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Episode 55
December 18, 2017

Don't Underestimate What Can Happen in Just 1 Year

Future Commerce is making predictions all the time - so predicting the future of retail is right in our wheel house! Episode 55 is about making predictions for the coming retail year - from "experience" to flagships, to tech adoption and consumer sentiment - we cover it all. Plus, we're joined by Danny Sepulveda with our weekly Future Policy segment.

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"You just went super future on me, man, and I love it." We do predictions as only Future Commerce can - with honest insight into what the retail year ahead in 2018 may hold. Buckle up - it's a fast and furious ride!

Let us know your predictions for 2018! Who knows, maybe we'll share them on the show. Go super future on us, we'll love it.

Applause, Applause:

  • Congratulation Google 5 Home Mini winners! Thanks, and congratulations to all the winners.
  • Remember to sign up for our FC Insiders for more weekly content and giveaways.


  • We reserve the right to predict more things as the year goes on.
  • A wise person once said: "How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?"

Round 1

Rolling thunder round: retail consolidation:

  • More retailers that don't belong in the landscape will go out of business.
  • We'll continue to see retailers coming together that belong together
  • And we'll continue to see a weeding out of retailers that belong in the landscape.
  • Invest in tech. If you can't invest in tech, you're marching toward bankruptcy.
  • We'll see more services like Westfield's OneMarket: retailers sharing data and tech to provide high end experiences for their customers.
  • Physical space is no longer at a premium.
  • The premium space will be experiences in, and access to, tech and data.
  • Philip's challenge: if you can only come up with technology for technology's tech, then you're in for some woes in your business.

Round 2

Flagship retail will move to true showroom:

  • We'll see more stores without any merchandise because they're:
  • Easier to stand up.
  • Easier to roll into markets.
  • Require less commitment.
  • They'll give digital consumers the ability to have the tactile experience
  • We'll have more experiential retail.
  • Delayed gratification can work in a retailer's favor: 48 hours for a product is a trained expectation, and an experiential showroom can leverage this expectation in your favor.

Round 3


  • Glossier is already pointing in this direction.
  • We'll see more and more 1 to 1 personalization at a product level.
  • Retailers will be able to have more customizable products based on your data.  
  • Imagine perfectly fitted hammers for your little hands: do it soon, hammer companies.
  • Future plug: R Riveter is coming on the show to talk about innovation in their manufacturing process soon.
  • Brian Says: "Expect to see improvements in manufacturing that result in hyper personalization in products and even services."
  • Change in supply chain and manufacturing will allow for more personalized products.
  • A company called ubiome has a product called smart gut: probiotics tailored to you.
  • Whether you like that with that is irrelevant, we're going to see more and more of this type of specialization.

Round 4

More instability in marketplace security:

  • Yet another Fortune 500 will succumb to a massive data breach like Uber's data breach that it kept under wraps for 14 months or so.
  • These data breaches are just following the economics of where people happen to be and be shopping.
  • Recently, Starbucks access points in Argentina were compromised for bitcoin mining.
  • It's not that retail is under attack, it's that all the eyeballs are heading there.
  • Macs serve as an example: they were insulated for so many years not because they were so secure, but because they had less market share.
  • These insecurities will become a fact of life.

FUTURE POLICY Ecommerce and job disruption:

  • When deciding policy, you bring in experts who can bring data to the conversation.
  • Nobody really knows what the impact will really be. But you do have analogs to look at to predict future possibilities.  
  • If robotics in automation just affect specific companies in specific places, then the idea that we should let things be is correct.
  • If automation is economically structural, then we have a communal responsibility to deal with this structurally.
  • Think globalization and trade: the same conversations happened on both sides.  
  • There are free and open market debates vs. we should close off our borders and insure our jobs stay as they are vs. the middle ground where we believe there's a net/net good outcome, but we ought to provide assistant for workers whose jobs are lost.
  • The problem is it worked in a geographically lopsided way.
  • It worked in California, but not in coal mining regions.
  • It's the same problem with retail: there are more ecommerce jobs being created than local retail jobs being lost.\ But you have a geography problem again.
  • The distribution of ecommerce goods is concentrated.
  • And that causes huge disruptions in areas where people are losing their jobs.
  • The next part of the challenge is republicans and democrats coming together and dealing with what we could and should do about this emerging lopsided job problem.

Round 5

Identity management and persistent login and single sign on will advance:

  • Amazon will really push on this. It's already available, but marketed poorly.
  • More control over single sign on.
  • Amazon will lead.
  • Payments companies can move into log on beyond just payments.
  • Brian says, "I would rather run my life through Amazon."
  • Google has made single sign on really convenient in their ecosystem.
  • Brendan Eich recently started a nonprofit called Brave that values privacy over all else.\ There's a growing trend of heightened consciousness of security and identity management and more tools to manage them coming in 2018.

