Join us for VISIONS Summit NYC  - June 11
Episode 11
September 26, 2016

Transformational Retail

Our guest Healey Cypher of Oak Labs phones into the show from his commute to tell us how he is transforming retail from the dressing room to the stock room with technology.

<iframe height="52px" width="100%" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" seamless src=""></iframe>

this episode sponsored by

No items found.

Our guest Healey Cypher of Oak Labs phones into the show from his commute to tell us how he is transforming retail from the dressing room to the stock room with technology.

  • History of Oak Labs
  • The current state of retail
  • Applying digital principles to physical stores
  • Oak Labs' current, upcoming, and exclusively announced functionality
  • The next iterations of in-store interactions
  • App/phone vs. transforming space
  • Thoughts on personalization and respecting privacy
  • Balance of explicit and implicit tech
  • Restraint in tech

Download MP3 (35.1 MB)

Phillip: [00:00:21] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:00:26] And I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:00:27] And today we have the exuberant and exciting Mr. Healey Cypher with us. Say hello.

Healey: [00:00:33] Hey. {high pitched}

Phillip: [00:00:39] {laughter}

Brian: [00:00:39] {laughter}

Healey: [00:00:39] Oh you didn't think I'd do it.

Brian: [00:00:39] You're supposed to do the whole show that way. Oh, you already messed it up, dude.

Healey: [00:00:44] Pleasure to be here, guys. Thanks for having me.

Phillip: [00:00:45] Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for being on. And you know, as always, we want your feedback about today's show. So make sure to leave some comments or feedback or some notes for our guests in the Disqus comment on the site,, below and you can scroll down and make sure you hit the subscribe button as well. Leave us a five star on iTunes. We're also on Google Play. And you can listen from your Amazon Echo at any time from TuneIn Radio with the phrase, "Alexa, Play Future Commerce podcast." And she's trying to play it now. Don't you do that. You insufferable... So anyway, welcome. Welcome, Healey. Could you just kind of kick us off? You know, people may not know who you are out there. I'm sure they should know who you are. So maybe you can fill us in a little bit.

Healey: [00:01:32] It's safe to say there's a pretty strong chance they have no idea. My name's Healey Cypher. I'm the CEO and Co-Founder of a company called Oak. And my background is about five years ago, I was serving as the Chief of Staff to the CTO of eBay. And this at the time is when eBay was eBay and PayPal and GSI. And we would pitch retailers for hours at a time who came in about the future of commerce, and the challenges that we would always pitch some eCommerce solutions. And at the ending, they'd always say one thing, OK, this is great. But what about technology for my physical stores, which are 95 percent of my sales? And I said, hey, guys, let me start a team. You know, I don't need a lot of budget. It's all going to be about bringing the best of online thinking into the physical world. And so they really gave me no budget or people. {laughter} But over the course of the next two years, it grew to seventeen person off campus secret lab, had lunches with companies like Rebecca Minkoff and Nordstrom and Kate Spade and Sony and Toms and Simon and Westfield and got a really clear sense of as the company was breaking apart, there's a lot of organizational shuffling and a few of us found ourselves kind of faced with that question, which is what are we going to do with our lives now? And so we all call each other up as we were kind of out of work and said, hey, what do you think about starting a company that just pushes this mission forward? It was great. Let's do it. So, Oak, as a company, is 15 months old. There's 14 of us. We're headquartered in San Francisco. We've got a showcase in New York, a satellite in Seattle. And we believe the future of retail will be a software defined future. We believe that stores we living, breathing, software, ecosystems, and the future we believe in is one that's actually not about technology. Ironically. It's about the reason you're in the store. It's about the beautiful products, intelligent people. It's about the material and the wood and the metal and the glass. It's about the experience. It makes you want to be immersed with that brand and lifestyle and about technology, finding those customer journeys that are the brand and supporting them, about finding opportunities to reduce friction, about empowering associates, about, you know, redefining what it even means to be mobile and having a store that as you go throughout, it changes and those authentic materials come alive around you. Keep your phone in your pocket and it just knows who you are and it makes it a better experience. This is the future we believe in. And so we're building that. We're building the first connected store platform and the first product we built we actually started in the fitting room.

