eCommerce,

The eCommerce Minute 2018 Wrap-Up Show

December 21, 2018

On this super-sized episode, Bart and John take a fond look back at some of the episodes from 2018 and look ahead to the trends and stories for 2019.

The eCommerce Minute will return with new episodes in January.

The following is an abridged transcript of excerpts from our final show of the season, recorded live on December 19, 2018, at our office in Philadelphia.
For the full experience, we recommend giving the show a listen.

It’s the eCommerce Minute 2018 wrap up show. On today’s episode, we’ll take a fond look back at some of the episodes we’ve covered and look ahead to the trends for 2019.

John: Let’s dive in. So, for the eCommerce Minute, we did, how many shows do you think we did this year?

Bart: Oh, like five.

John: No, 248.

Bart: You don’t say.

John: 248 and each one was a pure solid nugget of information. It’s really impressive how we can fit so much information into a tiny little show. Just some random stats here. On our website, ecommerceminute.co, the most viewed shows were, can you guess what they were?

Bart: Anything to do with big box stores.

John: The biggest searched for story was Ep: 199: ‘Costco’s Treasure Hunt Floor Plan’. I don’t know if people were coming on our site looking for floor plans, because it was really strange. The other one that people searched for was Ep: 241 Alibaba’s Cainiao Smart Delivery Box. Now, that one was actually really interesting because it was a box that attaches to the outside of your house, that can expand or contract based on what the package is inside. It also had a heater, and it also had a cooling thing, and it had a camera. I knew that when I was doing research for the story, I just happened to stumble across an Alibaba article I thought it was super interesting. I guess there’s not a lot of information out there about that.

Bart: I just don’t understand how people are searching for their floor plans at Costco.

John: Is it that hard to get around in Costco? It must be.

Bart: Sir, would you build my house as a Costco?

John: I tried to pick my favorite show, but picking your favorite show is like picking your favorite child or your favorite beer. You know, they all bring you misery at one point or another, but you still love them equally? Wouldn’t you agree?

Bart: Yeah.

John: Some of them just let you down. I see I can tell when you’re not into a show because I’m here kind of dancing around and reading stats, and you’re just like, “meh”

Bart: The answer to it is just meh.

John: So if you had to pick one, I know again, it’s like picking your favorite child. What would be your favorite one?

Bart: I think all the Walmart ones. The weird Walmart patents that they had.

John: Walmart had a big year. I would have to say, obviously, there’s a lot of Amazon news because they’re the biggest.

Bart: Because they’re Amazon

John: Walmart had a lot of big stories, but let’s focus on these weird patents. It appears that there’s some creative people really busy at Walmart, thinking up so really wild stuff.

Bart: The one that had the hands on the cart, or whatever that was.

John: The stress tracker. That was just the weirdest one because of the stress tracker. That was episode 321 (‘Walmart’s Stress-Tracking Cart Patent’). They have a stress tracking shopping cart. Basically, it can read your blood pressure, and your heart rate, and it can alert the [associates] that you may be having an issue. I think what we both said, is they can use that data to kind of figure out what’s going on in the store if there are stressful parts of the store.

Bart: Yeah, it’s kind of the Apple Watch of shopping carts.

John: Right. It’s like, you have an AFib, and also there’s a sale on M&M’s in aisle 12.

Bart: That would be something.

John: The other weird Walmart on was the in-store tracking, where there’s the colored dust that’s on the floor. It figures out where your cart went.

Bart: Did they watch too much of …

John: Black Mirror?

Bart: Just pixie dust.

John: Yeah, and what would happen is, this different colored dust would follow you around the store and when you go to check out, a little camera takes a picture of your wheels, and says, “Well, he went in the garden section, and he looked for TV’s, and then he went in the candy section.”

Bart: Really way out there, just way out there. They were fun stories. They’re probably one of my favorites. I mean, we kind of have them in the dumb category. In my opinion, the dumb category now is the people who are trying to steal packages, and people going at them.

