Join us for VISIONS Summit NYC  - June 11

When JCPenney became JCPickleball

PLUS: Owl Cafes, and Tom Hanks Eternal
May 17, 2023

Check your calendars, futurists! We’re heading into a heavy events season as we hit the road with Future Commerce.

Are you in the Seattle area? TOMORROW our very own Brian Lange will join other eCommerce leaders for the Seattle eCommerce Summit!

Not in Seattle? No worries. We’ll be in NYC for the New York eCommerce Summit in just two weeks’ time on June 1st. 

More information is available at 

P.S. We’re less than 30 days away from our biggest and boldest edition of VISIONS ever. Join us in Chicago on June 15th, 2023 for the debut of our annual trends report. Discounted tickets are available for Future Commerce Expert Network members, and for the Future Commerce Advisory Panel.

Ads That Are Out of This World. This summer, a spacecraft will fly to the moon and then come back to land on Earth. An installed camera will detach from the craft as it lands back on our blue planet, revealing the American Flag and something new to life beyond the stratosphere… a Columbia Sportswear logo. What does it say about us when we have resorted to advertising to alien life forms and balls of nebulous gases?

Personalization Party. “Japan is full of these experiences, where art, curiosity, and craftsmanship yield tiny scattered wonders like “owl cafes,” micro arcades, plastic food shops, cotton candy shops, and the list goes one. I found myself wondering, why aren’t there 1000x more of these experiences in all societies?” The future could be one catered to personal style and preferences. If so, we’ll soon see a surge of wildly human-intensive and non-scalable experiences are ahead of us as they become economically viable in the age of AI.

More Sights & Sounds. Martha Stewart has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 81. Twitter has acquired Laskie, a recruiting startup. AI music startup, Boomy, has been accused of fraudulently using bots posing as humans to increase the listenership of AI-generated music. And the European Union has approved the $75 billion deal for Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard.

Tennis Court… Next to the Food Court. Something we may not have seen coming to our local mall spaces is pickleball. Pickleball America is planning to move courts into abandoned Bed Bath & Beyond spaces and more, to create more venues to enjoy the sport which is ever-increasing in popularity since the pandemic. 

Luddite Retailer. European chain Primark is working to expand its presence in the U.S. without the use of online sales, as the off-price retailer scales brick-and-mortar in a race to compete with Shein. Fast fashion is becoming normalized among Gen Z as their income, and appetite for consumption, grows. Primark faces tough competition from Shein, who is launching 30 stores of their own this year.

Photo by Hanxiao on Unsplash

A Heritage of Flavor. Asian cuisine was once considered “unappetizingly exotic.” A cultural shift has taken place over the past thirty years, led by children of immigrants, and the cuisine is quickly becoming the most popular type of food showcased on social media. 

ChatGPT for Food and Beverage. Austin Chef Daniel Mulliken was using ChatGPT to help calculate food costs and expenses at his bao-centric food truck located at Oskar Blues Brewery. For him, ChatGPT is “a great tool for complex or multistep equations,” so he tried using AI to help him come up with recipes, with sometimes baffling and hilarious outcomes.

Arigatou, Duolingo. Crunchyroll & Duolingo have announced a partnership in honor of Duolingo’s Japanese course turning six. Any Crunchyroll subscriber can get a free Super Duolingo month trial to practice up on their Japanese.

Posthumous Acting, Powered By AI. Tom Hanks chatted on The Adam Buxton Podcast about a future eternally 32-year-old AI Tom Hanks starring in movies long after the current Tom Hanks (as we know him) has gone to the Great Screen Actor’s Guild in the Sky. If/when this happens… how would posthumous awards work?

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