Brian: [00:04:24] Nice. This just reminds me of the show, Mr Selfridge with Jeremy Piven. Have you ever watch that?

Healey: [00:04:32] No, but I do love Jeremy Piven.

Brian: [00:04:33] Oh, man, you've got to watch that. It's like early on in the department store and it's like this big production, you know? And it's like Mr Selfridge, the main guy played by Jeremy Piven, makes the department store come alive again. And I feel like that's kind of like what you're doing. I feel like, you know, almost on the show, it's almost like, you know, department stores almost used to be cooler back then. At least that's the way they make it sound. And now it's like, man, it's kind of like this boring sort of blah experience that I think, you know, with all the technology and all of what we have we can take stores and make them great again. {laughter}

Healey: [00:05:18] If you're printing hats, I'm buying them. Make stores great again.

Brian: [00:05:22] And actually, actually, to be fair, I did rip that off from Shoptalk. They recently I saw they had a banner with something like Make Retail Great Again. Or something like that.

Phillip: [00:05:30] I love that you copped to it, but you shouldn't have. You should have just owned that, Brian.

Brian: [00:05:35] I should have just owned that. I should have owned that. But to be fair, I think it's really exciting. What the mission of Oak is is super exciting to me because I feel like it's just something that needs to be changed based on where we're at in technology. And as an economy and as a culture, I can't believe how far I feel like in-store experience is behind where we're at. Anyway. So what led to the creation of the Mirror? So you were in this secret lab at eBay, you started with two people. You moved to seventeen. Was Mirror sort of pioneered back at eBay? Did Oak, pioneer then? And, you know, maybe tell us a little bit about what it can do just for the people that don't know.

Healey: [00:06:22] Yeah, totally. Even just before I even get into the details there, I wanted to make a quick commentary on why retail is so important. Yeah, I think people miss it. So are the reason we're starting in retail, by the way, we love retail. It's all we think about. But if you want to change how people expect to engage in the physical world, you start in retail. It is 67 percent of disposable income. It employs one out of four people in the country. It's the place where you start. And so we get so excited about it because we see this opportunity to truly redefine how people want to engage in physical spaces. And, you know, one of the things about retail that I think you're kind of saying make retail great again. Well, the truth is we are at this very, very important turning point in retail and a turning point actually revolves around massive economic shifts. I mean, if you look at how retailers in the past, they put down more stores, that was mid century. The American dream was energy consumption and big cars and driving distances and suburbia. And so you put down more stores. And it grew top line revenue to the point here in the US, this is true, we have forty six square feet of retail space for every man, woman and child.

Brian: [00:07:41] {laughter} Oh man.

Healey: [00:07:44] My first apartment in New York. {laughter} You have dollars per square foot going down. And someone from GEP, I forget who it was, but it was really brutal statement, which is we don't have an overall retailed country. We have an under demolished retail.

Brian: [00:08:05] Yeah, yeah, that's amazing.

Healey: [00:08:08] In this post Amazon era, you can't as a retailer compete on proximity, selection, and price because you will lose. The only way you can truly compete is on experience, and that is where we're getting to in retail. So one of the things that we did, and I promise we'll get back to why I created the Mirror, is we look at the retail experience in the same way that Com thinks of the conversion funnel and is always meticulously optimizing that conversion funnel, we take the same lens and approach it to retail. So, you know, if you're a good eCommerce person, what do you do? You know how many people are going through your funnel from the home page to the product pages, product pages to the cart, cart to checkout and, you know, the drop off between every single one. And at eBay, as an example, we would spend tens of millions of dollars just making sure that pages would load literally milliseconds faster because we knew we'd see a return. It was reducing friction. If you take that metaphor of that kind of that online session and put it into the store session, it actually holds up in amazing ways. So think about this. You walk into a store and you're probably doing one or two things. You know what you want, search. You're like inspiration, browse. Search versus browse. Like a homepage. You're looking at mannequins and shelves and merchandizing. You're collecting information about those garments. What are you doing? Those are product pages. You're collecting information. You put them into the fitting room. That's just like a cart. In the cash trap line, that's just like checkout and all these stats hold up. So, for example, if you see an item you like in front of you, but the size you want isn't physically there, 47 percent of customers will not ask for help. It's just like if on the Web page it says out of stock, they're not going to click through. If some line is perceived as being over seven minutes long, there's a 79 percent abandonment rate. Think about that. You know, you walk into a grocery store, you see massive lines. You immediately walk out, and you convince yourself that you didn't actually need the tp after all because...

