personal application to this. So you may know I'm training for a triathlon. And I had a sort of a dopey bike, and I needed a new bike. Needed is a very fuzzy word. I wanted a new bike. So I wanted to go out and get a nice road bike. And I realized I can buy a lot more bike if I buy used. But usually when you buy a new bike, you get fit for a new bike. And there're a lot of things that go into that. It is an incredibly manual process, and they have people that their whole job is just as a bike fitter. It's like this laborious multi... It's like an hour long process where they measure your shoulder height, they measure your hip height. They measure you're inseam. They measure your reach. It's this whole thing. And they charge money for that service.


Brian: [00:39:56] Yeah, absolutely.


Phillip: [00:39:57] And a companies that manufacturer these very expensive pieces of machinery, they would be really well served to have applications that help a consumer make a decision like this without having to hire a consultant or an expert to do it for you. I would have loved that because, to be honest with you, this idea of you can only have the optimal experience when you buy brand new, is something that I have never encountered before. Anyway, I'm off base.


Brian: [00:40:34] That's interesting. No, actually... You're hitting on something else that we thought we saw the Lab, which was mannequins that can actually change shift.


Phillip: [00:40:44] That can change shift?


Brian: [00:40:45] Yes, shift like change...


Phillip: [00:40:45] They're sentient?


Brian: [00:40:47] No. No. They can change shape to different body sizes.


Phillip: [00:40:51] Oh, I had this picture of a mannequin who's like, "Well, that's five o'clock, Jim. See you tomorrow." He's like punching a clock.


Brian: [00:40:57] No, and actually I forget the name of that one company, but there's just a lot of really cool things going on in the space. So.


Phillip: [00:41:03] So mannequins that like change shape, like they do different poses?


Brian: [00:41:09] No. Size. Size.


Phillip: [00:41:12] Oh.


Brian: [00:41:14] Yeah, which could be really helpful. They're using it right now in manufacturing and like helping determine how things should work, or how things should fit. But they're looking at using it in like display as well.


Phillip: [00:41:26] It sounds like the kind of thing that disappears. You're like, "Where did that ever go?" And the Department of Defense is working on it.


Brian: [00:41:34] {laughter} Totally.


Phillip: [00:41:34] Absolutely.


Brian: [00:41:37] There are a few other ones that caught my eye. I thought S5 was interesting. On our last show I talked about basically using data science to figure out assortment. And that was part of my. Yeah, sorry.


Phillip: [00:41:56] Carry on.


Brian: [00:41:56] Yeah, that's a pretty bland way of putting it.


Phillip: [00:42:01] Describe. Describe.


Brian: [00:42:02] It was a really user friendly way. I mean people are using some pretty powerful software right now, too. That's very difficult to navigate and hard to learn to do this right now.


Phillip: [00:42:12] Like intelligent merchandising?


Brian: [00:42:15] Right. Exactly. And this one really simplified it, and made it really, really user friendly with drag and drop, and standard dashboards and things that felt like modern business intelligence more than like some of these these classic, you know, assortment calculators that we've got right now.


Phillip: [00:42:40] So this is interesting. I have this... I love that. But at the same time, I also have the like... Have you been over across the river here to Williamsburg, where they have artisanal mayonnaise shops?


Brian: [00:42:58] Oh, yeah.


Phillip: [00:42:59] All they have is artisanal mayonnaise, like 40 flavors of mayonnaise.


Brian: [00:43:02] And like 40 flavors of avocado toast.


Phillip: [00:43:05] Every one of the malls near me, every third store is out of business. And if it's not now like a perfumery of some kinds, like Perfumania 4.


Brian: [00:43:18] Oh, my gosh. Discount perfume.


Phillip: [00:43:22] Perfumania 4... Chris, in post add like a Hulk Hogan like, "Oh, yeah." {laughter} Perfumania 4. And then right next to that is like an olive oil store where they have like 65 flavors of olive oil. I imagine at some point, like there's...


