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Episode 65
March 30, 2018

Retail Renaissance: A Review of Shoptalk 2018

"Hopefully GDPR is the medicine we need to start putting our customers at the center of the story, and not our conversion rates". We review Shoptalk 2018 in the wake of Cambridge Analytica with a discussion about the content, the vendors, the experience, and how merchants can take the knowledge gained at a show like Shoptalk and turn it into actionable results.

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"Hopefully, GDPR is the medicine we need to start putting our customers at the center of the story, and not our conversion rates." We review Shoptalk 2018 in the wake of Cambridge Analytica with a discussion about the content, the vendors, the experience, and how merchants can take the knowledge gained at a show like Shoptalk and turn it into actionable results.

Main Takeaways:

  • Brian and Phillip recap some of the standouts of Shoptalk 2018 and how these standouts made lasting impressions.
  • AR and VR are being implemented in new and creative ways and could very well be shaping the future of the retail industry.
  • The technology that was being developed a few years ago is now being used in the state of the current retail industry but is there room for its development?
  • Cambridge Analytica happened and shook the public to its core but will data security regulations like GDPR be able to prevent future leaks?

One Beef, Two Beef, Red Beef, Blue Beef:

  • Brian and Phillip start by bringing up some beef between them that they at this year's Shoptalk Conference.
  • Brian registered for Press Passes for Shoptalk and listed himself as Host of Future Commerce, and Phillip as the co-host. (Scandalous!)
  • The Future Commerce content team accompanied Brian and Phillip this year to help capture the show and be active on social media.
  • Brian and Phillip went out to Red Rock Canyon, and even though they got stranded out in the desert, they can not recommend the location highly enough.

Brian's Big Shoptalk Announcement: The Career Change:

  • Brian made a big announcement at Shoptalk and let us know that he is now employed by Amazon (cue music)
  • Expect the tone of the show to shift so that now Phillip will prod Brian until he is forced to recuse himself from the conversation.
  • Brian is super excited to be on board at Amazon and thinks that his role working with the pay team and eCommerce platforms is a great fit.

VR in eCommerce: Separating the Virtual World from the Real World:

  • Brian hosted a panel at Shoptalk in which he spoke with Brian Cavanagh from the Hershey Company, Mike Festa from Wayfair Next, and Greg Jones from the Google AR Team.
  • The Hershey Company is partnering with goPuff to create a VR Shopping App that will allow consumers to purchase convenience store items within a VR experience.
  • The first thing that jumped out to Phillip as he was watching the panel was the Hershey Company's unique take on VR, which is to not replicate a commerce experience in the real world in VR.
  • Phillip describes the Hershey VR experience as a Willy Wonka-esque experience in which you can explore a colorful world and purchase almost everything you see.

The Retail Renaissance: A Recurring Shoptalk Theme:

  • Phillip recalls that a recurring theme at this year's Shoptalk was the fact that retail is not dead, but rather, we are going through a Retail Renaissance. (And thus a show title was born.)
  • Someone even compared the artistic progression of Picasso throughout his life to the evolution of retail to where it is today.

Digital Hurdles: Overcoming VR Roadblocks:

  • We still think about the online shopping experience in regards to aisles and carts, but with VR being such an expressive medium, the possibilities are endless.
  • What's the most efficient way to shop versus what's the most experiential way to shop?
  • The biggest challenge that retailers will face when trying to get into AR or VR is creating a library of 3D assets.
  • Brian predicts that the 3D asset problem is not a problem that retailers should have to solve, but instead, brands themselves will provide the assets from the point of origin to retailers.

Predictions Become Reality: Future Commerce at Shoptalk:

  • Phillip talks about how nice it was to see so many listeners at Shoptalk and brings up how, for avid listeners of the show, a lot of the topics that were brought up at Shoptalk were things that they had already heard on Future Commerce.
  • Iterations of things that Brian and Phillip had predicted on the show have come to fruition in the real world by brands known across the globe.
  • Trevor Sumner from Perch gave a rundown of the store of the future that incorporates responsive and interactive displays that interact with physical items from store shelves.
  • All of the information that we have available online is now available to us in new and dynamic ways right when we need it as we shop.

Trends and Topics: The Arcs of Future Commerce:

  • Phillip takes us back in time and talks about some of the arcs of Future Commerce as defined by the main conversation points of each year: the first year was voice and conversational technology, the second year was AR and VR, and this year's focus has been disruption and protecting our private data.
  • Back in October of 2017, Phillip and Brian advised a retailer that stated not to believe anyone that said they were using AI or machine learning because AI has been reduced to a marketing term without any actual functionality.
  • Phillip couldn't believe that Shoptalk had an entire area devoted to AI and Machine Learning and that the application of what could be a transformational technology to retail is abysmal at this point in 2018. (Phillip's feeling spicy today.)
  • Brian brings up a past episode with Jonathan Epstein from 2 years ago that had one of the best applications of machine learning that he's ever seen, and there hasn't been much more innovation in those two years by other players in the industry.

Making an Impression: The Standouts of Shoptalk:

  • Phillip did not recognize the Handy booth until around the third day at which point he saw that they were everywhere.
  • Handy has partnered with Walmart and will provide handyman services to Walmart customers in over 2,000 stores nationwide.
  • Phillip also gives accolades to the startup Hemster, a technology/services company that provides tailoring and alterations (that are incredibly cheap) to business and individuals in addition to free delivery service of the alterations.
  • Another standout was Mizzen+Main for the simple fact that it was an actual fashion brand at the show with clothes and that their domain name is (Brian got to bring a Mizzen+Main shirt home and agrees that it is indeed Comfortable AF.)

Three Shoptalks Later: Using the Past to Predict the Future:

  • Brian states that we have hit a spot in technology where what is being spoken about in Shoptalk is similar to what was spoken about in Shoptalk 1 (which was two years ago).
  • Brian also predicts that the technology that we are using now will be used for the next 3-5 years and will power the next wave of commerce.
  • "There is too much to do with the technology that we have and too much opportunity to make money on it so people will put their dollars and effort towards that and we will probably see IRCE and NRF follow in this direction as well."
  • Is it a good thing that other conferences will start to look more like Shoptalk with the current technology stack?

Phillip Goes on a Rant: Technology is Not a Replacement for Quality:

  • There was more than one brand that Phillip spoke with that had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the past 12-18 months that ranged from big-box retailers to actual fashion brands and the fact that some of these companies were looking at AR and VR as a means to save their business was terrifying to him.
  • The current technologies that are emerging today are not replacements for the fundamentals of being a good brand with a good product that connects with your customer.
  • Brian agrees that if you are looking at any one technology to save your business, you are looking in the wrong spot as you have made some bad business decisions to get where you are today.
  • "If you are in eCommerce and you are not connecting with your customers regularly, then you are missing out on a fundamental".

