Chatbots With Personality
June 22, 2018 at 9:44 am

1966. That's the year the first “chatterbox” appeared. Fifty-two years later, chatbots are on the verge of completely changing the customer/retail shopping experience. Like site search in the 2000s, many of these emerging customer touchpoints are being automated using a combination of simple keywords and rules-based logic. On one hand, these messaging bots can streamline…

Digital-Native Brands: The (Almost) New Face of Modern Marketers?
May 24, 2018 at 12:29 pm

There's lots of buzz surrounding digital-native brands and what's making them so disruptive and relevant today. While the definition of digital native is evolving, they are companies that launch as web-only retailers with the belief that superior technology can be a differentiator. They often engender loyalty by projecting authenticity and effectively leveraging social media. More…

Marketing Stack From Hell
April 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm

Steve Jobs thrived at balancing the complexity that drives powerful computational systems with the simplicity required for utility. “Simple can be harder than complex,” Jobs said. “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move…

A Lesson in Personalization From Beauty By Design
March 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

As has been written about ad nauseam in this e-newsletter and countless others retail trade publications, personalization is the Holy Grail for retailers. After all, done right, personalization elevates consumers’ lives and promotes engagement by providing products and/or content that tune into and even anticipate the needs of customers. The benefits of personalization to the customer…

Black Friday is Dead … And Other 2018 Retail Predictions
January 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

Each day, the world seems bigger, more diverse and moves much faster. Predicting the future — always a dubious proposition — seems like a fool’s errand in this climate, given the dizzying pace of disruption. But as Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” For retailers, that…

A Chat With Tom Ebling, Former Demandware CEO
November 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

I was excited to interview Tom Ebling last week, a true retail technology leader whose stint as CEO of Demandware from 2010-2016 included growing the software company into a $300 million public company that was acquired by Salesforce for $2.8 billion in 2016. Prior to Demandware, Ebling was the CEO of Lattice Engines, ProfitLogic and…

Ready or Not, Digital-First Retail is Here
October 23, 2017 at 11:01 am

Supposedly, Tori Spelling once said, “bad shopping habits die hard.” The "Beverly Hills 90210" actress was probably talking about her own shopping habits, but in a larger sense, Spelling, who helped personify consumerism in the 1990s, when the mall was king and Amazon.com was merely another dot-com, pretty much nailed today’s retail business, where bad habits…

Virtual Reality IRL at Shop.org
September 28, 2017 at 3:06 pm

The future is now. This thought went through my head several times this week at Shop.org in Los Angeles, especially when I was sampling some of the virtual reality (VR) immersive experiences that were on display on the trade show floor. The VR experiences I've demoed in the past have been proof of concepts designed…

Cutting-Edge Retail Tech On Display at XRC Labs’ Demo Day
September 20, 2017 at 10:26 am

Have you ever heard of XRC Labs, the innovation accelerator for the retail and consumer goods industries? If not, you may want to get to know it. It's doing some pretty interesting things with retail technology. Each year, XRC Labs runs two 14-week programs designed for startups in the retail technology space. XRC Labs provides…

Brand Voice Will Take on an Entirely New Meaning Very Soon
August 21, 2017 at 11:30 am

When I see people hunched over their phones, eyes fixed on screens, I think of the evolutionary chart that hung in biology class. The chart depicted a chronology of human ancestors, each one slightly more upright than their predecessor, until finally, we arrived at modern human, standing tall, except for when he or she is…