Jason & Scot Show Episode 297 -GroceryShop 2022 and news - retailgeek.com

Jason & Scot Show Episode 297 -GroceryShop 2022 and news - retailgeek.com

A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 297 is a recap of GroceryShop and key news items

Episode 297 is a recap of the GroceryShop trade show in Las Vegas, and the Consumer Brands Executive Summit in Colorado Springs.

We also discuss the latest news (and controversies) around Facebook and TikTok pulling back from some social commerce initiatives (and pressing forward with others).

We cover the Prime Early Access sale and its potential impact on the overall holiday season.

Episode 297 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Tuesday October 4, 2022.

Jason:  Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 297 being recorded on Tuesday October 10th 2022 I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I’m here with your co-host Scot Wingo. Scot:  Hey Jason welcome back Jason Scott shysters well Jason I have to admit I’m a little I got a little case of the crowd I’ve got a little nasal throat coughing going on so I apologize to listeners if I sound different. Jason:  You sound like deeper and more authoritative so I feel like you should make some predictions. Scot:  Or do I Darth Vader voice. Dark side of the force. Jason:  I believe that’s copyrighted now I don’t think I don’t even think James Earl Jones isn’t anymore. Scot:  He doesn’t use a but. Jason:  Exactly but Bruce Willis is not that was a false rumor apparently. Scot:  Huh figures you never know where it’s going to come at you. Jason:  Exactly have we lost all the listeners do you think. Scot:  Not yet let’s talk about Star Wars. Jason:  Yeah I feel like that’s the most requested thing we’ve gone in the last several shows is we’re way behind in our geek TV reviews. Scot:  Yeah I this is where I have to kind of admit guilt and say I’m not current on all this I have not had a lot of time so I have been putting all my effort into Star Wars and I’m current on Endor but not rings of power or the Game of Thrones one whose name always Escapes Me. Jason:  Dance with Dragons dance of dragons. Scot:  Dancing Dragons dancing with dragons. Jason:  Yeah yeah and have you seen some episodes have you seen a little of each show at least. Scot:  I have not know I was going to wait maybe this summer been to them a lot of my geek friends do not like this to don’t know. Jason:  Yeah it is interesting I like all of them I mean I feel like they’re you know TV just so amazing now and these all feel like a movie every week. So I can get some level it’s hard to be too critical I feel like there are a lot more people that have. Deeper familiarity with the source material behind what are the rings and so any deviation from The Source material is problematic for some viewers and there. You know there are a lot of TV conveniences in the show so if you just wanted a super loyal adaptation of token. Hey I’m not sure how you could even get that because it kind of doesn’t exist like this is patched together from a bunch of different Source materials and Amazon actually doesn’t own the rights to everything so there’s certain things that they have to avoid. And yeah so so to me I don’t know it’s I like it I would say what are their been like seven episodes. There’s a lot of background that has to be set so I felt like it got off to a so there’s a lot less tension and drama, early on it was visually stunning but you didn’t care as much about the characters and things are just starting to heat up in the last episode. Scot:  Got it go that’s rings of power. Jason:  That’s rings of power whereas House of the Dragon which are in turn corrected me when I said dance of dragons, House of the Dragons I do feel like, it’s interesting there was more attention and more more not every episode had a ton of action but there’s a lot there’s a lot more things to carry the store story forward and one thing that I think is kind of novel, they are covering a huge amount of time in like each episode so far has been a. Pretty meaningful time leap and they keep swapping out actors. Scot:  Yeah it’s good for Hollywood more more jobs I guess. Jason:  Yeah and nobody gets leverage over them to negotiate better salaries right like. Scot:  Yeah you come in for a negotiation we’re going to accelerate 20 years. Jason:  Exactly exactly and that shows of course famous for killing everyone off so both your character is going to die and we’ll use an older version of you. Scot:  So how do you rank the three. Jason:  I guess I have liked to have some dragons better than rings of power I enjoy watching boeuf, I have kind of blown it on and or I’ve I’ve watched two episodes and I watch them too late at night when I was multitasking. Scot:  You lost track of. Jason:  Yeah I feel like it requires more attention so to be honest I’ve kind of said to myself I need to go back and re-watch it in a more attentive mood. Scot:  Yeah yeah it’s good the first couple of you’re like is this a star or story and then like by episodes episode 3 your kind of like aha okay here we go. Jason:  11 episode too short so that’s a good Pro tip yeah so lots of lots of good TV it’s been you’re gonna have some good binge-watching win and if you ever do get some free time. Scot:  Very cool but we’re not here for science fiction that’s what other podcasts do we’re here for digital retail and you have been all over the place so I’m excited to get some road trips. Jason:  Yeah I am flying all over the country so that you don’t have to you’re welcome. Scot:  I really appreciate it because travel right now is not fun and I’m glad you’re out there bringing it forth. Jason:  Oh my God it isn’t I’m I am sitting in a hotel room on four consecutive weeks of travel thankfully my last one for a little while and it does suck like, every plane is jam packed like you know it feels like the whole system is more fragile so anything gets delayed and it ruins everyone, yeah I have fancy status and getting marginal seat there’s a lot of first world problems going on in travel but I made it everywhere need to go, and I think this journey as far as our listeners are concerned started getting interesting in Las Vegas for grocery shop 2022. Scot:  Awesome so that was a derivative or a spin-off show so we had shop talk and then they did a grocery focused when in you your usually are doing half the talks at that did you get a lot of air time groceryshop. Jason:  I got some good air time at grocery shop annoyingly I had a grocery shop food client that had their own Summit in Los Angeles in the middle of grocery shop so I actually. Winter grocery shop did a gig jumped on a plane to Los Angeles did a gig in Los Angeles jump back on a plane to Las Vegas did