Brian: [00:10:17] It's so true.

Healey: [00:10:18] But then on the flip side, there are other opportunities. If someone goes into a fitting room, the chance they buy is two thirds and the chance they buy anything at all is seven times higher. So how do you optimize those places? So we look to the fitting room as its obvious place of the best customer to the highest intent, with an ability to gather unprecedented data and to make them even more loyal customers. So the way the Mirror works is you walk into the fitting room. It's a beautiful mirror and we learned the hard way. It's got to be beautiful. UI comes through the glass, turning it into a touchable interface. And from there you can do a bunch of amazing things. You can change the lighting. It recognizes everything you brought in using RFID. So it feels like magic and you can request other sizes, cuts in colors or recommended items right from the glass. And the moment you make that request, it goes to an associate who now has perfect information to know where you are, how fast you want it, and exactly what you want, where it is in the store. And then you as a customer can stay in the safety of your room, pants off and have that associate at your fingertips. And when the associate responds, it's not some robot responding. It's their face and name. You're not dehumanizing that conference experience. You're re-humanizing the conference experience, which is a big part of the thesis for stores.

Brian: [00:11:38] Yeah.

Healey: [00:11:39] You get the items you want. The associate, by the way, also sees everything else in the fitting room, not just what you've asked for. So they get a sense from zero to one of what you're asking for, what look you're going for, sizes you think you are, so now you've done this perfect thing where you bridge this chasm of customers not wanting to be solicited to. So they don't want associates to say, "Hey, would you like some help? Can I help with anything?" But when they talk to associates, the chance they buy is five times higher. So now you have an associate who is there the moment you want them, who is making it way, way easier to shop. It's this beautiful interaction. And then the last thing you do, which is fun, is if you're still deciding, you post to your phone "Buy later" or and we're just going to launch this this fall if all goes well, the ability to buy what's in the fitting room by tapping your phone in the glass or buying things that weren't in the store but are online through the same mechanism.

Brian: [00:12:29] Oh, shoot. That's amazing.

Healey: [00:12:32] I'm excited. So happy to tell you about the results I've seen to date. But that's at least how the tech works. We've taken the Mirror now... You know, our first iteration was ten inches deep and two pieces. Now it's one piece of three inches deep. It's a fifty five inch for cavers, it's a small twenty two inch. It's got a proximity sensor. So this is pretty cool. This is a new one I haven't told anyone about. If you pull your wheelchair into the fitting room, and I love this, the UI recognizes it and the whole UI automatically scrolls down. So it's right at your eye height.

Brian: [00:13:06] That's amazing. I love that.

Healey: [00:13:08] I get goosebumps. It's so beautiful. If you walk into your six foot five, which I wish I wear, I'll be honest, the UI I will come up. So it's easier. I mean, it is really simple. It's so complicated to make a piece of technology simple and beautiful and we've spent so much time thinking about it. So there's a bunch of exciting stuff coming out which we're really, really jazzed about.

Brian: [00:13:27] Nice.

Healey: [00:13:28] And there's really simple things you do, like our CTO comes from Xbox and Microsoft Ventures, and he taught us out of the gates that whenever you have a new game, you're designing a new game, what you do is you give the player an immediate win. They play it, they win, they want to keep playing it. When you walk into the fitting room when it recognizes items, we have a lighting up really bright, and almost every single person, the first thing they do is they change the lighting because it's a little too bright for them. That's on purpose.

Phillip: [00:13:56] Wow.

Healey: [00:13:57] They change lighting. And now they go, "Oh, I know how to use this thing." We've actually had since launching over, it's been nine months now, 20,000 sessions in three cities around the world now with 84 percent customer engagement.

