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Episode 1
June 14, 2016

Conversational Commerce: WWDC

Every announcement at Apple’s WWDC, June 16, 2016 touched on developer access to APIs and tools to develop conversational commerce. What does this mean for the future of commerce? The guys discuss how chat, voice, payments, and more are changing the landscape of commerce and bringing exciting changes to the future of how we live and interact with brands.

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Why Future Commerce?

  • Why this show, Future Commerce, is needed and what brought Phillip and Brian to begin this podcast in the first place
  • “Not every single brand out there is important and deserving of a business to consumer catalog based website where your brand is reinforced through a catalog and people are forced to register with you and sign up with you and shop with you, because that's not really how we engage in commerce in real life anymore either.” - Phillip
  • Apple Pay for the Web announced at Apple’s WWDC, which may or may not prove to be just a first step to broad adoption in the payments space
  • Microsoft bought LinkedIn for 26 billion, so you know, NBD
  • With so many chat apps, is there chat app consolidation in the future? Don’t we want to talk to people anyway? 
  • Also Siri is being open to developers now, which was also announced, which is basically catching up to what Google Now has been doing for ages
  • Could Amazon get into the wearables market and leverage their massive user base?
  • “Between all these different plays, what we're going to start to see is a different life and a different purchasing pattern for people. It's going to be so much more natural and it's going to be really effective. I think it's going to make us more efficient people.” - Brian

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Brian: [00:00:03] Welcome to the first episode of Future Commerce. I'm Brian Lange.

Phillip: [00:00:08] I'm Phillip Jackson, and this is a show that talks about Future Commerce trends in our industry. We're not talking about the stuff that's happening today. We're talking about the stuff that's going to be happening tomorrow. So thank you for joining us for our first episode.

Brian: [00:00:22] Yeah, we'll cover all kinds of different topics like conversational commerce, passive commerce, cognitive commerce. Alexa. Watson.

Phillip: [00:00:29] A little Alexa action.

Brian: [00:00:33] Yes. A little Alexa action.

Phillip: [00:00:34] And we're going to talk about some of those things that are happening in other parts of the world that you may have heard about, but you're not really engaged in. And in fact, you know, there's about a billion people on the planet now that are all shopping online via Messenger. And that's a part of conversation will be talking about at length today, actually. So what actually are you, Brian, what are you most interested in when it comes to Future Commerce? Let's kind of start there and talk about how we came up with the idea for the show.

Brian: [00:01:03] That's a good question. I think for me, I think there's just so much happening right now. And I feel like a lot of what gets covered in the industry is sort of the here and now and kind of what has been and what has been successful. And what I would really like to see is someone looking out a little bit, just a little bit further. And I think that's when you and I started talking, we were both like, there's a lot of head and, you know, we want to be able to talk about that. There's just there's not many forums to really to get out there and discuss that. So some of the things that really interest me are conversational commerce, like I mentioned. So stuff with voice, stuff with chat, and especially the voice related activities are really exciting right now. Certainly virtual reality. I think there's going to be quite a bit of a play there here not too long from now. And so, yeah, we'll definitely get the details as we do the show. But there's a couple of things that I'm really excited about.

Phillip: [00:02:09] And one of the things that I think when we were talking about these sorts of things, we actually started geeking out about the stuff before we ever talked about doing a show. And as we kind of dug into it a little bit, I realized you and I do the here and now commerce every day.

Brian: [00:02:26] Yes.

Phillip: [00:02:26] Because we're both commerce professionals and we both are engaged in digital commerce. And we hear about the stuff, and we see other people kind of talking about the future. And we decided, well since the future isn't quite here yet, let's actually talk about the future like it is here.

Brian: [00:02:43] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:02:43] Because these are things that are going to be happening all around us. So as we kind of get into the show, the next few episodes, you'll really kind of get an understanding of where we're trying to head. But I think you're going to hear us reinforce a concept from today's show forward. The concept for me, that made me want to do the Future Commerce, this podcast, is that not every single brand out there is important and deserving of a business to consumer catalog based website where your brand is reinforced through a catalog and people are forced to register with you and sign up with you and shop with you, because that's not really how we engage in commerce in real life anymore either. And so that's really where I felt like that was the thing, the Awakening, if you will, for me about what might be ahead for us. So let's talk a little bit about those things that are ahead. In fact, there were a bunch of things that were announced today. Did you watch, Brian, did you watch the WWDC Apple announcements today?

Brian: [00:03:50] I caught some snippets. I mean, between putting my kids to bed and all of that. {laughter} I kind of tried to go back and watch some chunks of it. So I cut some of the highlights. I read up a little bit on it, but I didn't get the full experience like some of you all did.

Phillip: [00:04:06] Yeah, the full experience left some people with a lot to be desired. And there's a lot of other places on the Internet that you can listen to much better Apple podcast type of reviews, very in-depth information.

Brian: [00:04:20] But although you're a little bit mad, right?

Phillip: [00:04:23] I'm a little mad because there were no hardware announcements. That notwithstanding, I felt like the two things that we could have... Actually three. Three things that I think will be the game changers in the future of the way that we engage in commerce, at least in North America, in the next five years. There were three announcements today that I think are groundbreaking. So the first one is Apple Pay for the Web. And that was huge because, you know, up till now, it required... Apple Pay requires a device in store at a cash register and it uses NFC Wireless technology, and it's been around for almost two years now, I believe. Do you have an Apple device, Brian?

Brian: [00:05:10] No, I run Google all the way.

