This episode catches up on the latest e-commerce news
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Episode 131 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Thursday, May 10th 2018.
Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, SVP Commerce & Content at SapientRazorfish, and Scot Wingo, Founder and Executive Chairman of Channel Advisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing.
Jason: [0:25] Welcome to the Jason and Scott show this is episode 131 being recorded on Thursday May 10th, 2018 I'm your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I'm here with your co-host Scot Wingo.
Scot: [0:40] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott show listeners. Jason our podcast schedule did not allow for it so we missed May 4th so I'm going to use this opportunity to hit rewind go in the time machine and wish you a late fee May 4th May the force be with you.
Jason: [0:59] Thanks. As I hope you know I was thinking of you on May 4th I was kind of sad that we didn't get a chance to talk and I was carefully following your social media feeds to see if you would like post any any pictures of you like, with memorabilia are in costume or something so what what what did you do for May 4th.
Scot: [1:18] Yeah I'm soaps first of all I don't know if you know or not but May 1st kind of controversy in the hardcore Star Wars community. I don't have a lot of passion on this but a lot of people feel like it's kind of like our Hallmark holiday in the Star Wars world because the movie came out on May 25th so everyone's like what the heck made for Seattle. Funny pun but we should really be celebrating May 25th so just some fun diversion Star Wars. Factor for cocktail parties so I celebrated. I buy first I do have about cosplayer so I was not a Princess Leah or anything this year but I do have some pretty awesome Crocs from our friends at Crocs have some Stormtroopers and some cheese, this year I decided, tour of the Stormtroopers which was exciting and then I have a new Han Solo movie jacket that I got that's pretty cool it's kind of retro 70s kind of kick, jacket exciting thing for me on May 4th was I had an inkling that tickets will go on sale for the Han Solo movie so I was able to jump on those work some Fandango Magic, and secure up, have good set of tickets for myself in a bunch of friends so going to go see that on the 24th at 7 p.m. you're welcome to fly in from Chicago and see what this would love to have you.
Jason: [2:41] If I can get a hall pass from my wife I'm totally doing it.
Scot: [2:45] What you can bring her and Beta key we got room for all you guys.
Jason: [2:48] That would be fun in honor of you I missed May 4th but on May 5th I took baby geek to Toys R Us cuz I was kind of worried. That he was never going to get to go to a Toys R Us and I I tried very hard to interest him in the the land speeder bed II it was not a sale.
Scot: [3:10] What is just couldn't did like it.
Jason: [3:14] So we spent like he's very into Vehicles so we spent about 4 hours in the little electric vehicle section of Toys R Us. And I got heat he drove everything from the like Frozen themed Beetle through the the yellow Lamborghini and he on his own volition pics. This GM Silverado two seater pickup truck.
[3:45] Yeah which made my my in-laws from the Flint Michigan extremely extremely proud and so we we bought this. The Tesla of a toys right like it's an electric vehicle and. I am now officially the last member of this this long-standing Detroit family to build a GM vehicle.
Scot: [4:07] Cooley schedule pickup truck you can pull off shotgun on the back there real cowboys.
Jason: [4:13] Exactly there's no gun rack yet but let me just say it was a we live right across the street from a park so we drive it over to that Park and he's already picked up about the four ladies that he's taken for a ride back he was very smart took down the two seater.
Scot: [4:27] Nice Draco.
Jason: [4:28] Yeah that's a chip off the old block but that's way more advanced than they block the original block.
Scot: [4:34] 4 hours in a Toys R Us is a that's pretty that's a long time in a Toys R Us was it so tell me about you guys are there obviously liquidating it was it was a kind of the ones I've been it's been super depressing hip I was yours.
Jason: [4:47] Well that's right I find Toys R Us just depressed right before they went bankrupt they were somewhat depressing because it's like you have all these fun childhood memories and it just. Not that fun or inspirational of a, environment these days but this particular store I'd say is early in the liquidation so it it absolutely felt like. Like they had a full inventory of stuff in the store didn't feel like the the selection was thinning at all and you know the deals weren't super deep yet. So it was enough heat my son will never remember the trip it was fun for me to say I've took him and I do think he had a really good time.
Scot: [5:27] And you have pictures and they are in a pickup truck so it's good.
Jason: [5:30] Exactly a pickup truck that by the way why doesn't fit in my condo.
Scot: [5:35] So you had to pay for a parking spot.
Jason: [5:40] I am I am bartering with a neighbor to share one of their extra.
Scot: [5:44] She like the most expensive toys.
Jason: [5:48] Well and the U-Haul truck I had to rent to drive it home yeah.
Scot: [5:51] Cool well wouldn't be a Jason Scott show without some Amazon news but today. We are going to start with Walmart news because they have been ruling the headlines to Big transaction so first of all about 2 weeks ago go rumors started swirling that they were looking to divest of their, UK grocery brand which I think is asthma.