Brian: [00:43:42] The people that are calculating assortment are doing it for the stores...


Phillip: [00:43:46] Exactly.


Brian: [00:43:46] No, it's well beyond that.


Phillip: [00:43:50] I know. I understand.


Brian: [00:43:50] Those people are probably not using...


Phillip: [00:43:54] It's like ultra niche... It's actually really interesting. We have a talk about these sort of pure play e-commerce merchants. There's actually pure play food. Food vendors. For instance, there's a bakery that's local to me that only sells at green markets. They don't sell anywhere else. So they they will take their stuff to green markets and sell them only at green markets. And I feel like, from a merchandising assortment perspective, brands like that are companies like that, if they could partner with companies like this, it would help them pilot products and get more depth in category that aren't just... Because I assume a company like, well, give me an example, like a cosmetic brand or a cosmetic like... What's the one I'm always on for the hair products and stuff? Help me now.


Brian: [00:45:01] Well, who?


Phillip: [00:45:02] Not Lush.


Brian: [00:45:02] Lush.


Phillip: [00:45:03] No.


Brian: [00:45:03] No?


Phillip: [00:45:04] No. What's the one that I took you to in Santa Monica?


Brian: [00:45:09] You're like, "Check out this awesome store, Brian...Ulta.".


Phillip: [00:45:11] Ulta. Yeah, yeah. God, this place is fried my brain today.


Brian: [00:45:16] You really have been fried.


Phillip: [00:45:18] I mean there have to be some smaller... When Ulta's looking, when they're category managers are looking to pilot products and bring new brands into the store, they're sort of taking a risk.


Brian: [00:45:30] Right. Exactly. Yeah.


Phillip: [00:45:31] A company like this, if they were partnered with smaller niche brands or boutique and bespoke brands, using data, they might have a greater visibility into the success of the brand by being able to sell it instead of just having the brand that has like a purchaser or a channel rep trying to sell product, they're actually...


Brian: [00:45:55] Making thoughtful decisions.


Phillip: [00:45:56] Making thoughtful decisions from a company like this who's trying to get them into other places that they've been successful in the same category.


Brian: [00:46:02] That's true. I think this is important. I think that, especially at like a larger scale this is true. This really for bigger, not niche players. But I feel like thoughtful curation is still really important.


Phillip: [00:46:18] That's where the market is, right? This is my problem. And you see it at this show.


Brian: [00:46:26] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:46:28] It's like the NASCARification of digital retail where you've got fifty five thousand logos on everything. We're all vying for the same customers. Every one of these technologies are trying to get the same person to interact with them. And I think that, from a technology vendor perspective, you're probably better served at focusing on the smaller SMB customer because they don't have a chance of showing up in Whole Foods or in Walmart. Their ability to break into the market is only as good as the partnerships that they have.


Brian: [00:47:05] Right.


Phillip: [00:47:07] And that's the focus that these companies could be taking. Right? Johnson and Johnson doesn't need this.


Brian: [00:47:12] Maybe, maybe. I don't know. I think there's some truth to what you're saying. I think that, you know, you need to understand, I'm speaking very generally. And for a lot of these startups and these newer players, they need to understand what their software is and where it fits in the marketplace. And I think this one fits with bigger merchants, more than smaller merchants. Unless that smaller merchants get a huge assortment of products and some of them do. Don't get me wrong, there are 10 million dollar online only retailers out there that could use this. Yeah. Pure plays, that could use this, but also much larger companies. It just really comes to like maybe dollars. Total sales is not a good measure for who you're selling to. It's all about, you know, in this case, like what kind of assortment they have.


Phillip: [00:48:10] It's so category specific at this point. If you were a 10 million dollar retailer, just like ostensibly really small in this room. Right? You're really tiny. If you if that's who you are, where is your money best spent? If you want to grow to 20, is your money better spent on a technology vendor that's going to help you like dynamically merchandise into other brands? That's where you're spending your money...