The State of Data Security: Cambridge Analytica Fallout:

  • Brian references Episode 55 in which predictions were made for what was going to happen in 2018 and Brian predicted the idea of giving shoppers access to their data to help them leverage that data to accomplish things and sure enough, companies are beginning to do this.
  • If you are affected by GDPR, you should probably consider that you don't want to run two different data strategies across channels and start planning your future data strategies now.
  • Data security could not be more timely as the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light during Shoptalk.
  • What do you we actually need in our commerce experiences that can minimize data requirements as opposed to including everything just because we have the capability of plugging it in?
  • "We need to put our customers at the center of the story instead of our conversion rates at the center of our story."
  • Phillip predicts that in the same way that companies became "green" in response to customer demand, he sees an opportunity for companies to go private in which they will not partner with third-party companies to protect your data.

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! Should AR and VR play a bigger role in the future of retail? Does the Cambridge Analytica breach change the face of data privacy and will GDPR be a step in the right directions towards the protection of customer data?

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!

Retail Tech is moving fast, but Future Commerce is moving faster.

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Brian: [00:00:51] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm your host, Brian.

Phillip: [00:00:58] You did this at Shoptalk too, you jerk.

Brian: [00:01:02] Uh huh. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:01:02] I'm your host, Phillip. How's that? You like that?

Brian: [00:01:07] No, you're my co-host. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:01:07] This is going to be the Shoptalk recap.

Brian: [00:01:11] This is the Shoptalk episode.

Phillip: [00:01:11] Yeah. This the Shoptalk recap, and I have one beef to pick with you. But we'll do that...

Brian: [00:01:15] No actually it's two beefs to pick with me because...

Phillip: [00:01:19] One beef. Two beef. Red beef. Blue beef. That's how I see it. Here's the beef... Well actually let's get to the beef in just a second. We want you to subscribe. Like and subscribe. Head on over to Apple podcasts or anywhere where you get podcasts. And we are on Spotify.

Brian: [00:01:35] Spotify.

Phillip: [00:01:36] We're on Spotify now. So make sure that you subscribe to us on Spotify,so you never miss an episode of Future Commerce. You can also listen from any smart speaker device with the phrase... You can also give us praise. But with the phrase "Play Future Commerce podcast." Okay, here's the...

Brian: [00:01:51] Whoa. Whoa. That was a little bit of a change. "Any" smart speaker device.

Phillip: [00:01:56] Any smart speaker device. Here's the deal. You registered us for press passes for Shoptalk. And you asserted your alpha dominance.

Brian: [00:02:06] I did.

Phillip: [00:02:07] You did. By registering yourself as host and me as co-host. And that's when I realized that you have some... There is a hierarchy in your mind. There is a clear hierarchy in your mind.

Brian: [00:02:20] Oh yeah. It might have been subconscious. But now it's not.

Phillip: [00:02:24] It is out there now. We totally... Now I know where we stand. The other thing is that, so we were at Shoptalk. But at the same time, we brought with us our very first, well it was the whole team was there. So Matt came with us to Shoptalk...

Brian: [00:02:43] Not the whole team. Don't leave Chris out.

Phillip: [00:02:46] Well not the whole team. I'm sorry. You're right. You're right. You're right. The content team.

Brian: [00:02:51] Yes, the content team was there. Matt Wermiel and our writer, our brand voice, our muse.

Phillip: [00:02:57] Yeah. He's our Chief Brand Officer.

Brian: [00:03:04] There it is.

Phillip: [00:03:05] But Matt helped us to capture the show and helped hang out on social and get a lot great perspective on what happened at Shoptalk. We'll talk a little bit about that here on this episode. And also, thanks to our new sponsor. So we have Vertex returning for sponsorship with us and helping us promote our policy segment. We've got some great announcements about that, but I'm teasing it for a future episode. But thank you to Vertex for re-upping and I'm glad to have you back with us for the rest of 2018. And we also have a new sponsor.

Brian: [00:03:38] Emarsys.

Phillip: [00:03:39] Yeah. So welcome to Emarsys, a content and marketing automation platform who we've done a lot of work with in the eCommerce realm and is sort of known worldwide as a great presence and impeccable reputation. So glad to have them on with us for the long haul, and we're going to be doing a lot of great content with them in weeks, months to come. So glad to have them with us. OK. So let's do this.

Brian: [00:04:05] Let's talk shoptalk. Well, you know, what was really fun? It was one of my favorite parts of going to Shoptalk.

Phillip: [00:04:09] What was that?

Brian: [00:04:12] Our little Future Commerce mini summit.

Phillip: [00:04:15] Our vision quest.

Brian: [00:04:16] Our vision quest. Yes. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:04:19] We went out to Red Rock, and we in true Future Commerce fashion, we went out with no plan to try to wing it.

Brian: [00:04:29] Yeah. And hot tip. If you go to Red Rock from visit Vegas. And by the way, that's not a Red Rocks. That's a Red Rock.

Phillip: [00:04:37] Yeah. Singular.

Brian: [00:04:38] As somebody so bluntly told Phillip.

Phillip: [00:04:42] You want to make sure you have transportation there and back.

Brian: [00:04:45] Yes.

Phillip: [00:04:45] Pre-arranged. That is an important thing. Don't get stranded out in the desert like we did. Anyway, lesson learned. Uber will drop you off, but they cannot pick you up.

Brian: [00:04:58] Yep. Thanks. Shout out to our buddy Tyler.

Phillip: [00:05:02] Tyler and...

Brian: [00:05:04] They saved the day there. Otherwise we would've been out there, you know, all night. Probably froze to death. All that.

Phillip: [00:05:09] Here's the problem. That one mistake is going to have to force us to say nice things about Shopify for a very long time.

Brian: [00:05:19] {laughter} Tyler is from Shopify. It's true. The place is amazing though. It's a really beautiful. If you're like us, and you have to be out in Vegas relatively often, then it's a great way to get out into nature and really enjoy the beauty instead of the industry.

Phillip: [00:05:43] Which is if you're... Yeah. If you're in Vegas with any frequency, and you've not been out to see like Grand Canyon or Red Rock or even Hoover Dam, you know, do yourself a favor and get off site for some time and make some time for yourself.

Brian: [00:05:58] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:05:58] Take a mental health day. You definitely need that. You know what's really funny is it just came up on the newsfeed. I found it really interesting, especially since we're talking about Shoptalk and because we have not mentioned it yet. The other huge announcement that landed at Shoptalk that just reminded me from this news story is that you made a career change.

Brian: [00:06:21] I did. I did. Yes. Pretty big, pretty big deal. I am now with Amazon.

Phillip: [00:06:29] Kind of whispered when you said that a little bit. It's like Voldemort.

Brian: [00:06:33] Pretty excited about that. Which means that I need to add...

Phillip: [00:06:37] Yeah.

Brian: [00:06:38] ...the obligatory statemente from here on out on every show that these thoughts are my own and do not represent my employer's.

Phillip: [00:06:46] And expect the tone of the show to shift to where I'm just gonna prod to see if I can't get Brian to recuse himself from conversation.

Brian: [00:06:58] Oh my gosh.

Phillip: [00:06:58] This is going to be a lot of fun. Interesting too, because just out on AP Newswire that President Trump is going after Amazon via Twitter and says that they pay little to no taxes and called the U.S. Postal Service Amazon's "delivery boy" which is interesting. So we'll continue to watch that development. But it reminded me a little bit of the fact that we hadn't announced that publicly.