another gig in Las Vegas and then I flew to Colorado Springs for the, consumer brand Association executive Summit which is all the. The bigwigs from the cpgs many of which were also at grocery shop so so it was a lot of back-and-forth but you’re right grocery shops a spin-off of shop talk which is old-school a spin-off of a show called money 2020 if you’re really. Scot:  Spin-off of the spin-off of a spinoff. Jason:  Exactly and I want to say this is the. Fourth year the fourth year the show I felt like it was a really timely thing for them to launch a grocery show because they kind of launched it right before. Grocery became a really big digital thing and then of course the pandemic hit they had it last year but it was pretty heavily impacted by the pandemic last year so it was sparsely attended but this year it fell. All the way back so it was a Mandalay Bay it felt like it had good density all the shop talking grocery shop shows are pretty good at getting aspirational presenters and keynote speakers, so there are always people you want to hear from and then you know it’s like any show it could be hit or miss witch, which presenters shared something super insightful or not but, a lot of you know big-name Keynotes at the show and pretty robust, Treach of war and you know networking activity all around. Scot:  Cool what we’re so I don’t think many listeners got to go tell us the the highlights. Jason:  Yeah so the biggest thing to me that was kind of funny is retailers trying to become platforms for other retailers, so by far the biggest exhibitors at the show in the biggest sponsors of the show were Amazon Walmart and instacart and all of them, not advertising their b2c services all of them advertising their B2B services to other brands and retailers. So instacart launched a whole sort of portfolio that they call the connected stores which are kind of all these back at back of house.  Digital grocery services to help a grocer launch their own digital grocery initiatives, and they had a bunch of cool stuff they had smart cards they had order picking software they had all the all these um, various B2B Services Walmart connect which is Walmart’s adage ad Network retail media Network had a huge presence there but also this thing that Walmart calls Walmart Commerce Services which is kind of, Walmart’s version of AWS so they have like their own store fulfillment software that they outsourced they have their own last mile delivery service called Go Local that they now they now have 10,000. Retailers that deliver their goods via Walmart and Amazon had a big presence both a meeting booth and a trade show booth for just walk out technology for jaywalking. Scot:  Yeah the have is there a list of people that have done J W wasn’t one of the convenience store it’s kind of like 7-Eleven is that right. Jason:  I don’t recall 7-Eleven there’s a big they are getting more traction there’s a big UK grocer, it’s piloting it this shows in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay which is almost connected to the new Las Vegas Raider Stadium and the Las Vegas stadium has it so which is actually to me a brilliant use case, um why they have all these like self-service you know food and, and beverage Stadium stations at the stadium that you just walk in grab your stuff and walk out. Scot:  Only Yesterday games are great because the lines are always crazy. Jason:  Um I would say it feels to me like J W is getting more third-party traction there’s a couple competitors out there that are also getting some traction I always say them wrong but I want to say it’s called, avai fi maybe is one of those that’s getting some traction and you know, these guys are still seating the market so I want to say one of the first third party users of the the Amazon technology was the, the airport guys here in Newark and they have all turned it off and there’s a new crop of airport stores that have je W coming soon on the on the sign so it seems like. Presumably some people got a really sweetheart deal in the pilot and then didn’t want to scale is my guess but I don’t know. But so to me it’s kind of interesting that a bunch of retards came in a big presence not to be retailers but to be. Services to other retailer. Scot:  Kind of bait and switch. Jason:  Yeah so that was one big Trend another big Trend you know this is a digital grocery show digital grocery got a lot of traction for people that don’t follow it was probably two or three percent of grocery sales before, the pandemic now it’s like ten or eleven percent of grocery sales, so it’s a pretty big deal it’s wildly unprofitable so groceries a little margin business digital grocery is a negative margin business, and so one of the ways that all retailers are combating that is there’s a huge amount of effort and money going into retail media networks so retailer subsidizing their business by getting more ad dollars from the brands and so there was, a lot of conversations Technologies panels about, the emergence of retail media networks were largely led by Amazon’s phenomenal success and 32 billion dollars in ad sales. Scot:  Yeah I saw it an interview with the CEO of instacart and I guess fit fuh ger Fiji I don’t know how you say her name was there she was talking a lot about how they see a big leg of growth for them is both online and in-store ad networks that they want to build. Jason:  Yeah so so you know it the moment the the networks are still kind of gen 1 and they need a lot better add, platforms and apis and things which they’re rapidly adding new formats but like pretty quickly you’re also seeing them moved to, um in-store Impressions so you know a lot of the the instacart connected stores are around like creating opportunities to have ads, in the grocery stores, Amazon is doing that in Amazon Fresh Walmart is already doing that at self-service checkout and experimenting in other places actually think in the long run a lot of this is going to show up on in-store mobile is going to be really popular, format of the retail media networks and then they all are also launching their own dsps and using their data to buy your Tick Tock ads with Walmart targeting data in it for example. So so you’re going to buy, Walmart online audience a Walmart in store audience and Tik-Tok audience all through your Walmart connect. Scot:  Better see when you say mobile is that like my phone remember they would have this thing that would talk to your Bluetooth and it would pop up an ad on your food. Jason:  Yeah so if you’re the head of Walmart connecting you’re trying to find more more ad inventory like one thing you could do is you could say hey let’s hang 300 screens and every Walmart store that are playing ads. Scot:  Right. Jason:  There would you know potentially