Phillip: [00:05:11] I'm on my android, too. And that's why we're going to talk a lot about Android later. {laughter} But for all those who do have an iPhone or one of the Apple Watch devices, this is a really engaging thing because it's going to use both the Apple Watch and the touch ID, the fingerprint sensor, on the iPhone to be able to authenticate Web purchases. It's very unclear right now. I was reading a little bit through their developer documentation that's already alive and online. And it does look like they're intending this to be Safari only.

Brian: [00:05:45] Yes, that's correct. Actually, I think they're going to do a couple sessions on it tomorrow. I think it might be for developers only. There's going to be more that's released about this tomorrow.

Phillip: [00:05:56] Yeah. So we're going to find out a lot more in the future. But we heard a lot about this sort of payment breakthrough technology. And sure, there is already a payment standard, like a payment request API standard, that's being ratified from the W3C for the Web, for payments in general. So this is, Apple has promised to open source and contribute back to that some of the things that they're learning. And we're hearing a little bit from Google's open source web team at Addy Osmani and Paul Irish and some of the other people that are pretty well known in that team or have been talking about it today. But in short, it's a really good first step. But I think it's just that. It's a very small first step, right?

Brian: [00:06:40] I agree. It's got to be the beginning because there's already payment tools out there that are doing a lot more anyway.

Phillip: [00:06:47] And to be honest with you, I think this sort of thing has been available for a while. There was a press release not too long ago from Shopify about their point of sale app. So if you're a Shopify store owner, you could download and subscribe to a point of sale app from the iTunes store already, so the App Store had a Shopify like Web portal that you could pay with Apple Pay for ages now. So I don't know. That's almost 10, 12 months ago. So, you know, it's not like a quarter million websites didn't already sort of have this sort of functionality.

Brian: [00:07:24] Although it wasn't really taken advantage of, or at least they didn't feel like it was. When I was shopping on the Web. I don't really see Apple pay out there.

Phillip: [00:07:31] Yeah, it's not really out there as a payment method on the Web. And I think that's because it has been that Shopify thing is really relegated to a mobile device as your payment or shopping platform. I do expect because they are already integrated with Shopify, that we'll probably see that in the very near future.

Brian: [00:07:50] Oh, no, I think they already announced it. That's what I recall.

Phillip: [00:07:54] I was fuzzy on it too. And, you know, we'll do a little more digging, but I was fuzzy on it, too. It did sound to me like that was the intention. But all I could find after post press release was all point of sale app information. So maybe someone who's listening can chime in. We would love to hear your thoughts a little bit about that.

Brian: [00:08:11] Definitely.

Phillip: [00:08:12] But I think that's just the first step. Obviously, that is something that is happening today and other people are making breakthroughs in this space.

Brian: [00:08:19] Let me ask you a question, Phillip. Where do you see this going? I mean, what do you see kind of as the future of Apple Pay?

Phillip: [00:08:25] I mean... It obviously has to transcend Safari for it to do something groundbreaking, but I think it's more going right after PayPal's market. This is direct payments play. This is trusted payments, like trusted and secure. Like that was the big thing around this. They talked a lot about security and end to end encryption. And they talked a lot about I forget what it was like, diversified encryption or something to that effect. Like they made sure to kind of sell this as a trusted way to pay in store and online. And I think that is kind of almost verbatim PayPal's tagline of like 15 years ago. So it does look like they're very firmly going more toward the payments.

Brian: [00:09:20] Definitely kind of we've already got a user adoption on our phones. We can take that and kind of take a good chunk of PayPal's market.

Phillip: [00:09:29] Exactly. And I think, you know, PayPal stock took a tumble a few weeks ago when they did announce that they would be planning to do, you know, JavaScript SDK for Apple Pay. So I do think that the markets at least believe that PayPal is at risk because of Apple's, you know, what is it now, over a billion iPhone users in the world or something ridiculous. So, you know, I think time will tell. I think that's the play.

Brian: [00:10:01] The other thing, I think, you know, this is looking at the future. But obviously Apple is looking to make some moves in sort of the connected home. And I think, you know, this is obviously a few years out, but their payments tool might end up playing a part in that, too. And this is, again, just another step in that direction.

Phillip: [00:10:23] I like that. The home kit stuff is really intriguing to me and, you know, especially automation. We'll talk a little bit in future episodes about, you know, the kind of automation that we already have today and some of the things that may be able to happen in the future. But definitely we're seeing a lot of advancement in those areas. I think payments are becoming more accessible, especially from like a digital authentication point of view. I think trust and identity are huge. And we saw a big theme around that at some of the announcements of the WWDC. A lot of it even Mac OS level, you know, like proximity to your your Apple Watch. So I think a lot of these devices, wearables, as other players start to delve into the space, like Fitbit... Fitbit is wading into payments. And we saw Jawbone sort of fold up its wearables division. I think we're seeing a little bit of a collapse in the number of players in the wearable space. So payments and wearables are the future. And I know Visa now is has a payments ring that they're testing out at the Olympics this year.

Brian: [00:11:36] I didn't catch that. That's awesome.

Phillip: [00:11:36] Yeah, that's huge. So I do think that is the future and the idea of trust and the devices that are part of your everyday life are part of that trust circle. So, yeah, that's going to be a huge thing in the future. And I think whoever really wins the identity management game is going to be one of the major players in the payments game.

Brian: [00:12:03] So true.

Phillip: [00:12:04] And which is kind of a weird thing why this kind of melds a little bit into the LinkedIn announcement, which is a little bit like off topic, but also very, very much on topic. So, Brian, what happened today? There's a little bit of a...