Round 6

AR proliferation - of the Merchant-enablement variety:

  • It's not ubiquitous yet, but a lot of companies are investing in it.
  • A lot of interesting "AR lite" experiences already.
  • Amazon is testing AR to let you see furniture in your own rooms.
  • Target has a lego display that uses their app for AR experiences in store.
  • Ultimately, we'll see ad tech advancements in this field.
  • A lot more AR but specifically around tool enablement and Ad Tech for commerce.
  • You don't need tech to create an experience, instead AR is a tech to help retailers, not a gimmick for experiences.

Round 7 Brian's biggest prediction of the year: personal big data:

  • The New York Times explored mining your own personal data back in 2012 using your own email.
  • In 2018 the digital data we have is massive.
  • Each person is their own set of big data: body, health, financial, purchasing, relationship and social, personality, location, time, usage, efficiency data, and reading history, browsing history,  search history, chat and voice history.
  • There's a great Ted Talk by Talithia Williams on owning your own body's data.
  • But the trend is restarting a general market idea about people leveraging their own data to make better decisions and have better lives.
  • Merchants: help your customers use their data.
  • We're not all about converging on the spot, we're about lifetime customer value.
  • The best way to make a repeat customer is to help them make better decisions with their data.
  • Look for tools to help customers understand their own patterns and trends.
  • Give them the ability to do what they should do or want to do with that data.  
  • Businesses and merchants have the opportunity to be transparent about how data is used and can really allow customers to use it in the same way that businesses do it.

Round 8

Two-part prediction: AI and American decline in tech supremacy:


  • Businesses are battling market fatigue around machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • Much like watson has become a brand, AI terms are becoming brand terms.
  • Example - Shopify Hatchful: they launched an actual branding assistant that didn't do anything that couldn't be human curated. It was nothing more than a brand term.
  • At the same time, China is starting to grow leaps and bounds ahead of the US in artificial intelligence.
  • Eric Schmidt said that the US needs to get its act together in AI competition with China.
  • It's not going to bode well for us is a more stringent globalization economic policy in the us with a more astringent guidelines around immigration will create a brain drain in the US


  • Market fatigue and overuse of term AI will lead to stagnation and apathy and we'll lose the global race to artificial intelligence dominance which will lead to jobs overseas, which might then lead to new and interesting products that are actually in markets outside the US first.
  • We'll then have to experience something that we haven't had to yet: that other markets are more competitive than us, and products won't be English language first, and maybe not US dollar based.
  • All of these technologies will become part of a larger whole.
  • The thing that emerges from the ashes of those sorts of tech terms will be brand.
  • Brand affinity and inspiration from brands is powered from how they fit into your life and the things you identify with and integrate into your life.

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!

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Phillip: [00:01:05] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. Rated as top five podcasts for consumer brands by Bobsled marketing, I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:13] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:14] And before we begin, we gave away five Google Home Minis to five special people who were chosen at random from our list of FC insiders. So we'll be doing more giveaways in the future and we're really glad. Thanks and congratulations to all our winners. And I just reminder from Run-D.M.C. Never Steal from Santa because that ain't right. So you have a very merry holiday. Go over to and subscribe to FC insiders and you can get all of that merry holiday news goodness and your weekly dose of Future Commerce in your inbox. So make sure you head on over to to get that.

Brian: [00:01:54] Your exclusive FC insiders content article is coming up.

Phillip: [00:01:59] Yes. Coming up really soon.

Brian: [00:02:01] Later this month. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:02:01] That's right.

Brian: [00:02:02] You do not want to miss that. I don't know if you've listened to the last two exclusives for FC insiders. I've done one and Phillip's done one. They were both really fun. Definitely worth your time. And you do not want to miss Phillip's next one. So if you're not signed up for the email, there is a real exclusive content.

Phillip: [00:02:23] Yes.

Brian: [00:02:23] And it is really good. So don't miss it.

Phillip: [00:02:26] Great. Okay. So we are going to do something that we should have done last year. We didn't really do last year, which is we're gonna do a legitimate predictions episode. And now we're gonna predict the future of commerce for 2018 from a 2017 perspective.

Brian: [00:02:44] Although let me point out. Oh, I cut you off. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:02:46] No, no, no. Go ahead. Because I want to be cut off.

Brian: [00:02:50] Let me put something out. We kind of do this all the time. So.

Phillip: [00:02:54] Right. So it's a little... It's just basically another episode. No I'm just kidding.