detract a lot from the customer experience they can’t really be personalized because you don’t really know who’s in front of that screen you, really have a good reason to look at that screen except to consume ads and it’s that’s a high amount of capex and operational complexity, so some of that might happen I think that’s not going to happen in large scale but every return America is, asking you to use your phone more while you shop and giving you more amenities on your phone while you shop so in-store wayfinding supplemented product content Walmart just rolled out virtual mannequins and and you know a our based product locators and all this different stuff, has you using your phone as a CO shopping tool and as long as you have that phone out while you’re shopping, why wouldn’t you also be fed personalized ads on that phone which has zero capex to the. Scot:  Okay cool I’m exist and I’ve seen and I think instacart has they’ve come out with a digital shopping cart that they’re starting to want stores to use and Licensing technology was there a lot of these digital shopping carts. Jason:  Not a lot there the instacart one was there Amazon did have the dash cart in their in their Booth I think those are the only two digital shopping cards I said maybe there was a third digital shopping cart that was kind of like a. Value oriented one because a lot of these are like super expensive. Yeah I I don’t get the most excited about those at the moment like I tend to think shopping carts will get smarter but. I don’t think retailers are going to pay multiples of the current shopping cart fee for. Kind of a rudimentary smart cart I think what’s going to happen is the cost to have some digital enablement on that cards is going to get so low that you’re just when you start swapping out cards you’re going to get new digital ones but like. These kind of first-generation ones are rough like the Amazon when you’re not allowed to take in the parking lot which are you aware of what the purpose of the shopping cart is. Scot:  You have to get the food. Jason:  It’s to buy more Goods than you can carry in your own arms so if they make you unload the cart before you eat the store you’re kind of defeating the purpose. So I feel like it’s a little early for those I’m not super excited about them but, I’m sure I’m sure it’ll be part of the solution the really cool ones which we don’t have in the u.s. yet are the add a Roomba to a shopping cart and have it follow you around and you don’t even have to push. Scot:  Yeah that’s kind of creepy. Jason:  Yeah I’m pretty sure it’s going to be featured in like Friday the 13th part 37. Scot:  Some Stephen King novel where your car to Texas. Jason:  Exactly if not that the automated lawn mower for sure. Scot:  So a lot of people feel like Amazon pulling back on their physical stores outside of Whole Foods means they’re kind of moving away from the space did you get a Vibe on that or are they looking to be more of a provider of Technology though. Jason:  Yeah so I mean at this show, you know Amazon wasn’t recruiting Marketplace sellers they weren’t promoting Amazon they were they were promoting, just walk out in these Services they’re selling other retailer so if you’re only impression of Amazon was from the show, that would be the focus but I don’t think that is accurate they have pulled back on a lot of the retail formats the one they have not pulled back on is there grocery format outside of Whole Foods so they have Amazon Fresh, which is continuing to be deployed, there is not a lot of presence that I could see at this show for Amazon presh they did have Jason Michelle who’s the brand new I think like one month on the job CEO of Whole Foods so he replaced John Mackey Who was the. The founder of Whole Foods and, stayed for like four years after the acquisition which is kind of impressive I assume he had a good turnout so now they’ve got a new Amazon guy in places the CEO of Whole Foods he gave a keynote talking a lot about.  The evolution of Whole Foods and Whole Foods according to him is all in on, retail experiences they want to double down on retail theater he was talking about how they’re being able to leverage a lot of Amazon technology, in a new you know faster and more agile flavors of Whole Foods but the Whole Foods is still maintaining its individual distinctiveness from. From Amazon like I got the impression a meaningful portion of his keynote was to refute the impression that they had been assimilated by the Borg. Scot:  There’s. Jason:  Um yeah so that that was the vibe there what was interesting is, if you went to grocery shop before the pandemic or for sure if you want to grocery shop last year the Big Buzzy thing was ultra-fast delivery 15-minute delivery, and that was mostly dead at the show like people are like oh remember when we thought 15-minute delivery was gonna be a thing ha ha ha that. You know there’s been a ton of consolidation in there, I moderated a panel with a bunch of the convenience store so I had like the chief digital officer from 7-Eleven the chief Business Development officer for go puff which is. Scot:  Sure. Jason:  Maybe the biggest most surviving ultra-fast delivery service and then the the founder so I CEO of foxtrot which is a cool digitally native convenience store based out of Chicago where I live, and, they were all kind of uniform that like 7-Eleven has a fast delivery service Go-Go puff obviously has a fast delivery service and they’re all like it’s part of the customer experience it’s not the customer experience and it probably doesn’t work as a standalone, and then Fiji who the the CEO at instacart said as much in her keynote as well so it definitely feels like, there could still be some ultra-fast delivery options out there but it’s not it’s not this. Land grab that you know every VC was investing in somebody that was delivering it one ZIP code in New York over the last couple of years and that feels like it didn’t work out very well. So instead of talking about that you know what everyone’s talking about inflation and profitability so it was kind of. Scot:  A macro the macros are. Jason:  Kind of gloomy right because I feel like I showed this on the show before but grocery year to date is up nine point eight percent over last year but if you adjust for inflation groceries down 2%, right so all the, growth in that category is inflation the consumer spending every grocer has now admitted that consumer spending has shifted and so you know they’re seeing cheaper proteins that are seeing more needs instead of wants and one ramification of all that, that value-oriented need shopping is it’s just a lower margin so well Top Line is pretty healthy because of inflation margins are not so Bueno and so everyone’s talking about, how