PRETAILWhy consumers now love to SHOP for products and services at concept stage.trendwatching.com’s free monthly Trend Briefing May /June 2013trendwatching.com/trends/pretail* PRE-TAIL is a registered trademark of The Integer Group. Used with kind permission.
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 2DefinitionA mode of consumption that seesconsumers treat crowdfunding platforms asthe new shopping malls. Why? Becausethat’s where current consumer demand formore innovative, exciting and uniqueproducts and services is being served betterthan anywhere else, by an army ofentrepreneurs and start-ups.In our Trend Briefing on PRESUMERS, we highlightedhow many consumers are clamoring to support, beinvolved with, and fund products and services pre-launch,fueling a burgeoning crowdfunding movement.Now make way for a little less consumer involvement,and more straightforward shopping in the pre-launcharena, i.e. PRETAIL.
Data from market-leader Kickstarterconfirms the incredible growth andglobal scale of crowdfunding:In 2012, donations & reward-basedcrowdfunding (of which PRETAIL isa part), grew 85% to USD 1.4 billion(Massolution, April 2013)
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 41. THE EXPANDING GLOBAL BRAINHere’s what is fueling PRETAIL, in more detail:Crowdfunding has unleashed the GLOBAL BRAIN (the collective creativity,entrepreneurialism and intelligence of thousands of individuals and start-ups aroundthe world) on consumerism.And via the mechanism of funding pre-realization, those platforms mean that anyonewith an idea can present that idea to consumers, who can then PREchase it.For the first time ever, then, the diversity, inventiveness, and sheer number ofinnovations on offer in the consumer arena can actually match the imaginingsof consumers. That’s a crucial new equality of supply and demand: one that did notexist when consumption happened in traditional offline/online stores.Next? That would of course be consumers pro-actively suggesting to theGLOBAL BRAIN what it is they would like to see introduced/built. And thensome of them may try it to do themselves, resulting in the ultimate convergenceof by and for. Just look at MakeThatThing.com below. And if that reminds you ofco-creation, or CUSTOMER-MADE, you’re right, but keep in mind co-creation wasalways more about brands seeking ideas/help from consumers, while this time itwill truly be about consumers demanding what they want from entrepreneurs/ theGLOBAL BRAIN.
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 52. PERFECT MARKET FITHere’s what is fueling PRETAIL, in more detail:Consumers indulging in PRETAIL are driven by the thrill of being early, mixed withthe thrill of finding a truly exciting or useful or relevant product, especially if it’ssomething quirky or so niche that it would have never made it down a traditionalbrand’s production line.And because the aforementioned GLOBAL BRAIN can present an endless array ofinnovations to consumers, at near zero cost and zero risk, the PRETAIL market isnear infinite.Furthermore, as consumers will only PREchase the innovations they want – and soensure those ideas are realized* – and ignore those they don’t want, it’s as close toa perfect market as economists can imagine.* Also, the instant feedback from eager PRESUMERS helps innovators see veryrapidly whether or not their product idea is serving the desires of consumers. Thisfeedback helps them tweak their product idea, and can help ensure that eveninitially-wide-of-the-mark products are a perfect fit when they are realized.Pictured: Magic Cooking Gloves, successfully funded in January 2013.
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 63. INSTANT TRUSTHere’s what is fueling PRETAIL, in more detail:The trust barriers that would once have stopped consumers from embracingPRETAIL are fast being eroded to nothing.In a consumer arena made transparent by online connectivity, there is no hidingplace for creators who fail to meet their promises. Consumers know this, and theyknow that creators know.That means consumers can have FUTURE FAITH* that most creators will deliverthe products/services they are promising. Yes, that leaves room for some risk. Butconsumers will accept the tiny risk of all-out loss as a part of PRETAIL. Even ifan innovator does disappear with their money, the abandoned PRETAILERS findthemselves part of a ready-made community committed to the funding of a particularproduct: they can simply find another entrepreneur to serve their pre-built demand.(And the community is bound to go after the original (non)-creator, too ;-)* See our Trend Briefing on CLEAN SLATE BRANDS for more on FUTURE FAITH.Pictured: France-based Overade’s folding bicycle helmet, successfully funded inFebruary 2013 on Ulule.
