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Out: Not reading this newsletter. In: Spiders. Snares. Stanleys.

Also: The robots are already revolting
January 5, 2024

Happy Leap Year!

In case you’re wondering, it’s an election year. What does this mean for commerce? That your headlines are smaller than anything else the media is going to pick up… unless you go wild. 2024 is very predictably going to be a polarized year, even regarding the approach of how to achieve success in commerce.

For many of you, this will be the year of doing things on the DL. We’re talking heads down, grind it out execution—a year of profitability and focus. Stay out of the limelight and make money. A subset of this group will make some big moves they don’t want anyone paying attention to. Maybe this is an under-the-radar acquisition, layoff, or product release. This group’s viewpoint is: I’m going to stay in my own lane, do my own thing, with my own customers because the world is wild and so I’m going to focus on the things I do well and the relationships that I’ve built.

But for another group of you, this means taking your biggest swings, because that’s the only way you’re going to command any attention this year. Your worldview: We live in the attention economy and I’m going to do whatever it takes to keep eyes on me. We’re going to see some wacky stuff from this group because they’ll have to escalate to cut through the political noise. Stunts, IPOs, splashy hires, cringe-maxing. Some you might even - will likely - join the fray of the political. 

Your company identity has probably already leaned toward one of these two points of view, but you’ve dabbled on the other side. Not this year. Out: Dabbling. In: Commitment.

We’ll see winners from both groups, but those who lean in the hardest to win this year might be the most obnoxious and will see tarnished value for 2025 and beyond. Of course, there’s always a secret third thing that can produce results, and in this case, we suspect it has to do with attention-harvesting through thoughtful, beautiful, and well-constructed products and communications with consumers. This is a commitment we can get behind.

-Brian

Via The Wall Street Journal

Thy Stanley Cup Floweth Over. Stanley Cups have been the talk of the internet. It seems like everyone is collecting them, drawing comparison to the ‘90s rage of beanie babies. How did your great-uncle’s favorite camp mug rise to such a status symbol? Enter Terence Reilly. We’ve been watching Terence since his days back at Crocs, when he helped Andrew Rees ignite Crocs Mania. Terence’s mastery of the intersection of culture and commerce has lifted two brands to cultural level. Keep your eye on what he’s up to, he’s usually out in front. Also of note: Stanley’s popularity exploded after friend of Future Commerce Anthony Potgieter joined as Director of Ecommerce for DTC. Coincidence? Definitely not. Nice work Anthony.

Like Spiders to Honey. There’s some commotion about Sol De Janeiro lotion attracting wolf spiders. If this is real, they might need to pivot, because this sounds like a really good way to get rid of spiders. We’d buy that. Just definitely not to wear.

Liquid Death Metal. Get ready to have your face melted. Because when things melt, they become liquid. With the new Purified Liquid Death Snare plugin created with SJC Drums and Sam Pura, you can achieve the most aggressive snare sounds in the history of music. Just wait until you hear what Phillip and our producer Chris do with this mfer.

Via The Guardian

Spreadsheet Chic. The Fashion girlies have spoken and mindful fashion consumption is in this year! Swap your maxxed-out Revolve carts for spreadsheets and outfit-repeating with this new trend of digitally tracking your cost-per-wear one selfie at a time.

Via NBC News

Candy Carving Conundrum. Hershey is sued over Reece’s packaging, claiming no intricate carvings on the actual chocolate as shown. The Florida case seeks damages, illuminating the gap between marketing and reality…but let’s be honest, we’ve all seen the egg-looking Christmas trees and still eaten them anyway. 

Alt-Milk Drinkers Seek Justice. In 2024, it's the season of lawsuits! Dunkin' is now in the legal spotlight for alleged discrimination against non-dairy milk consumers. They're accused of unfairly charging extra for dairy alternatives, despite “no significant cost difference.” Seems like businesses need to rethink their pricing strategies or head to the courtroom.

Cup-Conscience at Starbucks. Starbucks brews up a new twist for the new year: customers can now use their own cups for any order, including drive-thru and mobile orders. Aiming to lower waste, discounts and rewards will be granted to those bearing their own cups for their daily hit of caffeine. To think — your morning cup of jo could not only change YOUR world but also THE world. 

Via The Washington Post

The Rite-Aid Face-Off. Rite-Aid’s facial recognition experiment backfired, leading to a major FTC crackdown. Designed to catch shoplifters, the technology falsely flagged scores of shoppers, especially those in minority communities, causing accusations of racial profiling. Rite-Aid is now facing the music: no facial recognition for 5 years following the deletion of all data collected.

“I’ve Seen This Film Before, and I Didn’t Like the Ending,” to quote Taylor Swift. At Tesla’s Texas Factory, a rogue robot turned on a software engineer. Not only does this incident feel like a bad Black Mirror episode but, it emphasizes safety concerns in Tesla’s quest for rapid production, highlighting a larger issue of workplace hazards in the era of robot manufacturing. Someone call OSHA, we need a new bylaw. 

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