Brian: [00:02:57] {laughter} A little bit. I'm sort of clarifying our episode and saying that we reserve the right to predict more things as the year goes on. And we will do that.

Phillip: [00:03:11] Yeah, but as is true to form for us. We have a lot of big ideas. And so we're gonna try to narrow them into what can be accomplished in a single year. I heard a wise person say one time that most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in 10. So we're gonna try to scale it back for the year and right size some of these predictions.

Brian: [00:03:34] Yeah. And in the words of Peter Thiel, make your ten year goals your six month goals. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:03:41] Not everybody's Peter Thiel. Okay, here we go. So we're just gonna go. We're gonna lightning round right through because we've got a lot to talk about. And now we have a lot of probably want to go deep on a couple of these. So, Brian, I'll let you, I'll hat tip to you and give you the first round for predictions.

Brian: [00:03:56] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:03:56] 2018 predictions from Future Commerce Brian Lange. Go.

Brian: [00:03:59] Round One. Fight. Yes. Here's a prediction. And we're already seeing this. I think we're going to see it a lot more next year. There's going to be more consolidation in retail. We're going to see more retailers that really don't belong in the landscape go out of business. We're going to see more acquisitions. We're going to continue to see sort of the push towards bringing retailers together that really belong together and weeding out some of the maybe the ones that aren't necessary anymore. I think this really gets back to the conversation that we had with Saku, I think in our first conversation with her. It's the one that we quoted in Episode 50 where essentially she kind of outlined that, you know, retailers are really going to need to embrace technology. And I sort of jokingly, half jokingly, said, "Well, that means that if you can't afford this tech, maybe you should get out of business."

Phillip: [00:05:01] {laughter}

Brian: [00:05:01] And there's sort of a I think there's some truth to that in that consumers are expecting experiences that cost a lot of money. And so you need to be ready to invest in tech this coming year. And if you can't invest in tech, that's just another sign that you're marching towards bankruptcy.

Phillip: [00:05:24] Wow. That's... OK, so. Ouch.

Brian: [00:05:26] Well, I'll add on to that, though. I think what we'll do to see is sort of mitigate this. And this has already happened this year. But I think it's going to come into a much clearer light and more retailers are going to see kinds of services like Westfield's One Market which spun out of Westfield Labs, which is essentially a way for retailers to share data and tech, to provide high end experiences and innovative experiences for their customers, the types of experiences that the 2018 customer is demanding as a part of a network. Westfield is traditionally known for malls. And I feel like this is sort of a good extension of malls. I think Westfield's on the right track here. Not everyone could afford the space and the experiences that malls would provide them, and so they leveraged companies that ran malls and own malls to be able to provide high end experiences to their customers. And I think that physical space is no longer at a premium. We've actually we're using up too much retail space in America. And so now the premium space is actually going to be experiences in tech and data and having access to those things. So there's one prediction. We're gonna see more services like One Market pop up, so that you can actually stay in business and be able to compete.

Phillip: [00:07:04] Ok. Oh, gosh. So not much of a lightning round, but definitely a rolling thunder on that.

Brian: [00:07:14] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:07:14] I think you put every prediction that you had into that particular...

Brian: [00:07:18] Oh not even close.

Phillip: [00:07:20] So continuing retail crisis, more M&A and but I would challenge the notion and I'll go on record as saying that if all that you can come up with is technology, which is just technology for technology's sake, then you're also probably in for some deeper woes in retail because experience does not equal tech.

Brian: [00:07:44] Fair enough. Fair enough.

Phillip: [00:07:46] We've seen some really interesting non-technical implementations or a transparent tech that have led to deeper experiences, which I'm going to not going to let you qualify what you just said. I'm going to roll right into my prediction, which is...

Brian: [00:08:03] Wait, wait. Table stakes. That's why I'm saying. Table stakes technology. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:08:08] Fine. Fine. You've got to redirect it, Brian. You got to redirect it.

Brian: [00:08:11] Keep going.

Phillip: [00:08:11] Here's where I feel like where we're going is we're going to see more of the flagship retail, a move away from the type of flagship retail like what just opened up... The Restoration Hardware that just opened up in West Palm Beach... Less of that and these large sprawling showrooms with, you know, incredible amounts of inventory. And I think what we'll see is actual true showrooms, which are more like what the Nordstrom test showed a few months ago, the one that they just opened up, which is a true showroom. It's a store without merchandise. I think they're easier to stand up. They're easier to roll into markets. They require less commitment, and they give a would be digital shopper, digital consumer the ability to have the tactile experience and like truly have an experience without having to necessarily engage in tech. And so I think we're going to see more of that and more of the Apple store like experience with...