Jason: [6:17] Exactly right.
Scot: [6:19] And they ended up selling that for 10 billion to Sansbury so that's interesting cuz they bought that 528 years ago. And it hasn't really grown has been kind of growth anchor for them so you know that that has been a bit of a black eye I don't know what they paid for it I think. I think is pretty even said that they sold it for about what they paid for it but it it hasn't been a huge success so then on the heels of that they turned around and this week acquired. The majority share of Flipkart India has very strict rules around for an ownership so they. My understanding is they can't own a hundred percent of it yet there's some path 200%, but they bought 77% for 16 billion and I think you do the math on that at the Vets out to value of, 28 to 22 billion dollars total for for a Flipkart so you know they they kind of exited the UK and then went into India with the proceeds. It was an interesting discussion on CNBC so you know this is here we are it's been. Couple weeks since Amazon announced their first quarter which which recovered on the show was just amazing and if you remember my free cash flow discussion there just pumping. Billions of dollars if 16 billion dollars is about what they're spending into quarters just for growth an Amazon just just out of free cash flow so. And so interesting CNBC discussion cuz what happened is the Walmart stock did not react well to this transaction thin and it is hard to cuz it's kinda like we did this m&a didn't work out so we're selling it and the good news is we kind.
[7:54] Came out relatively unscathed in the UK. By the way we're going to take this plus $16 more and we go buy something even smaller so they don't disclose the revenue of Flipkart of the GMD but. All indications would be that it's not as large as as as though or you know even close to $16 I would you know the last I've heard it's like. 2 to 5 billion and GMP and then if you can't put a 15% agreed on that you know this is a smaller. Sub billion-dollar business Revenue was probably so pretty interesting. The normal discussion ensues which is it's not fair Amazon gets to spend so much but Walmart doesn't so it's kind of interesting to see that, play out with this transaction where you see yeah I don't know how involved he was you may have some inside of that but this is a very much feels like Mark Lori kind of saying look we. We got to be aggressive in India we got to get out in front of Amazon and outflank them and and. You're not to do that and you take grocery. We need to be in India so it feels like. Doing the right things they're not getting credit which I'm sure must be frustrating inside a couple more quick things there, eBay was kind of a big winner in this because about 6 months ago they invested 500 million into Flipkart they folded. EBay. I n into it and then now that position is worth 1.5 billion so nice three-bagger or 3x of their money, and I think they got free to go and it's not clear if they're just going to spin it off for relaunch but but they'll come back in India as eBay. I n.
[9:28] With a nice warchest from the transaction so so kudos to the corporate development team anyway hopefully there, at least enjoying some extra pizza or something like that Jason what did you think about this deal.
Jason: [9:40] Yeah well first. Just as a reminder to Wisner is the reason that this gets so much players is, you know any is a potentially huge Market second most populous country in the world you know and rapidly evolving, population with with an enhanced spending power and very little, Commerce penetration brutal e-commerce penetration in the country so tons of growth and so you know flipcart is the biggest player but Amazon has been, China indigenous way, build a business in India and Amazon is already the second biggest player in India and is actually growing faster I think then put card so, it's interesting you know Amazon try to do indigenous we compete in China, and that didn't go very well it's a lot. You know people are like you know they won't repeat that mistake in India and you know so there's a lot of rumors and Amazon was bidding against the Amazon, Amazon was betting against Walmart for Flipkart alot of us back you I don't know where you were on this cop but you know I assumed Walmart was going to get it, because in my mind Amazon was only, would have been interested in foot cart if it was a good value like that they had no interest in overpaying on some strategic basis for Flipkart whereas, and I feel like Walmart really you know does have an interest in.
[11:13] Establishing some some Global credibility you know Walmart wasn't particularly successful in China struggle in the mature Market in the UK and flipped Asda and so kind of felt like, you know we seen Amazon reached for Acquisitions before like Jet and that or Walmart rather and it wasn't surprising to see him. Reach again this time and supporting me almost wonders if Amazon sword I intentionally tried to beat him up a little bit.
Scot: [11:39] Yeah there was some talk on CNBC that, Amazon bid 2 billion above the 16th but the founders chose the Walmart did and it wasn't really clear what was going on with that so I don't know if that was just rumor or actually officially reported and I couldn't find it in writing anywhere so, but I do think Amazon was either really interested in it or. It was kind of a win-win that were they made Walmart really pay up for it so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.
Jason: [12:11] The one thing I did I do believe is that Walmart was a more attractive buyer because there's a less likelihood of, regulatory impediments because Amazon is the number two player if they were to acquire the number one player there there would have been some some. Further regulatory hurdles in in India I'm so maybe I was just a safer safer way for the four, stop thinking and Company to get the money back so be interesting while Amazon is there anyone else that Amazon would want to buy there or will they just you know continue to go to loan and try to do better than they did in China.