Brian: [00:14:14] Wow. That's unbelievable. Who have you launched with? I know Rebecca Minkoff, Ralph Lauren. Anyone else you want to name?

Healey: [00:14:22] So we launched Ralph Lauren, Rebecca Minkoff was actually launched under the eBay banner. We launched recently with Gay Weber, which is the largest retailer in Germany. They have I think it's a total of twelve hundred stores. We're obviously not in all those doors yet, but a lot more launches coming up.

Brian: [00:14:40] Congratulations, that's amazing.

Healey: [00:14:42] Yeah, it's awesome. We're really excited about it.

Brian: [00:14:45] So obviously the Mirror is a huge part of what you're doing. Is there anything else that you've kind of got in terms of products or services or anything that you want to talk about right now?

Healey: [00:14:56] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Brian: [00:14:58] All right.

Healey: [00:15:00] So part part of the connected store platform we're building is an inherent ability to create what we think is kind of the brand new market. So we're taking the best of online digital assets, the best of in-store inventory, creating a true commerce catalog, which means we now have digital assets, inventory and your point of sale in a single place. All to say we can build any experience, any experience, within weeks now.

Brian: [00:15:27] Wow.

Healey: [00:15:28] And so the fitting room, I'll give you a little data dump. Eighty four percent engagement since we launched. That's awesome. We've done pretty detailed analysis of basket size. If someone uses the Mirror for a digital request versus doesn't use it at all on average, the basket size is 59 percent higher.

Phillip: [00:15:47] Wow.

Healey: [00:15:49] Conversion lift overall of about 10 percent. And here's the crazy thing, all of this, with all of it, they're spending 40 percent less time in the fitting room because it's so efficient to communicate with the associates.

Brian: [00:16:02] That's amazing.

Healey: [00:16:03] The dollars per minute per square foot is insane. But it's not just customer associate and productivity measures that we can gather. We now have access to data that's literally never been gathered in the history of retail before. So, you know, obvious things like what percentage of traffic going to the fitting room? What's the conversion rate for every sitting in session? What's the average duration? How do you break it down by demographics of gender, age? But we also now know conversion rates for every single SKU. So as a merchandizer, and this has never been done, as a merchandizer you know of the five sweaters you just rolled out in your Fall line, three sweaters going all the time and two of them are purchased all the time. One of them goes in a bunch and for whatever reason is not purchased at the same rate. And now you can see what they're doing. Are they asking for a size up? Are they going for a shade lighter? That's data that's never been gathered before. Now you know the difference in hits and misses and if it's a near miss or not, and can actually make changes in life time. And we also now know and this is where it gets really cool and really important, we are able to track for the first time associate service levels. How long does it take when you ask for an item for that item to physically enter the room? We know that.

Brian: [00:17:18] Nice. That's huge.

Healey: [00:17:19] And so, of course, what we do, we run some aggressive analysis. So guess what? There is a massive correlation between service level conversion. {laughter}

Brian: [00:17:30] Not surprising. Not surprising. Maybe I can see why at the beginning of the show you described this just like an online experience, because that's how I think about shopping cart online. You know, what are the factors that are going to increase conversion? And you've got it right there.

Phillip: [00:17:46] One of the things that I think is really, you know, that now brings a question in my mind is, we have a really big problem today in digital commerce, in channel attribution. And it starts to sound like you're creating multi-channels within what would be usually considered to be a single channel, which would be your brick and mortar retail. How do you sell that into a company? Or how do you kind of manage the channel and attribution issues that that might bring up? And maybe if you could pontificate a bit on the kinds of challenges like this that we'll have to face in the future when we start seeing more, you know, online, offline convergence?

Healey: [00:18:35] Yeah, yeah. Totally. Totally. I promise I'll answer that. Do you mind if I tell you the two products we built, the next ones? Or do you want me to skip it?

Phillip: [00:18:42] Yeah.

Brian: [00:18:43] Oh shoot. Yeah we didn't get to those. Go ahead.

