The most ﬂawed premise of all
time. Discounting below cost
to attract the least desirable
customers you could imagine.
Destroyed perceived sense of
value for a generation.
I see no future for companies
like Groupon, Living Social and
a billion others within their
The evolution of daily deals
towards physical items.
A model based on the premise
that scarcity would drive up
excitement and limited
inventory would keep costs
down. Failed to realize that
people like choice and that the
scarcity wasn’t real.
Fab.com & Zulily were the
If everyone joins in, you save.
It makes so much sense on
paper & in the internet world, but
most people don’t want to wait
for others to join in. Economies of
scale already drive down the cost
in large retailers. The model has
never worked, but it’s never
stopped new attempts.
Ever since Woot in 2004 , the
later iterations like Yumani or
Flubit all seem to fail.
Sites that oﬀer match your
price just never work because
it takes a miracle for everything
to match up. Perishable items
hold more promise, but often
speed is more important and
knowing your bid could have
been lower a deterrent.
From Greentoe to Priceline,
give it up.
Initially it seemed rather
exciting to be member, the
login screen oﬀering you
personalized deals, now we’ve
seen them all a million times
before and it feels like cheap
way to build an email list and
swamp you with oﬀers.
Please Frank and Oak or
made.com, wake up.
They still come and go and
this idea won’t be dead for a
long time, but neither will it be
exciting again. What started
as a way for brands and
retailers to get press and
boost street cred, will no
longer have that eﬀect the
From pop up containers, to
malls, perhaps the time has
come to move on? Shop
within a shop?
Scarcity and promotion are strong driving forces. While scarcity drives prices
and sales up, promotion can lower them. So what better way to drive
excitement, footfall and boost sales, without reducing perceived value than
spontaneous ﬂash sales.
Location based mobile marketing, especially iBeacons could easily empower
physical retailers to use Flash sale techniques to draw in customers from a
close perimeter at a precise moment in time.
Works particularly well with perishable items, anything from haircut
appointments to the daily muﬃn supply.
One of the unique advantages of physical retail is it’s much easier to up-sell
other items once people are in store and take advantage of impulse
1) Local Flash Sales
The future role of technology is about automation and reducing cognitive
burden, while we may enjoy shopping for some items, seek new things and
experiences, this isn’t true for a large majority of the things we buy.
From toilet roll, milk, eggs, toothpaste, and washing powder, to beauty products
or even functional underwear, there are many baskets of goods each week
that would beneﬁt enormously by being delivered automatically and without us
needing to think about. Just in time delivery and the inevitable price savings
make this a promising model well beyond the current users like fruit and veg.
Soon thanks to better grocery networks we will ﬁnd autoﬁlling of our fridges a
common solution and one that could be aided by the connected home and
internet enabled fridges.
2) Commodity Subscriptions
Companies like Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club and Tesla have done an
incredible job of disrupting industries with either lazy competitors or
monopolistic attitudes, but what really makes them work is they are vertically
integrated or “full stack” and oﬀer just one or two speciﬁc products.
Buoyed by the cost savings of specializing in one product, helped by plug in
companies that oﬀer better delivery mechanisms and payment processing
solutions, this is the age of ultra speciﬁc retailers than sell one item.
Shops that just sell shavers, bedsheets, one type of mattress are here, so is a
online bacon shop.
Unbundling in retail is here……(until someone bundles it up again), but there is
time to make money from specialization in the mean time, and many more ways
to make money providing a service layer to these companies
3) Single Product Retail
With e-commerce sites becoming almost free to operate, technology like
Square allowing much easier credit card payments and a population bored
with mass produced blandness, this could be the rise of the small retailer.
When you bring easier creation of items on a small scale due to technology
like 3D printing, the idea of pop up stores, funding engines like Kickstarter
and the populations thirst for crafted products, it’s easy to see why small
scale retailers could end up taking over our shopping streets where space
left by retailers who could not compete with online retail is used.
4) Small Retailer
As more of our possessions start recording and sharing more data and as
people routinely use allow Facebook to be used as a way to sign into
Online stores, I see a trend arising where retailers will make timely oﬀers of
goods around your predicted needs.
Coats could be oﬀered days before a cold front reaches your town, items
could be suggested to you based on the TV shows you’ve watched,
Celebrities you liked & status updates you’ve made.
Sites like https://www.stylitics.com/already monitor what you buy, with the
hope of making suggestions around this.
All these data points could then be blended with current Social Shopping
Sites like Wajam and Fancy where you can start to act as aﬃliate marketers
to your friends and be given money oﬀ for persuasion.
5) Predictive Retail
The democratization of creativity and new production techniques allow much
more eﬃcient and interesting creation of units in tiny numbers.