to get more more margins and you know some of that is customer experience and bigger cards and, and suggestive selling and stuff like that but a lot of it like there’s a laser focus on operational efficiency and improving supply chain and improving the efficiency of in-store picking and stuff like not sexy but important stuff, feels like it’s kind of moved up the list in instead of some of these like novel business models like 15-minute delivery. Scot:  Did anyone pontificate on are we at the through the worst of it or we can be this long the hall kind of thing. Jason:  I mean everyone every non Economist has their own individual impression I don’t think they had. Inflation was a big Topic at the show I don’t think it was a track I don’t think there was any, formal sessions that were about inflation it was just kind of the subtext I mentioned I went to a customer event the the customer event I was one of the keynote speakers but one of the other key note speakers was a, like the the chief retail economists for what is it RBC Royal Bank of Canada, um and I have heard you know I’ve heard from a bunch of fancy Economist and they it’s so funny how much they disagree with each other the RBC Outlook was not. Very Rosy like it felt like there was like the potential not necessary to go way deeper but the potential to stay where we are for a meaningful period of time. But one dudes opinion I’ve heard a lot of other other well reason people that had different opinions and to me I look at all that in the Aggregate and say it just not knowable there’s just too many variables. Scot:  Yeah I would say the bookends are getting wider which may be good so used to be the bookends we’re like it’s going to be three years and it’s in days so it’s like bad and worse and now I’m starting to hear more people say you know we may you know we may be getting through the top of it or weave with at the bottom how we want to look at it and you know we think that next year things will get better so at least the bookends are getting wider which means there’s more probability it will be less bad. Jason:  Yeah yeah so I mean obviously as a retailer you got to do a lot of scenario planning you know one of the things that we’ve lost track of is like all this crazy supply chain disruption that returns have been working through, in some ways some of its getting better like the cost of containers is way down now it’s kind of back too, rational levels or even below pandemic levels to move a container from China to the US right now but. But there still is a lot of inventory moving through the system and all that inventory moving through the system is based on what everyone thought the man was three months ago and because, the macros are shifting so fast and you know we’ve gone from all these wants to needs like most of that inventory is still wrong. Right I go out of the inventory that’s getting unpacked right now is Home Improvement and apparel that had a like a nice Spike. And they’re not popular right now John ferner the CEO of the president of Walmart spoke at both groceryshop and at the CBA thing and he told the scary story of the CBA thing that he was in Long Beach recently and had the unpleasant experience of watching, containers for Last Christmas in this Christmas get them packed together yeah he’s like that’s something I’ve never had happen to me. Scot:  Yeah how do you even run a business that way it’s impossible. Jason:  Yeah the he told the story that he’s like they’re taking a car to a store from The Long Beach Airport and he’s, they’re driving by the freeway and all along the median of the freeway are these Walmart storage containers, and he’s in the car with Charles the chief Merchant at Walmart and and Charles is like huh I wonder what’s on although. Scot:  Wow. Jason:  If your Chief Merchant doesn’t know is that I’m you’re in trouble right like it’s a crazy. It’s a it’s a crazy time and so I do think we may talk about this later in the show we haven’t undergone to verbose but, I think this is all going to play out in a bunch of very interesting ways over holiday this year. Scot:  Yeah cool tell us about the cpg. Jason:  Yeah so similar cpg has some unique challenges there’s a lot of ESG pressures on on the cpg category so environmental regulation government, you know there’s a ton of packaging issues in the cpg space and so you know their alternate figure out how to get, use more sustainable packaging how to get stuff recycled better and more often all that kind of stuff so that was a big topic but the other big topics are all about, inflation and profitability right and if you know them trying to have the right stuff for retailers when the stuff retires thought they needed three months ago is not the same. Stuff they think they need now. Scot:  Yeah well so it’s kind of Common Thread there. Jason:  Yeah I feel like that was very consistent between the two shows and and again like all these cpg guys are also, laser-like focus on their profitability eroding as well and comps on profitability from, from the last couple years and stuff like that so it seems like everybody has his very practical concerns it seems like we should see a huge wave of retirements as guys, like based on these challenging situations will have to wait and see. Scot:  Good time to tap out I guess. Jason:  Exactly start a getting more entrepreneurial and start a car wash. Scot:  Yeah or become a consultant. Jason:  Yeah that’s that has never been a good career I think that’s well proven give me your watch and I’ll tell you what time it is. Scot:  Anything else from the trip reports. Jason:  I feel like that is most of the stuff on the trip so you know again it was a dense week it was a lot of fun conversations we got to see a lot of our old friends, everybody is the main emotion I get at these shows now is people see me and they’re disappointed because they’re not seeing you. Scot:  No good that’s what about that so I’m going for. Jason:  Yeah I felt like you would you would enjoy that it kind of sucks for me but you know I’ll deal with it. Scot:  Then hopefully they go into kind of making fun your title so that’s. Jason:  I feel like they most that does happen sometimes but yeah I feel like sometimes they do that behind my back too so it is. Scot:  Not paranoid, so you are in The Green Room in The Green Room you were saying that you’re getting a lot of questions about Facebook and their sub Instagram and some of these other sites are pulling back on their Commerce initiatives and some folks seem to be reading that as a getting out of it entirely but I think you want to set the record straight. Jason:  Yeah well I don’t know if I could set the record straight I do think it’s true that there’s been a couple of news items lately