Healey: [00:18:45] So service levels, the reason that it takes so long for customers items is because associates use radios in stores. That's really crappy. It's loud. The whole experience is like, you got to grab someone's UPC, you got to scan it, and then you go, "You guys there?" Yeah I'm here." "OK, ready to do a stock look up?" "Yeah, ready." "OK. It's five, four, six. It's red with gold trim," and the like "Gold with red trim?" "NO..." And it just takes forever. And so because we had that there, we built what we call the Oak Stockroom. It's a touch screen you put in the stock room. And whenever there's a request from a customer in a fitting room, from an associate in the front of the house, the stock room gets a big visual request of that item, is told where to bring it to the store and it starts timing them. And we've taken that average fulfillment interval. This is a single example from a single brand. It can't say who it is. We've taken that fulfillment interval, that's service level, from an average of six minutes and fifteen seconds to one minute and thirty nine.

Phillip: [00:19:45] Wow.

Brian: [00:19:46] Wow.

Healey: [00:19:47] This is now bringing essentially an artificial intelligence era to the physical store that's directing humans in what to do because we see total point of sale. And if it's a high velocity SKU, we run an algorithm that determines should we replace that in front of the store right now, so we don't have that customer who won't ask for help, not having to ask for help? We make sure the right things are in the right place at the right time. And so as we track this stuff, literally the point of sale asks humans in the stock room to bring things out in the front of the house to guarantee that customers don't have to ask for help. That's insane.

Brian: [00:20:24] {laughter} That's amazing.

Healey: [00:20:28] Yeah.

Brian: [00:20:28] I can think of it. Yeah, right. Sorry. Your next product. Go ahead.

Healey: [00:20:32] And the next one is just more interesting where we love these things called web sockets, and our communication protocol allows for some really fancy things. So we're building this thing out. We call responsive signage. So the second part of it is this sign, we call it responsive signage because the digital signage is listening to data events. And so if it starts raining outside, guess what? All the signs start showing umbrellas and trench coat content. If it's all of a sudden really sunny outside, all of a sudden all the signs show sunglasses and tank tops. The point is that the store is living and breathing and is literally responding to the world around it in live time.

Brian: [00:21:11] That's amazing. And I love that. I think, you know, weather is actually a huge factor in purchasing habits. Obviously, clothing lines are seasonal, so why not take that to a micro level even? That's awesome.

Healey: [00:21:22] Totally, totally.

Phillip: [00:21:25] Actually, speaking of microlevel, I just kind of want to take a little sidestep here, because it's interesting your journey. I was looking into a little bit of how you even came to be at eBay in the first place, and I believe that you worked for a company called MILO a number of years ago, and so that might be a blast from the past. But I've mentioned I have another podcast called MageTalk, which is a Magento centric podcast. And and I happened to speak about a bunch of those early eBay acquisitions like those 2010/2011 acquisitions all the time, because it was part of that era that they acquired Magento and MILO Red Laser. All these acquisitions were all kind of in that same era. And I really bought into and, you know, it just it's hilarious because it's become sort of a punch line to a joke now. But I really bought into this idea that we would have a single connected, you know, commerce... Fabric is such a dirty word now. But we would have this idea of being able to marry all of our channels together and have data be able to flow through all of those channels and have like a 360 customer view. And these are things that are actually coming, like you're doing this at Oak today. But part of MILO's focus was local. And I can't help but notice that you're still doing local because department stores and retail experiences are intensely local. Right? And so I'm just wondering what kind of experiences that you have sort of over the arc of your career that's kind of led you to this point that is there something about the local, you know, that local retail experience that really excites you or impassions you and kind of drives what you do at Oak?

Healey: [00:23:12] Yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, to kind of talk about the history of eBay Inc, I mean, to be really clear, I was the ultimate eBay Inc fanboy. I believed that what they were building was and had the opportunity to be truly world changing because it really was a fully omni solution. And I was heartbroken when the company separated. I'll be open about that until the day I die. But was it fodder for how I thought about the world? Absolutely. And do I think that the word offline isn't even a real word anymore? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think the challenge and you call it local. That's exactly right word. It is local. It has the ability to have a personal experience. And look at any company that starts online and starts doing really well. Bonobos. Warby Parker. How do you know they've really made it? What did they do?