Brian: [00:09:18] The Town Hall.

Phillip: [00:09:20] Right. Less of the focus around the traditional means of doing retail and more about the shopping cartless commerce feel. So instead of us, you know, categorizing items and having shopping carts and pay stations, it'll be more of an organic experience. So more experiential retail, but of the transparent tech variety and probably more in the physical showroom variety. So that's what I'm looking for in 2018.

Brian: [00:09:48] That's probably my favorite prediction that you have. And I totally agree with it.

Phillip: [00:09:52] Great. Well I'm coming out of the gate strong. It's all downhill from here.

Brian: [00:09:55] I love that. I love that thought. I think we've gone absolutely bonkers with our total square footage in retail.

Phillip: [00:10:09] Sure.

Brian: [00:10:09] Why don't we have more inventory and less square footage and really do a good job showing off our products and offering demos of our products and, you know, finding ways of leveraging technology to give experiences of our products, but do it in smaller spaces. I love that prediction.

Phillip: [00:10:28] If you want to pull quote from me, we always talk about Amazon setting the expectation of the consumer. And we say it in a way that it's almost an unfair to compete as a retailer who doesn't have, you know, the type of supply chain or the warehouse and distribution that Amazon has. But what we should be thinking to ourselves is the consumer is now trained for two day shipping. The consumer is now trained for a little bit, little bit, of delayed gratification. Now, Amazon's trying to close that window. Some markets, it's going to be tough because they have same day or next day with the Prime free shipping. But for most of the United States, for most of other parts of the world where that is not the norm, we have a trained consumer to be able to have a little bit of delayed gratification, and that should work in our favors. So if you have a flagship showroom store, maybe the next day shipping isn't so bad. Maybe the 48 hours to get the product or from mannequin to your dressing room and your closet. Maybe 48 hours is so bad. I think we're going to see more of it because the consumer expects that sort of behavior when they're buying online nowadays. And effectively, that's what it is. It's an in-person digital commerce purchase. Ok. That's it.

Brian: [00:12:02] Good one. Good one. OK. All right, here's another one. And this is just, so I'm going to do a few where I feel like these are where I'm going to talk about trends that are starting.

Phillip: [00:12:13] OK.

Brian: [00:12:13] So here's a trend that I see starting to creep in in 2018. It's something I'm going to call hyper personalization. And this is I think Glossier is actually kind of pointing in this direction. And they've done some really interesting things with how they're doing product development and picking what types of products they should develop. And I've kind of alluded to this with body data and specifically around clothing and other things that relate to the body. But let's go beyond body data. I think that 2018, and I think even 2017 we started to see a sort of more, is a year when we're really going to start to see more and more one to one personalization, not just at an advertising level but at a product level where products are going to start to have more options related to your data, and you're going to have more options and abilities to customize a product, or they'll be pushed on you that are based on your data. Such that you're going to have products, whether it be your hammer with your initials on it. And that's like the perfect size hammer that fits in your hand perfectly. And it has that the materials that you like, like wood instead of metal in the handle, or whatever it is, but there's enough data now and there's enough technology to be able to gather and create these experiences such that I think we're gonna see a lot more one to one of personalization. Obviously, this is also a manufacturing thing. We're seeing a lot of changes in supply chain. And also I think people are willing to typically wait a little bit longer for something that's personalized. So Amazon's free two day shipping isn't actually going to factor in as much on this. People are going to be willing to wait to get the thing that fits them just right or provides them with the best possible customer experience or looks just the way they want it. And, you know, they're going to be willing to wait a little bit longer. And so we're going to be able to do this manufacturing overseas or have longer manufacturing times here in the US. And I'm getting out ahead of myself a little bit here, but we're going to have a company called R. Riveter on the show. And they've created a really interesting form of manufacturing for their bags. And so I just expect to see improvements in manufacturing that result in hyper personalization of products and even services.

Phillip: [00:14:58] Now, that last sentence was you should have led with that. You had me at the end at the end there. I agree with that. I think that there's, you know, the hammer example not withstanding, I think customization has been around a long, long time. But I think, you know, a change in the way that we do supply chain and changing the way that we do manufacturing, new technology that enable it will allow for more personalized products, whether that's, you know, scents or fragrances or health and beauty products that are specific to you that are formulated to you. There are a couple examples right now. And the one sort of a not a... {laughter} I mentioned this the other day, and I got a little bit of a sort of an ugly sideways look. And there is a company right now called uBiome, and they have a product called Smart Gut, which basically is probiotics that are tailored to you effectively...

Brian: [00:16:01] I love this.