Brian: [00:12:21] So Microsoft bought LinkedIn

Phillip: [00:12:25] For a ridiculous...

Brian: [00:12:27] Yeah it was twenty six billion.

Phillip: [00:12:28] Yeah. That's a thirteen Shopifys. {laughter}

Brian: [00:12:30] Or do you meet Demandware?

Phillip: [00:12:39] I was going on market cap but yes, or thirteen Demandwares. If you wanna buy thirteen Demandwares. Well a little less than thirteen.

Brian: [00:12:43] Well not quite. Not quite. A little less than that. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:12:49] Eleven. Yeah. {laughter} It's a whole lot of of cloud computing, commerce platforms, how's that? That's a lot of money. Twenty six bills.

Brian: [00:12:57] Yeah. So I think it's definitely interesting, but Microsoft is generally considered kind of behind the curve in the innovative realm.

Phillip: [00:13:08] Says the man who had a Windows phone for ages. Right?

Brian: [00:13:11] Yeah, I know. Definitely. I think I like the ideas behind the Windows phone.

Phillip: [00:13:17] You would know better than anyone wouldn't you?

Brian: [00:13:18] I mean, the idea of one operating system to rule them all was compelling to me.

Phillip: [00:13:23] The brand promise was there. That's the key.

Brian: [00:13:25] The promise was there. That's right. And I definitely I mean, I think that there's still a lot that Microsoft has going for it and buying LinkedIn, I mean, it's kind of already got the Microsoft vibe in terms of user experience. And I think, you know, there's definitely... The cool things that I can see happening out of this play are I think there could be some synergies between dynamics and LinkedIn. There's CRM. Because a lot of people do a lot of business development on LinkedIn. There's no doubt about it. I mean, actually, there's quite a few podcasts out there about that.

Phillip: [00:14:06] Right Just doing biz dev on LinkedIn.

Brian: [00:14:07] Just doing biz dev on LinkedIn. That's right. Lindsey Bogdon. So the thing about that is if they were able to actually connect that to their CRM and make them useful, I could see this being a really nice play because, you know, a lot of B2B sales and a lot of larger business sales happen via LinkedIn. And so I like it. I like it.

Phillip: [00:14:34] Can you see any effect, though, from a commerce perspective? You know, I think the the idea...

Brian: [00:14:40] I don't think Microsoft is going to do much from that perspective.

Phillip: [00:14:44] I was trying to take a spin at it. And I kind of think, you know, Microsoft has some other, you know, interesting opportunities that sort of match up with what Google and Apple are doing. Microsoft has Skype.

Brian: [00:14:58] Right. For sure.

Phillip: [00:14:59] So Microsoft has Skype. Now Microsoft has LinkedIn, which could arguably be one of the largest identity platforms. Forget the social network aside. Put that aside for a minute, because nobody really, I don't know. There are very few people that I know that are engaged every day on LinkedIn as a social media platform. It is more of, like you said, a business development tool. I think if Microsoft could have a juggernaut in the chat, conversational commerce space, if you pair their...

Brian: [00:15:33] You think you have integrated Skype into LinkedIn?

Phillip: [00:15:36] I think Skype, but seriously, now this would be the thing that even I think oh that eBay thought that they were going to do with Skype, which I think was too soon for its time, but was very forward thinking because that's what people said 15 years ago or whatever it was, 10, 12 years ago when Skype was purchased by eBay to begin with, was, you know, we don't even want to meet these people to buy stuff like on Craigslist. And you certainly don't want to chat with the person in Thailand who's shipping you the guitar that's a knockoff clone of the Fender Stratocaster you're trying to buy.

Brian: [00:16:13] Right.

Phillip: [00:16:13] Like who wants to have these face to face conversations with people because everyone saw Skype as like a long distance carrier almost.

Brian: [00:16:22] Yes. That's true.

Phillip: [00:16:23] But now that Skype has transcended that and is understood to be a chat platform and now that we have other players in the space, like Slack. Slack is dominating, both from a a business perspective and from even personal communication perspective. Slack is starting to take away market share from even WeChat. And what's the other one? WhatsApp. So and WhatsApp was like a billion dollar acquisition, too. So these are highly valued platforms with a lot of eyeballs. And I think Microsoft is building a really compelling product that could be viable for future commerce.

Brian: [00:17:01] If they can actually leverage it.

Phillip: [00:17:02] I do think that it's possible.

Brian: [00:17:05] It's possible. It's possible.

Phillip: [00:17:07] That would be the third renaissance for Microsoft, if they could pull this off.

Brian: [00:17:13] Yes. Right. It would be a beautiful thing. It's just a matter of them actually, you know, taking advantage of what they have and actually making those integrations happen.

Phillip: [00:17:24] But yeah, again, that's the future. And you know what? Apple's doing this today now. So Apple also announced the iMessage API is now going to be opened up to developers too, and along with that, a ton of revs to iMessage to make it a lot more like Snapchat, basically. I mean, there's a lot of like a very emoji image, drawing centric, a lot of facial recognition sort of stuff. Very, very interesting stuff that they're kind of doing there. So iMessage API being opened up kind of comes along with like Google's announcement with Allo and their new chat platform. I think almost bang for bang you see every single feature in both of those.

Brian: [00:18:05] Which is kind of annoying.

Phillip: [00:18:07] It's a little annoying.

Brian: [00:18:08] Like we've got a lot of chat apps right now. And I keep seeing people talking about, like, these ridiculous compilers.