Brian: [00:07:34] I'm super excited to be onboard at Amazon, as you can imagine. If you listen to the show at any length. It's a pretty good fit.

Phillip: [00:07:43] Yeah.

Brian: [00:07:44] It's a pretty great fit for me. And I think my role there is a really great role for me. So I'm really excited. I am going to be working with the pay team, which is a part of Alexa and working with the eCommerce platforms, which is pretty much right in line with...

Phillip: [00:08:10] Yeah, that's right. That's your sweet spot.

Brian: [00:08:12] Everything that I'm good at.

Phillip: [00:08:13] Yeah. It's almost like the position was made just for you.

Brian: [00:08:18] Kind of. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:08:19] I knew Amazon was into personalization, but this is getting ridiculous. Ok. So Shoptalk. We cannot go any further. We haven't even started, but we have to start right off the top. To say that Future Commerce's own host, not co-host, host Brian Lange hosted a panel.

Brian: [00:08:38] What?

Phillip: [00:08:40] Yeah. And that was a big deal. So tell us a little bit about the panel that you hosted at Shoptalk. Let's start there.

Brian: [00:08:45] Yeah. It was really fun. Had a great time. I got to talk with the Hershey Company, with Wayfair Next, and with Google AR team. And they were really engaging. They're doing a really cool stuff. The Hershey Company has built this unbelievable VR experience with goPuff, which is... I don't know if you've heard of goPuff before, but...

Phillip: [00:09:12] Well I hadn't before Shoptalk.

Brian: [00:09:14] Same here. Yeah. And they do delivery of convenience store goods directly to your house.

Phillip: [00:09:22] I heard of this somewhere before.

Brian: [00:09:23] We might have looked into it before. But it makes a ton of sense for a VR experience with the candy company. Right?

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

Brian: [00:09:36] Because you might be playing that VR game and you know, not want to have to exit your game and do some in context purchasing right there. I want my right candy bar now and hit the "buy" button. Boom goPuff shows up at your door a couple hours later with the snacks you need to keep going.

Phillip: [00:09:57] Are you reading marketing copy right now?

Brian: [00:10:00] No. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:10:00] If not, they should hire you.

Brian: [00:10:02] That was the story that that Brian Cavanagh told me. It was really, really fun to talk to him.

Phillip: [00:10:07] And that they did a great job, too. Who was it that spoke on behalf of Hershey?

Brian: [00:10:11] Brian Cavanagh.

Phillip: [00:10:13] OK. So Brian Cavanagh.

Brian: [00:10:14] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:10:16] So I saw a good bit of the panel, but I didn't get to stay for the whole thing. The first thing that sort of jumped out to me was that their take on on VR and sort of their approach to VR is 1) experience. And 2) don't try to replicate commerce experiences in the real world inside of VR.

Brian: [00:10:39] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:10:40] And so what you see is sort of you know, because it's candy, it's sort of like a Willy Wonka take on commerce where you're sort of walking around sort of Wonkaland. Willy Wonka is probably a brand term at this point that cannot be associated with Hershey. But that's the feeling that it evoked is like sort of a wonderland where you can just kind of go up and get product details and purchase pretty much anything that you see, which was kind of interesting.

Brian: [00:11:10] Yeah, I think that's good. I mean, I don't know if that's where VR is going to land in the future, but I think it's great that we're exploring sort of different ways of thinking about how to look at products in VR and explore them, because the fact is we still think about... I mean, you talk about this all the time. We still think about things in terms of, you know, aisles and carts on the Web.

Phillip: [00:11:32] Yep.

Brian: [00:11:33] And with VR, we really should not be thinking about things like that. It's just such an expressive medium that, you know, you can do anything in. And so figuring out... There're two things to figure out. What's the most efficient way to shop? And what's the most experiential way to shop? And what's useful? What's fun? The balance of the two. And I think the Hershey Company is... I mean Brian's in charge of "retail evolution." And so...

Phillip: [00:12:06] Wow. There's a title.

Brian: [00:12:07] Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's good that there's some larger companies that are thinking about this because...

Phillip: [00:12:14] Yeah. For sure.

Brian: [00:12:15] Yeah. We didn't have retail apocalypse. We had a retail evolution.

Phillip: [00:12:24] I heard that a little bit at the show. Sort of a recurring theme.

Brian: [00:12:29] It was.

Phillip: [00:12:29] Retail isn't dead. It's not retailpocalypse. It's that we're having a renaissance.

Brian: [00:12:36] Yes.

Phillip: [00:12:37] Right? And some people went so far at the show...

Brian: [00:12:41] A Retail Renaissance. I love that.

Phillip: [00:12:42] Yeah. Show title. I even saw during the show. And I can't remember who. I wish I could attribute it. But somebody who kind of likened and showed sort of like Picasso's evolution as a painter and sort of the periods of progression of Picasso and sort of dabbling between realism and use of color and blue period and to like more abstract.

Brian: [00:13:09] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:13:09] Well, this is what we're doing in retail, too, right?

Brian: [00:13:12] There's truth to that, I think. Yeah, that's a really good point. Actually, it's a really nice comparison because I think when you if you look at Picasso's earlier work, it is much more realistic. It's still interesting. Actually, I think his earlier work is really interesting.

Phillip: [00:13:27] But what he's known for, or the transformative...

Brian: [00:13:32] Now we're going more abstract, and we're thinking about things in new ways. And we have new mediums, and we're going outside of, you know, sort of the standard way of thinking about things. And so I actually really like that comparison.

Phillip: [00:13:43] Yeah. And it's not an original thought. So there's that. And so who else was on the panel?

Brian: [00:13:50] Yeah. Mike Festa, who is unbelievable. Really. Actually, I would really like to have Mike on the show. And we're definitely going to do that at some point.

Phillip: [00:14:02] And Mike is from Wayfair Next.

Brian: [00:14:03] Because that guy's brilliant. Yeah. Wayfair Next. Yeah. He's head of Wayfair Next. He's doing really cool stuff there. We focused on basically your 3-D library of image assets for our products on the panel. But Mike is doing all kinds of crazy stuff. And that was just a very small sliver of what Wayfair Next is doing. So that was really fun. Fun chat. I really enjoyed talking with Mike. I can't wait to talk with him again.

Phillip: [00:14:36] Yeah, so that is the hardest thing and the biggest challenge that you'll face going into AR and VR as a retailer is, you know, actually just getting a library of 3D assets.

Brian: [00:14:51] Yes.

Phillip: [00:14:52] And any company that has that can solve that will be out ahead in the short term.

Brian: [00:14:59] Well, it might not be a problem that retailers should shoulder.

Phillip: [00:15:03] Hmm.

Brian: [00:15:05] It really...

Phillip: [00:15:05] Do you see how I'm leading you into this conversation?

Brian: [00:15:08] What's that?

Phillip: [00:15:09] I'm leading you into the conversation a little bit.

Brian: [00:15:11] You are leading me into the conversation. Yeah. Brands should be leading the charge on this.