John: Yeah. We’ve done a bunch of stories about the porch pirates, as their affectionately known. Which ones did we do this year? I know we did a couple.

Bart: We did the lock thing, which was actually on Shark Tank, not long ago.

John: Yes. Was that Box Lock?

Bart: Yeah, it was Box Lock and then we did the one that you put your package on like this thing and then it just goes off.

John: Yeah, the spring loaded thing. I think we actually did that in 2017, but yeah. There’s been a bunch of different solutions. Obviously, there’s the Amazon lockers, and now Home Depot has lockers. I think the locker thing is going to be something that we’re going to see more of.
Bart: Yeah.

John: As we recorded this yesterday or the day before, this viral video came out, which by the time this is released, I’m sure everyone will have seen it, but why don’t you describe it.

Bart: It’s an engineer that put this box together with four phones to record the video.
Speaker 1: This guy took a package from my porch and now he’s about to open it in his car, but what he doesn’t know is this is a custom-built bait package that is recording him on four different camera’s and it’s about to unleash a pound of the world’s finest glitter, along with some other surprises.

Bart: When somebody steals the package, but the fun part of it all, he put this like circular thing to spread …

John: Like a fan.

Bart: Like a fan to spread the confetti everywhere. So, when someone opens up the package that is not the owner of the package, the stuff, the confetti just goes everywhere.

John: It’s like a glitter dust, right?

Bart: Yep, it’s a glitter bomb, basically.

John: Where there was some kind of an aroma thing attached to it.

Bart: Oh, yes. There was a fart spray that basically with one spray, it will clear the room. This thing did it every 30 seconds for five times.

John: When do you think this is going to become …

Bart: A thing? I’m not sure because plenty of enough people were like, we can fund this. You have to watch the video. It is just the most amazing thing ever. It’s basically for the dumb people who are stealing packages.

John: Yeah, the porch pirates. Moving on, the biggest stories or surprises. I wouldn’t say it was a surprise, but the closing of Toys R Us, that was kind of sad. Following in the heels is Sears. Sears is going under. That’s kind of sad.

Bart: Yep.

John: But, if you’ve been in the Sears lately, you kind of understand why. I paid my last respects at the Sears that I grew up near and I was just like, there’s nothing here for me.
Bart: Yeah, did you see Lowe’s has [Craftsman]?

John: Oh, Craftsman [tools].

Bart: Yeah, Craftsman is at Lowe’s now. I think Lowe’s made that deal.

John: Oh. Good for them. That’s a great move because there was a lot of good components of Sears, but as a whole, it just wasn’t working. And then, I hear they’re giving all the executives $25-million in bonuses, while the poor employee’s get nothing. Merry Christmas. That’s terrible. The other kind of surprising thing is we’ve got eCom retailers putting out print catalogs, which is very interesting.

Bart: That is weird.

John: Target put one out, eBay put one out [ed: Amazon also published a toy catalog: Ep: 263]. I mean, Target’s always done print circulars, but they’re actually printing catalogs, which is like when you first looked at eCommerce 20 years ago, it’s like, “we don’t have to print catalogs anymore. Our catalog is online”. I think now, it’s kind of come around where it’s like people still want to like, you know, sit at their table, with their cup of coffee, or soda, or whatever, and just kind of like look and think about things, instead of mindlessly browsing.

Bart: Well, don’t you think that’s a trend overall anyway? Like, how fun is it to get a thank you card? An actual card.

John: Right. When that was kind of going the other way. Now, that’s the trend. You know, you get the cards and it’s also, oh, we can replicate your handwriting. Well, can’t you just fill it out yourself?

Bart: Have you seen my handwriting?

John: Not the best.

Bart: Or my spelling.