Phillip: [00:18:18] Yeah, exactly.

Brian: [00:18:18] Yeah. I mean, then we're like getting to The Office. What was it Ryan invents or WUPHF or whatever it was.

Phillip: [00:18:24] Yes, WUPHF. Yeah. {laughter} Which, by the way, is one of my favorite television shows of all time. You'll hear me quote from time and time. But yes. WUPHF.

Brian: [00:18:33] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:18:34] Exactly. "Don't just say it, WUPHF it."

Brian: [00:18:37] {laughter}.

Phillip: [00:18:39] So but you know what people are saying is that there's been a lot of studies. People are saying, and I don't have the perfect data in front of me right now at the moment. But chat apps are the next breed of social networks. They're much smaller social groups. It's less about people having wide social networks and much more about having smaller social networks. In fact, I think the Pew Research Center said that the time we spend on chat applications outweigh social media two to one. So we're spending way more time on Slack at work. We're spending way more time on Facebook Messenger than we are on Facebook.

Brian: [00:19:27] Which makes sense, like, talking to people is what we want to do.

Phillip: [00:19:31] Yeah. And now iMessage is now your text message application platform. Hangouts has become the text message platform that's preferred on Google Nexus devices. We'll probably be superseded by Allo. So you will see these connected chat platforms like as if we need another fourth or fifth one of these, but you'll start to see a condensing in the space. I think the three major, four major players in the space will...

Brian: [00:19:56] Hopefully consolidate.

Phillip: [00:19:58] Yeah, I hope we do see some consolidation, but I think just having open APIs will allow a lot of interesting companies. Companies like Live Person. Do you know Live Person? So Live Person is a like a third party chat application that can sort of plug into AOL Instant Messenger and/or its own little, you know, hosted Java Web app or something. But it's like that thing that you paste on your website if you want to annoy people after they've been there for ten seconds and haven't bought something yet to like push people in your conversion funnel. It can also be used for customer support. Live Person is pivoting. Live Person is also now starting to talk about conversational commerce and how the commerce decisions that are made in conversation have always shown higher conversion rates and higher average basket size. So now bringing some AI to the mix and taking those off of just the like the JavaScript widget that you stick on your website and actually pushing people to the platforms where they already are, like Facebook Messenger. That is the next generation of people who have been doing this well for a long time.

Brian: [00:21:09] Yeah. And I think the other thing that we'll see is people will, each platform of defiance niche. I mean, that's just the natural effects of competition in order to drive users, to get users to adopt their platform they're going to start building out different functionality that's really going to set them apart, which will be really nice. I think, right now, a lot of the chat apps, the way that I use them at least, I'm doing basically the same thing with all of them, which is chat with people.

Phillip: [00:21:41] But don't you feel like your circles are much more closely defined, like, for instance, on Facebook? There are people that I know in real life and I really don't accept someone on Facebook as a friend request, unless... That is a glimpse into my real life. There are pictures of my kids. So it's like a much more personal connection with people as opposed to a Slack group that I happen to be part of, which is not necessarily my work group, although there might be people from work on that Slack group, but it might be like a Magento developers Slack group or something. So I think our circles are already being aggregated into different platforms just by virtue of the way that we use social media today.

Brian: [00:22:29] Yeah, I think another good example of this is WeChat. Actually, Connie Chan from A16Z talked about this quite a bit in an article she wrote back in 2015.

Phillip: [00:22:41] Wow.

Brian: [00:22:41] Where she talked about how WeChat really like they were kind of the late comer because Weibo was way down the road, and so they focused a lot more on kind of a system that prioritizes usefulness and functionality above everything else, as opposed to sort of a social channel.

Phillip: [00:23:06] Right.

Brian: [00:23:06] And that helped them, I mean, really become the monster that they are now. And so I think that's going to happen in different ways throughout this whole industry.

Phillip: [00:23:18] Do you think that there's a lot of overlap in people? We just talked about the fact that you and I are both on two or three message platforms. Do you think Weibo and WeChat have... Is there a bifurcation there? Are there a lot of people that use both because that's where a lot of people happen to be in different social circles?

Brian: [00:23:31] Yeah, I think they use both. Definitely. I mean, obviously, I mean, I'm not using Weibo, so I don't really know from personal experience if I would want to use both. But I think they really definitely kind of carved out their own markets, and I think that people use them to accomplish different things. Could one of them sort of take over the other's market? Probably. I mean, I think that's true for any of these companies.

Phillip: [00:23:59] But at like five hundred million users or almost a billion users between one or two of them. That would be a pretty massive consolidation.

Brian: [00:24:10] That would be a massive consolidation. That's absolutely right. Yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:24:13] Yeah. It's really interesting because now that we're talking about Weibo and WeChat, the demo that they gave for the iMessage API announcement was like they demoed, you know, all the features of iMessage. But the API openness demo was a restaurant I like to go to in the valley called Curry Up Now. There's one in San Mateo that we usually drop by when I'm out there to visit my sister in law and brother in law. And so their demo app was to have like a group lunch order at the office or whatever. It's like, well, "We're ordering from Curry Up Now. What do you want?" And you can, like, see the whole menu. You can add whatever you want.

Brian: [00:24:58] That's sweet.

Phillip: [00:24:58] Yeah. And then it's one group shopping cart that you all make a group decision on. And then when you're ready to purchase, you can just pay for it with Apple Pay. So very, very cool, but not necessarily... Speaking of Weibo and WeChat, this is how commerce is being conducted right now, already on those platforms in China.