Phillip: [00:15:17] Sounds familiar.

Brian: [00:15:19] The opportunity for brands, you know, the branded manufacturers, the people that are actually building these products and making them and then distributing them out, they have the opportunity to do this at that point of origin and then distribute those assets to their retailers.

Phillip: [00:15:40] Right.

Brian: [00:15:41] So the retailers don't have to do this on their own. And it only has to be done once.

Phillip: [00:15:47] So in the same way. So let's fast forward five, 10 years. And let's say that you're doing a lot of manufacturing of your own products overseas in the same way that you might use a 3D asset to define like the dyes that you cast your plastics or your metals with or a 3D model to conceptualize what your product looks like. That becomes the deliverable that also comes back with the physical product so that you can utilize that asset in digital commerce.

Brian: [00:16:15] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:16:15] That's where we're headed. So the manufacturing portion is also responsible for asset generation, which is interesting because we usually file that under sort of our artistic or concept or it's a different team or a different process that usually governs that kind of an approach and Wayfair is doing it differently.

Brian: [00:16:36] Yeah, I think that's exactly right. And, you know, it's so crazy. We've been talking about Future Commerce for a long time now, and I think we're finally there. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:16:50] Yeah.

Brian: [00:16:51] This is just representing... Everyone's gonna need this very quickly and manufacturers are starting to do this. A lot of them are starting to put together some sort of 3D asset library.

Phillip: [00:17:04] Right.

Brian: [00:17:04] Which is just mind boggling.

Phillip: [00:17:06] The thing that gets me is that how many people we met at the show that 1). Listen to the show, 2) were sort of, and this is a typical Philip take, but you're sort of kind of saying this show is basically what you guys talk about every single week.

Brian: [00:17:28] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:17:28] So it's like some of it's not new to a certain kind of person that's very engaged in our show. They would say, I've heard all this before, which sounds kind of arrogant to say, but on some level, it's kind of true. It's just now we're actually hearing the reality and brands telling the story of having done it rather than us predicting that it's coming.

Brian: [00:17:49] Yeah. And I think iterations of, you know, new iterations of things that we've kind of talked about sort of the framework for, it's just cool to see how people have imagined these things and figured out useful applications for them and brought them to life.

Phillip: [00:18:04] Yeah.

Brian: [00:18:06] Like PERCH was a really cool one? Trever... And now I'm spacig on his last name. Trevor from PERCH. He's the CEO from PERCH. We got a little like, rundown, I think. Phillip, I don't know where you were. You were doing something else at the time. But I got to hear him tell the story of the store of the future. And through the product that they've built, it's unbelievable. It's responsive displays. I mean, interactive displays. So you pick up an item off of a shelf. And the shelf starts to transform before your eyes. And sometimes you can interact with it. You can see product details, or you can get your mood changed by the colors or the feeling or the ad, or you can pick something up. And then the celebrity endorser of the product will pop up and start talking about the product. And you just do that by just picking up the product or touching a button or something like that.

Phillip: [00:19:14] Right.

Brian: [00:19:14] Really, really immersive, really engaging and all the information that we have when we're shopping online, that's really important, all of a sudden becomes available to us in a very, very clear way, a very specific way. And Trevor is such a great storyteller. And I think this technology has a lot of application. And so he was just really engaging. He's another one that I really like that on the show. And it was just really cool to see that in-store experience. I can imagine every department store having this for the shelves and for their counters. It's super cool.

Phillip: [00:19:55] That's Trevor Sumner, right?

Brian: [00:19:56] Trevor Sumner. Thank you. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:19:59] But he wasn't on the panel. Just to round out the panel...

Brian: [00:20:01] Oh, yes. Yeah, right. Right. I got to talk to Adrian McAllister. And that was super fun, too. She's from Google AR. And ARKit was just released.

Phillip: [00:20:18] ARCore?

Brian: [00:20:18] ARCCore. I'm sorry.

Phillip: [00:20:20] That's ok.

Brian: [00:20:20] There you go. Already mixed them up. ARCore was just released, and the implications for augmented reality in our everyday lives are just immense, and augmented reality for merchants is here and now. This is why what Mike Festa was talking about is so important, because if you want to be able to take advantage of this technology, you have to have that catalog. And so,.

Phillip: [00:20:50] Yeah, for sure.

Brian: [00:20:51] And so she got to talk about, you know, some examples of it being used in real life. And like at Pottery Barn and Wayfair. I think Lowe's. And so it's just it's here. It's here. It's here now that we can't talk about this anymore, Philip.

Phillip: [00:21:10] I know. We almost have to move on.

Brian: [00:21:11] I know it's not Future Commerce anymore. This is Here and Now Commerce. We should start a show called Here and Now Commerce. Oh wait that would be the Jason and Scot Show.

Phillip: [00:21:22] I love those guys.

Brian: [00:21:23] I love those guys, too.

Phillip: [00:21:23] Did you hear, they had like a three hour recap of like literally everything.

Brian: [00:21:26] Yes.

Phillip: [00:21:26] If you want a comprehensive recap of Shoptalk, go listen to the Jason and Scot Show. They had two episodes about it.

Brian: [00:21:32] Yes. It's awesome.

Phillip: [00:21:34] And they're gonna do a way better job of distilling like the content.

Brian: [00:21:37] Yes.

Phillip: [00:21:37] And not the feeling. You're probably used to that from us by now.

Brian: [00:21:42] They're not going to talk about Red Rock.

Phillip: [00:21:46] Probably not. Oh. So, OK. Since you went there.

Brian: [00:21:50] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:21:50] So we did... If you look back over... If we had to sort of take an arc of our show, the first year was like voice and conversational. The second year was kind of like AR in VR.

Brian: [00:22:01] Yep.

Phillip: [00:22:02] And I think what we've talked about this year most is sort of disruption and it's in two different areas. We talk a lot about body data and personal data.

Brian: [00:22:16] Well we've always talked about body data. Let's be clear.

Phillip: [00:22:18] Well yeah. But a recurring theme this year is especially around like how we protect our private information in that regard. And Cambridge Analytica happened while we were at our Shoptalk. It's like a thing that we'll talk about in depth, probably at a policy level outside the context of this show, but it's something worth mentioning. But the thing that has come up is sort of, and we started this conversation, I think, back in October of '17. We had the prescriptive advice that we gave a retailer to say, if somebody tells you that they're using AI or machine learning, don't believe them. It's been reduced to a marketing term. And some of the technologies are legit, but most of them are not, and most of them are the same old product with the words sort of slapped on top of it. I cannot believe, and this is like not to dog Shoptalk, but they had a whole neighborhood of AI and machine learning, you know, because Shoptalk is sort of divided into neighborhoods...

Brian: [00:23:26] Which I appreciate, by the way.

Phillip: [00:23:28] Which I do too. I do too.

Brian: [00:23:29] Very much appreciate.

Phillip: [00:23:30] Right. And I know I heard a lot of people actually kind of griping at that. I kind of love that about this show. I also love that it's not a grid, but that's just my personal take. So I'm walking around the AI and machine learning. And with the exception of one or two standouts, I have to say I get the distinct feeling it's incredibly underwhelming. Like incredibly underwhelming.