John: Another story, which was kind of interesting, is Best Buy was pulling CD’s out of their stores [02.09.18: Best Buy is Pulling CDs from Its Stores]. I mean, obviously, we saw that coming because streaming is so ubiquitous, but they got to the point where they’re like, “we’re pulling out”, and then it’s like, not entirely. And then, going hand in hand with that, we now have a resurgence of vinyl LP’s. A lot of these places are going, well, move the CD’s out of the way because now we’ve got to make a place for vinyl, which is just completely like, what’s old is new again. It’s like, once you think you’re surprised, then you’re surprised all over again.

Bart: I mean, nostalgia kicks in, right?

John: Sure. You’ve got these kids now and it’s like, “These kids today.” You’ve got the younger people coming up and realizing, and I was a vinyl collector for many years, so this is near and dear to my heart, but people realize that there’s something very special about an album and the sound of it, and just having it. It’s more of a physical object, than just pushing a button and having music. Albums used to tell a story and now everything’s just songs and singles…Speaking of singles, let’s talk about Alibaba Singles Day.

alibaba chairman jack ma

Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma stepped down from the company he founded with 17 others in 1999.

[348: Alibaba’s Singles Day Tops $30 Billion]

Bart: 30 billion dollars.

John: 30 billion. We actually wrote down when we were recording our podcast on Singles Day. We thought they were going to get to 35. They didn’t hit 35. 30.8 billion dollars in sales in the 24 hour shopping event. That topped the 25.3 billion, which was also a record set in 2017. It still is impressive what Alibaba is able to do, but if you look at their stock, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. I just wonder if they’re just too big. Maybe?

Bart: Maybe.

John: Singles Day got off to a strong start, hitting one billion dollars in just one minute and 24 seconds.

Bart: And Jack Ma stepped down . [Ep 312: Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma to Step Down]

John: Jack Ma stepped down. His background, he’s a teacher, and his first love has always been teaching, so he’s going to devote the rest of his life to teaching, and why not? He’s made his money. He’s made his fortune.

Bart: Yep.

John: I applaud that altruistic move instead of just sitting on his money and just making more, but it also came out a month ago that he’s a Communist. It’s probably because he’s in China. I guess that’s how you get ahead [in China] if he’s not in the Communist party?

Anyway, enough politics. Let’s talk about Amazon.

They continue to use that word disrupt, which is kind of a weird word, but that’s the word everyone throws around. They made the Pill Pack acquisition this year, [Ep. 259: Amazon Shakes up Pharmacy Biz with PillPack Acquisition] which I think is signaling a big big move into pharma, which everyone kind of expected. Amazon being Amazon, is doing it the way they want to do it. They’re going to take the time and they’re going to figure it out. There’s rumors that they’re going to get into insurance, which you know, that’s an area that could use some help. I don’t know if they could really disrupt that so to speak, but the pill pack thing was huge.
They also acquired Ring, so now they’re in the home security. We’ve seen all their things with delivery, which we can talk all day about delivery. I think-

Bart: John, do you think that one day, we might think about something, and it will just show up from Amazon?

John: Yes. I ordered this beer, and here it is right now.

Bart: Here it is. Let’s take a sip.

John: Let’s go onto Walmart. Walmart is an interesting story this year. Walmart is not your father’s Walmart anymore.

Bart: No. It’s definitely not Sam Walton’s Walmart.

John: No. It definitely isn’t. We’re seeing a ton of innovation. They’re doing acquisitions. They’re doing weird patents. They’re trying a whole lot of things. The problem is, I think they’re weighed down by the legacy of being Walmart.

Bart: That brand, right? It’s having that name and the funny thing is if you look at Walmart’s e-commerce labs, which are in San Francisco, you know Silicon Valley. They’re amazing. Those guys are kicking butt.

John: What’s that called?

Bart: I think it’s Walmart Innovation Labs or E-commerce or Commerce Labs. Anyway, yeah, I think they’re still having a Walmart issue of being Walmart, as in the name itself.

