Digital Cadre Communique 2017 In Review

Mobile + AI + Amazon + customer centricity + voice interfaces + experience driven retail... eConsultancy has ticked all of the boxes in their 2017 trend review.

What were the biggest ecommerce trends in 2017?

It's time to take a look back at the biggest ecommerce trends of the past year, with insight from a few esteemed experts. So, what were the biggest talking points?

L2 have nicely summarised their key case studies and research from 2017, focusing on the topics of content and commerce, data, localisation, omnichannel, loyalty and mobile.

Digital Intelligence Case Studies & Best Practices

Digital has long been proclaimed as a harbinger of a new era of hyper-personalized, targeted, and effective marketing. But this is a promise it has yet to deliver upon. Both data capture and personalization efforts have stagnated among brands over the last year, even though there are several easy wins- from improved data collection to better deployment of email campaigns-that brands can use to move the needle.

Carat have compiled a thoughtful list of 10 trends to watch through 2018 including the convergence of eCommerce and retail, loyalty, niches, partnerships and shared experiences. Worthwhile checking out.

Carat's 10 Trends for 2018

Carat has been producing trend reports for over 5 years, to focus our minds on themes for the year ahead. We are seeing an evolution in a number of areas, incl...

A detailed read on the state of fashion from the Business of Fashion and McKinsey teams, covering trends and disruptions, consumer shifts and forces set to shape fashion in 2018.



A great reminder that in aggregate, humanity is moving forward and great things are happening to improve health, raise living standards and it's not all bad news for the environment.

The 99 best things that happened in 2017

If you're feeling despair about the fate of humanity in the 21st century, you might want to reconsider. In 2017, it felt like the global media picked up all of the problems, and none of the solutions. To fix that, here are 99 of the best stories from this year that you probably missed.



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Adidas is capitalising on the trends towards sustainability, robotics and personalised goods via their Speedfactory. Adidas is encouraging consumers to consider the origin of their shoes and pay a premium for that origin story.

Possibly the start of a trend towards manufacturing built around distribution rather than distribution centred on manufacturing as the manufacturing location shifts from offshore mass production to customised and local fabrication. 

Inside Adidas' Robot-Powered, On-Demand Sneaker Factory

Last winter, the sportswear giant Adidas opened a pop-up store inside a Berlin shopping mall. The boutique was part of a corporate experiment called Storefactory-a name as flatly self-­explanatory as it is consistent with the convention of German compound nouns. It offered a single product: machine-­knit merino wool sweaters, made to order on the spot.

A good reminder of the importance of product names and customer nomenclature on discovery and the ultimate revenue impact.

2 Minute Case Study: Nike

Seemingly small decisions, like whether to call your product "leggings" or "tights," end up having a major effect on revenue.

Tech companies continue to lead the way in terms of R&D spending, but are they getting value from that intentsity?

Report: 2017 Global Innovation 1000

Funding allocated to innovation at some of the world's leading corporates is on the up. In the last year, total R&D spending among the Global Innovation 1000 - those companies that already invest the most in research and development - grew by 3.2%, exceeding US$700bn for the first time.

Interesting perspective from Nick Bilton: how will we look back in 10 or 20 year’s time about society’s usage of social tools and the negative impact on society.  Very relevant, particularly given some of the broader generational impact of smartphones.

The End of the Social Era Can't Come Soon Enough

Many people imagine 19th-century antebellum America as a frontier fantasia: men with handlebar mustaches sitting in dusty saloons, kicking back moonshine whiskey, as a piano player picks out tunes in the background. In reality, though, life was a little more sordid: Americans spent their time after work in fully legal heroin dens; in 1885, opium and cocaine were even given to children to help with teething.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they're on the brink of a mental-health crisis. One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone-she's had an iPhone since she was 11-sounding as if she'd just woken up.

A great presentation by Benedict Evans from Andreessen Hotowitz on the state of tech today and what’s to come over the next ten years. Follow the S curves for mobile, the multiplying effect of machine learning, mixed reality and crypto-currencies.

Presentation: Ten Year Futures

This autumn I gave the keynote at Andreessen Horowitz's annual 'Tech Summit' conference, talking about the state of tech and what's likely to happen in the next decade: mobile, Google / Apple / Facebook / Amazon, innovation, machine learning, autonomous cars, mixed reality and crypto-currencies.