Brian: [00:23:55] Yeah, I agree.

Phillip: [00:23:55] And the application of what could be a transformational technology to retail is abysmal at this point in 2018.

Brian: [00:24:05] To put it context, we had Jonathan Epstein on a really early on in the show. Right? Episode 13?

Phillip: [00:24:11] Yeah almost two years ago.

Brian: [00:24:14] Sentient, to me, still feels like one of the best applications of machine learning that we saw the show.

Phillip: [00:24:24] But they might be the only one in that sort of neighborhood that is a true stand out, and is actually a real player.

Brian: [00:24:30] Right. And they've been around for like three or four years.

Phillip: [00:24:30] All the others there's a very clear line...

Brian: [00:24:34] Five.

Phillip: [00:24:35] Well for sure. Yeah and they're doing incredible work. So I don't want to dismiss everybody. But they also don't...

Brian: [00:24:41] No. No. You didn't dismiss everyone. I think that was my point was like you're dead on. Sentient is still a stand out and there were a couple of other ones, but that was it.

Phillip: [00:24:53] Here's my other gripe, which has nothing to do with Shoptalk the show and has everything to do with how vendors actually react at a show or how they engage you in a show. I cannot believe the number of people who pay for a booth at a show of this magnitude to sit in their booth on their phone and are not engaged in any way in what's going on around them. They're not welcoming people in. They're not trying to bring people in. They're not trying to... I kind of want you to wow me.

Brian: [00:25:26] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:25:28] There's so much apathy. I don't get it.

Brian: [00:25:32] And maybe this is reflective of some of the businesses that were there. But like, we're still seeing the 1 800 chargebacks of the world at these shows. The branding on some of these booths was just not consistent with the theme of the show. Just technology companies, FYI, if you're going to show up at a show like ShopTalk, bringing your a marketing game and engagement game. I totally agree with you, Phillip. There were clearly some very well thought out, very engaged people at some of these booths. But there was a good contingent of people that also were not engaged at all.

Phillip: [00:26:11] There's an incredible gap between those two as well.

Brian: [00:26:14] Yes. Which gives the show a little bit, and again, this is no fault of Shoptalk, but it gives the show kind of like this weird like bipolar feel almost.

Phillip: [00:26:24] Yeah. Yeah.

Brian: [00:26:25] Where it's like, "I'm stoked about the future," and there's all this crazy stuff happening. And like this is it, right? This is the future of commerce. And then as you're walking through, you have like these fits and starts where your head's jerking back to 1999 and you're like, "Oh I feel like I'm in some kind of confused, bizarro world," and I guess that's sort of natural for the place that we're in, a place of transition. But man it was a very, very clear like stark feel to that.

Announcer: [00:26:58] Now it's time for our weekly segment called Future Policy brought to you by Vertex SMB. As always, we are joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Danny Sepulveda.

Danny Sepulveda: [00:26:58] So GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. It is a regulation proposed by the European Parliament and embraced by the commission. It was adopted in 2016, but it goes into effect on May 25 of this year. What it says is that anyone doing business in Europe and collecting personally identifying information on Europeans has to comply with a set of basic principles and procedures as layed out by the regulation to ensure that the individual's information remains treated as if it were that person's property. It comes down to the traditional fair information practice principles of collections itself in the first instance, has to be subject to the consent of the individual. Once information is collected, that information has to be protected and subject to a significant series of rules around whether or not there's a breach of that information and notification on if a breach occurs. Beyond that, it has to be accessible. So the individual has to be able to know what information they give in private sector entity holds on them, and they have to have a right to correction or deletion. They have to not only know, but they have to be able to say, "Look, I am actually not a 69 year old female, but I am a 65 year old male." Whatever is incorrect, they need to have a right to correction. They have a right to ask or require the holder of that information to discard it. So those are very strict and stringent rights, and they apply not just going forward, but to current information held. For very large companies, this will have the greatest application to multi-national firms that have a physcial presence in Europe and would be subject to fines in Europe for non-compliance. And those fines can be very steep. They're up to 4% of worldwide revenue. Imagine a company like Google. Four percent of worldwide revenue is real change. And so what you're seeing is a rush, well not a rush, but a real effort by particularly by the large multi-nationals, but it should be by anyone conducting business in Europe, to get the right kind of data practices in place to assure compliance. And that's hard because a lot of it is subject to interpretation. And the commission is still putting out guidance on how you can get a sense of whether or not you are actually in compliance. The second interesting part about this is the extra territorial effect that it has. So most of these companies aren't going to change the way they treat personally identifiable information just for Europeans. It wouldn't make sense for them to have a separate set of data managment practices for Europeans than for everyone else that they hold. So what you're seeing now is a company like Facebook that has 2 billion users. The EU is a huge market for them. They are going to change to come into compliance with the GDPR, but they're going to apply those changes to all 2 billion users. The implications of that are immense. There are folks who find that both upsetting, aggressive, and maybe a little ego-centrice of the European Union to impose its vision on the world. What the European Union would say is well you're free not to do business in Europe, but that's not realistic given the size of that market. So people are going to do what they can to come into compliance. What will be an interesting question from an American perspective is, what will that mean for American law, and will we start to have a conversation about whether or not we can construct a better vision? I know a lot about this issue. I've worked on it both in Congress and at the executive branch. I am not as critical of our European colleagues as many of our friends in the private sector are. I understand the intent of what they are trying to do, and I appreciate that intent. I also understand that in Europe there's a long history, obviously in Germany in particular, of violations and discrimination for individuals on the basis of religion, among other factors, and that there's a very strong sense of privacy. It is a human right in Europe. Privacy in the United States... We have a fourth ammendment right to protection from invasion of privacy from the government. As a consumer matter, it is considered a consumer protection issue, and it is really rooted in the concept of harm, rather than human rights. Where we are now is that while we have a very, from my perspective, and I think most people who work on these issues, a strong and respectable set of privacy laws in the United States. We don't have a comprehensive one. And it could use improvment, clarification, simplification. And I believe that we could do a better job of constructing a comprehensive law of privacy, which is what the GDPR is for Europe, in a way that is more flexible allowing for innovation. And the reason that that matters is because the rest of the world is watching. If Latin America sees that well European information is being treated with a much higher level of privacy than is available in their markets, they're going to look to make laws as well. And what we want to be able to do is go to them and say, "Look we have a better way of doing this." And right now under what is a combination of sectoral privacy laws and common law, we don't have an understandable better way of doing it. What I foresee is companies, not just in the United States, but around the world, coming into compliance with GDPR and then trying to work on implementation and interpretation of the rule to make it workable for companies, as well as proposing new ideas and alternative jurisdictions for better ways to achieve the same end, which is ensuring that the individual dignity of the human being is perserved throughout the commercial process and that they retain some degree of power and control over information. And that those who collect, use, and distribute it, act as good stewards in that process. What's fascinating about all these issues is that they're relatively new. And they're not new in the sense that we've never had privacy issues in the history of mankind or we've never had network competition issues or we've never had issues of conflict of law in international commerce. What's new is the degree of the Internet, and distance as a factor in how we interact with each other is forcing, to some degree, interaction between public policy officials who can't control within their four corners of jurisdiction how information is managed and flows without some really very high challenge to enforcement. Again these are all really, really interesting questions. If you work in this space, particularly in the commercial space or the digital commerce space, and you know the value of data, whether it's personally identifiable or not, agregated data... That's kind of the grease of the wheels of this particular economy, of the digital economy. And getting it right, getting it right is critical to ensuring that the digital economy continues to be a force for economic good, wealth creation, innovation, the spread of ideas. While at the same time ensuring that we don't lose our humanity in the process, our sense of self-respect, our sense of our very right to present ourselves to the world as we wish to present ourselves, to not be discriminated against, to not have lost any power over the decisions that are made over us. I mean this is not a Black Mirror episode. I'm not arguing that all the fear of the world... I'm not... I don't fear technology. I appreciate technology, and I think that we should not legislate or regulate from a position of fear. But we shouldn't romanticize it either. There are challenges and market failures and poor market incentives toward bad behavior in every single market, every single technology in the history of man. And what I would say is we don't know enough right now to know the perfect answer, but we should be engaged in teh conversation trying to establish agreed upon principles from which we can work toward a new body of law for what is a new economy.  