Phillip: [00:16:02] Yeah. Effectively, what you do is you take a home stool sample every so often, you send it in to this company who then, you know, gives you a probiotic regimen based on the results of that. And they change it over time to be formulated specifically to you and your gut flora. Whether or not you like that idea is irrelevant. I think we're going to see more and more and more of that and having concrete examples in the marketplace that we can point to sort of proves out that theory. So I love that. Great, great prediction, Brian.

Brian: [00:16:33] Back over to you, Phillip.

Phillip: [00:16:35] Yeah, no. Sorry. I was actually already talking. Sorry. I took over your spot.

Brian: [00:16:39] No, it's great. That was awesome.

Phillip: [00:16:40] I would totally agree with you on that one. On a less rosy note, I do think we're going to see more instability in the marketplace, specifically around security. So my prediction in 2018 is we're going to see, you know, yet another Fortune 500 succumb to a massive data breach. We'll see, just as we can continue to see, it's being downplayed even in the news nowadays. You know, Uber recently just had a massive data breach that it kept under wraps for over 14 months or so. Fifty seven million users, including names, email address, phone numbers were all obtained by hackers. And this was as early as 2016. It was purported to be known. And it was not disclosed until late 2017. So we're gonna continue to see things like that. And essentially it's the same if you're a retailer, and you're concerned about this and maybe you're looking to invest heavily in digital, your concern would be if this is such a scary place to be doing business, what am I supposed to do? And my suggestion would be to you that this is the same. It's really just following the economics of where eyeballs are. It's following where people happen to be and where people happen to be shopping. I found an interesting tweet today, which we'll link up in the show notes. It was tweeted on the Future Commerce Twitter. If you're not on following us on social, you can catch us on online. You'll see stuff like this when it happens. But, you know, even so far as Starbucks access points in Argentina were compromised to provide Bitcoin mining, which they called like crypto mining of Bitcoin. So they introduced a 10 second interstitial when signing into Starbucks Wi-Fi hotspots to mine Bitcoin, which is an interesting hack in and of itself.

Brian: [00:18:54] Wow.

Phillip: [00:18:55] So it's not just that retail is under attack or that websites are under attack, it's that all the eyeballs are heading there. Right? And we saw Macs were insulated for so many years against viruses. It wasn't because they were fundamentally more secure, it was because they had less market share. So this is going to become more of a fact of life. And the fact that we don't hear things like the Uber data breach is a really good example of us sort of normalizing or becoming more complacent about how frequent we'll be able to see these. And what's interesting is that it falls in line with some other changing requirements. We're gonna see more terse requirements and PCI compliance. We're going to see more, you know, more regulation probably adopted around Bitcoin in 2018. So there's a lot of things coming on the horizon that we should all be prepared for. And maybe that falls into your prediction, Brian, about mergers and acquisitions. You know, things like this can really damage businesses and put certain types of businesses, well, out of business.

Announcer: [00:20:07] Now it's time for our weekly segment called Future Policy, brought to you by Vertex SMB. And as always, we're joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Danny Sepulveda.

Danny Sepulveda: [00:20:17] The existing back and forth is almost identical to the conversation you were having. Right. And when you have a conversation like that, what you do is you bring in experts, people who are published in the subject or teach on the subject and can bring data to the conversation. And then you talk about, you know what are... Because what you were talking about, if I remember correctly, was automation, robotics and what it would mean to jobs, particularly in retail. So the thing about that is nobody really knows. Right? I mean, the future is you can't tell the future, but you do have analogs. You have things to look at and say, well, it's very similar to this situation. This is what we did then. And it worked or it didn't work. Right? If robotics and automation are not a structural change in the economy, they are anecdotal or to affect specific companies in specific places, but not the economy as a whole, then I think for the most part, the idea that we should let things be is correct. If it's structural, then we have a communal responsibility to deal with it structurally. So the best example I have of that would be what happened with globalization and trade. The exact same arguments were made on both sides. I support trade because trade net benefits creates more jobs than it loses. People lose jobs like steel and coal, but they're terrible jobs and will create tons of jobs in solar or whatever. And everything will net out better. We should just continue supporting free trade agreements, continue expanding our open markets abroad. There was an actually another side that said no, and is kind of power today that says, you know, we should close off our borders and ensure that jobs stay basically as they are and people are able to continue doing whatever it is that they do. And we can have a steel and coal market and not try to compete on the global market place because those workers aren't going to work in solar manufacturing. And then there's the middle ground, which said, look, that net net, it's true, trade is good, but we have these workers who are going to lose. And we created something called the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, which helps workers who lose jobs as a function of changing supply chains or just the closing down of factories, due to newly opened markets. That was the route we decided to take as a government, and it was and remains the route that I think is correct. It was a route that Barack Obama and John Kerry championed with a lot of support from the Republican side of the aisle. Well, Americans currently believe that it didn't work. Right? And the problem is, is the geographies were messed up. So it's true. We created a lot... There are more jobs in solar today than there are coal jobs or steel jobs. It's in a sense, it worked. The problem is that it worked in California and the places where people were doing steel and coal jobs are gone. Those jobs are gone. And they did not move to California to do solar jobs. So what you have is a mismatch of geography and people, and you kind of see the same thing in retail. So you have non physical place retail, so eCommerce, rising and actually jobs growing in that economy. While your Sears and your local retail oriented brick and mortar stores are closing, and you're seeing a decline in those jobs. I actually think the numbers that were just put out recently show that there are more eCommerce jobs being created than there are local retail jobs being lost. But you have a geography problem again, because unlike a Sears, which is distributed to where people are physically in the country as brick and mortar stores, the distribution of eCommerce goods is concentrated. You don't need people everywhere. You don't even want people everywhere. That's kind of why it works. But it causes huge disruptions in those areas where people lose their jobs, because even though more jobs are being created, they're not being created where they live. So that's where we are today. Then the next part of this challenge is Republicans and Democrats coming together and saying, well, OK, given your particular view about how government should operate, what can we do about this? What should we do about this? And that's a longer conversation.