you know Tik-Tok is owned by B dance in China, Tick Tock is a platform called Dow Yoon in live streaming Commerce as wildly popular in China and specifically on Dalian and so over the last kind of, 18 months, bye dance has been talking about bringing live streaming Commerce to more markets including the US and the UK and they’ve actually had a pilot in the UK and earlier this year, they made some announcements that they were not going to bring the the live streaming pilot to the US and so that got written as B dances abandon and Commerce in. Which. Probably wasn’t fair to bite dance they maybe they maybe could have like spun it better but they were they’re moving away from this specific experience of, live streaming Commerce and one thing I always have to remind people the first word in live streaming is alive it’s a human being. Broadcasting a message live and you buy it while the human being is broadcasting it and in general that’s a wildly inefficient way to deliver content right like if you have a great salesperson that can record an eight minute video that desperately makes you want to buy whipped coffee.  Like why would you just live stream at so that it can only be viewed by the million people that are online when it’s being presented versus put it on a server and, 300 million people watch it over the subsequent month and I’ll buy whipped coffee right and so a lot of this. Thing is Tick Tock said hey we’re not going to bring out native live streaming tools but very little of tick-tocks content in the United States is live streaming it’s all short form video that stored on a server and played back. And so I do think that Tick Tock has continued to lean into Commerce, for short from video you know they have this whole marketing campaign around Tik-Tok made me buy it and you know that Tick Tock has become the discovery platform for a lot of products and like side note, something like 11 billion people have now like clicked on The Tick Tock made me buy it hashtag so I gets. It’s meaningful like Tick-Tock is part of the discovery experience for a lot of shopping this was another white topic this came up in my convenience conversation is you know convenience used to be, that we had a store near you know on the way to your commute to work near the freeway exit and increasingly it’s that you know we have the stuff that you just discovered Tik-Tok the day before, um so like I do think.  Social commerce still has a bunch of avenues like live streaming does not appear to be a high volume one in the US and then later in the month. Instagram depreciated a Commerce feature they had that’s called the shop tab so you know again a lot of people discover products they want to buy on Instagram they go to Walmart and they buy them, um Instagram has leaned into native checkout which has kind of mixed success there’s only certain categories and products that it’s a perfect fit for but what they did is they took all of the, the sellers of native Commerce experiences and the aggregate in a minute ab and they said hey if you don’t want to follow your favorite influencers if you don’t want to search for a particular topic but you instead just want to go to some, giant uncreated Marketplace of goods for sale we have a tab on Instagram right and from the day they’ll answer that feature I’m like that’s a stupid feature that’s not why people use, Instagram and so, guess what they turned off this month that shop tab right so you know again they still have lots of native Commerce features they’re still leaning into it jury’s still out on how well they’ll do but the the narrative in in all the media is, Tic Tac and Tick Tock and Facebook are pulling back from Commerce and in reality they’re fun they’re pulling back from some specific ideas that they now have some evidence were maybe not the best ideas. Scot:  Tell it a lot to unpack there the. Jason:  What do you think you think social commerce is a thing or is it just a fad. Scot:  I’m surprised based book and Shop haven’t gone after each other more than you know the fight over the one, pee seems like it would draw e-commerce into the social networks so that’s a gravity that you know we’re still feeling the effects of but so maybe it is just a narrowing of focus and maybe their iterating and jettisoning those things that don’t, don’t work it’s a deprecating if I am not there is depreciation but deprecating stiffer. Jason:  Okay thank you. Scot:  Yeah and then yeah so I think I think they probably, you know what they’re doing is 10 experiments and getting rid of 3 and people focus on that versus the seven they’re keeping in those seven they’ll keep iterating on and making better so I don’t think it’s dead. Jason:  Yeah and I mean I’m not saying those seven are working amazingly and it’s a huge business I do think like there it’s an evolution the jury’s out on all of these things it is. None of them are runaway successes with easy you know High Roi success metrics at the moment but I think it’s too early to call it one way or the other right and the most common narrative is a bunch of this stuff is working at huge scale in China and so it’s at least worth, testing in the US and I’m pretty confident this point the if something is going to work in the US it’s going to look different then what works in China but I will tell you I think way less products are getting discovered on the Shelf in a store than ever before and so and way more minutes of consumers lives are being spent on all consuming all the social content so I do think, there is a way in which a bunch of these saw in-store moments are going to become social commerce moments. Scot:  Yeah yeah be the one I’ve been experimenting a lot is some of the vertical and swear in the collective, face there’s a couple that are kind of card oriented so either sports cars are non sports cards and then there’s one called what not that’s really interesting and it’s a lot like.  