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 74. FROM PRETAIL TO ETAIL TO RETAILHere’s what is fueling PRETAIL, in more detail:The next (and final) step for successful PRETAIL products: becoming absorbed bytraditional, mainstream retail.In fact, the new breed of PRETAIL sites (such as Christie Street and CrowdSupply featured below) are already blurring the boundaries between PRETAIL andretail by making it easy for customers to buy successful projects, even long afterthey’ve reached their funding targets (by comparison Kickstarter doesn’t offer anye-commerce facilities, requiring customers to track the products down elsewhere).And we’re already seeing products make the leap from crowdfunding platforms allthe way to physical retail, on a global scale too: witness the Dim Sum Warriorscomic book below, launched on Kickstarter, now available in Singaporean bookstores.So watch out for the first true PRETAIL smash hit, bought (instantly) by millionsof consumers, from ‘normal’ stores, with most not knowing, or indeed even caringabout its backstory.Pictured: The tsaiclip, which following a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011, isnow stocked by retailers in the US, France and Hong Kong.
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 8While there are PRETAIL products succeedingin SCA (witness the Motriz bike shelf examplebelow), this remains a niche trend in theregion for two main reasons. First, many(less-experienced) consumers still find thrillsin buying new products the traditional way,as they haven’t been deeply immersed inyears of hyperconsumption. Second, thanksto SCA’s strong collective social culture, thecrowdfunding arena is more focused on projectsthat benefit society, rather than being asignificant PRETAIL destination. Yet ;-)Many Asian consumers, especially in China,don’t have high levels of confidence ine-commerce transactions. Which is whyone of leading Chinese payment providerAlipay’s key innovations was the practice ofholding funds in escrow until both partiesare satisfied. Overcoming these fears, andconvincing often-skeptical customers toPREchase products – that haven’t evenperhaps been manufactured yet – will be keyfor any aspiring Asian PRETAILER.PRETAIL in South & CentralAmerica (SCA)PRETAIL in Asia PacificPRETAIL AROUND THE GLOBE
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 9Launched in March 2013, Crowd Supply partnerswith product creators, offering advice on a suitablefunding target and production logistics, and allowingsite users to PREchase ideas. Meanwhile, creatorswho have already crowdfunded their products – onCrowd Supply or elsewhere – can make their productavailable for pre-order or conventional purchase. InApril 2013, Pakems Foldable Boots, a lightweightboot designed to be easy to carry while skiing, wereavailable to buy from USD 60.Crowd Supply: A PRETAILplatform and an etail storeLaunched in December 2012, Christie Street is aproduct-focused crowdfunding platform which aimsto make PREchasing near risk-free. Creators whosubmit an idea to the site are audited to ensure theyare legitimate, and their idea feasible. Meanwhile,funds are released to creators in stages, ensuringproject supporters can receive a partial refund if afunded product fails to materialize. As of April 2013the DoorBot, a wifi-enabled doorbell that streamsvideo to a smartphone or tablet, had received fundingof USD 395,660 (against a target of USD 250,000),and is due for delivery in July 2013.Christie Street: Crowdfundedhardware platform that aims tohelp inventorsExamples //PRETAIL PLATFORMSWhen in September 2012 Kickstarter tried to move away from becoming a PRETAIL destination with its‘Kickstarter is not a store’ blog post (which announced tightening listing rules to protect buyers fromunfinished and unrealistic projects), other sites quickly stepped in and positioned themselves as PRETAILfacilitators and shopping destinations:
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 10Founded in 2009, but worth revisiting for this briefing,Quirky was a pioneer of what it terms ‘sociallydeveloped products’. Product creators submit theiridea to the Quirky user community, who can suggestchanges. Next, users vote on the best product ideas,and – based on these votes and other factors – Quirkystaff choose a number of products to go into production.Stem, a device that allows the user to spay juicestraight out of a citrus fruit, retails on Quirky for USD4.99.Quirky: Store for “sociallydeveloped products”Wrappled (launched February 2013), Outgrow.me,and Tiny Light Bulbs are online storefronts for productsthat have reached their funding target on crowdfundingsites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others. Byaggregating successfully funded products, thesesites inhabit the space where PRETAIL merges withconventional etail. The NanoLeaf LED lightbulb – whichmakers claim is the most energy efficient lightbulb inthe world – had raised over USD 270,000 on Kickstarterby March 2013 (against a target of USD 20,000), and isnow available to pre-order via Outgrow.me.Outgrow.me,Wrappled&TinyLightBulbs:One-stopshopsforsuccessfullycrowdfundedproductsPRETAIL PLATFORMS
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 11Make That Thing, launched in February 2013 byTopatoCo, a web comic merchandise etailer, aims tohelp creatives handle the fulfillment side of successfulcrowdfunding initiatives. One of the first service’s projectswas a print version of The Tomorrow Girl: DresdenCodak (a popular web comic) that raised over USD530,000 from 7,565 backers.Make That Thing:Production agency forcrowdfunded projectsPRETAIL PLATFORMSOur comprehensive Premium Service is the trend& innovation solution for many different brands andagencies around the world (see just a few above). Canyou afford not to have access?FIND OUT MORE »Where do these (small & big)brands & agencies go for theirtrend needs?
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PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 13In November 2012, Singapore-based digital comicbook Dim Sum Warriors successfully raised overUSD 18,600 on Kickstarter, allowing the team topublish its first print graphic novel. The books are nowavailable in both US and Singaporean bookstores andcomic shops.Dim Sum Warriors: Kickstarterproject available in SingaporebookstoresDuring December 2012, a total of 5,622 Kickstarterbackers pledged USD 419,472 – far surpassing theinitial goal of USD 50,000 – for a WakaWaka Power,a pocket-sized solar powered station capable ofcharging smart phones and tablet devices after oneday of sunlight. WakaWaka plan to manufacturethe charger parts in earthquake-hit Haiti, donatingone WakaWaka solar powered lamp to the localcommunity for every power station purchased.WakaWakaPower:SolarpoweredchargerandLEDlightExamples //PRETAIL PRODUCTSNow, clearly there are many thousands of PRETAIL products currently (or soon to be) available to buyonline if not in stores. So here’s just a small selection of some that have been delighting customers:
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 14The Good Night Lamp is a family of wifi-connectedlamps where, when the larger model is turned onand off, the companion lights also turn on and offin unison, wherever in the world they are located.Despite the Good Night Lamp failing to reach itsfinancial target on Kickstarter in January 2013,the product attracted enough attention to proceedto production. Orders are scheduled to ship inSeptember 2013.Good Night Lamp: Wifi-connectedlamp turns on and off companionlamps in unison, no matter wherethey are locatedDeveloped to promote responsible drink driving inthe US, the Breathometer transforms smartphonesinto breathalyzers. The portable plug-in device fitsinto any smartphone’s headphone socket and, whenblown into, alerts the user to their blood alcoholconcentration through the app. To the end of March2013 over 3,000 consumers had pre-ordered theBreathometer on Indiegogo, with shipping due tobegin in July 2013.Breathometer: A smartphonebreathalyzerPRETAIL PRODUCTS
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 15SOCCKET, a portable generator that doubles upas a soccer ball, attracted over 1,094 backers andexceeded its USD 75,000 funding goal on Kickstarterduring March 2013. During play, the ball capturesand stores kinetic energy, that can be used to powerthe included single-bulb LED lamp. SOCCKET iscurrently available for pre-order through the brand’swebsite.SOCCKET:Soccer ball generates power asit’s played withJanuary 2013 saw Календарь «Новое словокаждый день» (Calendar: A New Word EveryDay) successfully achieve its funding goal onBoomstarter, a Russian version of Kickstarter.Created to help preserve the Russian language, thecalendar aims to educate buyers on the etymologyand meaning of Russian words.A New Word Every Day:Calendar celebrates RussianlanguagePRETAIL PRODUCTS