Scot: [12:51] There's always been kind of a third player Snapdeal and in that round I talked about or eBay and Dustin 500 million there was rumors they were going to merge they didn't and I really heard much about Snapdeal lately so that maybe something Amazon, could pick up. Probably relatively cheap now cuz they're kind of left at the party without a chair in the music is stopped so I don't know if they really want to Amazon you know their acquisition strategy is. Primarily. To get into something to don't have in their dardi have a Marketplace they have invested heavily and FBA for that Marketplace what are the rules in India is you can't operate one p as a foreign entity and I think Flipkart has enough for investors they can't be one piece so all these are pure what I would call a pure Market Place model me they don't have a retail component, Subway Flipkart and Amazon have been furiously building out the photo centers though to help their sour basis I don't think Snapdeal had the investment. Not to do that and they got left behind so it said they're kind of the distant third player there that you know I'm paper Amazon could pick him up to you no time to continue to be ahead but I think they'll just got there.
Jason: [14:00] Yeah I feel you in a lot of markets you would you potentially acquire Local Company because that would would get you license to operate more as a local company but I think India has a strict rules about, ownership percentages that mean like you know Snapdeal word indigenous Indian company in Amazon acquired them they would then no longer be considered indigenous. That the feminine side is interesting to cuz one of the challenges in India is not just lack of payment centers its lack of infrastructure overall its its roads and delivery services and it's a very fragmented Market inside. My my sense is that the Amazon efforts and the fbar. The 10th potentially super lucrative because literally like they're building a whole capability that you know it's not like if you don't. Use Amazon you would just use UPS to deliver this.
Scot: [14:54] Yeah.
Jason: [14:56] So that's interesting and then I guess it's the one you know if is Amazon really wanted to spend some money to jump-start their presents and India the other thing would be interesting as there is a big payments player there which is paytm. I have no idea if they are for sale I think that's you know big investment from SoftBank and $0.10 but that.
[15:17] Payments tend to be a big driver of digital Commerce platforms and obviously in China like I would argue that $0.10 and all I pay are.
[15:28] In a big drivers and so you can imagine that would be a strategic place to invest in India as well.
Scot: [15:34] Yeah that's one.
Jason: [15:35] So some other Walmart news. The we talked a lot about retail strategies in general towards what I called owned Brands so essentially. Treating brands that are exclusive to the retailer that you know usually are a lot more than private label its. An aspirational brand with its own positioning in marketing in Walmart launched a new one of those last month called all is well home which is kind of there. Home Goods brand its bedding and mattresses. And in and of itself that would have been interesting that gets added to the stable of Brands they bought like bonobos and ModCloth. The weather things that I found interesting about all is well home is that Walmart actually launched. I stand alone you are out so rather than selling all's well on Walmart.com or even selling it on jet.com you buy all is well from. All is well home. Com in so that is a sort of, further step in the own brand a play then we've seen before like you know cat and Jack from Target the super successful brand that it doesn't have its own URL Rocketfish is a super successful brand, Best Buy it doesn't have its own URL like even you know the world's most successful own brand Alexa, you know obviously I'm buying Amazon like it doesn't have its own URL so interesting.
[17:08] You know to see if that's a trend that we see more of his these Brands launching with their own URLs and a particularly interesting to me inside baseball thing. Walmart has built super robust e-commerce platform that they going to spend billions of dollars developing overtime call Pangea and when they watch this all is well home.com all is well home is running on Shopify.
[17:35] Yep so.
Scot: [17:36] Ya Allah be with your Shopify to lunch kind of a micro set one clarification on Alexa is he was on does on the yard all day just don't tell Alexis on it it it it like. You you you obviously know but like if if people haven't looked Alexa was this company Amazon acquired this goes back into the 90s and preacher like 9899 and you would web web users would webmasters wood, it's all set of tools from Alexa and it would help them rank various websites and you would see your rank so it's kind of shared. Metrics kind of thing not many people use it today because the the date is pretty. Yep sketchy and but Amazon only are on the brands they use that when they came up the product they I guess they looked on their sweet of trademarks of the owned and pick that one out to to have the Alexa brand come out.
Jason: [18:29] Yep and I think I use it as I could be to be site for Alexa right like isn't it more for like people that want to partner in the Echo System.
Scot: [18:36] What else Alexis still has this traffic kind of thing and they try to turn it into a marketing stack so it's kind of a PPC tool kind of a thing a lot of the companies that did so he's metrics. Headed that way like a lot of comparison shopping engines have gone that way like next time but there's a lot of them don't have a ton of tricks that I've never heard of anyone using the Alexa tools.