Brian: [00:48:37] That's where your service that you talked about earlier would come in handy somewhat. A service that could help with these solutions and that could help people understand who it's built for and where to spend their money first.


Phillip: [00:48:48] Yeah.


Brian: [00:48:48] Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, I think that there's actually still space for that kind of analysis in the market, more than we've seen.


Phillip: [00:48:57] Let's do one more.


Brian: [00:48:58] All right. One more.


Phillip: [00:48:58] Who could we pick? Anyone that's really exciting?


Brian: [00:49:04] One thing I want to mention, just broadly...


Phillip: [00:49:08] Sure.


Brian: [00:49:08] There are a lot of Amazon Go like experience creators.


Phillip: [00:49:17] Just walk out technology?


Brian: [00:49:19] Yes. Lots of just walk out technologies.


Phillip: [00:49:23] We mentioned in the Retail 20 40 Report that came out, that's one of the top predictions... That all retail will be that way, supposedly.


Brian: [00:49:33] Yeah. No doubt. And so Zippin is one example of that. There were a bunch of other ones. I think there are a bunch of other ones. I think I saw one other one here at the show there. You know, that's technology that's still maturing. It's hard because, you know, you've got the overhead camera version of it. Zippin is actually shelf technology, which is closer to Amazon Go, where it's actually monitoring it from the shelf.


Phillip: [00:50:01] Right.


Brian: [00:50:01] Amazon also has cameras, as well. But it's just different angles on keeping track of where things are.


Phillip: [00:50:10] Yeah. Some of these are cart centric, like it has to go in the cart. Some of these are not. It's interesting. So which one was that? Zippin?.


Brian: [00:50:18] Zippin. Yup.


Phillip: [00:50:20] Now, that's interesting. I have to wonder what... I had a great panel earlier today. Did we talk about that, yet?


Brian: [00:50:28] No, we haven't talked about the panel.


Phillip: [00:50:29] Somebody edit this to be in the beginning. We should have led with that. Oh, yeah. I had a great panel, so I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel on the Innovation Stage with two great retailers, one called Rituals, which is sort of a cosmetic fragrance brand...


Brian: [00:50:49] Super cool brand.


Phillip: [00:50:50] Super neat...talk about experiential retail. They have a really awesome approach to customer experience.


Brian: [00:50:59] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:50:59] And so a brand that started in the Netherlands, and they are very successful in Europe.


Brian: [00:51:05] Listening to the show right now, go look up there store.


Phillip: [00:51:07] Yeah.


Brian: [00:51:07] You'll see some pictures of it. The Rituals store.


Phillip: [00:51:09] Rituals. Yeah. Rituals.com


Brian: [00:51:10] So cool.


Phillip: [00:51:11] And then. So, Marjolein Westerbeek, she's the president of North America for Rituals. And she spoke about customer experience and how they approach customer experience. And then the other retailer on the panel was Emily Sheetz, who's a director of strategy for a convenience store chain in Pennsylvania and some surrounding states...


Brian: [00:51:43] 600 stores.


Phillip: [00:51:44] Called Sheetz, and they have 600 stores. Yeah. Which she sort of describes them as sort of a scrappy, smaller gas station chain. That sounds like a... When she got off the stage, you should've seen the line of vendors trying to hit her up. Like, "Oh, yeah, we can optimize your heating and cooling costs. We do refrigeration." It's like, holy cow. 600 stores. What an interesting panel. But they were talking about they were talking about what customer engagement looks like.


Brian: [00:52:19] Right.