So digital sweeps through an industry it enables the the producer be at the manufacturer or in this case maybe the artist to go Direct so in my little world of comic books there’s a lot of comic book creators that are now just going right to there, there’re end-user and selling like autograph stuff, it’s neat because during the live stream you can have like three different pieces of e-commerce going they can be running an auction, there’s like a little e-commerce Tab and then a lot of times they’ll be a GameStop kind of a gamesmanship of things so they’ll you can enter to win you can if you buy certain of these things you get something of that so there’s a lot of gamification this kind of like this third layer top of what’s going on so I’ve been experimenting with that and the buzz is their gmv is just monstrous and they’ve even through these times during covid is they really accelerated you would expect him to slow down but evidently even though a real Collectibles Market has slowed down they continue to gobble share so that one’s down it’s worth keeping an eye on and, because it has such a vertical application I don’t know if you would count it in this discussion because it’s not really social media is more pure live streaming. Jason:  Yeah although I would count it and I would say like a more mild version of that my seven-year-old son watches hours of people cracking packs of Pokemon cards on YouTube kids and the outcome of that is he’s constantly nagging me to buy Pokemon merchandise right and to me that’s social commerce like the fact that he’s not clicking a button in the YouTube video to buy the cards doesn’t is not the definition of social commerce the to me social commerce is he’s discovering and increasing his desire for a bunch of products, through consumption of social media that he then you know tries to turn into Commerce events elsewhere. Scot:  Yep it’s even better because you are basically has shopping but. Jason:  Oh my God yeah yeah it is brutal. Scot:  Until he learns how Alexa works and then your you’re done for. Jason:  Yeah we’ve had we’ll get to that too but I’ve had to disable, that I mean remember I get seven he’s just now becoming literate but even before he was illiterate he could do very robust searches on YouTube and Google with voice and he could correspond with me in Long conversations over text message with voice so it is crazy how. Scot:  Well his dad is the original retailgeek. Jason:  No I’m not holding this out as I owe my son’s Advance or special or anything I just think it’s amazing amazing what kids are able to do with these tools that obviously didn’t exist for previous generations. Scot:  How about us this was exciting in it wouldn’t be a Jason Scott show if we didn’t talk about a little bit of Amazon news.  So Amazon liked during covid having the fall Prime day so they but then this year they did it back in June so now they’re going to have to Prime days so October 10th 11th and 12th excuse me are going to be the second grouping of prime days but they’re not calling it Prime day so the thing that happened in June was Prime day which is two days of exclusive deals for Prime members and then the thing that’s happening October 11 and 12 is going to be quote unquote Prime Early Access sale or Peas I guess piece Pas and so you can have your piece in October and but don’t call it Prime day it’s not another Prime day. Jason:  No and it’s completely different what it is is two days of deals for Prime members. Scot:  Yeah but so it’s clearly not primed. Jason:  Yeah because amongst other things it’s in October. Scot:  Yeah yes that that makes it not pregnant and then but that Harkins you know we’re getting into the season here where we get everyone starts thinking about holiday what are you hearing from your clients and other retailers out there about holiday this year. Jason:  Yeah it is going to be a wacky holiday I because it to me there’s there’s at least three big trends that are all intersecting like the first one is the one you highlighted. It feels like this is going to be the earliest holiday ever, and largely because you know Amazon’s got this this new event on the 11th and 12th in response to that Target announced that they’re launching deal days the October 6th through the 8th, um Walmart like published some data that like more than 50% of all Walmart shoppers which is a lot of Shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping in October so you know I feel like there was always this race too, move the holiday from from you know the Cyber five or turkey five like earlier into November but now, we’ve clearly pulled it all the way into October and there is the potential for some interesting unintended consequences of that which I’ll get to in a minute.  So that is a wild new Dynamic we’ve never really seen before there was a year during the pandemic when Prime day itself was accidentally in October and so that’s maybe the, the closest version of this but that time there was not a lot of advance notice the other retailers didn’t kind of match it this year everybody seems in on the early holiday, so later on that we have all of these concerns about profitability we have tons of retailers that have said they have too much inventory they have the wrong inventory, Nike stock just got cream because they said this is going to be the most promotional holiday ever because they’ve got so much, merchandising to work through Target and Walmart at both talked about you know if we could wave a magic wand and get rid of a couple billion dollars in inventory we, there’s the ton of the wrong stuff and the way retailers get rid of the wrong stuff is they discount it right so when you do all these discounts. You sometimes they’re able to sell through your stuff and your top line sales can even be okay but your margins get really hammered and so.  You add inflation and the shift in shopping behaviors from wants to needs, on top of all this you know crazy promotions like the promotions probably have to be deeper to move the needle in that environment which then hurts margins even more so, it’s a really uncertain Holiday from a margin standpoint and then there’s just the whole question of are we going to have the right stuff available when customers want, a lot of these retailers then announce these October deals that was not their supply chain plan in March when they were, ordering inventory right so it’s it’s even unclear are they going to have enough inventory to support all these events in October you know remember a lot of the Amazon stuff, isn’t on Amazon stuff right it’s Marketplace sellers they haven’t been preparing for three months for this sale so there’s. Meaningful potential for supply chain disruption. You know that X is having a rough time UPS is doing a little bit better but like it’s unclear what kind of unplanned capacity they’re going to have to accommodate this, this you know new surprise Spike that they’re likely going to see in October and then you know think about the kind of things that happen.  