Jason: [18:58] Gotcha, and then in addition to this new all is well home website Walmart also launched a pretty substantial redesign of walmart.com, somewhat controversial like it's a very minimalist design that you know doesn't have a real loud Walmart branding to it so it's the spark is what they Walmart cause the, the start of Starbucks logo and you don't want you scroll down from the homepage you get a very minimalist search bar at the top of the the site with just the spark and the what the word Walmart doesn't show up anywhere.
Scot: [19:41] Just freaked me out cuz I was working on a presentation and I was going to know do a screenshot of a Walmart marketplace, and I was looking at us like how is even going to know this is Walmart they're going to have to recognize the spark because the word Walmart literally kind of once you leave the homepage it melts away and there's no the menu becomes hamburger menu, yeah they moved the mobile metaphor to the desktop and yeah it's kind of. Kind of wild and then you know as you scroll on shop you have this persistent search bar hamburger menu and Spark which takes you back to walmart.com they really have no corporate branding so. Come on or something so it's kind of saying. You know where we want to give you more space for search results then our corporate brand and then also you know there's not a lot of browse here so once you leave the homepage and get in to search results there's not. There's nothing like a lot of bread crumbs I found I got a little lost their it took me awhile to kind of like get familiar with what's going on so it's a bit dark but it's interesting I was doing our desktop I'm sure it's great on mobile I bet on mobile it's it's kind of. Feels really good on desktop it feels kind of strange it's going to take so long Easter.
Jason: [20:57] Yeah I think overall it's way more visual so images are much more prominent and bigger and you know for example like on the pdp's the the skew images, take up way more real estate than they used to and so I think that's part of drinking that bar down is to have more real estate for the images and then you know the thing that Mark Lori has really hit on in the new design is, that it's, substantially more personalized for each individual visitor but also for each SKU category so you go to Department landing pages and they, that there's a lot of Rich editorial content that's in very different on the dog food from home from apparel and all those sorts of things. So pretty big operation for Walmart the thing I've seen most people complain about is not the lack of branding grocery is super Promenade on it and there's a grocery button and it takes you a separate URL with a completely different design aesthetic, so I think they've that's been the big critique I have seen of the site but I, I believe the grocery refreshes and fight as well so I suspect they'll they'll match up eventually, and then some other news on Walmart Last Mile, they've added some new delivery partners and they're phasing out some of their old delivery partner so so, about a year ago Walmart you announced that they were doing a lot of them at home delivery for book groceries and general merchandise and they announced Lyft and Uber is.
[22:32] As initial partners and it now looks like they're phasing both of those vendors out they, they have used several third-party deliveries other delivery services they added Postmates to it. And then an interesting one of me is they added doordash as a grocery delivery partner. And the reason that's interesting is part of this I've never seen doordash deliver anything but restaurants.
Scot: [23:00] Yeah I know I saw him at shoptalk they you know they were talking about their reason restaurants lovers they only do food so yeah. You have prepared meals being food like restaurant food so they the kind of I guess when Walmart come calls you yeah you take that phone call.
Jason: [23:18] My recollection was that the CEO for. Cheesecake Factory was highlighting why they were such a good partner because they only did food and I I suspected the CEO of doordash already knew that he was in the throes of appreciating that getting highlighted so much.
[23:38] But it is interesting you know there are all these delivery services tons of people Outsourcing delivery right now like one of the interesting things it seems like. Walmart is picking players that are willing to provide the delivery service but don't insist on owning the the delivery interface so you know I sent you that would provide delivery is sort of API if you're well so that Walmart could own. The digital interface unit the big delivery service that Walmart has never partnered with his instacart and you in front of the speculation Why is the instacart. You know that so far has it seems like they've always insisted on being the the front end for all the orders that are fulfilled through instacart.
Scot: [24:21] Got it said they're really just using the 1099 workers of these hooks have you go to Walmart or in the app do you do your groceries and it's delivered by one of these guys pretty probably unbranded out imagine right because you're not using their apps.
Jason: [24:34] Yeah.
Scot: [24:36] Just yeah just like.
Jason: [24:37] Yeah it's a white label delivery service. And it is you know these are all pilots in different markets at the moment and there is a pretty substantial pie with it actually does use Walmart W-2 employees, and this was a system where they essentially like offering an additional gig to all of the existing. Walmart employees that you can also do deliveries and I think it was some controversy that you know, like when they first announced his people sort of misunderstood and thought Walmart wasn't wasn't going to be paying their employees for these deliveries.
Scot: [25:13] Got it. This reminds me I forgot to put this in the show notes but I was at a Target the other day, and it's one of the newer ones and I noticed they had code off a part of the parking lot and it says it's got this kind of interesting that's got two arrows and it says Line 1 line 2 and then it's all blocked off and it says coming soon pick up area, passing and then now since I've done that pretty much every Target I go to has that and I've been deprived 6 targets the field research also known as looking for Star Wars toys but anyway so I was wondering if you know anything what's going on there.