Brian: [00:25:21] It's not ground breaking stuff.

Phillip: [00:25:21] Right. So those are things that are not a future. That's like past three years ago commerce. Alibaba and a lot of... Alipay... Have sort of already penetrated those markets and made those sorts of things possible.

Brian: [00:25:36] Totally. It's kind of funny. I just read recently, and I forget where I read this, that the experience of China is like the worst of the Internet and the best of the Internet at the exact same. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:25:47] {laughter} Yes. Exactly. Well, you think about it this way, we don't have a billion people to have to contend with in the United States. I mean, we have a third of that maybe. And that's every man, woman, and child. So we've not decided yet that it's infeasible for us to create branded B2C websites for literally every business.

Brian: [00:26:12] Wait, aren't we already there?

Phillip: [00:26:12] We're not just given up on that pipe dream. And I think hopefully we do. I don't think everybody needs a... I'm going to keep reinforcing that point. I think that's why this is so compelling for Curry Up Now to put their investment in a place where I want to order from  my pizza joint on text message. That would be amazing.

Brian: [00:26:39] I would way rather do that than go to Pizza Hut.

Phillip: [00:26:40] I don't want to install your app. I don't want to go to your website, which is broken and has PHP errors on it. I just want, like, the same pie. I always get it. Like, that's all I want. It's all I've ever wanted, Brian.

Brian: [00:26:53] Exactly. Exactly. I mean, is that what everyone wants?

Phillip: [00:26:56] In fact I don't even want to type it. I don't want to type it. I just want to speak it out loud.

Brian: [00:27:01] That's right. That gets into our next topic.

Phillip: [00:27:05] {laughter} Exactly. I'm so lazy. I don't even want to use my thumbs.

Brian: [00:27:08] Didn't Domino's kind of actually do that? Like they were kind of a front runner in that realm.

Phillip: [00:27:12] And do what exactly?

Brian: [00:27:14] Ask Dom. Remember that?

Phillip: [00:27:16] Dude. That was a thing.

Brian: [00:27:17] That was a thing. It's still kind of a thing, I think. I haven't actually done it because we don't really have any Domino's nearby.

Phillip: [00:27:21] Oh, you don't?

Brian: [00:27:22] No.

Phillip: [00:27:24] You don't have a steaming circle of botulism near you?

Brian: [00:27:28] Oh, no. We have some of those, but they're not Domino's.

Phillip: [00:27:34] Yeah. So the Siri API was also announced today. They're opening a Siri to developers, which if you are a fan of Amazon and Alexa and all those good things, these are things that have been around for over a year for developers of those technologies.

Brian: [00:27:55] And so, again, this is kind of a me too play by Apple. Like if they didn't do this, they would've been...

Phillip: [00:28:02] They were the first to market.

Brian: [00:28:03] They were the first to market. Exactly.

Phillip: [00:28:05] They were the first.

Brian: [00:28:06] Yes, they were the first. Siri was hot stuff back in the day.

Phillip: [00:28:09] Yeah. Google Now was the me too play and Google Now has far surpassed anything Siri can do. In fact all the Siri additional announcements that were made today were all very much catching up to what Google Now has been able to do for ages. But to the credit of Apple, they every single desktop computer that they have will be able to run Siri come the fall.

Brian: [00:28:35] Well, again, that's a me too play with Microsoft because Cortana has been on Windows 10 forever.

Phillip: [00:28:42] And they've been putting the gun to people's heads to update to Windows Ten for at least a year.

Brian: [00:28:50] I read some interesting stat. Where was this? Was this Mary Meeker's report? I can't remember what it was, but I think like it was like 25 percent of searches in the toolbar of Windows Ten more voice searches.

Phillip: [00:29:04] Yeah, well, it is phenomenal when you think of it from an accessibility point of view, your voice is... The people that are physically impaired to be able to use like a physical device they have much larger complications than people who are still able to speak. If you're blind, you can likely speak. You know, people that have various degrees of deafness can still probably interact in some way. But when you have no other touch interaction, no other display of interaction, when it's just your voice, it is the most simplest human interface that there is.

Brian: [00:29:45] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:29:46] And it's incredibly intuitive, like especially when you do it as well as Amazon has done.

Brian: [00:29:49] Yes. We haven't touched on that yet.

Phillip: [00:29:53] Oh we haven't. In the commerce experiences that I've had with Amazon's conversational the spoken word commerce experiences that I've had with the Alexa devices that I own, of which I have two Echos and a Dot now. But my fascination with that extends to the fact that my four and five year old knew how to use it within three seconds of me opening it up.

Brian: [00:30:14] Exactly. That's how my kids learned how to tell time instead of reading it out of a book. I mean, yes, they're doing that too. But no, I mean, it was like my five year old son came to me and said, "Hey, dad, what time is is?" I was like, "Ask Alexa." And he got the time.

Phillip: [00:30:35] Exactly. And those are the things that I think because, you know, you think about how...

Brian: [00:30:41] I just cued Alexa there, by the way.

Phillip: [00:30:43] Did you really?

[00:30:46] Speaking of which, a little preview. We might have, Alexa, as a guest on our show.

Phillip: [00:30:49] Yes. Yes. We're going to have to have that happen. I'm really excited about that, too. So, you know, it's one of those emerging technologies. I think, you know, if Amazon doesn't squander this the way that Apple has squandered Siri and that, you know, three year lead time they had with the iPhone 4 and the Siri built and the Siri functionality, you could do some of the stuff. To be fair, you could do a lot with Siri right out of the gate. But to not open it up to developers and to not sort of crowdsource the wisdom... It's the wisdom of the crowd that James Surowiecki sort of like approach where the crowd will always... The developer community that Apple has, first of all, is phenomenal and fanatical. And if you can allow them to tap into that interface like they've done with the iOS store, there really could be... It would become a juggernaut. But they're so far behind the curve now.