Phillip: [00:52:19] And I have to think that that's the sort of size of a chain... Like those two... I think Rituals has 820 stores worldwide, one of which actually is a flagship that just opened up here in Soho, which I want to go check out. But those two are sort of appropriately sized where they're just big enough to maybe adopt some really mindblowing, groundbreaking technology, but they're still small enough to pilot something like that without actually hanging their hat on it. It's not like they're public companies. They don't have to execute it perfectly on day one to get it right. They can be a little more nimble than your average bear. Mixing idioms. But they can be a little more nimble, but they can take some chances.


Brian: [00:53:14] Right. Exactly. They've got the budget to do that. So, yeah, I love that. I thought Emily was incredibly thoughtful and very well-spoken.


Phillip: [00:53:24] Marjolein is so smart. It was great to have both of them.


Brian: [00:53:28] Both of them. Absolutely. I feel like Emily did a really good job. I feel like she has a phenomenally clear picture of where they need to go.


Phillip: [00:53:37] Yes.  And that's what you want from a director of strategy or V.P. of strategy.


Brian: [00:53:42] Yes, exactly. Just the way that they talked about their brands. It was really interesting. I'd highly recommend after the show that once they post that video, go take a look at it.


Phillip: [00:53:52] And when they do post the video, I'm sure we'll cross post it on our social and wherever you're going to find Future Commerce. But one one thing that didn't make it to the panel that I wish we had had more time to talk about... Emily was telling me... So there a family run company. And it's a multigenerational family run company. And in many ways, that makes her role harder because she actually has the last name Sheetz.


Brian: [00:54:24] Right.


Phillip: [00:54:24] And being one of the family, she's held to a much higher standard than anyone else in that you sort of have to fight against this idea that she was hired because of the name and not because she was qualified. So if you leave the company as a family member and you come back, it's like you you have to put in the paces and you have to be at the very top of your game. And man, does she prove that in spades. Yeah. So very, very cool. And I love this idea of, you know, the hustle. And even at that large of a company size, you know, she's having to lead by example every day. I love that story. I wish we could've gotten into that a little bit more on the panel. I'd love to have them on the show.


Brian: [00:55:10] I would, too. It would be great to have both of them on the show. Yeah. I think that both make for a really, really interesting interview.


Phillip: [00:55:17] I'd personally love to hear from our audience if you were at NRF this year. What did you what did you get from NRF? You remember last year, I think we were sitting right here and we looked around and we said within eye shot, I cannot see anything that says omnichannel. Remember I said nary a mention of omnichannel?


Brian: [00:55:37] Yeah. Last year. I feel like there were more mentions of omnichannel this year than there were last year.


Phillip: [00:55:43] I think so, too. Well, that's because it's the year of the customer, Brian.


Brian: [00:55:46] That was two years ago.


Phillip: [00:55:48] I know. What is the buzz word this year?


Brian: [00:55:52] You know what? I don't even know. Which actually maybe that says something. Maybe about me or maybe about the show. But general impressions of the show actually are that it's very similar last year. I will make some comments about the Innovation Lab. Innovation Lab, I think it was even better than last year. We mentioned that it was much better organized than last year. But I don't know if that has to do with Tusk being involved. Tusk Ventures.


Phillip: [00:56:25] Yep.


Brian: [00:56:26] But having one stage was really nice, so that people could focus on that content, as opposed to like all of these scattered stages all over the place. That was kind of confusing. So I really like that. And also, I felt like the path through the Innovation Lab was a lot clearer. And also the hallway leading up to the Innovation Lab this year was lined with all these startup retailers, or not retailers but vendors, and that was also better than last year where it was just like...


Phillip: [00:56:55] Yeah, they were around the outskirts of it, right?


Brian: [00:56:57] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:56:57] It was just like a nothing lounge.


Brian: [00:57:00] Oh, no it was like one company. Like IBM. That was it.


Phillip: [00:57:03] Yeah. It was like and nothing lounge.


Brian: [00:57:07] Yeah...


Phillip: [00:57:14] Well you know, so my general impressions... I love this show.


Brian: [00:57:19] Me too.