Jason: [25:53] Yeah so they've announced a pretty substantial expansion of there curbside pickup program again for Grocery and General Merchandise and is a reminder, maybe 18 months ago they started a curbside pickup pilot using a vendor called curbside and they they abruptly cancelled that pilot. And then fast forward about nine months later they bought a competitor curbside called shipped and so these, so they now own that capability and so these these, does drive-thru lanes are the new curbside experience that's being managed by shipped and that's a shipt, and shipped does both curbside pickup for for customers that want to swing by the store and pick him up at their convenience and they also do do home delivery ship from store, On Target Staffing.
Scot: [26:51] Okay so it's not just for shift couriers will shift couriers go there too.
Jason: [26:56] I do know I don't know if that's a good question.
Scot: [26:59] So shift is going to walk it from the store to that look herb not a Target play.
Jason: [27:05] Yeah well so that shipped are target employees but so.
Scot: [27:09] I guess you.
Jason: [27:10] Yeah so. And the pilot is an exclusively using employees that were formerly shipped they could be originally target employees it's using some software and infrastructure that ship bought so that ship tones so one of the big things. Curbside pickup sounds really easy but it there's actually more complication right like do you. Schedule a time when the customer have to promise to come pick him up or do you use geofencing on the customer's mobile phone if you was geofencing how do you you know avoid, taking their groceries out that are perishable out to the curb when the customer just drives by the store to go get gas before they come to the store and, you know if you're using geofencing in the customers mobile app how do you avoid like burning through their battery and having the customer, uninstall your app because it's there the biggest battery hog on the phone like they're there are all these edge cases in complications and so some of these vendors like curbside and shipped. A big part of their IP is mitigating a bunch of the Zedge cases than in the case of curbside they're actually. X Apple employees that where the the geolocation team at Apple that that launched curbside so that's that's. You know very much what they highlight is one of their core competencies.
Scot: [28:28] Walmart curbside you pull up and you call this number and I've, people people Rave about it but there it does fail a lot of times like sometimes you call that number and no one calls and you know, and sometimes you call it and they have no idea who you are so there's still a lot of kinks in and making the stuff work.
Jason: [28:48] Yeah all of these retards are struggling to make them perfect and I would even say like all of them are piloting multiple experiences so in some Walmarts there's that SMS experience there are some Walmarts that are sort of drive-thru, venues in Walmart even have some Pilots where it's, curbside off site so they have dedicated pickup locations similar to the. The like Amazon what is it called Amazon.
Scot: [29:20] Go pick up.
Jason: [29:22] Trash pickup I think is actually.
[29:24] Yeah so what's a different permutations out there I don't think the world is a landed on one but it's it's an area where I think all these retailers feel like they can have a differentiated customer experience if they're the ones that, The Canal at and your point it's it's can definitely be hit and miss at the moment.
Scot: [29:43] Brickell well it wouldn't be a Jason Scott show without some Amazon news. Amazon news new your margin is there. What the Amazon news I wanted to throw out there. It was kind of a, quite week for Amazon there's only like four or five things when I'm usually there's 10 and we have to cut it back the one that's kind of near and dear to my heart is in the auto category, and if you're not a long-term listening to you may not realize this but I am a Serial entrepreneur my third company was Channel visor started that still exist, German there started that in 2001 and then left around middle of 2015 on a day-to-day basis but still involved at a board level and then started another company, call Spiffy man we are on demand Car Care who started with car washing and detailing Nevada Doyle change and a bunch of other things were in five markets so I'm, I'm not keenly watching The Car Care space to understand what's going on there in the subsection of tires there's been a lot of interesting things there, there's a lot of Pilots of on demand tire sales and installation but that's really hard to do in a mobile kind of setting because the equipment required install tires as non-trivial, I and the skews of all the tires we could probably do it a whole show on this Jason, you and I have both been involved in auto parts for a while but it is a is a very complex you set to say the least just for the tires not even counting all the rest of of what goes on with with auto parts around fitment what not but this week There's a really interesting.
[31:27] Announcement partnership between Sears and Amazon this is not the first time these companies have kind of had interactions before, so Sears is actively selling Kenmore and Craftsman on Amazon and. That is allegedly going pretty well so the way this is going to work is it satire partnership so it'll be able to do is buy your tires on Amazon, and then install them at a Sears for a nominal fee so this is. This is one of the challenges of buying tires online they're a lot cheaper than if you went to your local tire store but you know. If you've ever done this you literally get a giant cardboard box full of. For very heavy tires sent to you and then you then it's up to you to kind of holidays around and take them to your local tire installer and say please install these tires I didn't buy from you so it's a, it's not a great customer experience to say the least and no mirror I'm not aware of any mere mortals that can install their own tires that that's a non-trivial problem to solve. So is this going to work is starting to pile it in 47. What the locations they're called Sears Auto Centers and they're going to start an 8 cities and, Adobe in 47 of the store is Nate said he's now serious has 400 locations in 21. 200 technicians out there so they do have a really big footprint around tire installation Auto Care and the way to work is this so, you go to Amazon your Prime user they don't supposed to say this but I'm imagining this will be a prime only feature you select your tires that you want to buy so it's so you get a nice lovely.