Brian: [00:31:56] Yeah it would. The question is are they going to get there too late?

Phillip: [00:32:00] They are late.

Brian: [00:32:01] They're already late.

Phillip: [00:32:01] Yeah, Amazon already has a built-In marketplace of, you know, millions of businesses that sell products through Amazon. Apple does not have that.

Brian: [00:32:11] Yes. Follow the money.

Phillip: [00:32:14] Yeah. I mean, Apple's best play here is that they have a big retail presence with Apple Pay now. They have a big partnership with a lot of device manufacturers who have integrated Apple Pay functionality into their sites. Apple Pay works on a DPAN, just kind of little inside baseball. But Apple Pay works the same way that all of the other mobile chat approaches and all of the third party payment providers are using now, including Chase payment tech, the American Express Payment Solution. Now, even PayPal. They're all using this DPAN approach where really it's like one time use credit card numbers with a single use, single off key. So really, everybody sort of it doesn't really matter that it's a hardware device or the medium anymore. Everybody's kind of moved to this model. And really Apple's only play and their only specialization is that they really try to do one thing and do it extremely well, or at least that's what they used to do. But Amazon has the retail component down. You know, Apple will rely, outside of its retail stores, Apple relies 100 percent on partners and other people to implement. And if there's anything that I've seen in the payment space is that when you rely on partners to implement, you will always have an experience that is second rate.

Brian: [00:33:45] It could be. Yeah, yeah. I mean it will be for some people.

Phillip: [00:33:47] And that's why Amazon works so well. Yeah. Yeah. And you saw this with eBay. eBay had this exact same conundrum with a lot of its acquisitions in that, you know, things that were compelling, like Red Laser and Fido and a lot of really interesting niche plays that sort of get gobbled up and never really find their way into mass adoption, because it really relies on third party. They resold the product as a pairing or an up sell or an add on, and in actuality, that should have been the whole focus of their business. And Apple has a lot of things that it's doing very well. But Apple's retail presence right now really depends on Shopify and it depends on maybe they get Demandware and they can get on five more stores or however many Demandware stores there are nowadays. But it's going to depend on partnerships with already large install bases.

Brian: [00:34:49] Yeah. Speaking of payments, let's go back to that for a second.

Phillip: [00:34:53] Sure.

Brian: [00:34:53] Because we talked about Apple Pay, but we mentioned a few others. But there are like 20 payment providers out there right now. It's crazy.

Phillip: [00:35:07] It's a massive space.

Brian: [00:35:07] Amazon has one. Visa checkout. Samsung. Android. Stripe. Chase just released theirs. It's getting out of control. There's so many different payment solutions. Something's going to give somewhere.

Phillip: [00:35:25] Well, so this might be and this is interesting because PayPal had a very difficult battle to face with gaining like brand recognition and trust in the beginning. But now I think we're all very aware of what that model is and there's a lot of trust online with placing payments and placing credit card purchases, so I don't know. I think there's a lot of room in the space for innovation. Is PayPal going to be the one to innovate? I don't know. Amazon? Amazon has a phenomenal payments experience.

Brian: [00:36:09] Oh yeah.

Phillip: [00:36:09] In fact, I used Amazon on Kickstarter not too long ago.

Brian: [00:36:13] It's one of the easiest by far.

Phillip: [00:36:15] Yes, I think it's great. The thing that concerns me is I buy a lot of things on Amazon, like all kinds of things. I don't know if there's a lot of things I have bought on Amazon that I would want to share my data with somebody else, some Amazon partner. So I don't know. I don't know. Amazon, it's weird.

Brian: [00:36:36] So the place where I see Amazon payments, really, I mean, really taking hold is, you know, once we can start, as long as Amazon actually keeps Alexa open, which I think they will.

Phillip: [00:36:51] Yeah.

Brian: [00:36:52] What they might do is sort of force everyone to use their payment service through Alexa and take a kind of every little transaction that comes through. Well, really any of their channels.

Phillip: [00:37:13] Really. Yeah. They get paid like five ways. Right? They're going to get paid because anything that you develop as an Alexa scale will be...

Brian: [00:37:23] They'll take a cut.

Phillip: [00:37:23] Yeah. They'll take it out of the AWS lambda charge. They'll get paid for the infrastructure and the data interchange, then they're going to get paid for the payment. Then you probably bought it on a marketplace where they're going to get a payment, you know, the payment going the other way to the merchant. They're going to take a cut of that.

Brian: [00:37:42] And then they're taking out of payments.

Phillip: [00:37:44] Yeah, I mean, they get like, yeah, they get six cuts of the pie.

Brian: [00:37:49] Which hopefully they'll consolidate that to something that people can actually bite in to.

Phillip: [00:37:54] So what do you think the future looks like of where they're going? Beyond Alexa's... No. Shut up, Alexa.

Brian: [00:38:06] She who shall not be named.

Phillip: [00:38:08] So. Yeah. What does the future look like? Let's kind of take it back from there. What does the future look like out beyond the standalone devices like the Echo?

Brian: [00:38:24] That's a good question, I think as Amazon begins to take some of these sort of stand alone products, we already mentioned that payments combined with that Echo, I think we could start to see a future that is driven by Alexa everywhere, if you will.