Phillip: [00:37:24] Well, one of the standouts for me, and it was interesting because I took it... There's a cognitive word for this. Like cognitive biases that we have. I forget. There's a bias for this. But I did not recognize until the third day of the show that there was a really very large booth from a company called Handy right in the middle.

Brian: [00:37:49] Yes.

Phillip: [00:37:51] Which seemed pretty well staffed at most times and a lot of engagement from people. But I didn't even notice them. I didn't take notice of them until the third day of the show. In the morning, I was at the gym running and I heard an NPR story that Walmart partnered with Handy to do all of its installation. And Handy's like the Angie's List of handy man services or whatever. And that either Walmart, I think Walmart might have is like they're the exclusive provider of of installation services for now. Something to that effect. But then when I recognized them, when I saw them, then I kind of saw them everywhere. I'm checking them out. I see everybody talking about them. So I do think that there's sort of an element of, you know, we sort of notice the things that... Like things begin to sort of pop out to us. I might take notice of some of the more cynical aspects more than another person might. But there were a few standouts for me. And I'd love to mention them. I know you have a couple, too.

Brian: [00:39:04] Yeah I already mentioned PERCH.

Phillip: [00:39:04] So I thought maybe we could. Yeah, you mentioned PERCH. I'd like to mention Hemster. It was in the start up area.

Brian: [00:39:11] Yeah. It was awesome.

Phillip: [00:39:12] Hemster is really cool. And I love their take. So Hemster is a technology slash services company that provides tailoring services to businesses and to individuals, and they're partnering with shopping malls. So like Simon Malls and Westfield, where they'll actually go into a mall and have a partnership with all of the clothing retailers in a particular mall where they have tailor services that are incredibly cheap. I think $5 or $10 a garment for hemming and light alterations for every single store in the mall and then a delivery service to deliver locally after you purchase the garment. So let's say you go to J.Crew and you buy a pair of pants, and you would like it to be taken up an inch or so. Then J. Crew now has the ability to slap, you know, one of Hemster's stickers that's patent pending on the cuff, mark where it should be, write your name on it, send it off to Hemster's local tailor, who will then courier deliver it back to you when the alteration is done. So it's like a hyper-local service that's a sell through to local businesses. And I think that that's really innovative. And now they are doing it in home as well. But that aside, I really liked how that actually seemed like it was a solution to a common problem, which is something that it's not a meta problem that's being solved that needs sort of bespoke implementation for you and your brand. It was an innovative play on in an aged industry. And possibly putting more people to work in a region and giving them access into stores that otherwise wouldn't have the capability. It felt like it's doing something which I love, which is connecting supply and demand.

Brian: [00:41:17] I totally agree. I love that. That was on my favorites of the whole show. Just because of all the things you just mentioned. Like it's really a creative way of thinking about something that's a time honored industry.

Phillip: [00:41:34] Right.

Brian: [00:41:34] And it will give people access this in a totally different way and make sure that people's clothes fit properly. I mean, this is again, a very practical application for body data gathering and usage.

Phillip: [00:41:50] Yeah.

Brian: [00:41:50] And actually, once you've entered in your measurements once, I believe you don't have to continue to use their sticker. You just got to get it in one time.

Phillip: [00:41:59] Yeah. What I love is that they also have a sort of a really clear idea of their future path, which is that, yes, they begin to understand who you are and what your preferences are. And then any garment that you purchase, you could send to them, and they could alter to your specification, which that's the dream, right? I love that idea. Anyway...

Brian: [00:42:28] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:42:28] So that was really special.

Brian: [00:42:29] And back to you in 48 hours.

Phillip: [00:42:30] Forty eight hours.

Brian: [00:42:33] That's amazing.

Phillip: [00:42:33] And I don't have to pick it up. That's another great thing. So anyway, a little plug for them. I kind of like them as well. And then one other stand out for me, and it had nothing to do with the clothes or the brand or the fit or anything interesting about it, other than that they were an actual fashion brand that was at like at the show with clothes is Mizzen+Main, which I've already seen them a lot. They've definitely got some digital marketing prowess. I've seen them on social. What I love is that their business card, their domain name is Their about page says, "Why are these shirts so comfortable AF?" which appeals to my demographic, which is like they know how to talk to me, and they've kind of captured the voice for their market. I assume that they have other marketing strategies other than millennial sort of advertising.

Brian: [00:43:34] But yeah, I mean what I like about them is they're hot retail brand. They're doing cool stuff with fabric technology.

Phillip: [00:43:43] Yeah.

Brian: [00:43:43] And actually the speakers of the show got shirts from Mizzen+Main, which was super cool. So I got to bring one home. And it is really comfortable. I'm not going to lie.

Phillip: [00:44:00] Is it comfortable AF? That's the question.

Brian: [00:44:03] Yes.

Phillip: [00:44:05] Ok. Did anyone else stand out to you?

Brian: [00:44:07] Yeah, for sure. I think you called out sort of that like weird dissonance that we felt. Here's an interesting thought that I had. This was a bit of a stand out for me. I think we've hit a spot in technology now where what we're talking about at Shoptalk is actually really similar to what we talked about in Shoptalk 1, which was two years ago. There's been three Shoptalks now.

Phillip: [00:44:44] Right. Three US Shoptalks.