Phillip: [00:57:21] And I don't just say that because I have to give a big hearty thanks to Alan Dick and to the NRF team.


Brian: [00:57:28] Thomas Jordan.


Phillip: [00:57:28] Thomas Jordan, and all the people who made our panel possible and made this podcast possible here. Yeah, I mean, I honestly, I love covering the show, but it's mostly because I really feel like this show being that it's right at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the year.


Brian: [00:57:47] Yeah.


Phillip: [00:57:47] In all of retail and so not to end on sort of a weird note, in the press room, there was a like a junket with a panel of economists. And what's really interesting is you have two hundred and fifty members of the press there, retail press, and we're trying to eat lunch. And we're hearing, you know, three economists give three different perspectives on where the American economy is. One person says there's no way, there's like less than a 15% chance that we'll have a recession in 2019, one says it's 50/50 and the other says, you know, it's absolutely going to happen. And so the answer is nobody really knows. But what you're seeing is, and this is a great way to close it.


Brian: [00:58:39] Yes.


Phillip: [00:58:39] When we started this show, the very first session and the very first keynote in the way that we kicked it off and the tweet that got the most engagement from the Future Commerce Twitter was this idea that millennials don't just have a shorter attention span, it's that they are highly attuned to noticing what is boring. They can recognize something boring the moment they see it and they don't want to engage with that. And I think that explains everything that's happened in retail in the past two to three years when people were calling for retail apocalypse. People just don't want to interact with things that are boring and are uninteresting. And that perfectly explains what's happening here at this show.


Brian: [00:59:20] Steve Dennis has been talking about this for like a year.


Phillip: [00:59:23] I love that.


Brian: [00:59:24] Yeah. The end of retail isn't here. It's the end of boring retail.


Phillip: [00:59:29] Yeah. The end of boring retail. In fact I would say it's the end of boring technology.


Brian: [00:59:35] It's not the end yet. It's dying.


Phillip: [00:59:37] There's this idea that... Now we haven't seen 1 877 charge backs. There's an interesting sort of subset that someone will always have to exist to service a certain type of...


Brian: [00:59:54] Yes. Okay.


Phillip: [00:59:55] What I'm saying is that there's... If you look at the main expo floor, and you see the logos that have changed over the years, the ones that are shining the brightest right now have come together through partnership and through acquisition and through mergers into not boring brands. As much as some people who want to poop on on like Salesforce and some other, they are not boring. What they are doing is actually truly engaging for a lot of companies and the WebSpheres of the world are kind of boring.


Brian: [01:00:28] Right.


Phillip: [01:00:29] And they're fading off out of existence now.


Brian: [01:00:32] It's a really, really good point. I think that it's this weird like combination of both divesting and of consolidation and the ones that are interesting, the ones that are open source, the ones that are thinking forward are gonna be successful and the ones that are relying on legacy stacks and relying on a closed minded...


Phillip: [01:00:57] They don't have a clear vision for the future.


Brian: [01:00:58] Yep.


Phillip: [01:00:59] Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you for listening. This has been great. We really appreciate it. I can't wait for, you know, the next conference. I'm sure we'll be covering Shoptalk in March.


Brian: [01:01:14] Shoptalk. I think we'll be at NRF tech.


Phillip: [01:01:17] We've got a few coming up.


Brian: [01:01:17] We'll be around.


Phillip: [01:01:22] And thank you so much to the team in NRF, National Retail Federation, for making all of this happen. And yeah, we want to hear your feedback. What did you think of NRF? We want to hear what you think of our show, so you can do that over a survey.FutureCommerce.fm. Remember to like and subscribe everywhere where podcasts are found. From Google podcasts, Apple podcasts on our website at FutureCommerce.fm. Stitcher Premium and on Spotify. And we are your trusted voice in retail tech news. With that...


Brian: [01:01:53] Retail tech is moving fast.


Phillip: [01:01:55] And Future Commerce is moving faster. Take care.