John: Yeah. It’s funny, cause they … it’s like called you’re dressing a pig, like no matter how you do it, it’s still a pig. Oh, Store 8 is their incubator. That’s what I was trying to think of. Anyway, they’re doing a whole lot of innovation, but I think they’re weighed down by their brand legacy being Walmart. It’s kind of like saying, “Cracker Barrel is now the biggest hipster bar in the country, but it’s still Cracker Barrel.” Or Waffle House.

Bart: You remember were going, “We’re going to keep the other brands and not keep the other brands, but wrap them into everything,” with Bonobos, and Modcloth, and all these places. They’re like, “Oh, we’re going to keep them. Now, we’re going to wrap them into …” who knows where they’re going to go with this.

John: Yeah. They’re trying a lot of things. You know, I think with Mark Lore at the helm and the guy from Bonobos, and all the other acqui-hires that they’ve done, you’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff from Walmart in the next couple years.

I kind of applaud what they’re doing, because how do you fight Amazon? They’re the biggest competitor. The one and only thing that I think besides this talent and some of these acquisitions that Walmart has, they still have the bricks and mortar footprint. The danger is, is that that real estate becomes really expensive, especially if the economy starts to shrink. We did the report last month about how they’re turning their stores into more experiential types of things. I think that’s smart. [Ep. 352: Walmart Looks to Make Big Boxes Into ‘Town Centers’]

Bart: Yeah, but you’ve got to think about the rural areas still. I mean, those guys have one big giant store that they shop at. Why not order your stuff that you want to online and it’s at Walmart?

John: Yeah, and it’s kind of sad. In some of the rural, super rural areas, where Walmart is the only thing,  it’s basically knocked out all the Mom and Pop stores. Then when Walmart gets tired of being there, they leave, and they’re left with nothing. You know what moves in –  The Dollar Generals. The Dollar Generals are even worse because they’re selling a sort of cheap product, people are actually forced to do their grocery shopping at Dollar Generals, which does not sell quality food. They’re just selling crap to people. They have no other choice. That’s a whole demographic thing.

John: Let’s talk about some other weird stories we did. I know you hated this story, Episode 212, ‘Amazon Unlocks In-Car Deliveries’. You say, “I want to get my legos delivered.” You give Amazon access to your car and they can put your deliveries in your trunk.

Bart: I prefer that over the Amazon key thing.

John: Them actually coming in your house? Yeah … no. Hell no. Ain’t nobody coming in my house.

Bart: Do we even know if it took off or not?

John: I haven’t heard anything. I think it was one of those things, they float the balloon and see who does it. I’m sure it’s still there.

Bart: I guess that prevents people from stealing your packages from the front porch.

John: I guess that’s one of the reasons why this innovation came about is because of the porch pirates. Again, not all innovation is good, but you’ve got to throw it against the wall sometimes and just see if it works. I guess we’ll check back and see if that one’s still there.

The other weird story we had was lava lamps encrypt the internet. That was from January 12th of last year.

Bart: Wow. We did that almost a year ago.

John: That was a year ago. Basically, it’s some sort of security measure that a camera records the random movement of lava lamps and compares it against something-something … help me out here.

Bart: It’s unpredictable encryption and they have this wall … who had it? Do you remember who it was?

John: Cloud Flare.

Bart: Cloud flare, for their security. So they have this wall of … huge, ginormous wall of just lava lamps. Basically what it does is … it does the basically random generator of code to lock up their stuff.

John: I’ll read what I wrote over a year ago, or almost a year ago. “A wall in the lobby features an array of 100 lava lamps swirling, bubbling, and gurgling, as lava lamps are known to do. Those lamps might very well be generating the random code that keeps the web safe. As the lamps do their thing, a camera in the ceiling captures the random motion that connects the footage to the computers. It’s their total randomness that creates the un-hackable code.”

Bart: That’s very cool.

John: I thought it was really cool. I haven’t seen too many cool stories like that over the past year. Like I said, we used to do a lot of drone stories, but I think the drone thing is getting kind of like “Me Too.” Everyone’s like, “Oh, we’re delivering blood. We’re delivering hamburgers. We’re delivering sushi.” Those stories aren’t as unique as they were in 2017.