Brian: [00:26:41] Good thought. Actually thought you were going to relate to my next prediction. Which, by the way, I love that prediction. I think that's absolutely true. I saw a prediction the other day that said we're gonna have a more secure 2018. And I was like, I don't know about that. The bad guys are also advancing. {laughter} So here's another one. So identity management and persistent login and single sign on. I think we're gonna see some advances there. I think we're gonna see Amazon really push on this. I know someone from that team. I know that this is something that's already actually technically available. They have not done a good job marketing it. And I think that's gonna change quickly because I think we're gonna be a lot of control around these single sign on types of scenarios where we're gonna be able to control how much data we give to certain types of websites. And there's gonna just be a whole host of settings that we're going to be able to manage with this single sign on type scenario. I expect Amazon to be a leader on this, but there are other companies out there, maybe payments companies could move into login beyond just payments. I think that's a natural progression. But I have yet to see it, and I would love to see some good examples of this, but I do think something's going to be necessary as we continue to see breaches happen. We're really going to demand it as a market. Also, who's tired of signing into like 200 million accounts? I mean, you can have LastPass or other passwords storing technologies. But I would rather just run my life through Amazon. And I think a lot of other people would, too.

Phillip: [00:28:32] I really like what Google's done.

Brian: [00:28:35] Google. Right.

Phillip: [00:28:36] Yeah, single sign on. Google has made it really simple, especially if you're part of a lot of Google for business, what do they call that now? There's a name for it. What is that? It's Google. Goodness gracious. I cannot believe I can't remember this. Whatever. It's the Google for business accounts. If you're signed into multiple sort of Gmail accounts, you can actually choose which identity to proceed with. And that can, you know, really create lots of opportunities for identity management. So, yeah, I like that as well.

Brian: [00:29:12] Oh, yeah. I've also meant to mention, we've seen a lot of advances with browsers, and I think they will also play a really big role in this.

Phillip: [00:29:19] Sure. Yeah, sure. Well, if you look at some of the browsers that are gaining popularity, for instance, Brendan Eich, who has been in the news for a lot of things, but he was co-creator of JavaScript, the programing language, and he co-founded Mozilla, the Mozilla Foundation. And so, you know, he's a prolific person in tech, regardless of what you may think about him. But Brendan Eich started a nonprofit foundation for a company called Brave, which has a browser that values privacy above all else. And basically, you know, maintains its own sort of security and patch updates to block things like third party cookies and the types of things that might track you around the Internet, regardless of what your cookie settings are. There's a lot of interesting techniques that sort of fingerprint you in the browser nowadays. So I do agree with that. You know, heightened consciousness of security, heightened consciousness of identity management, and more tools at our disposal to be able to manage those.

Brian: [00:30:25] Yes. Back to you.