Brian: [00:44:46] But now it's really real. And I think there's enough technology out there that's monetizable that we're going to be using the technology that we're looking at right now for the next three to five years. It's gonna get used a lot more than it's being used right now. But we're going to see a lot of the same stuff. And yes, a lot of the ones that we've talked about that they belong back in the 2000 era, they're going to start to filter out more. But the types of technologies that we're looking at are what's going to power the next wave of commerce. So I guess what I'm getting at is I think we're going to see a similar Shoptalk, but without the dissonance for the next three to five years. There's too much to do with the technology that we have and too much opportunity to make money on it that that's where people are going to put their dollars and effort. And so that's the way the show will stay. The other thing we're going to see is we're gonna see, you know, other shows like IRCE and NRF start to follow this direction as well, such that there's... Unless, of course, Anil, the founder of Shoptalk, can find a way to really push the envelope. But, you know, I think because the dollars are going to be in the sectors we've been talking about for the past eighteen months to two years, it's gonna be hard to find new innovative technology beyond this that's going to be able to afford this kind of a show. And so I think we're going to see IRCE and NRF start to feel like this in these next couple of years.

Phillip: [00:46:42] Is that a good thing? I mean, not to be that guy.

Brian: [00:46:48] Yeah, I agree with you. I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing. I'm saying that there's so much to take advantage of right now that there's just no room to do more. I don't think retailers can handle more than what we have right now, for a while.

Phillip: [00:47:06] Well, if I could... So we did have some conversation with a couple of brands. And one of the things that I... I don't want to throw any one of them under the bus, so I'll just give a generalization. There were more than one brand that I spoke with that very famously in the past 12 to 18 months have, you know, filed for Chapter 11. And they range from big box style retailers or large retailers in that realm to actual like, you know, fashion brands. And the fact that, you know, like Toys R US, who I didn't speak with, like Toys R US, that they're looking to things like AR and VR as something that's transformational for their business is terrifying for me because these...

Brian: [00:48:00] Now, hold on here.

Phillip: [00:48:01] No. Hold on. Let me finish my thought.

Brian: [00:48:01] Ok, finish your thought.

Phillip: [00:48:01] Everyone knows I'm full of crap. So this is fine. But I think that these things that we are talking about right now are not replacements for the fundamentals of being a good brand that has a good product that connects with their customer.

Brian: [00:48:24] And making good business decisions, too.

Phillip: [00:48:26] Right. Yeah. But they're experiences. Right? And you can't build a brand only on experience. Before a brand can build a flagship store, you have to build a customer base and find and connect with your customers. It's the same... I don't know how to even express this. You're VR and your AR experience...

Brian: [00:48:47] No, you've expressed it well.

Phillip: [00:48:48] Your VR and AR experience are more of the flagship store that'll never turn a profit for you, but you're required to do it just to put that out into the world, so that you have an experience that you can point to as this is where we're heading in general, than it is for transformation in your business to actually help rescue you out of dire straits. It's not even incremental. It's incremental at best, but I don't think it will be.

Brian: [00:49:17] Yes. So I think you're combining two thoughts here. I think you're right. If you're looking to AR and VR to save your business, you're looking at a wrong spot.

Phillip: [00:49:28] Or even AI or machine learning or any one technology at a time.

Brian: [00:49:30] Anything. Yes. If you're in trouble right now, it's probably because you made some bad business decisions. That's what happened at Toys R US, and to conduct what they did with AR and VR to, "Oh, don't go focus on that, because that's what Toys R US did, and they went out of business," is I think that's a mistake. Toys R US was in desperate situation.

Phillip: [00:49:53] No. I know. Right.

Brian: [00:49:55] They were pretty much dead in the water before they ever announced anything. I think they even announced that they were considering Chapter 11 when they announced AR. Like the same time.

Phillip: [00:50:07] Yes. And that was our like sort of cynical tweet, you know, and on FC Insiders. And we talked about that to some degree. You're right.

Brian: [00:50:16] Yeah. So you don't look to technology to save your brand. However, one of the things we did talk about on my panel with Mike and Adrian was augmented reality, as it moves forward, and again you need to start planning for it. I'm not saying that you have to have that experience. And obviously there are use cases for it. And then there are other brands where there's no or minimal use case for it. But if it is a good fit for your branding, you do have a story with it. It is going to become a little bit more part of your core business, core identity as a marketing unit as much as email is because this is how you're going to communicate with your customers as people began to adopt it.

Phillip: [00:51:08] So you're saying AR pop ups is what we're...

Brian: [00:51:11] Right.

Phillip: [00:51:11] That's where we're headed. {laughter}

Brian: [00:51:15] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:51:16] I hear what you're saying. I hear what you're saying. And I think it's astute. I think what you said is exactly right on. If this is where consumer technology is heading, this is where we're all heading. And. Yeah. But looking to any one of these things as a...

Brian: [00:51:32] Savior?

Phillip: [00:51:34] Right.Yeah. But I do think that there are other things that are technology assisted that can be transformational and saviors for your business. A good example of that would be, you know, it's a fundamental at this point, but if you're in eCommerce, and you're not connecting with your customers via email, and you're not using email as a channel to create repeat business for yourself, if you're not speaking to your customers regularly, if you're not using that as both a promotional channel and sort of a storytelling and content channel, then you're missing out. But you're missing out on a fundamental. And so that's my take. That is technology. It is a technology you should be invested in. But it's a fundamental at this point and these aren't fundamentals. A lot of the things that we're talking about at a show like Shoptalk are sort of far future. And it's and it's going to change a few times between now and where it winds up by the time it becomes a fundamental.

Brian: [00:52:41] Right. Yes. And for certain brands, you need to start planning for it now. And especially those that are operating from a position of strength. I think you should be considering this because you can get out in front of it and be ready for it when the time is right. Like Wayfair has. Wayfair is a great example of that. I think they operated from a position of strength. They made really smart decisions about hiring and bringing the right people in and working with the right partners and planning out in front of it. You know, I think that's how you should be thinking about this if you're a brand or retailer.

Phillip: [00:53:22] Wonderful. Somehow I don't know why we thought we could capture Shoptalk in forty five minutes. We'll never do it justice.

Brian: [00:53:31] Oh, my gosh. What are we at right now? Oh, my gosh. Wait. Hold on. There's one more thing I want to bring up. It's not related to Shoptalk.

Phillip: [00:53:39] OK.

Brian: [00:53:39] But I do want to call it out. So back to episode 55, predictions for 2018. One of the predictions that I had was essentially this idea of sort of giving customers, shoppers, access to their data to do more with them. 1) so they have visibility in it and 2) to help them leverage it to accomplish things. McDonald's recently released a feature in an app that's connected to their loyalty program, where they're giving customers opportunities to earn things as they give access to different pieces of data. This is exactly what I'm talking about.

Phillip: [00:54:33] Right.

Brian: [00:54:36] And it is related back to the GDPR, by the way, which it effects your European business. If you do business in Europe in any way, you're affected by GDP. You better be paying attention to that. So if you are affected by GDPR, you should probably consider the fact that you don't want to have to run two different data strategies across channels or across the world. The US and Europe and the world. Start planning for future laws associated with data now, and also get out in front of your customers now and do basically what's permission based marketing. Partner with, if you want to provide data to other people, partner with them and give customers an opportunity to use that data. And so I'm going to relate this back to Shoptalk now. So you mentioned while we were Shoptalk, the news broke about the Facebook...

Phillip: [00:55:47] Yeah Cambridge Analytica.

