Tag Archives: retail

The Coming Retail Singularity

The Coming Retail Singularity

Posted on 04. Dec, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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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 [...]

In the Trenches on Black Friday

In the Trenches on Black Friday

Posted on 02. Dec, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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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” [...]

Taylor Swift: America’s Merchant Princess?

Taylor Swift: America’s Merchant Princess?

Posted on 25. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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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 [...]

The Penguin that Stole Christmas

The Penguin that Stole Christmas

Posted on 14. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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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 [...]

Subscribing to Success

Subscribing to Success

Posted on 07. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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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 [...]

On the Wild Side: South African Retail

On the Wild Side: South African Retail

Posted on 27. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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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 [...]

Scary Good or Just Plain Scary

Scary Good or Just Plain Scary

Posted on 10. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet If there were an Olympics of shopping, the US would win hands down. This year, American shoppers will spend in excess of $4.6 trillion dollars on stuff, which equates to somewhere north of 25% of GDP (some estimates put the figure higher). The Brits by comparison lag behind with about 20% of GDP apportioned [...]

What’s Your Horrorstör?

What’s Your Horrorstör?

Posted on 01. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Some retail outings fill the shopper with sheer dread. “Horrorstör*” takes that notion one step further, by setting a “traditional haunted house story” in a fictional big box furniture retailer called Orsk. The store is eerily close in style to a certain well-known Scandinavian retailer, and the book looks and feels like one of [...]

Cashing in on Customer Laziness

Cashing in on Customer Laziness

Posted on 29. Aug, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet The single most motivating notion in retail today can be boiled down to a single word – “Convenience.” I was reminded of that fact again early one day this week, when, dashing out the door with a slice of toast gripped between my teeth, I briefly caught a fascinating discussion on America’s NPR Morning [...]

Here Come the Robots in Retail

Here Come the Robots in Retail

Posted on 22. Aug, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Delivery drones are so 2013. The big news in technology in retail in 2014 and beyond is robots replacing humans. Starting just this week, right across the road from Apple in Cupertino, the Aloft hotel is testing robotic bellhops. As reported in The New York Times, the cute-as-a-button “Botlr” will deliver basic items from [...]

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