Phillip: [00:30:27] AR proliferation is my next one. I think we're going to see more augmented reality. It's not ubiquitous yet, but I think a lot of companies are investing in augmented reality. There's a lot of really interesting AR-like, or what Brian might call AR-light experiences that exist in the world already. Amazon. I was blown away to find out on Black Friday. Amazon has it baked into its existing app. So using a dollar bill as a like a size reference marker, you can size a television to go in your room through the Amazon app and you can take a look at what that might look like through the lens of your camera. Target has a holiday display right now, a Lego holiday display in some of their stores where you can actually stand in a particular spot in this display and use the Target app. Look through the camera and it will do some fun photo filters that are specific for that display, which I find really interesting and intriguing. I think we're gonna see more of it. I think a lot of tech actually is advanced by things like ads and ad tech because, you know, interaction with ads is sort of it's always chasing up the the pole. So everything's sort of always one upping itself and really leads to really interesting ad tech advancements of technology, so we might see more of that. But I am also really impressed with some of the other things like we talked about two or three episodes ago, like augmented reality being used to verify identity and presence to combat things like auto purchasing bots. And we are seeing legislation circulate through Congress right now around how we can prevent things like bots. I know Chuck Schumer out of New York is proposing legislation to disallow the use of purchasing robots, purchasing bots here in the United States. So I think it's a hot topic and AR may be one way to dissuade those types of behaviors. So a lot more augmented reality. But specifically around enabling tool enablement and ad tech for commerce.

Brian: [00:32:37] Yeah. I couldn't agree more with this.

Phillip: [00:32:41] And you notice that what I didn't say there is that augmented reality is experiential. I don't think you need tech to enable experience. And I think that it pairs nicely with some of my other predictions already on this episode. So AR as an assistive technology to help retailers, not as a gimmick for experience. Okay, go, Brian.

Brian: [00:33:04] All right. I know we're wrapping up here. So I'm gonna do my biggest prediction for the year. And this is again, another start of a trend. So back in September, I think it was, we saw some pretty interesting articles come out around personal data from dating sites. And so I think a few people have requested their data from like Tinder and others dating sites. And they're getting back, you know, 400 pages of data, 800 pages of data, and just an insane amount of data that you probably don't even know that... In fact, if you use dating app, you're dating app probably knows more about you than you know about you. And so combine this with some other things that we've been talking about body data quite a bit this year. I'm going to continue to talk about it next year. It's not going away. But let's expand this idea. Let's expand this idea to personal big data. There was an article back in 2012, I think it was New York Times, about going through your email and data mining your own email for yourself to learn about yourself.

Phillip: [00:34:26] Oh I remember this. Yeah, I remember this trend.

Brian: [00:34:28] Yeah, yeah, yeah. In 2012, the digital data that we had was our email. In 2018, the digital data that we have is massive. Each person is their own set of big data. You've got body data, you've got health data, you've got financial data, you've got purchasing data, you've got relationships and social data. You've got personality data, you've got location data. You've got time... Where you're spending your time data, and you know, usage data on the web and other things. You've got efficiency data. You've got your browsing history, you're reading history, you're viewing history, you're listening history, you're search history, your chat and voice and email history. So, yeah, I would say that we have personal big data now. And I saw a TED Talk recently on owning your data, and they were specifically talking about health. But I think that a big trend this coming year is gonna be all about personal, or at least it's going to restart a trend or an idea in the general market about how consumers or people need to leverage their own data to make better decisions and have a better life and protect themselves and grow themselves and really treat their data as a business would treat big data. They need to data mine their big data. And so what are the trends and what are the things that I encourage merchants to do is help your customers use their data because ultimately, and this is not a new idea, I think this was a 2017 trend, we're not all about just conversion on the spot. We're all about lifetime customer value. And the best way you can really have a customer be a repeat customer is to help them make better decisions with their data. I think that this is going to be a big trend. And so I would say look for tools and ways that you can help customers understand their own patterns and their own trends and then give them the ability to do things that they really should do or want to do with that data instead of right now, I think a lot of consumers are sort of concerned with what businesses are doing with their data. And I think that businesses and merchants have the opportunity here to turn that back around and be really transparent about how the data is being used and and really allow customers to leverage it in the same way that the business is leveraging it. The business is leveraging it to do things. Let customers do it as well. So there you go, personal big data. That's my idea.