[33:02] Mommy upset at michelins it's up to you the consumer to figure out that they fit on your vehicle or not, Anna. Then at checkout you will get an option just like an Amazon Locker or something like that where it'll say Jason you live in Chicago and we have a. Pilot with the Sears near your house there and would you like to have these shipped to your Sears Auto Center on 1 Wacker Lane and have them installed for you you choose that and then, you are given three possible appointment times that you choose and then it wouldn't when you show up at that Sears. Center at that time they want saw your tires for a nominal fee you don't have to buy the tires from them obviously. So that's that sounds good and what I have learned the hard way on the stuff is you know the, in Excel and I call it these things work really well in and go awesome but you know you mentioned the edge cases of curbside I can think of like 60 edge cases here the number one I am going to call is, getting the wrong tires the vehicle of this is going to be a pretty common thing. OEM screen very specific about tires so if you buy a Lexus they have very certain tires they want you to put on there there's a lot of decisions around if you need one tire should you buy all 4 how do they wear, rotating the tires the same time there's like a Plexi there that's just really hard to capture an e-commerce is that that's going to be a challenge and then the scheduling of this is going to be tricky but I've learned about.
[34:39] These customers that want you know automated car care is. They really like convenience and there's not much convenient to me like I don't say to myself a while I really want to go. Hang out at the Sears Auto Center for an hour while I install my tires so so that that's kind of a, of the places that install tires. All of mine are are inside malls inside Sears inside of malls so you have to deal with mall traffic the mall parking and all that kind of stuff to get in there so, I'm going to be interesting to see how this place but you know it is good news for Sears at any Lifeline when you're drowning is helpful their stock was up something like 17% this is like, yeah they're at $3 they bounced at like 3:50 and never was super excited, that's like the most their socks prison in in years now but I'm a little skeptical about the user experience on this one and see how they're going to nail it especially with that once yours takes over the time this thing I'm just not really sure those windows are going to work and how engaged this this year's. Low-level employees are going to be on it.
Jason: [35:42] Yeah and you you could imagine there's all kind you know suddenly Sears is competing with Amazon for pricing on the tires that Steve Sears historically sold them all those sorts of things to write like.
Scot: [35:54] Yeah there's Channel conflict now it's serious maybe thinking is, okay at least I got the customer in here now we can try to sell them on breaks in an oil but I know thing I have found is when when you talk to people about. Car Care experiences the number one experience people hate especially females is the upsell experience also known as the Jiffy Lube experience they hate going in for a. $50 oil change and leaving Having spent $400 they come home and their husbands like. What the heck you know why I just spent $40 and they're like well I got new brakes why you know, balance didn't check the shimmy on every tire and I got a cabin filter, and I got the premium oil filter and so you know there's there's actually lawsuits around all the stuff around the the upselling of these kinds of things to make these Services profitable has resulted in a really bad customer experience so, and then you when I think about Casey and and the Deloitte model of the bifurcation you know we deal with this every day at Sophie, the that customer on the convenient side do I think is Amazon Prime user they like zero friction in their life because Amazon stream to have you, you press 2 buttons and stuff shows up your house 2 days later what could be more convenient so it's interesting to see how smoothly this goes because that customer is really really hard to please and sending them to a Sears Center where I think just give me some upsell and some challenges going to be interesting to see how that works.
Jason: [37:25] Yeah for sure I mean it's funny one of the I think probably the original Legacy player in the spaces Tire Rack and their model as they they essentially sell you that tired of it you Commerce and then they they put together their own. Network of independent dealers that they chip the tires to you and you go to that dealer in that dealer would install it for you, and there's some very happy customers but they they have a lot of unhappy customers if you read the ratings and reviews and when you talk to people like one of the biggest problems they have is. Tire Rack shops those tires to that independent Tire Dealer and a customer comes in between the time that the customers about the tires comes in and, the the deer sounds that that customers tires to someone else.
Scot: [38:11] You can see that happening at Sears to you know if they don't have him get it off yeah.
Jason: [38:14] Yeah that's what I mean do I like you think about the the advanced things I fit Manton all these other issues but like just simple like you know commingling of inventory and those kinds of things could all all be challenges that I have to get worked out.
[38:29] Any other Amazon news outside of tires.
Scot: [38:34] I'm thirsty if we had mentioned on the show that Kohl's and Amazon are Partners give us an update on that.