Bart: No.

John: Let’s get into predictions and trends. I have here in our notes, “Same Day Ain’t Going Away”. That means it’s only going  put a lot of pressure on smaller e-commerce shops.

Bart: So same day delivery. When do we get to the point where it’s same hour delivery?

John: Same hour delivery. You know what, don’t laugh, because it could happen. I’ll throw you the stats, as I like to do. 38% of shoppers expect same day delivery. There’s no shock there. 72% would spend more if they knew they could get the products on the same day.

Bart: The big stories are obviously, Instacart and Amazon are no longer a play.

John: They’re not playing along anymore.

Bart: Amazon is delivering from Whole Foods like crazy.

John: I think you’re going to see that landscape change. I think Amazon has got a real challenge in the next year because there’s a lot of around now, that they’re really concerned about profitability and the warehouse workers call big items “CRaP: Can’t Return a Profit”. They’re just like, “Alright, well I guess we have to send this treadmill, even though we’re not going to make any money on it,” because they want to stay hyper-competitive and they’re trying to compete eventually against UPS and USPS. They’re going to have to kind of cut down on the stuff that they deliver. They can’t be the everything store anymore.

Bart: Also, there are rumors that the government’s trying to break them up too, because it’s just too big. What happens when  AWS goes away, are they going to be profitable? Can they survive? Right? Technology side is the profitable one.

John: That is a great point. I hadn’t really thought of it. I envisioned the break-up, but you’re right the technology thing is really what makes money. It’s like telling Google, “Okay, you can’t sell ads anymore.” [At] Google, that’s where the money’s made.

Bart: That’s right.

John: AR and VR, they will continue to grow. We’ve seen a lot of innovations. We feel that that’s something that’s well suited for obviously furniture and things like that. Furniture and art for AR.

Bart: For VR, I think it’s a lot more around B2B, Walmart does this already, where they give their new workers a VR headset and show them how to stock shelves.

John: For training, absolutely. Walmart, they just did their acquisition of art.com, and part of that was a big AR component that art.com uses obviously to show how the art is going to look on your wall. It’s a natural thing. Wayfair uses it. Ikea uses it. Samsung is really big into the AR VR space. I think maybe even more than Apple, but that’s a whole tech discussion.

Bart: We can get there on Tech Tuesdays.

John: Yeah, we’ll get there on a Tech Tuesday.

Bart: Voice shopping. Slow, but steady growth. I think we’re going to see that grow. We’ve done some studies on it. We’re actually going to release a study through SUMO Heavy in January.

Personalized experiences. I think that was data becomes more valuable as e-commerce companies use data to help run their businesses, personalization is key. I’m not just talking about filtering. We’re talking about, “Here’s Joe. Joe likes plaid shirts. Here’s some plaid shirts we sold you. You might also like these other plaid sneakers.” It’s that kind of stuff that you expect and I think that consumers really are looking to see what personalization can give them and offer them. And if they don’t get it, a lot of consumers are leaving. There are some studies that contact relevance is key. Consumers want you to show them stuff and if it’s irrelevant, they’ll go somewhere else.

Bart: Yep.

John: 48 percent of consumers spend more when their experience is personalized and that’s a true fact.

Bart: Yeah. We do it.

John: Mobile commerce. We’ve talked about mobile til we’re blue in the face. Mobile is gonna be king.

Bart: Mobile, mobile, mobile.

John: Forester predicts by 2022 smartphones will count for 175.4 billion USD retail sales. To put that into perspective, 2012 saw US consumers spend 7.8 billion. This is blowing up. And we’ve also talked about showrooming and things like that. One stat, 56 percent of consumers research products at home. I would love to see what the percentage is of people who do research in store.

Bart: Walking in Best Buy and going let me see how cheap I can get this laptop on eBay. Can it get delivered today?