Phillip: [00:37:29] That is an awesome prediction. I don't know how realistic for one year from now is, but I would have said that augmented reality is not realistic for any timeframe or any universe that we live in at any time in the future. And somehow this is where we are. I'm making predictions about it for next year. So you're probably onto something. OK. So my final prediction really is it's this kind of sprawling. And it ties together a bunch of the ideas that I've talked about, which is I really think that there's two things that we're battling right now. We are battling an overuse or market fatigue of the terms, machine learning and artificial intelligence. I think that much like Watson has become a brand, AI is becoming and all of its terms that are sort of associated with it, whether you hear things like machine learning, artificial intelligence or neural networks or cognitive... All these sort of brand terms are really nothing more than that. They're brand terms and we've complained about that on the podcast in the past. What I think it's going to happen is it'll lead to some market fatigue where, you know, once everybody has machine learning and artificial intelligence and deep learning, then nobody has it. Right? So it's gonna suss out the shiny tech from the real assistive tech. So that's the first thing I think we're gonna see. And I think a really good quality example of that is how we saw Shopify launch earlier this year, launched a Hatchful, which was the branding assistant. And they said it uses a machine learning to make suggestions for logo styles. But in actuality, like they weren't doing anything that couldn't be human curated. It was nothing more than a brand term. At the same time, we are seeing, you know, China is starting to grow leaps and bounds ahead of the US in artificial intelligence. Eric Schmidt says that the US needs to get its act together in AI competition with China. I'm hearing more of this every day and sort of anecdotal things like US and China head to head on AI. The fact is, is that it's not going to bode well for us. And this was part of our 2017 sort of pseudo predictions show. Is a more astringent global globalization economic policy in the United States, paired with more astringent guidelines around immigration will, you know, create, in my opinion, in 2018, sort of a brain drain. So I'm making two predictions here. Market fatigue and overuse of the term AI leads to a bit of apathy in the marketplace. And nothing's really special in that regards anymore. And we begin to lose sort of the global race towards artificial intelligence dominance, which may actually push a bunch of these types of jobs overseas and allow other markets to be more competitive in that regard. And that might lead to new and interesting products that are actually markets outside of the US first. And so I think we'll start to really realize something here in the United States, which we haven't really had to feel, especially in retail tech, which is other markets are more competitive than ours, and other markets have new tech first. And maybe that tech isn't always English language first. Maybe we'll start to realize and maybe it's not US dollar based. And certainly with the rise of Bitcoin, you know, I think that there's a real story to be told about all of these technologies becoming part of a larger whole. And sort of that theme that I said earlier, which is augmented reality is something we've termed for 2017. That's a term that we're using now. And I think going forward it'll just be the thing that our phones do or the thing that those glasses that we have do. And my sense is that we'll start to see AI powering AR, which is now just a thing our phones do, and these names for these sorts of niche technologies begin to fade away. And so really then the thing that emerges when it's all said and done from the ashes of those types of technological terms, the thing that really emerges is brand. And it comes back to something you always talk about, Brian, which is, you know, brand affinity and people being inspired by brands is really powered by your association and how they fit into your life and how they complement your life and the things that they do to make, you know, the things that you identify with and sort of integrate into your life and all the things that you... I don't know. I don't know really what I'm saying there, but the brand emerges and not the tech, right?

Brian: [00:42:25] I like what you're saying. Yeah. Yeah, this is good. I think you just want super future on me, man, and I love it. I think this is beyond 2018 prediction. I mean, I'm not saying... This is one of those things that I think we'll start to see more of in 2018. But it's the kind of thing that goes on for a few years here, and two comments on that... One, maybe we're gonna see sort of a renewed AI race, if you will, the counterpart to the space race that we had in the 1980s, although. Maybe in the end as well, we're both going to be pursuing some sentient intelligence and you know, in the end we just end up with a bunch of tech that can do some really cool stuff for us. Like, you know, satellites are more important than getting to the moon was. Two, maybe we do go get really crazy. And the thing that actually leads us to this end is actually AI itself, and we employ AI to develop AI and that's actually not human led, it's computer led. And now I just went super future as well. But I totally agree with you. I think that there's a lot that you said right there that's going to have relevance in 2018, and that is that we're going to be competing with China specifically and maybe other nations as well. And we might see them take the lead and America will have to take a backseat. And that wouldn't surprise me at all.

Phillip: [00:44:09] Wow. So I went super future right after criticizing you going super future. And then you brought it back home and you went super future again on me. {laughter}

Brian: [00:44:16] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:44:16] So I don't know what else you expect from Future Commerce. It's going to be hard to reign us in for a single year's predictions, but if any of it happens, you know it happened here. You heard it first on Future Commerce. And we're really psyched that you listen to the show. We want to hear your predictions for 2017, 2018 and beyond. So please say you can give those to us over at and scroll down to Disqus comment box on the site. Put in your thoughts, your hopes, your fears, feelings for the future.

Brian: [00:44:47] For 2018. We'd love to hear it. We'd love to hear from you.

Phillip: [00:44:50] We'd love to share them on the show. And if you're not subscribed, get subscribed. Do that for the FC Insiders newsletter. You can do that if as well. Also, you can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or anywhere else that you might get your podcasts, so you can never miss an episode of Future Commerce.

Brian: [00:45:08] So with that 2017 moved fast, 2018 is moving faster...

Phillip: [00:45:14] {laughter} And Future Commerce is moving faster still.

Brian: [00:45:16] Yes.

Phillip: [00:45:17] Thank you so much.

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