Jason: [38:40] Yep so last year Kohl's announces pilot where you could bring Amazon purchases, to a cold store to return them and they sent you became a return center for Amazon that's now in 42 stores and if they're their quarterly earnings call they the CEO called that program a homerun and essentially said, did they had a discernible increase in traffic and all the stores that accepted Amazon returns and that that seems totally viable to me that's it. Felt like a win-win it's one of the rare partner with Amazon cases where as far as I can tell. Kohl's really isn't giving up any data to Amazon right so it's not like.
[39:24] Amazon is getting to meet and steal at Kohl's customer as a result of this this is really Kohl's getting to meet an Amazon customer and gets an opportunity to surprise and Delight them and sell them something when they bring their Amazon returns in, in sounds like like it's working well for them so far much earlier but this, this month Chico's started selling their apparel on Amazon, and Shelley broader the CEO there you know is saying that that immediately after the product went live on Amazon there seeing an uptick in traffic to the stores and today they will do I feel like, by virtue of being on the Amazon platform they're getting an opportunity to introduce the Chico's bran to a bunch of prime customers for the first time which is then, driving more sales to the stores in Chico's let you buy an Amazon return in the chico store so they're getting some visits that way and in that that seems interesting I I guess I'm. More skeptical in the chico story than I am Nicole story.
Scot: [40:32] You don't the one I'm skeptical to azra saying that what occurred to me was the podcast we had with dorel juvenile wear, they had done a fair amount of AMS and mg and it drove store. No traffic for them they don't own stories but it drove like Downstream Costco Walmart Target kind of visits so I could see where I think it could make sense is if as part of this launch Chico's went and they not only buy it you know a bunch of headline Search terms for like Chico's but, yeah maybe now you starting to browse Amazon and you're seeing you know women's blouse and pants and skirt and now people, you just having listings wouldn't do this but if they had a fair amount of marketing budget I think that could drive people in the stores.
Jason: [41:18] Yep no I I could definitely see that I think in general Chico's has a lot of head winds and.
[41:26] Yeah they're in malls there you know where someone older customer they're in their parallel space which it has a bunch of indigenous challenges until you know a lot of us as soon they were on Amazon because they were somewhat distressed in in, needed to find some some some new eyeballs so there's there's a school of thought that it wouldn't take that many net new customers walking in the Chico's to be favorable to Chico's.
Scot: [41:48] Oh my my middle schooler would say burn.
Jason: [41:51] Yeah yeah not don't mean it to be pretty good harsh but you know, they are one of the first players in this category that right so I'm certainly watching and trying to learn, we talked a little bit in the Walmart case about owned Brands Amazon of courses is dominating the own brand space, and they watched it but I think isn't another new one that we haven't talked about in the show yet they wants to wag which is there pet food brand. They may have had a few skews but they they want a whole line of dog foods and what's interesting to me is. How robust the content and selling on Amazon is around wag so you know you go to the the pet department on Amazon now and it's a. Personalized editorial Rich page it doesn't it doesn't feel like. Just another page in Amazon catalog it feels like a real landing page for pet owners and then the the department Pages for wag are are super robust and. As is usually the case. When Amazon makes pdp's for their owned Brands they really execute all the best practices so whenever we're talking to Brandon about you know what what kind of content they have to have in their pdp's. You know we always use the Amazon owned Brands as examples in these wax cubes are going to be another another good example like they're there very long Rich pages that have a lot more content to help you feel good about you know finding the right food for your dog then.
[43:27] Yeah some of the national brands that have been selling on Amazon.
Scot: [43:30] Is MacGyver enjoying some wag dog food.
Jason: [43:33] So MacGyver is a super Elite one percenter that's probably eating better than I am so no. He get some fancy Boutique food from you know I'm a cow that was probably like massage by a Japanese Wagyu dude. He probably eats the best in her family and he also officially has the most expensive haircuts in her family so.
Scot: [44:01] Man if you guys are adopting a sign me up you get out of an electric vehicle.
Jason: [44:08] The three-year-old gets his own car and in parking spot and the the dog gets a groomer that comes to the house and gives him a you know full day spa treatment so yeah everyone in my family but me is pretty high on the hog so I you know.
Scot: [44:21] Songs going to pay for all this.
Jason: [44:25] Exactly that's what you asked you were you were posting some new job listings on Twitter the other day that you found interesting and I'm like I might need to do some of those two moonlight.
Scot: [44:36] Yeah I thought you would be a good applicant for one of those interesting there or is this was a recruiter on LinkedIn you saying hey I'm working with a large top-tier cpg brand that's looking for a head of Commerce and your Amazon experience is a is a would-be is a, very strong nice to have kind of thing so that was interesting like a year ago no one would have thought to make that part of a job requirement for e-commerce of the CPT and now it's it's kind of. Top top line.