The Edit at the Roosevelt Field mall on Long Island is a new approach allowing previously online only retailers to interact with customers in real life via a range of rotating pop-ups at malls with relatively strong foot traffic. An opportunity for new brands to capitalise on awareness and shopping centres to make effective use of their space as anchor retailers continue to close stores.

Simon bridges online and brick-and-mortar with 'The Edit'

Simon Property Group has launched "The Edit" at the Roosevelt Field mall on Long Island, which the developer describes as "a first of its kind, scalable, turnkey retail platform." Designed by O'Neil Langan Architects, The Edit features a rotating selection of diverse new brands, including some that have sold only online.



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The holiday shopping season is well and truly underway with several common themes – the continued double-digit growth of digital commerce, sale events starting earlier and earlier, and mobile being the preferred customer tool to shop. Here are a few key data points and insights from an online, instore and international perspective.

The Commerce Cloud team share growth figures and shopping trend observations from the peak shopping season.

Commerce Cloud

With #CyberMonday complete, our industry experts analyze how the biggest shopping days of the season performed in this episode of Retail Reality Check

eConsultancy’s take on Hitwise online retail consumer data from the Holiday period provides useful observations of different retailer’s competitive strategies and that the battle for consumer’s wallets is increasingly a marathon and not a one-off event. eConsultancy also has some useful tips for preparing for your next big event.

Amazon won Thanksgiving and Black Friday as retail strategy varied

Amazon's dominance of online retail in the U.S. was on fully display this Thanksgiving and on Black Friday according to data collected by Hitwise. According to the competitive intelligence and consumer insights firm, Amazon processed 5.6m transactions on Thanksgiving Day and 7.1m transactions on Black Friday.

Statista data provides a good reminder of the scale of Singles Day versus the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Infographic: Chinese Singles' Day Eats Cyber Monday for Breakfast

This chart shows how Alibaba's gross merchandise volume on Singles' Day compares to U.S. e-commerce sales on Thanksgiving weekend.

NRF released their Thanksgiving weekend retail results, finding that more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online, including 64 million that shopped both online and instore and over 58 million that shopped only online.

Consumers and retailers win big over Thanksgiving holiday

Thanksgiving weekend, including Cyber Monday, attracted more than 174 million shopping both online and in-store.

Some provocative arguments from Adam Ferrier at the recent ADMA Great Debate arguing that ‘Design Thinking is Dead’, including some lively and engaging discussion in the comments.

Why human centred design is the enemy of original brands

There are three fads happening at the big end of marketing. First, changing one's title from chief marketing officer, to chief customer officer. Second, using rhetoric around 'humanising' business, humanising data, humanising finance, telecommunications, energy and anything else. The fact we're doing it through robots and AI seems problematic to me.

As highlighted in the human centred design article above, there has been a big shift towards Chief Customer Officer roles and titles. 46% of all UK based CCO roles have been created in the last 12 months, with the largest number of appointments made in the Retail sector.

The UK Chief Customer Officer Report 2017

Talecco conducted extensive research in the first quarter of 2017 with the aim of identifying how companies are reacting to the challenge of becoming more customer-led. This research is the first of a number of planned activities that will help define and describe the rapidly changing landscape of t

Richie Siegel thoughtfully examines the approach for building digitally native fashion brands, including the observation that the digitally native brands are opening more stores more quickly than heritage brands did. Almost a decade into its business, Warby Parker has 61 stores, Bonobos has 41 and Happy Socks has 27, while Nike had one and Patagonia and Ralph Lauren had three after 10 years.

Op-Ed | Will the Digitally Native Brand Building Playbook Produce Results?

NEW YORK, United States - For decades, the playbook for building consumer goods brands has only evolved incrementally. Then the internet happened, fundamentally reshaping the brand-building playbook with an emphasis on e-commerce, digital marketing and abundant capital. Today, there are more brands vying for the attention and dollars of shoppers than ever before.

This week in L2 founder Scott Galloway - How did Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google work their way so deeply into our daily lives? This is a good summary of his key arguments from Scott’s latest book, The Four, as well as some thoughtful Q&A at the end of his presentation.

TED Talk: Scott Galloway

How did Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google work their way so deeply into our daily lives?



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From haggling to game theory – The Atlantic explores the complexity of retail pricing today and the equilibrium between consumers and retailers to find the ‘right price’ for an item. The rise of sophisticated algorithms has provided retailers with access to vast amounts of data and the tools to experiment in their pricing strategies. There are opportunities for both online and offline retailers along the continuum of providing simplified, transparent pricing and dynamically optimised consumer offers.