Phillip: [00:24:00] Yeah, they're coming into the IRL now. Right? These are real stores now.

Healey: [00:24:05] They're IRL. Exactly. They opened up stores. And so to me, I think that you kind of asked earlier what are the challenges? Structurally, retail is changing where it's consolidating its direct to consumer DTC channels. You've got single buyers, single merchandizers, and single owners over all the channels that are direct to consumer facing. And I think that adds to the future. And the retailers who are doing that are already on the way there. And those who aren't are having a lot of trouble because guess what? They don't even know like the overlap of what's sold in store online to be as low as 15 percent in some of these companies. It's insane.

Phillip: [00:24:44] Wow.

Healey: [00:24:45] You know when I think of a local, I love it. I love physical experiences. Even though my head is in this incredibly high tech forward place. We're looking at bleeding edge technology, kind of creating new form factors and and turning wood into touch panels or whatever it is. I go home and, you know, my house. I go back with an ax to chop wood and bring in the wood. We have chickens in the backyard. And I think there's something about being a human that is inherently about tangibility, and tactile sensations are a big part of why we're here. And I don't want that to go away. And I think that as much as virtual experiences can be very, very cool, I'm a big proponent of the physical, and I don't think it's going to go away. I think physical environments are going to change a ton, and I think retail's going to change a ton. But I also think it's going to stand. Look at some of these interesting indicators of it. I was talking to the credit card network and they were saying that they were tracking the percentage of spend happening at boutiques versus larger stores and get this. A fast, fast growing percentage of sales, 40 percent and growing, is at boutiques with five to ten locations.

Brian: [00:26:02] Wow.

Phillip: [00:26:04] Wow.

Healey: [00:26:04] Yeah.

Brian: [00:26:05] That's crazy.

Healey: [00:26:06] Yeah, we're Instagram driven. I take a photo of the shades of the jacket that I can only get at the downtown Santa Cruz store called. Like part of the cresting.

Brian: [00:26:16] So here's the interesting follow up to that. I'm just kind of curious. We talk about local. We've kind of talked about online and offline and all of that. What about, like experiences in home? Have you thought about that at all? What are some of the types of maybe even like in-home shopping experiences that you expect to pop up in a few years? I don't know. Just a thought.

Healey: [00:26:38] Yeah. Yeah. So here's one of the things we do as a company is, is we play the role of associate with our clients and our partners, and we actually spend time on the floor as associates to get a sense of what it's really like. And I was at a big department store, and they said the biggest challenge they had was they would make all these beautiful styles and customers and the customers would then buy all these styles and they'd get home and they'd open up their bag and guess what would be in the bag. It wasn't styles, it was products. So one of the things that I think we're going to get to is actually kind of like a more one on one relationship with stylists you know and trust from brands you know and trust.

Brian: [00:27:24] I like that.

Healey: [00:27:24] And to me, I think conversational commerce is a very overused buzz term. But that idea of I've got someone who knows me, who knows my body, who knows my style, who pushes me to kind of stay up on it. And that is a connection that I have all the time. I think that that's going to be something that pervades throughout the different aspects. I have an event coming up. I'd love someone who knows what I have in the closet give me suggestions. And look, they're going to up sell me on stuff and I'll buy it. Increasingly associates and brand ambassadors and stylists are actually going to become instead of right now I think they can often be thought of as a liability, I think that it's going to become more of a career. Anyway I don't know if that answers your question. But I definitely think those people have a presence in your home. I don't know how it's going to be exactly.

Brian: [00:28:06] What about like AR? How do you see like right now you can do light AR apps, via Google Tango or Blippar and other companies out there. How do you see AR kind of playing into the in-store experience? It seems kind of like to be right in line with the Mirror in some ways. It's not quite the same thing, obviously, but it seems like it'd be complementary to what you're doing. What do you see it going?

Healey: [00:28:27] Yeah, yeah. No, no. I mean, we like to say that we're building our connected store platform allows for augmented reality without the goggles.

