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From Aspirational to Operational

The B2B Vibe Shift
May 20, 2022
Our expert panel interviewed live at VISIONS SUMMIT in Palm Beach.

Our expert panel interviewed live at VISIONS SUMMIT in Palm Beach. 

A note: This week we held our first-ever Future Commerce VISIONS SUMMIT. Ahead of the full report launch, we brought 10 of the smartest and most empathetic humans we know to Palm Beach, Florida for a series of discussions and debates on what the future of commerce looks like.

VISIONS by Future Commerce features over 12 hours of audio and video content, and a 90-page companion guide. Confirm your early copy of the report in ONE CLICK by clicking here.

There’s now consensus: retail is down bad, and not in a J. Cole way. Walmart, Target, VF Corp, Ross — even Doctor Strange — they’re all getting very bad reviews. 

What does that mean for eCommerce as an industry, and where does that leave the ecosystem that powers retail, which relies so heavily on growth? Our prediction: it doesn’t mean much. 

🔮  So here is our Future Commerce prediction for this coming market cycle: eCom is going to be just fine. Why?

  • Software drives efficiency. In fact, the implementation of open-source software usually trends along with economic hardship. Software often adds scale to a business and drives down costs. This is the B2B Vibe Shift: the worse the economy gets, the more the sales hook will change: from aspirational experiences to operational efficiencies
  • The talent in eCom is still in high demand. According to LinkedIn, there are an estimated 425,000 unfilled jobs in eCommerce in the United States alone
  • In-store sales are still rising. Due to inflation? Yes. But thanks to digital transformation, most in-store sales were part of an otherwise digital journey. Don’t forget — supply chain issues are still quelling demand
  • The next generation of digital transformation. Retailers are beginning to lean on digital teams more and more to weave their omnichannel tapestry

Things may get even tougher. One way to stand out from the crowd is to understand the reason that customers make the decisions that they do. If you want to dive down the Multiversal rabbit hole of Counterfactual Thinking, and how you can use it to change the way you think about marketing efficiency, check out this week’s Insiders from our very own Brian Lange. You can read it right over here

— Phillip

Smart Carts. After some testing, Albertsons is putting self-checkout grocery carts into action in a handful of locations. The carts are engineered by Veeve, a start-up founded by two previous senior managers from Amazon.

A New Beauty Platform. Ulta Beauty has revealed its new retail media network, which uses data from its 37 million rewards member profiles.

More Sights & Sounds. Under Armour announced Wednesday that CEO Patrick Frisk would be stepping down. Hugo Boss’ COO is leaving the company to take a position at a Swiss outdoor company, Mammut Sports Group. Tether has claimed its stablecoin is at least partly backed by “non-U.S.” government bonds. Hillary Duff has partnered with Carters to make a limited-edition capsule collection dropping in the Fall. Her appointed title in the partnership is “Chief Mom Officer.” Kohl’s joins the list of retailers with disheartening Q1 numbers, and two of the company’s top execs have exited. And Russia is going to halt its natural gas supply to Finland, following Finland's application for Nato membership.

The "sun umbrella" being sold by Gucci and Adidas

When it rains, it leaks. Gucci and Adidas collabed on a “sun umbrella” that is getting a lot of backlash on Weibo, a social media platform in China. Gucci’s website states that the piece is "not waterproof and is meant for sun protection or decorative use". A spokesperson for Gucci also added that the sun umbrella had “good collector’s value,” which is really good information to have in a sudden downpour.

Intergalactic Alliance. PUMA and Adult Swim have partnered up on a new lime green sneaker that drops this month featuring Rick, of Rick and Morty.

Image: Weee!

Expanding Online Palates. Weee, an online grocery start-up selling Asian and Hispanic options, is approaching grocery shopping differently. Part of that strategy included hiring Jon M. Chu, director of “Crazy Rich Asians” as its chief creative officer. The company prompts shoppers to share their orders and recipes on social media and in its app which has a TikTok-like feature.

Competitive Capellini. Noodles & Company used a gamified mobile approach to engage with customers, and it paid off. Their click-through rates increased 9x, and they generated $71 per 100 emails sent.

More Meatless News. Disney and Impossible Foods teamed up to make a plant-based patty to promote the release of The Bob's Burgers Movie. And a vegan company called, “Yo! Egg” claims to have created the first plant-based fried egg in the world.

Image: Coca-Cola

Greenwashing Red Labels. Coca-Cola Great Britain introduced an attached cap across its brands to help out the environment by reducing litter and making recycling easier. But with widespread knowledge that the actual recycling rates of plastics are pretty low, it seems more like a poor PR stunt than an actual environmental effort.

Mayo on a Mission / The Purpose Driven Ice Cream Sandwich. Does every product sold need to have a greater purpose? Unilever has been approaching marketing with this point of view, but do we really need products like mayonnaise and ice cream to explain themselves, or will we keep buying them just because they exist and they’re delicious?

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