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The Future is Non-Deterministic

May 24, 2023

The future of commerce is non-deterministic, futurists.

Landing pages are tough to build, and harder to maintain, especially at scale. But what if a landing page was generated in real-time, based directly on the creative campaign that brought the customer to the site?

Fermát Commerce (not sponsored) is a startup founded by ex-LiveRamp employees, and proposes to solve the challenge of building and maintaining landing pages at-scale. By generating them in real-time. Fermát has raised $12M to make not just the landing page, but the entire shopping experience, generative and personalized based on ad creative and lead source.

If it works, you will test and deploy changes at-scale without worry. Change the ad? The landing page adapts. How? We don’t quite know, because it’s non-deterministic.

Non-determinism means that, even if you run the same routines over and over, you’re likely to have a different result every time — so it is not possible to guess what will happen. That’s what makes GPT and other large language models so exciting and creative; they’re non-deterministic. You cannot dependably reproduce results over and over again, even if all inputs and variables are held the same.

Kind of like shopping. Shopping is already non-linear, despite our best efforts to force customers into linear purchasing journeys. Today’s customer is much more quantum in nature to the way that they encounter, and acquire, goods. The digital-age human is able to live in quantum states of online and offline behavior. We’re moving to a state of networked thought, pushing tasks that require cognitive load to artificial intelligence.

ChatGPT plugins can build an Instacart order offline for you, and present you with a link to complete the purchase. It can build an itinerary in Expedia for your next business trip. Heck, even Shopify launched a ChatGPT plugin. 

Screw multi-touch attribution, quantum attribution won’t just break your brain, but it’ll break how we understand analytics and customer journey orchestration.

This 1:1 experience is something we’ve theorized for years. We’ve also positioned it as an opt-in experience, called Dork Mode. If the emergence of 1:1 websites are successful, the experience of buying products will become quantum, too. Sites will be generated on the fly for you based on the journey that brought you there.

Whether on the web, or through chat, the future of commerce will be non-deterministic, and that’s a good thing. 

— Phillip

P.S. We have a ton of announcements this week, futurists: 

  1. Archetypes fans, rejoice! Our newest podcast property, Archetypes, is here. Our first episode features Ju Rhyu, founder of Hero Cosmetics. Listen to Episode 1 of Archetypes right over here. It’s best paired with The Journal, our 240-page coffee table book by Future Commerce.

  2. Infinite Shelf Season 3 is here! Orchid Bertelsen, COO at Common Thread Collective, joins host Ingrid Milman Cordy for season three of our top-rated podcast. They’re diving into the Millennial-Gen Z divide, and providing tactical analysis of how teams and brands organize and build for success. Episode 1 is live wherever podcasts are found. Listen now.

  3. If that’s not enough to sate your thirst for eCommerce content, we’ve provided a roundup of the twenty-five best eCommerce podcasts on the planet, complete with a downloadable 3,000 page guide and Spotify playlist to listen to them on the go. Grab that over here at the site.

Entrepreneurship At Its Finest. Taylor Swift’s fans are trying to sell rainwater from her Eras Tour show at Gillette Stadium. One listing has jars for sale at $250 a piece. Quick question — how many jars do you think we could fill from our tap before we reach an unbelievable number of “rainwater jars” collected at a concert we attended? (Asking for a friend).

Easy Cancels On The Horizon? The FTC is still considering making cancelations and simple as signups when it comes to retailers who sell products or services via subscriptions and automatic renewals. If they move forward with the rule, retailers would have to provide more information to subscribers about when renewals are coming and how to easily cancel. 

More Sights & Sounds. Disney is closing its new Star Wars-themed hotel, Halcyon, at the end of September. Dyson is launching a new robot vacuum that promises "twice the suction" of its competitors. Some electric vehicle makers are removing AM radios from their cars, saying the frequencies are interrupted by their motors. Austin Russell, 2021’s youngest self-made billionaire now owns 82% stake in Forbes. TikTok mommies are spreading the word on how open-ended Target’s one year return policy is, and some parents are returning used and worn out clothes that their kids have outgrown. A town in Florida has two Publix stores right next to each other and apparently, both locations have their merits. And a Dollar General employee was caught on a doorbell cam exacting vigilante justice on an alleged shoplifter. He was escaping with goods from the store on a bicycle when — spoiler alert — she rammed him with her car and then they shouted at eachother while both trying to gather up the DG items.

The Value of Fast Fashion. Shein raised $2 billion in its most recent round of fundraising but its valuation is now sitting at $66 billion, which is nearly a third lower than it was a year ago. Fast fashion continues to become more fashion-able. A recent report from Business Insider found that online “haul culture” is normalizing consumption, even if done ironically, as a means of content creation. This online culture is fueling growth of platforms like Shein, which are creating product at an alarming rate.

Is A Dupe Couch Still A Good Find? A New York resident found what she thought was her dream high-end French couch sitting on a curb and brought it into her home, but TikTok quickly spoke up about the authenticity of the piece as well as the risk of bedbugs and other pests. One user noted: “couches (especially $8,000 couches) get thrown out for a reason.”

Photo by Nik on Unsplash

Thou Shalt Not Taste the Rainbow. California continues to inch toward a law banning food containing “dangerous additives.” The California State Assembly just passed the bill that would prohibit the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of a list of chemicals found in candies such a Skittles and Hot Tamales, as well as certain medicines, drinks, coffee creamers and even flour. The chemicals are already banned in the EU and “have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, and developmental issues in children.” It is now in the hands of the State Senate to decide. Also, not us writing about the health concerns connected to Skittles while casually *snacking* on some Skittles.

Our Take: this is an unfolding of the continued challenges and risks when building consumer packaged goods in 2023. We covered this in-depth in our conversation with creator and consumer goods attorney, Rob Freund. 

In order to succeed in business you’ll have to understand a growing number of concerns, including consumer privacy laws (Illinois has a new one, and California’s old one is being upgraded) and online platform terms of service.

Mega Fine for Meta. The European Union has fined Meta €1.2 billion for privacy violations. The record fine from the Irish Data Protection Commission came after the law enforcement group found that the Facebook had transferred personal data of European users to the U.S. without protecting them from Washington surveillance.

Partnership Risks. Bioré found itself issuing an apology after a TikTok influencer made a partnership post on TikTok for pore strips and referenced a school shooting.

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