Are these October sales going to pull in a bunch of turkey 5 sales and so is Cyber Monday just going to be a slower day than usual is it going to be less of a peek. Or are people still going to want to comp against the turkey five so are they going to do another round of discounting and is it going to have to be deeper, then the October discounts to move the needle again are we going to run out of inventory and have a replenishment event in December so are we can have a second Spike, in December and you know the Dirty Little Secret and all this, a lot of people spend extra on themselves on holiday like self gifting is a really you know big thing. Self gifting gets hurt more than some of these other categories you know based on inflation and economic uncertainty, is you talked about like The Economist can’t agree on, and what direction the economy is going our consumer is going to feel more comfortable in December and have different shopping Trends than they have for these October sales like it could change between October and December. Scot:  Yeah yeah maybe so you should be that you would do all this planning and you’d have everything lined up and the merchandise ready to go I think now they’re just like let’s have a sale and whatever inventory shows up off the containers will sell that. Probably what’s happening behind the. Jason:  I feel like it feels very like it feels like not because they want to but because they have to every retailer feels like they’re in a very reactive inventory position and it’s less about planning what you should have in more about like figuring out you know how to make the best of what you do have. Scot:  Cool any other news catcher tension from the last week or so. Jason:  A few little things you know another piece of Amazon news that was kind of busy as they made a reasonable size acquisition they bought iRobot or at least announce their intention to buy iRobot for like just under 2 billion dollars right like 1.7 billion dollars are you a Roomba guy. Scot:  I am not I’ve never been able to get those things to work in my house so I’ve always tried the robots and then return them they always get stuck under a chair. Jason:  Yeah I have never tried one I have heard that there they’ve gotten significantly better like I feel like I’ve talked to people that feel like there, they’re like meaningful helpful but I don’t have any first-hand experience so but the narrative for that acquisition is like everyone’s like oh it’s super smart because Amazon is secretly trying to get a map of everyone’s house in America and I think you and I talked about that I don’t think either of us are, I think that that’s the case are very excited about that. Scot:  Yeah yeah I think it’s just the political cinnamon as anti Amazon right now and they’re going to, they’re going to kick up dust to really just for political reasons I don’t see any data risk from the iRobot there’s way more from The Ring camera and those kinds of things that are taking your picture then some map of your house if you ever had one of those things that question like how good it slow map is anyway. Jason:  Yeah yeah I yeah I mean again I think Amazon wants to own the home I think you know they think there’s that’s a meaningful product category that they want to have the best products and iRobot was the best or at least you know most financially successful product and, in that category so I think they were just designing a desirable, cat product in a category that was interesting to them I don’t think it was some crazy data play but it is For Better or Worse going to get some extra antitrust scrutiny because of because it’s Amazon. Scot:  Yeah saw the well let’s let’s talk about iPhone did you finally get your new iPhone. Jason:  I did I did I you know ordered mine immediately and as I think we’ve talked about my wife and I are in the like upgrade program annoyingly my wife gets a more normal memory size and so she got hers on launch day and even though I ordered mine the same time mine came like a week later someone came while I was at grocery shop. Scot:  Dummy at the first when you’re on the trip the new your new phone roof. Yep. Jason:  First world problems. Scot:  It is I have a several reports that from these folks that watch the supply chain that the orders are underwhelming apples forecast so a lot of people are not choosing to upgrade and I think it’s part of the the inflation cycle people are like you know it’s expensive I can I can wait for the next one. Jason:  Yeah and I mean there just is a diminishing returns thing like I do think there’s meaningful improvements in this firm foam versus the last one but like are there less life-changing than meaningful improvements in the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6 for example or something like that right like it just. Scot:  Yeah I saw kind of in passing Amazon did a bunch of new hardware like you know you got another Echo and all that jazz and none of it was inspiring like I didn’t really even click paths the little Banner Day things are tickle your fancy. Jason:  No same I was kind of interested because I we have a lot of Amazon devices in our home and I was kind of curious to see if they’d have any like can’t-miss upgrades and the basic answer was no like they have some you know cool iteratively better products but the most interesting thing they added is you know they own this wi-fi mesh Network Technology called Euro, and they basically turned every other Amazon device in your home into a Euro extender, so if you’re if you’re a heavy user of Eero all these new Echoes become cool because they all suddenly like expand your Wi-Fi mesh but interestingly that’s a software upgrade that even works on all the older. – Isis that we already have and so they really didn’t like improve any of the echo devices that I have that I wish worked a little better maybe the newest, semi cool product is this thing called Halo rise which is kind of like a. Asleep monitor / gentle wake up alarm clock but nothing that I bought nothing that I was very excited about. Scot:  Yeah whatever happened to the thing that would like fly around you know like a remote control drone in. Jason:  Yeah it has not been launched yet it does not so they do have a there’s two robots there was that that there’s the Drone robot that flies around your house and to my knowledge that’s that’s not released and then there’s a you know kind of like a wheelbase robot wants it is it Astro I think it is Astro they did a bunch of software upgrades to a stir this year to make it slightly more useful but I just I just haven’t heard people get very excited or very busy about that and now of course I mean I assume you are already on the waitlist for a Tesla robot aren’t you. Scot:  Does look a little expensive for me but they are and they got a creepy factor that kind of like you know I’ve seen enough sci-fi to not really want one of us to my home at this point, I know where this goes yeah. Jason:  Yeah. Scot:  The red light the green light will turn to a red light and then it will come and kill me in my sleep so now I’m going to pass but you know I think you guys should try. Jason:  Yeah I appreciate the the vote of confidence but yeah I don’t think I’m early on that list either yeah so a bunch of that hard work came out this is