John: Yeah. That, too. That’s actually a good point because you could go into a store and see the Chromebook for 329 and Amazon has it for 299 but you gotta wait. But if it says 2-hour delivery, bingo. I just saved money and so I don’t even have to carry it out of the store. I can just go in my pajamas and wait for my Chromebook.

Bart: Correct.

John: And just one stat from mobile. I think eCommerce companies are getting wise and they’re working on their optimization. Walmart increased mobile sales by 98 percent by optimizing their mobile site design. That’s a mind-blowing stat.

Bart: Crazy.

John: Let’s circle back to drones and robots. We’ve got a couple stories about robots. The Kroger weird grocery robot. We didn’t do a story about the Postmates robot yet. We’ll probably do that in the first of the year.

Bart: But it’s a cool thing. It looks like a Minion.

John: It looks like a Minion. It even has eyes so it kinda freaks me out a little bit.

Bart: But wait, wait, wait. Hold on. I know we gotta do a story about this and we will, but just a little quick thing. It’s a little Minion thing. So, between scooters, bikes, people and now these things, where’s the sidewalk?

John: Where do the people go?

Bart: So, I gotta trip over scooters and this thing?

John: Right. And, well, you can’t step out on the street ’cause that’s a bike lane now. It’s a protected bike lane.

So, the Postmates thing we’re referring to is called … It’s an autonomous robot called Serve. It’s so adorable. We’ll be doing a story about that in the next few weeks, I believe.

The question remains, where are the Amazon drones? I don’t think they’re there yet. They’re doing some tests in UK. In 2017, we did a bunch of stories about all the crazy drone patents but we really haven’t seen anything yet. And I think we’re still a year or two out. But 79 percent of consumers would request delivery via drone if it can get there in an hour. And 73 percent said they were willing to pay 10 bucks for delivery by drone. People want drones. I just … Again, we always joke about it but we just don’t know how it’s physically gonna work.

Bart: Yeah.

John: There’s a lot of logistics to be worked out.

Bart: Exactly.

John: We talk about self-checkouts, mobile checkouts, Amazon Go. You’re gonna see that grow in the next year. Kroger and Walmart are both kinda leading the way with their self-checkout programs. Actually, Walmart had there’s and they discontinued it. I don’t know if they brought it back. But Kroger’s another big story. We somehow started reporting a lot on grocery stories because there was a lot of interesting tech there and payment stuff. And I’ve focused a lot of stories on Kroger only because there seems to be a lot of innovation there and a lot of things going on. And, again, I think you’re gonna see more of this self-checkout stuff. Amazon Go is gonna be big . They’re gonna head towards airports. They’re gonna go towards the small convenience stores. And these convenience stores like 7-11 et al are gonna need to pay attention and get in line and start doing this kinda stuff.

Bart: Yes, they do.

John: All right. Let’s talk about payments. Crypto.

Bart: After you get your stuff delivered before you get your stuff delivered. You gotta pay somehow.

John: You gotta pay for it somehow.

Bart: Pay up!

John: There’s a couple things going on here. There’s a lot of payment choices now and I think it causes a little confusion with the consumer.

Bart: Yeah. How many times have you been on a site and it has like 50 different ways of paying?

John: All these little buttons. And then you get … You know, and if you’re not a savvy consumer and you see this odd looking button, you don’t know if it’s legit or not. And then now you throw Crypto into the mix. Okay. Let’s think back to the golden days of Crypto. Let’s see. BTC price is $3,808 today. In December 17th of 2017, it was …

Bart: $19,900. Almost 20.

John: 19 … It was almost 20,000 dollars. So-

Bart: Should’ve cashed out.

John: Shoulda cashed out then. We don’t know. Is Bitcoin the future or will it bust?

Bart: Bitcoin, we don’t know. Cryptocurrency, though, or … Not Crypto … Blockchain stuff. From the technologist’s perspective. Cryptocurrency? Yeah, it’s gonna be around til they perfect it. I think that’s a biggie. It’s just gonna be there.