Phillip: [00:38:50] Right.

Brian: [00:38:50] Right? So it may be Alexa becomes more than just something that we can purchase things with through our Echoes, but something that sticks with us throughout the entire day.

Phillip: [00:39:05] Like a wearable or on your phone or what? Like how do you see that?

Brian: [00:39:08] Yeah, device agnostic.

Phillip: [00:39:11] But the problem is they're never going to have the leg up that, you know, Apple or Google are going to have because Apple and Google have the ability to do the like device daydream like wake state thing like the Echo has with a command word that makes it listen. They're never going to open up that ability on the phones to Amazon. It's just never going to happen. They in fact, they just changed, this happened not too long ago. They ripped down, this is so inside baseball, but I think it's worth mentioning... The Apple App Store actually took down what is it called? There's the color shift application that changes your phone from like a bluish tent to a yellowish tint. It's like, I can't remember the name of the application right now, but you know what I'm talking about. Right? Right. So it's supposed to be easier on the eyes, helps with concentration. If you're looking at your phone at night time, it's supposed to help you.

Brian: [00:40:13] It's call something...

Phillip: [00:40:16] I cannot remember right now. I always do this to myself. I bring up things that I'm not prepared to talk about. But they said they said the reason that they pulled it off the App Store was not because in the brand new iOS 9 that that functionality was bundled in, which everybody was the conspiracy theorists kind of came out and said that that's what it was. It actually was because the app developer was using a hack or a workaround to keep the app running and at attention in the background at all times by playing a silent audio file. And this was like a hack that had been developed by Facebook to keep Facebook at the forefront all the time and running. And that's why people have complained about Facebook having bad battery life on your phone. This is the reason why is because they want Facebook to always be running and always at attention. So not just push notifications come through, but literally everything is always there and at your fingertips.

Brian: [00:41:17] Forefront. Interesting.

Phillip: [00:41:17] But the problem with that, especially like from a Facebook messenger standpoint, the problem is that them closing that loophole shut out a bunch of developers from having the ability to have the phone be able to ambiently be available at all times. And so unless they purposely make the command word, stand at attention sort of word available, which is available right now. You can say, "Hey, Siri," you can say, you know, the Alexa A word, which I'm trying to... If you a pause after saying that word, she wakes up, and I don't want to wake her up right now.

Brian: [00:41:55] Every time.

Phillip: [00:41:55] But the idea is there are these words that activate those devices and that's how they become so commonplace in our life, is there are always there at the ready. Amazon has to transcend that. Now, I know that they have the Fire tablets.

Brian: [00:42:10] Right. So the question is, would they ever try to release the phone ever again after the shame that was the Fire phone?

Phillip: [00:42:18] Yeah, it's such a shame, because if... And I'm not a fanboy by any means. I think I had a Fire tablet, the very first one ever.

Brian: [00:42:27] Yeah. I've had a couple.

Phillip: [00:42:27] I also used to have the Kindle. I used to have that, so their devices aren't bad,

Brian: [00:42:39] Especially the price point.

Phillip: [00:42:40] I know. Especially at the price point, you know, it's always the loss leader sort of like philosophy. It's the Gillette. You know, we'll make the money on the razors, and we'll give away the blade.

Brian: [00:42:48] Which is so surprising.

Phillip: [00:42:50] Right.

Brian: [00:42:50] Like when they introduced the phone at, like, what was it, like eight hundred dollars or six hundred dollars?

Phillip: [00:42:54] Yeah, I think they got too big for the britches and thought they were Google.

Brian: [00:42:57] I think you're right. I think they tried, they said, "Hey, we're able to compete with Google," instead of sticking to the formula that's benefited them for so long.

Phillip: [00:43:06] I just don't see them being able to compete and have the platform pervasiveness into the future the way that Google and Apple can. But they certainly have the marketplace. So there's going to have to... I guess what I'm trying to go and what I'm trying to tease out is there is a breed of product, a channel or a niche of a product that is going to exist in the wearable space that I think will bring Alexa to everybody.

Brian: [00:43:35] Yes.

Phillip: [00:43:36] But we don't know what that is yet because it's not here.

Brian: [00:43:39] Well, they introduced the Tap, which is sort of their first foray into that.

Phillip: [00:43:43] Is it, though?

Brian: [00:43:45] Kind of. I mean, if you watch the commercial that's what they were trying to say it was. I feel like Alexa everywhere.

Phillip: [00:43:52] This is me surreptitiously typing in the background so I can see what... Oh, the Tap. Yeah. But it's like, yes, yes, yes. It's like a battery powered Bluetooth speaker you can take anywhere and use it. And because it's Bluetooth it could use your phone as the data connection. That's genius. Yeah. It has to get much smaller, you know.

Brian: [00:44:07] Yeah. They'll find ways around it and eventually I think they'll probably release a phone or another device of some sort that we'll want to take with this everywhere. Maybe I don't even know. I mean, maybe it will be some kind of device that goes around our ear or maybe it'll be integrated into...

Phillip: [00:44:28] Like headphones?

Brian: [00:44:30] Or glasses. I don't know.

Phillip: [00:44:30] You know, what I would totally buy? What would be phenomenal? I wear Apple headphones all the time for doing work and listening to music. I find them to be very, very comfortable. I know people, some people, complain about them. I've never had a problem with them. If I had a Bluetooth version of that that I had, like, you know, that had sort of that Alexa thing built-in? That'd be phenomenal.

Brian: [00:44:52] Yeah. I totally agree.