How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All

Will you pay more for those shoes before 7 p.m.? Would the price tag be different if you lived in the suburbs? Standard prices and simple discounts are giving way to far more exotic strategies, designed to extract every last dollar from the consumer.

How much ...? The rise of dynamic and personalised pricing

You wait 24 hours to book that flight, only to find it's gone up by £100. You wait until Black Friday to buy that leather jacket and, sure enough, it's been marked down. Today's consumers are getting comfortable with the idea that prices online can fluctuate, not just at sale time, but several times over the course of a single day.

Using Car As A Service is becoming reality for more consumers as mainstream automotive brands such as Porsche, Volvo and Cadillac all launch their own subscription services offering a range of vehicles with all-inclusive costs. A trend to watch, particularly in combination with ride share services such as Uber and Lyft and changing consumer preferences around consumption vs ownership. Will you ever need to purchase a car outright again?

Subscription-Based Car Buying Picks Up Steam

Join us in New York this Wednesday and Thursday for Ad Age Next, a new event where top marketers and innovators such as Procter & Gamble, Amazon, Wayfair, Google, Walmart, The Washington Post, Burger King, Twitter, Bloomberg and Headliner Labs will explore AI, chatbots, voice marketing, rapid-fire creative iteration, next-level ad blocking, VR and even the way we see the future.

Good insights from Ben Thompson from Stratechery on Stitch Fix’s recent IPO, their ability to build a differentiated business from the outset and their focus on profitability/ positive unit economics.

Stitch Fix and the Senate

There was an interesting line of commentary around the news that Stitch Fix, the personalized clothing e-commerce company, was going to IPO: these numbers are incredible!

A noble cause, but a seemingly piecemeal solution. Surely, as others have pointed out, images could be hashed locally, thus avoiding the need to send images to Facebook and images could be reviewed by exception.

Facebook asks users for nude photos in project to combat revenge porn

Facebook is asking users to send the company their nude photos in an effort to tackle revenge porn, in an attempt to give some control back to victims of this type of abuse.



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As McKinsey highlight, personalisation and targeted communications can add significant value for both retailers and consumers. Here, they share 5 vignettes that detail scenarios where value can be added in customer communications.  Tip – add real value or utility for your customers and don’t cross the creepy line!

What shoppers really want from personalized marketing

What customers want and what businesses think they want are often two different things. Here's what customers are looking for. Anyone who has gotten an unsolicited and irrelevant offer related to something they've done online knows that creepy feeling that someone is watching me.

Scott Galloway’s name is popping up everywhere as he completes a podcast tour to promote his new book – The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Divided and Conquered the World. This interview with Barry Ritholtz is a great recap of the take aways from the book and his insights into the digital economy.

Scott Galloway Discusses Four World-Conquering Companies - Masters in Business

Scott Galloway Discusses Four World-Conquering Companies

Leading luxury brands are evoking emotion and using Instagram for visual storying telling and discovery. Instagram luxury global consumers (as defined by the platform) consume more content, like more content, post more photos and have more followers than the typical Instagram user.

Instagram and BOF have completed some good branded case studies detailing tactics such as shooting campaign content tailored specifically to Instagram’s user experience and using custom audiences to retarget and connect with followers. Check it out below or read the full Experience Luxury On Instagram report for more.

One to watch with interest as Instagram Shopping continues the global rollout for brands.

What Makes A Great Instagram Campaign?

By BoF Team October 31, 2017 05:25 Sponsored by: LONDON, United Kingdom - Instagram has established itself as a critical marketing channel for fashion and luxury brands. The mobile platform now has over 800 million monthly active accounts and has become what Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, has called the "social media boxing ring" and "by far the most relevant social platform for luxury brands."

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. The always compelling Tim Harford highlights the challenges of forecasting the future impact of technology and ongoing innovation with some nice excerpts from his outstanding series 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy.

What We Get Wrong About Technology

Blade Runner (1982) is a magnificent film, but there's something odd about it. The heroine, Rachael, seems to be a beautiful young woman. In reality, she's a piece of technology - an organic robot designed by the Tyrell Corporation. She has a lifelike mind, imbued with memories extracted from a human being.

Whilst still a blip in the total online retail visitation figures, the online subscription category grew by 3,000% from 2013-16. Whilst this data is a little dated, I’d expect that the trend would have increased substantially due to the growth of Blue Apron, Hello Fresh et al. One for more traditional retailers to take note of and determine how product subscriptions can be relevant for their business.

