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Posted on 23. Jan, 2015 by Jon Bird.
Tweet “If you build it, he will come.” So said the disembodied voices in the iconic 1980s baseball fantasy Field of Dreams. The response of Kevin Costner’s character to the whispers emanating from his cornfield was to build a baseball stadium in the middle of his farm. And while the movie had a happy ending, [...]
Posted on 20. Dec, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet Lovingly carved into a handsome thick timber bench at the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle is a Victor Hugo quote: “There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” It serves as a mantra for this ambitious ultra flagship, meant to be the forerunner of 100 Roastery cafes across [...]
Posted on 13. Dec, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet Retail has rushed to embrace technology in recent years. Just as consumers have armed themselves with a dazzling array of devices (I sit now with a laptop perched on my knees, a smartphone in my pocket, and a tablet in my bag), merchants have kitted out their stores and staff with tech. Done right, [...]
Posted on 04. Dec, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet In 1993, a US scientist named Vernor Vinge wrote an essay entitled “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era”. Vinge’s “Singularity” was the time “within thirty years (when) we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” Cheery stuff! And his [...]
Posted on 02. Dec, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet Out the door at 6:36 a.m. on a rainy (what else) Seattle morning, I was already late for the Black Friday sales. Close on 24 hours late. What used to be a one-day post-Thanksgiving Day ritual has snuck forward in recent years to form what the media are calling “Gray Thursday”. Online “Black Friday” [...]
Posted on 25. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet Mickey Drexler is the anointed “Merchant Prince” of American retail, the instinctive creative and commercial wizard behind Gap’s glory days, and J. Crew’s current time in the sun. Following her recent blockbuster album launch (2 million in sales and counting), US musician Taylor Swift could perhaps lay claim to the crown of America’s “Merchant [...]
Posted on 14. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet Forget the Grinch stealing Christmas. This year, it is a cute little penguin called Monty that not only steals the show, but also the hearts and minds of the UK populace (and softies everywhere). British department store John Lewis has done it again, with a £1 million commercial (US$ 1.5m) that tells the story [...]
Posted on 07. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet I was one of those early adopters (my wife would use the less technical term ‘idiot’) who paid £150 (that’s about US$240) for a Nike Fuel Band – one of the first of the wearable devices. It tracked steps and distance traveled, compared my efforts with the rest of the Nike Fuel Band user [...]
Posted on 27. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet There’s a word for South African (SA) retail: wild (which can be both positive and negative, as I’ll reveal later in this article). It’s unlike anything we see in mature Western markets like the US, UK, and Australia, which seem relatively staid and tame by comparison. On a recent trip to the southern tip [...]
Posted on 17. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.
Tweet Over the last few years, “showrooming” has received a bad rap. This is the practice where a smartphone-enabled shopper goes into a physical store to touch and feel the merchandise, gets expert advice, and then compares prices on their device and purchases online elsewhere. The classic example is of a customer visiting a Barnes [...]