Jason: [45:05] Yeah that night I think that's actually interesting and I probably would have replied but you also forwarded it to our friend David who I feel like his way more qualified and so I didn't want to apply and then get rejected.
[45:18] So they were also two big Tech conferences this week that we generally follow for big news that's going to affect the Commerce Pace Facebook's big developer conference, and I think there's some controversy I'm still calling it a fate but I think you've heard some people call it fate.
Scot: [45:39] Yeah.
Jason: [45:41] So if you don't know what the official ruling is there but they had their conference two weeks ago and then this week was Google IO which is there big developer conference. Did you have any takeaways from the either of those.
Scot: [45:54] There's a lot of stuff to talk about outside of retail but I think probably the big news for this podcast is there was a lot of retail news you know so we've we've had you know. Google talking about. You know they're making some changes in Commerce so we've covered on the show with their new Express is Comic-Con Marketplace is how I think about it but they did tweet. Google Express and then Facebook had in the last. Fates or Fates they have increasingly down a lot around messenger and talking about transactions their favorite company talk about their is everlane where do they show the post transaction messaging happening in Facebook Messenger. I saw no e-commerce kind of related content from both these guys you maybe the big news for me at Facebook is a reorg they're tired of all the team and the guy that was, CEO of PayPal, who they moved Messenger to blockchain Technologies so it's kind of like he, felt like to me they threw this against the wall or let's go create a WeChat we bow type you know chat. Commerce teen and it feels like either. Either he is moving on cuz he's not interested or there said let's try watching now so yeah I may be reading too much into that but I thought it was pretty interesting there.
Jason: [47:19] Yeah and I think I was part of a bigger reorg I think a bunch of execs kind of moved around so it's. It's going to be interesting to see how that all plays out from Google I O I saw a few little things like in years past or much more substantial announcements that I felt were sort of court of Commerce. This year you know before the conference Google Consolidated several payment Technologies and so now it's just Google pay you know which consolidated, Google Wallet in Google pay and Android pay and that, that is a digital wallet that's been available on apps on the Google echo system for a while but they extended it to the web so you can now use if you are a Google pay user you can. Pee in a Chrome browser in a mobile web situation if the is the e-commerce site supports that. So there's a bunch of mobile web sites out there that you know would probably benefit from adding support for Google pay.
[48:22] Apple did that earlier in the year and so you know there's a couple reasons to update your your mobile web experience. Google did announce some new versions of the Google home that have screens in them so you know in theory that could be Richard Commerce experiences you know I'm not. I'm not sure that the Alexa show where the screen has his been you know the the the fast runner in the Alexa family and so I I kind of suspect. Is it that the Google home screen will be even more niche.
[48:58] Google have some does have some really interesting mobile technology so you know a big one that's getting a lot of traction is amp. Which is a technology for rendering lighter-weight faster rendering mobile pages and originally you know it had some really great user experiences but it came with a lot of baggage. Can I type A constrained by Google and Google's been spinning it off and making it much more open and adding a bunch of capabilities that are a lot more e-commerce friendly. And in their continuing to do that so you know some of the the complaints that people had about amp for an e-commerce site they've. There a dressing in announcements from Google IO so definitely of your eCommerce site. I would be thinking about implementing amp in my mobile experience in in the other big mobile technology that Google really was first to Market with his Progressive web apps which is this kind of notion. Being able to download binary code on demand that have a real app like experience without having to force the user to go through the App Store and download an app and another password and reinstalled the app and. And all of those sorts of things and said that they're continuing to evolve pwa.
[50:19] But that standard is never really got a lot of traction because if it wasn't supported in the Apple echo system. And you know frankly the overwhelming majority of mobile Commerce happens on Apple devices so despite the fact that Google had this great support for pwa. It didn't make a lot of sense for eCommerce sites to implement pwa is because you were only addressing. The minority of the market that were you know Google shoppers. Apple in the most recent operating system you know finally implemented pwazon Safari so now. You know I expect we're going to start seeing that be a best practice as well so at all those Google Technologies together in a couple other things. And almost every conversate on the planet you know could probably do with a pretty substantial Mobile update right now because there are so many new beneficial Technologies.
Scot: [51:11] Good thing to do before holiday.
Jason: [51:14] Exactly in an if you're going to do that you should probably be starting right now. So feel free to call me at work and we'll take care of you. Scot that's going to be a good place to end it for this week because we we have used auto added a lot of time as we're trying to shorten his up and make him just slightly more concise but if we've left you wanting more or you have any burning questions. I would love to continue the conversation on our Facebook page so jump over there and then drop us a line and then I mean Scott hangs out there almost 24/7 so. And you always you always get a response there and of course if you enjoy this show the best way you can repay us for all the time we put into it is to jump on the iTunes and give us that 5-star review.
Scot: [52:02] Thanks for joining so.
Jason: [52:04] Until next time happy commercing.