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 16During March 2013, customizable electronic guitarbrand IG Guitars was successfully crowdfundedvia Kickstarter. 40 backers pledged more than USD350 each to create personalized instruments withinterchangeable magnetic panels (saving a third onthe retail price) and receive official certificates andbonus merchandise. The guitars are scheduled toship in July 2013.IG Guitars: Customizabledesigner guitarsOur comprehensive Premium Service is the trend& innovation solution for many different brands andagencies around the world (see just a few above). Canyou afford not to have access?FIND OUT MORE »Where do these (small & big)brands & agencies go for theirtrend needs?PRETAIL PRODUCTS
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 17Fashion designer and Project Runway finalist AliciaHardesty collaborated with a quantum physicist anda neuroscientist on Project X Squared, a versatilecapsule clothing collection that includes a lightweightlab coat designed to be worn outside the laboratory.As of mid April 2013 the project had attracted over285 backers, with shipping estimated for July 2013.Project X Squared:Project X designs lab coats foreveryday wearKarma Chakhs were successfully funded on Germancrowdfunding platform StartNext in January 2013. LeVan Bo-Mentzel, a Laotian-German furniture designer,started the project as a result of his disappointmentat Nike’s purchase of Converse, as now the brand’siconic Chuck Tailor sneakers are produced by alarge multinational with ‘bad karma’. Instead, KarmaChakhs will be produced by Fair Trade-certifiedmanufacturers. Nearly 400 people PREchased theshoes (at cost price only), enabling production tostart. The shoes are due for delivery in July 2013.Karma Chakhs: Ethical‘alternative’ to Converseproduced by Laotian-Germanfurniture designerPRETAIL PRODUCTS
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 18In Taiwan, many families own a traditional funeralritual book, which documents and records the highlyritualistic practice of mourning the deceased. Manycurrent versions do not follow the traditions accurately,which inspired Taiwanese professor Xu Fu Quan tocreate a correct version. In June 2012, his project –an updated edition of Taiwanese customary funeralrites, written for modern audiences – was successfullyfunded on ZecZec (a Taiwanese crowdfunding site).Family Rituals: A traditionalfuneral ritual manual, updatedfor modern Taiwanese familiesTwo Brazilian cycling enthusiasts created Motriz, ashelf that doubles as a wall-mounted bike rack, thatsuccessfully reached its funding goal on Braziliancrowdfunding site Catarse.me in January 2013.Motriz: Design-inspired shelfthat doubles as a bike displayPRETAIL PRODUCTS
PRETAILwww.trendwatching.com 19IMPLICATIONS and OPPORTUNITIESAnything that delights (jaded, saturated, blasé) consumers needs to be on your radar.And PRETAIL definitely touches a few buttons. So how can any (your?) brand become aPRETAILER?• Give up on secrecy. No, you don’t want to share everything with the world and thus yourcompetitors, but why not open up your R&D, and let consumers PREchase ideas that arein the pipeline. Worried about competitors running with your inventions? Then just makesure you have so many of them that they will never be able to keep up.• And yes, get consumers to present you with the ideas they want to be able to PREchase.PRETAIL initiatives will also support your traditional sales channels. Building a communityof enthusiastic supporters will only help whip up excitement among other, moremainstream consumers too.• Partner with an existing creator/inventor/start-up to co-present a concept for PREchase.Or set up your own branded platform, where creators can post their own ideas in aparticular niche (read: you and your customers’ niche).• Look at the traditional retail landscape, and think how this will be mimicked in thePRETAIL arena: there’s likely to be a Walmart or Amazon-style mega-mall (thataggregates all the ideas being peddled on the hundreds of crowdfunding platformsworldwide), as well as destination stores (who’s going to create the first luxuryPRETAILER, the first curated homeware PRETAILER, and on and on?).Oh, and while you dive into PRETAIL and embrace the GLOBAL BRAIN and conceptingand more, we’ll be hard at work PREparing our next Trend Briefing. If you’re not subscribedyet, please do so here »
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