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The Dashboards are Coming! The Dashboards are Coming!

PLUS: Shopify wins OOH for 2023
November 24, 2023

What a wild Friday, futurists.

Depending on who you ask, this was a wildly successful Black Friday. That is, assuming those people all work at Shopify. 

The victory laps are surely wearing holes in the carpet in Ottawa today. Shopify delivered peak sales of $1.6M per minute during Thanksgiving eve, with an average cart price of nearly $120.

Pictured: Shopify’s BFCM dashboard

In the liminal space that the B2B marketer occupies, it’s not the pumpkin spice or gingerbread lattes; or even turning of the leaves, that signals the change of the season. Rather, it’s the dashboardification of data that reminds us we have few days left on the proverbial Far Side desk calendar.

For the consumer, dashboard season begins with Spotify Wrapped, set for a November 30 release in 2023.  But for marketers, dashboard season kicks off officially with the BFCM Tracker, published by Shopify.

Despite the insistence of competitive platforms (and the agencies that love them) that the data was faked (some claims as recently as 2022), the tracker from the world’s largest eCom vendor got a big upgrade for 2023. This year, you can pilot a virtual plane across the world as realtime data from billions of data points is visualized as points of light dancing across a spinning globe.

Shopify wasn’t the lone company to launch dashboards this holiday sales weekend. Payment giant Stripe’s engineering team launched their first-ever look at their transaction volume for the weekend. Data sleuths took to the internet to compare the two dashboards. By some comparisons, as much as 35% of Stripe’s transactions seemed to be coming from Shopify on the sales holiday. 

Pictured: The Stripe Dashboard is giving 1990 BBS-in-your-boxers 

Both dashboard products reflect the changing nature of eCom dataviz: sexy, consumerized, products meant to serve as a second- or third-screen, ambient, entertainment during the holiday season for the marketer.

Dashboards are the Netflix Yule Log for the modern business operator.

And then there’s Salesforce. Bless their heart, they published a Tableau report to the world; their version of a dashboard. Decidedly less sexy, less interactive, and completely overlooked. Kind of like Salesforce’s commerce product.

The Green Bag’s President, Harley Finkelstein, managed three media appearances of the day, flexing a particular milestone: they crossed the $1B GMV mark before midnight EST, approximately 6 hours ahead of pace from last year.

The mic-drop moment was still to come. At 12:48pm EST, Shopify founder Tobi Lutke tweeted that they had brought the BFCM dashboard to life, by activating it on the MSG Sphere, in Las Vegas. “[It’s] the greatest rich media ad unit ever created,” said former Editor in Chief of Digiday, Brian Morrissey.

Pictured: The Shopify BFCM Dashboard on the MSG Sphere, Last Vegas (from @tobi Twitter)

The day hasn’t been without hiccups. A few incidental reports came in that customers on SMS marketing platform Postscript was experiencing delayed delivery. No other platform provider seemed to show signs of stress.

Perhaps that should be worrisome. At the time of this writing, Salesforce’s “dashboard” of their Commerce customer transaction volume shows a mere 1% YoY global gain YTD for BFCM. The number fails to update when constraining the search to US-only; either way it significantly underperforms the Adobe Analytics forecast from Thanksgiving Day, which estimated 5.5% YoY growth for the single-day sales.

The question is — which platform is most indicative of the broader economy?

Pundits will have the final say over the next 72 hours, while we wait to see how the consumer feels about BFCM, and that’s all that matters. Until then, it seems clear that Shopify won the media battle on Black Friday.

— Phillip

P.S. Isn’t web3 dead? Isn’t it post-relevant? That’s what we thought, too. Natasha and Deana, the pioneering co-founders of Boys Club, join the pod to talk about the missteps that created a stigma around web3, how corporations have failed to catch on, and how the future of commerce may be centered on tastemakers and curators rather than multiplayer dynamics. Listen now wherever podcasts are found, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

P.P.S. Discover a gift for the futurist in your life with the 2023 Future Commerce Holiday Gift Guide. This curated collection transcends ordinary gift ideas, inviting you to explore the realms of luxury, creativity, and innovative design. Embrace a journey of refined taste — from the essence of a renowned vineyard to the comfort of high-quality lifestyle products that would cause Thorstein Veblen to snidely remark ‘seems a bit excessive.’ Read the only gift guide that embodies the ethos of Future Commerce in shaping experiences that linger beyond the ordinary.

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