super random but Google also announced a new hardware and so I am excited I’ve got kind of an older Google, door camera, it has some features that I really want which makes it hard to switch to another brand but like they’re the software echo system for Google like for Google it’s embarrassing. Scot:  Yeah I had a drop cam and I can never get the nest thing took over and. Jason:  Yeah and so the. Scot:  That’s none of it. Jason:  Became the nest app and then the nest at became the Google home app and it literally has been the case for two years that half the features can only be accessed from the Google home app and the other half of the features can only be accessed from The Nest app and it’s just it’s embarrassing, and so they did announce today some new, wired and battery powered doorbells with some cool new new features but the feature I’m most excited about is they’re promising like a new app gets pushed this week that that fixes all those problems so I hope I hope that’s true I’ll buy one. Scot:  Is there a read this report this is on the internet so it’s 100% true and basically what what what’s happened is Google Engineers are promoted if they work on launch, Rock Products there’s like this your record at Google feeds into the review system and how you get compensation increases so what happens is Engineers being Engineers have figured out that’s the key component and they just work on launching stuff and move from product to product and when I heard that I was like ah this makes sense because you know there’s so much of this half-baked to Google stuff you kind of are like the can’t possibly be someone that Google that owns to that experience or talking about because that would W barisan right so they’ve you know I think what’s happened is they just move on they’re working on they just close that gaming thing you know I forgot the name of that thing. Jason:  Stava start selling star Dia yeah. Scot:  Yeah yeah so so that that actually kind of made a lot of sense that the submitted incentives are kind of misaligned at Google apparently for where are the smart Engineers work. Jason:  That totally makes sense so you’re saying it’s not day one at Google anymore. Scot:  Now that’s not their thing they think is 10%. Jason:  So what we’re way over time but one last piece of news just because it’s silly of nothing else so depending on how you count the second or third largest e-commerce site in China is this company called pin duo duo or PD and it’s a really novel clever gamified Commerce experience where you like, you get better deals for getting more people to participate in group buys and it kind of gets you to become an advocate for these deals it’s really smart, and and they’re doing huge volumes of sales in China so super exciting about a month ago, they announced that they are launching the first e-commerce site in the US and they launched a URL called shop Tim oti Tem you.com, and so I of course want jumped on their launch day to kind of evaluate the uxc what kind of Novel things they invented and order some products. Scot:  Lex how is the experience. Jason:  Awful so it’s a really rudimentary e-commerce experience of a giant catalog of kind of. Karate undesirable products it felt very wish like to me except wishes and happen this is the website, and so my my test purchase I found a short a shirt for sale for 99 cents with free shipping to the United States from China, and so and in fact it was on sale for 30% off so I think my my landed cost for this shirt was like 76 cents. So I did a test order and exactly like wish the promise ship date was like 21 days. So you order this shirt and then you wait 21 days and wow. Scot:  Push. Jason:  Yeah wow this was happening I moved and so then I’m like oh shoot I put the wrong I put my old address I’m going to be moved before this product arrives and so I briefly thought about like, am I going to be a hold be able to get ahold of customer service for for shop Tim you I kind of suspect they don’t have any customer service in the US what am I going to do and then I, I paid 76 cents so edges and I ordered another one at my other address and like to their credit the shirt showed up in about eight days so much faster than they promised, and I got both shirts my the guy that bought my house Brad brought the the old one over and I got the new one and, you know this you know probably a bad sign for the the Earth that this is the future of fast fashion but yeah I got two copies of this shirt for 76 cents each that were you know, delivered from China which is, mind blowing to me and then I tried them on and I suddenly realized like although I ordered my normal size, it was three sizes too small and I went online and I was talking to some other people and that appears to be the same experience that everyone in America is happening having so it’s not just me. Scot:  But it’s only 76 cents so boom. Jason:  Yeah I should have bought two and so I did my two I guess I could put them to get a tailor to put them together. Scot:  Have one shirt problem solved. Jason:  I was excited to wear my PD shirt but ya know of. Scot:  Set the Taylor it’s going to charge you three hundred dollars. Jason:  Yeah exactly yeah so interesting that they’re coming in the u.s. I think this first first experience is pretty rudimentary it reminded me Scott you might be the only guy in America that remembers this but Ali Baba actually launched an e-commerce site in the United States called like, 21 Maine. Scot:  I remember that. Jason:  Yeah. Scot:  Yeah that was actually an acquisition they did of a competitor to channel those are called auction watch they acquired it and then they had done a little experiment of taking their eBay sellers and they had put a friend in minute, Ali Baba rebranded that 221 whatever that was and then it did not do well at all. Jason:  Yeah exactly so that kind of felt like this like you go like oh my God I huge Juggernaut an e-commerce is coming into u.s. this is going to be super interesting and that turns out to be a nothing Burger so maybe, this is just the first toe tip and we’ll see something cool come I would be much more interested to see them try some of their their gamification Dynamics here apparently will have to wait a little longer for that. Scot:  That is sad news but that’s probably where Hampton. Jason:  Yeah speaking of having to wait a long time the show ended up being a little longer than I thought so thanks so much have you stuck with us, but this is definitely gonna be where we’ll have to wrap it so if you enjoyed the show take two more minutes jump on iTunes and finally give us that five star review. Scot:  Thanks everybody in until next time. Jason:  Happy Commercing.

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