Hitwise Analysis Shows Visits to Subscription Box Sites up 3,000% - Hitwise | Competitive Intelligence & Consumer Insights

A new consumer insights retail report found that visits to top subscription box sites have exploded by nearly 3,000 percent in the United States over the past three years. According to our Hitwise® data, there were more than 21.4 million visits made to a custom category of leading subscription box sites in January 2016, compared ...

Did humanity really need a $999 Internet connected tea diffuser? 

Internet-Connected Tea Infuser Teforia Shuts Down

It turns out being the "Juicero for tea" isn't a sustainable business model. Teforia, the $999 internet-connected tea infuser, has ceased operations, citing "a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space" in a statement on its website.



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Welcome to a new format of insights from Digital Cadre - the Cadre Communique!

Our goal is to provide a weekly highlights list to capture retailers and digital practitioners that are executing well and leading the way with innovative thinking. Subscribe below to receive the Cadre Communique packed with the trends and insights that matter most in your inbox.

Retailers are turning up their versions of retail theatre to lure customers away from their phones and get some IRL experiences...

'Shoppertainment': How department stores are becoming 'theatres of dreams'

"We are the controllers of the funfair, of the rabbit hole ... of the dreams," cries an eccentrically costumed showman as a three-dimensional kaleidoscope whirls into life. The ride is one of the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland-themed theatrical "experiences" designed to inject some pizzazz into the opening of Westgate Oxford, the £440m shopping centre that has replaced the city's rundown 1970s scheme.

A great case study of how ING bank have approached the agile transformation of their group headquarters in the Netherlands (comprising 3,500 staff). Includes a nice summary video and 9 key takeaways, including my favourite of focussing as much on getting the culture right as the structure, and spending a lot of time and energy focused on role modelling the right behaviours (customer-centricity, empowerment, ownership) to support change.

Agile Transformation at ING - A Case Study - Building The Agile Business - Medium

When I speak to leadership teams or consult on agile transformation with corporates I'm always keen to stress that there is never one all-purpose solution to what a successful digital transformation looks like.

Are big brands dying? Have small/ niche brands been given an advantage with the advent of eCommerce and digital media? This is an insightful report from the University of South Australia with detailed analysis, scientific research (!) and examples on the value of brands (with an emphasis on consumer goods)

TL;DR version - the notion that large brands are dying is simply not true. Nor has the world fundamentally changed in a way that favours small brands over big.

Are Big Brands Dying? | Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science

By Professor Byron Sharp, Professor Magda Nenycz-Thiel, James Martin, Zac Anesbury & Professor Bruce McColl Download PDF Fact or fiction? Big brands pay the salaries and provide investment returns for many millions of people via pension funds. So if anyone declares that big brands are dying they receive a great deal of attention.

Scott Galloway from NYU regularly talks about Amazon's ability to perform Jedi mind tricks to destroy another company just by thinking about it and creating a press release. This analysis highlights how department stores and big box retailers know what will entice online customers into physical stores (services, events, click and collect), however few promote those services online effectively. Physical stores are a vital asset.

Retailers are missing opportunities to win against Amazon

Physical stores offer experiences and services that online-only retailers can't, such as personal shopping and events. So it's odd that a lot of brick-and-mortar retailers fail to do the one thing Amazon can't: advertise the benefit of shopping in a physical store to their online customers and incentivize customers to visit.

Ivyrevel - the online only brand selling to 80 countries and growing at 50-100% per month (all mobile driven) is a great example of a brand leveraging social media and mobile to stay in tune and connected with it's influential audience. They grasp the intersection of technology and apparel, as evidenced by Coded Couture, an app leveraging shopper data to produce a one-of-a-kind dress reflecting personal lifestyle and tastes.

Ivyrevel, The World's First 'Digital Fashion House' | Salesforce Commerce Cloud Blog

There aren't many fashion retailers whose moves make news in Women's Wear Daily as well as TechCrunch. Yet that's the story of retail trailblazer Ivyrevel, which bills itself as a "digital fashion house" tailored for a digital native generation.

“undifferentiated, mediocre retail won’t survive.” Discuss...

Nike turns its back on 'undifferentiated, mediocre' retailers - RetailWire

Discussion Nike plans to put its eggs in fewer baskets going forward. The athletic wear brand announced yesterday a plan to focus its organizational resources going forward on 40 key retail partners and its own consumer direct efforts while pulling back from "undifferentiated" channels of distribution.