Smell-o-Commerce, Walmart Stuns with 22% eCom Growth

In Review: The Seventeenth Future Commerce Salon
May 17, 2024
Pictured: Scenes from the seventeenth Salon hosted by Future Commerce in partnership with Stripe, BigCommerce, and Apply Digital

Welcome to Friday, futurists. 

Our seventeenth Future Commerce Salon took place this week in Los Angeles at Wallys, a historic wine retailer in Beverly Hills with an incredible dining experience; the very definition of culture and commerce.

Brand leaders and cultural commentators from across ecosystems joined in heady conversation, libation, and reverie; consuming both vinted wines and bold ideas. 

It struck me as we lingered after dinner into late night hours how much of our existence centers on consumption. We are sensory beings who seek to ingest sensory input. But to consume we must also create.

“When we interpret products and brands, we’re defining it through our own experiences,” said Linda Ong, founder of Cultique and the author of the “Culture Porn” Substack (safe for work). 

Reading between the lines, Linda’s implying that creation and consumption also happen in the realm of ideas.

I was sat between Linda and Henry Graham, the co-founder of Wolf & Badger, a specialty apparel marketplace for independent fashion designers. I suffered the most exquisite intellectual whiplash as my conversations vacillated between culture, and commerce; culture, and then commerce.

Pictured: the wine pairings of the evening included Château Clarke, Listrac-Médoc 1986, Jaboulet-Isnard 1966 Hermitage, and a Beaulieu Vineyard Beau Tour Napa Valley 1979.

Join Us at the Next Salon: We reserve space for Future Commerce Plus members at our Salons.

If you’re not a member, join today and you’ll also save 20% on tickets to our VISIONS Summit: NYC event on June 11th. 

— Phillip

P.S. The future of commerce lies in cultural intelligence, as recent missteps by Apple and Bumble show. How can brands integrate this into their leadership and marketing? Dr. Anastasia Kārkliņa Gabriel joins us to discuss her book and its practical applications. Listen on Apple or Spotify.

Image credit: Walmart

We’re So Back. The DOW surged past 40,000 for the first time, and Walmart posted record revenue, including a 22% gain in its eCommerce business. The growth is coming from higher net worth consumers. The gains defied a challenging report from October on shrinking basket sizes in the face of the Ozempic-induced shrinking waist sizes.

Image credit: Temu

Ooh, Ooh… Temu? Hello? Temu? Are You There? Following the US Congress’ ruling against TikTok, PDD Holidings’ Temu is pulling back investments in the US region. The Chinese retailer spent billions to court US consumers, initially “kicked off” with three Super Bowl ads.

Image generated using Midjourney

Smell-o-Commerce? Forget Gamestop surging, we’re aping into Gamescent, a technology fragrance company that creates immersive personalized gaming experiences. Through the use of videogame-integrated fragrance ‘pods,’ players can experience the smell of gunfire or the rot of zombie flesh.

Our Take: Any new experiential technology soon becomes commerce arbitrage. As we’ve seen with Walmart’s ‘Discovered’ integration with Roblox, large retailers are dabbling more on the fringes of technology. It’s only a matter of time until commerce integration becomes full-sensory immersive. 

Scent Marketing is a growing category, and retailers invest more and more annually into thematic, ambient, and signature smells which excite potential shoppers. In 2023, the global scent marketing industry is estimated to reach approximately $53.7 billion.

Image generated using Midjourney

2 Day Shipping? Nah, We Goin Light Speed. Scientists have made a significant breakthrough in light-speed travel that (checks notes) complies? with the laws of physics? Wow. The discovery could open new possibilities both for space exploration and for Amazon to take more eCommerce market share.

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