Phillip: [00:44:52] So like a Beats play. Like Amazon having a Beats play. Kind of like Apple has a Beats to play. I don't know.

Brian: [00:45:01] That's a possibility. Yeah. That could be interesting. I wouldn't rule it out.

Phillip: [00:45:06] Yeah. So I think the wearable space is probably the only... I don't know how else they could get in there and that might actually even be able to if it was a wearable...

Brian: [00:45:14] Ok I got one other way they could get in there.

Phillip: [00:45:15] Yeah. Yeah. Get in there.

Brian: [00:45:16] Microsoft. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:45:21] {laughter} They could buy LinkedIn from Microsoft.

Brian: [00:45:23] They could buy LinkedIn from Microsoft. No, no, no, no. What I'm saying is, I mean, I don't know. Microsoft might get desperate...

Phillip: [00:45:30] Like a partnership.

Brian: [00:45:31] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, Cortana is awesome. I actually really like Cortana, no doubt about it. But Microsoft might be looking for a way to get more users. And I could see a desperation play.

Phillip: [00:45:45] I mean, there's a lot of people that are coming up in the space that I think have not come into these conversations that I think have big interests in commerce. Like Adobe. Right.

Brian: [00:45:45] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:46:00] I think there's a lot of massive players out there who we've not heard from that I think will continue if they venture in and make the foray into the mix of digital commerce, I think it really could disrupt the whole market. But I think right now we're...

Brian: [00:46:19] Which they are trying to.

Phillip: [00:46:20] It's obvious. I mean, the purchase of Omniture was a big play in the space of big data, and their marketing cloud, the marketing platform.

Brian: [00:46:29] But I think they bid on Hybris.

Phillip: [00:46:30] That's what I hear. That's some hearsay. That's some hearsay.

Brian: [00:46:34] Strongly suspected on Demandware. Yeah. No, no, no. I think Hybris is documented, isn't it? I mean, Demandware was hearsay, but very strong.

Phillip: [00:46:45] Very, very strong hearsay. I was at IRCE with you, in IRCE 2016. We were in Chicago, and I kept hearing this from like various people that Adobe is in the market to purchase a cloud commerce platform. But you know what I think is the commerce platforms that exist right now, and this actually might be a good place to sort of... Man, we have so much more to talk about, but we're so chatty. But I think the commerce platforms of the future have to be very focused on, I use air quotes, omnichannel. The channels of the future don't look like the channels of today. And the channels of the future look a lot more like Facebook Messenger and Siri voice integration. And they look a lot less like, which would make sure that that's not like a porn domain. Bob's tackle shop, Dotcom is a very, very safe parked domain that you could all visit right now. But yeah, I would just say that those commerce platforms of the future need to get away from the lowest common denominator of commerce that we exist in today and look toward servicing the a worldwide audience that is engaging in a lot of different ways and also just device continuity like online, on chat, on text, on mobile apps.

Brian: [00:48:25] Yeah, well. And how bots might play into that.

Phillip: [00:48:28] So you guys see right here, there's so much opportunity for us to talk about the future of Future Commerce. Brian, as we kind of close here, can you tell us what all we have to look forward to, like the kinds of topics we'll be covering here in the near future?

Brian: [00:48:42] Sure, I mean, bots, talking about obviously a lot of voice, a lot on Google Home.

Phillip: [00:48:52] Oh, my gosh, there's so much there. Google Home and Nest and all that stuff.

Brian: [00:48:55] Watson, IBM, Watson and Cognitive Commerce. That's a huge play. Actually, IBM dumping all of their chips, not all of them, but a lot of chips.

Phillip: [00:49:05] And chips are blue. They're blue chips.

Brian: [00:49:08] They are blue. That's right.

Phillip: [00:49:11] Yeah. And there's so much in the realm of, like you said, the ultra future stuff. I think like cognitive commerce, virtual reality, ambient commerce, the things that we don't even know that we need that will arrive.

Brian: [00:49:28] There's some stories of the future, I think here.

Phillip: [00:49:34] Yeah.

Brian: [00:49:34] Between all these different plays what we're going to start to see is a different a life and a different purchasing pattern for people. It's going to be so much more natural and it's going to be really effective. I think it's going to make us more efficient people.

Phillip: [00:49:52] Yeah. And I think that's that's it too, as we sort of close out, Future Commerce is going to be all about how people interact engage with businesses and brands, but also how really how we do business and how brands and businesses can bring products and solve problems and bring products to customers who are looking for them. So I really think there's so much in the realm of AI and machine learning and all these things that I think are our cutting edge that we're going to be able to talk to. We're going to get some of the top minds in this space to come and tell their stories to you as well. So anything else you have left to say before we close?

Brian: [00:50:41] I mean, we're going to have some fun little segments in the future as well. And we'll be talking about Amazon skills. We'll have a little segment on that. And, you know, other fun stuff that we're going to do. So I think it's going to be a lot of fun. There's going to be a lot to talk about. There's going to be a lot that we're going to do. Like we said before, we're going to have Alexa on the show. It's going to be a good time. I'm looking forward to it.

Phillip: [00:51:05] I am, too. Thanks, Brian. And so you can catch us online at, and and we want to hear from you. So if you could leave a comment below, check out the show notes for a little bit more in depth, and hit some of the links there. If you're on iTunes, please subscribe and give us a five star and check out some of the other podcasts from some of our friends. They'll be linked down below at the bottom of the site. Until then, I'm Phillip

Brian: [00:51:35] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:51:35] And this is Future Commerce.

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