Better sizing, better production techniques and better distribution all come
It’s likely that soon we’ll see more players like bowanddrape. com who make
entirely personal clothing based on your exact size.
You could soon see personalized cosmetics and beauty products sold on the
basis of your genetic make up, local climate, age and other factors that make a
great selling story.
Sites like Etsy that align makers with buyers oﬀer an increasing number of
people who make products around your exact needs, as a reaction to the
current world of IKEA and CB2.
And of course 3D printing could make one oﬀs the normal.
6) Bespoke Retail
Zara changed the nature of Fashion retailing by changing their store’s line up
one or twice a week, as a result large fashion houses have upped their
centuries old game of 2 seasons a year, and now the likes of Prada and Louis
Vuitton may make 4-6 collections per year.
But in this age of decreasing patience, the incredible power of celebrities and
taste makers and the ability to make Bespoke clothing and better supply chain
model perhaps we will soon see sites like “As seen on screen” and retailers
working oﬀ the back of paparazzi images to oﬀer identical items to people a day
or so later.
7) Ultra Fast Fashion
Apps are getting ever more simple, from the new UI of Tinder where you can
like someone with a ﬂick of the ﬁnger, to a messaging app like “yo” that allows
you to nothing useful, but very easily.
What if such simplicity and mobile ﬁrst thinking came to retail, Amazon brought
us one touch buying, but what if buying met Tinder, or Instagram was buyable.
Mallzee, Bzar, Kwoller and this week Spring, all oﬀer you the chance to buy
things with as much eﬀort as blinking.
With Touch ID from Apple gaining popularity, soon it could be as simply as
placing your ﬁnger to buy something instantly.
I don’t see this model working that well, but I do foresee a plethora of
companies trying it.
8) Seamless Impulse
The line between the physical and digital makes no sense in an age where the
youth have no concept of oﬄine.
We've innovations like the new Amazon Fire phone designed entirely around a
new world of commerce where the worlds blend together, we've apps like
ShopSavy or Red Lazer that do the same, but search many shops.
We've devices like the Amazon dash that turn just our intentions into shopping
lists, so anywhere we are, even with no mobile phone, we can be committing
What is online and oﬄine will soon blur, we will be buying instore, but getting
delivered later, buying at home and collecting, the closing of the loop will be
more transient across the line of online and oﬄine than ever.
9) Through the line retail
10) Thin’ternet retail.
The storefront will be everywhere, the internet soon becomes a pervasive layer
that touches everything.
Open API’s could allow every app to become a store. Uber has now made
buying Uber services a scrape-able layer for others to become storefronts, and
aﬃliate marketing could allow everyone to allow plugin’s to mean that the
storefront becomes omnipresent in everything. Buying from Facebook,
Instagram and Pinterest is one thing, but what comes next is buying from
Google Maps as you walk past, or social shopping via OTT messaging apps.
New digital outdoor ads may be internet connected and allow people to buy
from them, and stores may oﬀer adaptive projected windows allow retailers to
turn stores into storefronts out of hours and oﬀer personalized retail
experiences.What about empty stores being used to allow eCommerce players
to take over the highstreet for lower costs?
We could also be buying from Advertisements direct since soon TV ads and
online banners could become buyable layers to convert interest into sales.
11) Personalized Promotions
Coupon cutters will soon seem more old fashioned than ever with an array of
high tech methods to attract customers but maintain margin.
Coupons may be spread via iBeacon to draw only certain shoppers in at set
times, mobile coupons will become the norm oﬀering seamless ways to save
money and avoid social stigma.
Social coupons will become huge, generating savings based on how many
people saw them, as will social shopping concepts where more people who
buy from your recommendation, the more money you will save.
The ﬁnal chapter will be personalize dynamic pricing where certain times of day
or combinations of items will see diﬀerent prices being shown.
This document is focused on the intersection of technology & retail and the future that it
There are many more interesting trends that go beyond this scope, especially how physical
retailers ﬁght back in the age where the role of the physical store needs to change.
That deck will follow shortly to include:
1) Experience retailing: how brands will look to turn store fronts into places to drive traﬃc &
build brands at the same time. In the omnichannel world, converting sales isn’t the only
job of the retailer.
2) Narrative retailing: how brands will look to arrange physical stores to layer rich meaning
into the products and their provenance. A movement towards stores as journeys of
3) Hyperlocal retail: Apps now allow better matching of buyers and sellers, given scale the
new retail may not only be in swapping and sharing, but in new products from super
This document is the tip of the iceberg designed to inform,
but it may give rise to more questions than answers.
For more information or for a full presentation including:
2) More detail.
3) Suggestions on how to take advantage of new trends.
4) Implementable ideas based on technology and trends.
Please get in touch:
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