John: Yeah. Blockchain isn’t gonna go away and I think people conflate the two. They confuse the two. They think that they’re one and the same but they are not. And I won’t get into a whole-

Bart: Technology spew.

John: You can go Google that yourself. But they are not the same.

John: Chatbots are really blowing up. I was skeptical about chatbots when that first started coming on the scene but with the advances in AI. This year, AI’s been able to handle about 45 percent of customer questions via live chat on its own. So, the training wheels are coming off of chatbots and it’s predicted that 85 percent of customer interactions will be handled without human agents by the year 2020.

[Ep. 269: Facebook’s Patent Reveals eCom Chatbot]

Bart: Yeah.

John: According to a 2016 Oracle report, 80 percent of respondents said they had already used or plan to use chatbots by 2020. So, that’s pretty high. It’s a pretty high adoption rate and I don’t think it’s an adoption rate. I think it’s, well, it’s there and I’m gonna use and I don’t like it and oh, well. Fine, I’ll go call the hotline.

Bart: Also, fun fact: this whole podcast was recorded by a chatbot. By two chatbots.

John: Social shopping. Big, gonna bet bigger. We’ve done a bunch of stories on Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram. I think … Who were we looking for to be the king of social commerce? My choice is Instagram.

Bart: Yeah. That’s a good one. ‘Cause Instagram being tied to Facebook, it’s kinda a given.

John: Well, and Instagram being a more visual place. We always talk about how much noise there is on Facebook and it’s unfortunate and Facebook is just trying to do too many things. SnapChat, I’ll tell you what. I went back on SnapChat just because we do a lot of stories about it.

Bart: Yeah.

John: Reactivated my account and followed some people. I don’t know, man. I just don’t understand it or it’s just something about the UI just kinda throws me off.

Bart: It throws a lot of people off, my friend.

John: It’s kinda weird. But, yeah. We think Instagram’s really gonna take off in terms of social shopping. And then kinda rounding it out, we’ll talk about bricks and clicks and co-labs. The big trend now is these big internet companies opening stores. Warby Parker opened over a hundred stores. Casper is opening a bunch of stores. Untuck it has a bunch of stores and they say they’re profitable. They said most of the locations are profitable.

Bart: Bonobos.

John: Bonobos! Bonobos is another one. And I could probably name a few others that I don’t have in my notes here. I also like the experiential retail experiments that places like Macy’s are doing. Market at Macy’s, Bulletin and Hio. I really like those stories because it helps makers be exposed to a larger audience that they wouldn’t have normally been able to afford ’cause a lot of these really good products are lost because they don’t have a presence. And if you take a nice skincare brand or even some idiot selling candles or whatever and you put it in front of a Macy’s audience, they could suddenly blow up. Same thing with Bulletin and Hio. And I really like these curated experiences. They keep changing. It encourages discovery and I think it’s good for everybody all the way around not only from a real estate play but also for the makers on the other end.

Bart: Yeah, yeah. I mean, WeWork is doing it, too. They’re gonna have them in WeWork and stuff like that. But my favorite name right now is Hioooo.

John: And we also talk about Kohls and their Amazon test. They said actual sales are up in Kohls stores with their test program of taking Amazon returns. I think that move was super smart. And Krogers, which we’ll be doing a story again on Krogers: Krogers and Walgreens is doing a grocery test. You’ll be able to order your Krogers groceries and pick them up in Walgreens. Some Walgreens will actually have little small Kroger sections, which is great because Walgreens are big stores and I think people treat those as one-stop shops anyway.

Bart: We’ll see how that shakes out in the end.

John: Bart, any closing thoughts?

Bart: Have a nice, Merry Christmas.

John: Have a nice, Merry Christmas. Keep fighting that war on Christmas, hahahaha. And for the eCommerce Minute, we wish you a happy holiday and a great New Year. We’ll be back with new shows on January 3rd, 2019.

That’s your eCommerce Minute for today. We’ll see you next year.

The eCommerce Minute will return on January 3, 2019

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