I’ll admit: I’ve become a hater.
It probably happened sooner than my forties, but it was only recently that someone I trust had the guts to point it out to me. I’m a little punchier, a little less patient, and a little more outspoken than I used to be; and I don’t like that about myself.
Today’s stories in The Senses are a prime example of having ingested HaterAde: Virtual Bloomingdales? Hate it. Social Commerce? Hate it. Jerry Seinfeld for Kith? Hate it.
Maybe it’s not that I’m actively disliking where eCom and consumer brands are going; it just all feels so pointless. Social Commerce? “I knew this wouldn’t work,” I say to myself. “We don’t need to rebuild the real world in virtual reality!” I quip. “Why are we tethering a limitless medium with the limitations of the physical world?” I exclaim while shaking my fist in the air (I can think of a million things I’d rather have than a Virtual Bloomingdale’s, and one of those million is going on a Tinder date with Harvey Weinstein).
It’s easy to feel powerless when you consider the vast consumerist hellscape that we currently live in. Tim Cook reminded us of it this week — if you care about grandma, just buy her an iPhone. Ah yes, capitalism.
I can now see how easy it is to become the “old guard” — Luddite curmudgeons who celebrate failure. So, despite how easy it is to give into my cynicism, I have to actively choose to practice optimism. Techno-optimism is a skill that is learned.
So let’s celebrate a bit. This week Electrolux unveiled an awareness campaign about fast fashion that draws attention to the fashion graveyard in the Atacama desert. We’re making moves to renewables with EV legislation. We’re saving Earth from asteroids, and we’re combatting aging beginning with man’s best friend.
Anything worth doing is hard and takes practice. So, today I’m practicing optimism. I’m not too good at it yet, but I’m getting better.
P.S. Or, if you want to bask in the eternal nothingness that awaits you after death, check out this week’s episode of the podcast, where we talk about Funereal Commerce. Available everywhere podcasts are found.
Celebrating in… Virtual… Style? Bloomingdale’s is celebrating 150 years in business with a virtual store, launching at NY Fashion Week in September. The virtual “store of the future” sells brands from the 1900s, on technology that became uncool a year ago. “This is very on-brand for Bloomies,” quipped one writer who wishes to be anonymous.
Changing Priorities. Instagram is shifting focus away from in-app shopping features, in favor of efforts that drive advertising. Citing issues with adoption, and changing strategies, the wannabe retailer will be winding down operations. From Reuters: “Staff were notified that Instagram's existing shopping page will eventually disappear”, emphasis added by Future Commerce editorial team, with malice.
More Sights & Sounds. Volkswagen announced plans to pursue an IPO for Porche. Shopify announced changes in its leadership. Thousand-dollar phones buyers everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief: Apple’s new iPhone 14 will not cost more than last year’s models.
A Modeling Gig About Nothing. Jerry Seinfeld has modeled Kith urbanwear, and now all the internet is a comedian, with commentary like “What’s the DEAL with streetwear?”
Activewear News. Nike has innovated a new material known as Nike Forward that is made of 70% recycled content, debuting September 15th. Meanwhile, Vollebak, a British clothing maker, is producing sweaters made of recycled bulletproof vests and jackets made for interstellar space travel for gearheads who love exclusive and unique pieces, and marketing copy with the word “phenomenological” in it.
Frozen Pizza News. Lil Yachty has launched a premium frozen pizza link called "Yachty’s Pizzeria.” The rapper stated: “I’ve loved making and eating pizza my whole life, so this is a project I’m really excited about.” And a TikTokker raised eyebrows claiming he had started his own DoorDash restaurant by purchasing Walmart Pizzas and reselling them out of his kitchen under the name “Boof Pizza.” He apparently got 5-star reviews.
Hack No More. Chipotle has removed tacos from its online menu to keep customers from using a digital hack to buy a full-sized burrito for the price of a $3 taco. Social media spread awareness of the hack, with many posts of users reporting varying degrees of success. Yet another example of how TikTok is ruining everything.
Our Sh*tty Robot Future. Future no more, we can expect to see robotic automatons wandering more suburban sidewalks in the coming months. Uber and Nuro are beginning a 10-year partnership to deliver food using Nuro’s autonomous vehicles in Houston and Mountain View, California.
A Peaceful Getaway to the Showroom. Minoan, a startup with venture backup is working to pursue its vision of “native retail,” where shoppers can discover products and test them outside of a showroom and beyond an online ad. The company is working to do this via short-term vacation rentals (like Airbnb and VRBO). They have a network of venues where hosts can choose the products showcased to their guests, and guests can scan QR codes during their stay of items in the rental space they like. A shopping platform built by Minoan will then allow a customer to purchase the coffee grinder or end table they loved.
Cards FOR Humanity? Cards Against Humanity has started donating 100% of their online profits to the National Network of Abortion Funds for all orders from states where abortion access is restricted. At checkout, shoppers who select “I didn’t agree to this” are given a $5 surcharge that cannot be removed. A rare example of friction that will no doubt turn off one consumer, and make a fanatic out of another. THIS is a brand.