Brian: [00:28:36] Yes.

Healey: [00:28:37] That's what it is right? The store is literally changing around you and presenting information to you as if you had goggles on. But it's just in the store, which by the way is pretty nice because then your senses aren't muted.

Phillip: [00:28:50] Right. Right.

Healey: [00:28:51] The reality is kind of there. And no totally. I think that's kind of what we're building. It's just a different take on it in the same way that, you know, we're trying to redefine the definition of mobility, realizing that your phone is actually not mobile. If you set it on the table and walk away, it will sit there. So give yourself this augmented reality experience where your head is up in the store with the people experiencing the products and the authentic material. That to me is part of it. You know, I don't know that walking into a store and having goggles stuck in your face, whether it's VR or AR is going to be the move. And I'm actually vehemently disagree that having someone open up your native application as they walk into the store is the right move. And all these native apps, you know, if you have the native app downloaded, and if you have a Bluetooth on, and if if if if if...  If you're one of the people that were beacon ready, if a store said, "Hey, welcome to the store," first time you didn't care you thought was cool maybe. If they gave you a notification within 30 minutes or more time, the chance you deleted the app went up three hundred percent.

Brian: [00:29:57] That's crazy. I love it. Good stat. Good stat.

Healey: [00:30:01] And the physiology supports it. I mean, basically putting your... There is an amazing professor, Amy Caddian, and she talks about how physiology affects your mental state. If you sat in a power position with your arms open, your chest wide... You know all this. Right? So dopamine goes up, cortisol goes down. But guess what, text necking, which is the position you are in, you're texting and you're on your phone, has a submissive mechanisms to your mind state. So the physiology actually makes you want to shop and interact with people less. So why would you make someone put their head down the phone when they walk in?

Brian: [00:30:39] Oh no, I love it. Go ahead, Phillip.

Phillip: [00:30:42] It's interesting because we see Google and some of the other juggernauts in the space kind of pushing us still toward that direction where progressive web apps are supposed to be the next thing where we can push, you know, the Web, the mobile web experience into an app experience as a push mechanism. So I walk into my local Target and Google will just tell me I'm in Target. It already does that today. And I can click on the Google now icon and it will you know, I can possibly see a map of the store depending on the store. There's all these kinds of things where they're trying to marry that that web, that web experience into the native app experience. So it's interesting that that seems to be at odds with where I think the actual, like what you're talking about, the actual desire of people is going. We're actually I think we do want to be connected. We don't necessarily want to be viewing life through a four inch phone screen. But right now, you know, everything in our world is telling us to go there. In fact, I stand in line at Brooks Brothers and they want me to text a mobile coupon. And everybody is trying to push me through my through the digital channels, even in retail right now.

Healey: [00:32:11] It's data based.

Phillip: [00:32:12] Yeah exactly. It's data based. I don't know that anybody really... You know, I think everyone's trying to compete again for customer data, for, you know, that last little bit of conversion or to get you into another channel. So I'm really not sure how that all plays out, but I hear what you're saying. I think it's great. And I agree with it fully.

Healey: [00:32:30] I think there's look, if you ask me, there is a silent but vicious battle going on right now, Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook. And that battle is for the ultimate offline cookie. They want to know who you are across borders and retailers don't want to share their customers or convince their customers any different than any other customer, which is a whole thing that we can get into if you really want to, because it's both admirable but also absurd. But that's the back and forth. And they want to know who are you when you walk in and give that experience. And it's just this really dangerous thin line, because basically personalization is kind of a dirty word. It just means kind of gathering data about you. But personalization is actually, in my mind, it is only something you think about when things go wrong. If something goes really well and it's just that exact right piece of data that's contextualized in the exact way you wanted it, you're like, "Oh, that was great." But wrong, and you know how they got there by mistake, you are kind of like, "Whoa, they're trying to personalize this. This sucks."

Brian: [00:33:40] That's so true.

Healey: [00:33:42] It's like the whole story about the store that the whole teen pregnancy thing, the parents finding out about it.

Brian: [00:33:49] Oh, the Target one.