Brian: [00:55:49] Yeah. This is a great example of what can happen if you're not careful with your data, and I say democratize it. Give it back. Or maybe that's the wrong word. Just give visibility back to your consumers, and then let them use it to their advantage. I think that's coming. So start planning for it now.

Phillip: [00:56:14] So I'll make a prediction pursuant. This is now our beginning of Q2 prediction for me.

Brian: [00:56:21] There you go. There you go.

Phillip: [00:56:21] Which is I think things like GDPR is going to take the air out of SaaS eCommerce a little bit, in that while in the near term it looks like something like SaaS would "just work" or "just take care of" your GDPR compliance requirements, the entire ecosystem around it in like apps and plug ins and things like that that actually enable additional functionality and feature actually complicated tremendously.

Brian: [00:56:48] That is a bold prediction. Wow.

Phillip: [00:56:50] I think it takes the air out of it a little bit. I'm not saying that it's going to go away. I think it makes us rethink the sort of essentialism of what we need in our commerce experiences instead of throwing literally everything at the wall because we can click to plug it in. We need to start thinking about things like privacy and data privacy compliance requirements. And maybe, hopefully that's medicine that will make us start to do things on behalf of our customers to do right by our customers and to start asking questions that put our customers at the center of the story and not our conversion rate at the center of the story.

Brian: [00:57:29] Yes. Right. Oh, my gosh. Show quote right there. Let's get that on the Twitter page. Tweet that. Tweet that now, Matt.

Phillip: [00:57:38] I'm hoping that's where we go. That's not always where regulation winds us up. I know it always... It's the desired outcome that we become better citizens through regulation. We usually find a shortcut. But my hope is that that's where retailers start to head. And I'm hoping that consumers start to demand it of us as retailers.

Brian: [00:58:02] Yes.

Phillip: [00:58:02] That they put the pressure on us to be more transparent about where our data is, who we're sharing it with, how we plan... As we're speaking, I just got an email from Map My Run. Is it Map My Run? Yeah, Map My Run, and My Fitness Pal that there was a data breach this year. And so in theory, somebody knows everywhere that I have ever been while I'm running and everything that I've eaten in the past year. That's the world that we live in. And at least there's like at least that sort of stuff isn't being covered up for years before we find out about it now. But I would really like and that's Under Armor. It's not a small company. I would love to know before those things happen, who has my data and who has access to my data and have it in a transparent way. And not just from a big company like Under Armor, from every company, you know, that's even in startups. That's going gonna be a requirement now anyway.

Brian: [00:59:02] Yeah and don't just see it as something you have to do. Look at as an opportunity. It is an opportunity.

Phillip: [00:59:06] That we get to do this. Right.

Brian: [00:59:08] Yes, it is an opportunity because you can better engage your customers. You can finally be adding additional value for them. And I think...

Phillip: [00:59:17] This is... Yes. Yes. You know what's interesting here? I might... Here's another bold prediction and maybe something that we'll be talking about in Shoptalk next year or the years to come. In the way that companies became green as matters of compliance or in response to customer demand.

Brian: [00:59:38] Yes.

Phillip: [00:59:38] I see an opportunity for companies to go private. In that they do absolutely no partnering with third party organizations to share your data. And here's how we prove it.

Brian: [00:59:51] Or at least...

Phillip: [00:59:52] "We are the off the grid solution" or something to that effect.

Brian: [00:59:56] "We are 100 percent transparent with all of our data that we capture."

Phillip: [01:00:00] I think it starts there. But did the Ted Kazinskis of the world are going to want... Somebody is going to want to engage with a company who does very minimal...

Brian: [01:00:09] Yeah. So here's my thinking on this. I actually don't think customers really care if you share data with particular other companies. I actually think that there is a good use case for it that will benefit customers and shoppers. And so they're actually going to want you to share their data. That's the part why I'm so stoked about this, because it is an opportunity. And so start asking your customers, "If I was able to accomplish X for you by doing this, would you want to do it? Would you share this data with me?" Like, maybe that's not the right way to go about it. But what I'm getting at is I really feel like there's incremental value. There's exponential value for shoppers by sharing data. But they need to be the ones with the control, and they need to see it as an opportunity for them.

Phillip: [01:01:04] Well, this is precisely what you what what you mentioned on our prediction show is that at some point we need to rethink how the web works to put the controls into the hands of the consumer when they share the data, witch data they're sharing, whether it's about their psychographics or their personal body data or not, to know where it is at all times and to give them the control and not the control to, you know, big corporate, publicly traded entities who have only, you know, shareholders profits in mind.

Brian: [01:01:39] And push your data to Russia.

Phillip: [01:01:44] All right. I think we beat that to death. But yes.

Brian: [01:01:47] I don't think we beat that one to death. I think there's a lot more to come there. I think this is going to be a topic of conversation for the next two years.

Phillip: [01:01:57] These thoughts and opinions are those of Brian Lange and Phillip Jackson only and none of our respective employers...Amazon. No, but I'm really excited that these are the kinds of conversations we're having now that we are evolving the message, and the spirit of our show is evolving, because I think this is where our heads are at right now. And there's a lot of ethical questions at the center of it, not just cool tech. And that gives me a lot of hope that our understanding of retail is evolving to put the people at the center. And I think that the other thing, too, just as a last thought, is that I hear more people saying, should we be doing that? But more in reference to how much like when we're just gaming for conversion or all these technologies that, you know, you can find at Shoptalk on the Expo floor, how many of them are coercive, that are coercing? And how many of them are assistive to help you make a better decision? And I think that coercion doesn't have a lasting value when you're trying to win a customer. And being helpful and helping people make better decisions is. And I think that that's what separates the Sentient from everybody else that sits in the same group. And I think you can see it at a glance or I'm becoming well trained to spot them. But I think that retailers are becoming just as adept at spotting the goats from the sheep. I don't know. There's an idiom that is not coming to mind, but there you go.

Brian: [01:03:40] There it is. ShopTalk 2018. Looking forward to next year.

Phillip: [01:03:46] Me, too. I'd like to go to EU at some point. That'd be nice. That would be cool. I'd love to go to the EU version of Shoptalk.

Brian: [01:03:54] Actually, we should apply to get out there for this year. I love that idea. And a huge thanks to the organizers at Shoptalk for working with us. And bringing us in on the talk and as press, and we love working with you. We think you guys do a great job with your show. We're really, really happy to have been a part of it.

Phillip: [01:04:22] There's no show like Shoptalk.

Brian: [01:04:24] That's true.

Phillip: [01:04:24] That's for sure. And now we want to hear what you thought about Shoptalk. So make sure that you lend your voice to this conversation. Go over to, and you can check us out over there or you can hit us up at And tell us what you thought. How was the show for you? Were there any merchants that you met there who were having great experiences or were there any brand stories that really resonated with you? We want to hear about it. And as always, you can subscribe anywhere that you get podcasts or on any smart speaker. Just make sure that you check it out for Future Commerce podcast. Take us home, Brian.

Brian: [01:04:59] With that, retail tech is moving fast...

Phillip: [01:05:02] And Future Commerce is moving faster. Thanks.

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