Phillip: [00:33:50] Yeah.

Brian: [00:33:50] Yes that was a great one.

Healey: [00:33:53] Yeah. I mean that's personalization gone really, really wrong. And so it's dangerous. And so the question is, you know, I think this is almost like the fundamental question that we are trying to figure out honestly ourselves is in the balance between explicit and implicit technology.

Healey: [00:34:10] How do you figure out which makes sense? Explicit is opt in. It's you see, it's Oak Mirror. Right? Like really cool experience to be using. It's viral. It's awesome. It's engaging. You are actively using it. Versus implicit, which is things happening in the background and you don't know why, but everything just seems to be going better and easier.

Phillip: [00:34:30] Right.

Healey: [00:34:30] Oak Stockroom is an example. Everything is in the right place at the right time. I don't have to ask for help. It's great. I don't know why. What is that balance and how do you figure that out? I mean, I don't know the answer. I think about it a lot. But I think that's kind of the ultimate question for the future of technology is what is that balance of kind of overtly new experiences and then things which make life easier? And how do you respect people's privacy while making their lives better? How do you make things faster? Well, one of the big things across every channel is no one wants to wait for anything. It doesn't matter if it's luxury or fast fashion, no one wants to wait. I was just talking with massive... It's really interesting, this really massive holding company. It's one of the worldwide most known holding company of fashion brands and luxury channels. And they're saying that the average sessions of luxury chains takes forty five minutes. Twenty five of the forty five minutes that this company sees a customer spending in their stores, the customers spend alone waiting.

Brian: [00:35:34] Oh my goodness.

Healey: [00:35:36] Yeah. And that's, you know, I don't know I've only been in a couple of super stuck up stores, but yeah, I spent a long time waiting. And I thought, well, I guess it's part of it, but no.

Brian: [00:35:43] Huh.

Healey: [00:35:44] So what's the balance between all this stuff?

Brian: [00:35:47] Robots. Just kidding. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:35:48] {laughter}

Healey: [00:35:49] In your spine.

Phillip: [00:35:57] {laughter} Yeah. I think what you're hinting at is something that I don't think we've said, but I feel like needs to be said is to do this well, to excel in this space in the next five years, retailers are going to have to exercise an unbelievable amount of restraint because we have so much available at our fingertips now. We're going to have to really decide and make educated decisions on what we employ in the service of the customer and not in service of our businesses or in service to technology.

Healey: [00:36:30] The simple expression is just don't do tech for the sake of tech. Period.

Brian: [00:36:34] Yeah, nice. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show, Healey. I think, you know, it's great having you with some really fantastic insights. Do you have any final thoughts for our listeners? Maybe something in the next five years they should pay attention to.

Healey: [00:36:49] This is really has nothing to do with retail. I would encourage people to look out for self preservation and to figure out when they're leading their life delve into experience versus leading their lives to record it and share it with others for them, telling them that it's a good life you're leading. I think it's a really dangerous battle. And I encourage everyone to be very introspective about it because the point of living this life is to live it for your experience. It's not for others to try to experience it via social media.

Phillip: [00:37:20] Wow, that's a great...

Brian: [00:37:21] Great thought at the end.

Phillip: [00:37:22] Great place to end. So thank you so much. Thank you to our guest, Healey Cypher. Thank you. You can visit online at OakLabs. And thank you for listening to Future Commerce. We want to get your feedback on today's show, so make sure to leave it and the Disqus comment box below. And if you're subscribed on iTunes, give us a five star rating and that's it. Until next week, keep looking towards the future.

Brian: [00:37:45] Keep looking toward the future. {simultaneously}

Phillip: [00:37:45] We say that in tandem now? That's a little weird, but I like that.

Brian: [00:37:48] Oh, man, I know. I should have done it in the falsetto like we started the show.

Phillip: [00:37:53] {laughter} Thank you so much, Healey.

Healey: [00:37:55] Phillip, Brian, thank you so much for inviting me. I really appreciate it.

Phillip: [00:37:57] Thank you. Bye bye.

Brian: [00:37:58] Thanks, man.

Recent episodes

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.