Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Retail MUST Die: Of formlessness and fu**ing ants !!

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Ok, be with me on this journey... I shall smoke a little... (What the heck. Let me smoke big time here)

Check this video for some kick-ass inspiration :

Destination Retail MUST die. (Destination retail is any online retailer who has a destination website or a destination app). Locking up millions and millions of SKUs and thousands of product cohorts in a destination catalog is a pre-world-war concept (as a starting reference to demog profiles that is) ! The post war demog cohorts starting from baby boomers and gen-x who have the highest discretionary spend are not discovery savvy once in the destination. Hey, they are not destination bound either...

I strongly believe new age retail should be formless, shapeless, like water. My friend !!

IMO, Millennials and Gen-M are everywhere in the digital world. Shaping the spend of the future. They are the children of a journey as against a destination. They surf through the digital veins, on smart mobility interfaces in and out for "function", for value, for enrichment. Why send them to any place than where they are already? 

In order to change this, you need to take the catalog and pour it into the veins of the omni-channel, like blood flowing through your body or river beating its path to the sea. You need to pour it through millions of micro moments on tens of thousands of channels of engagements. The products in the catalog must gravitate its way on its own to where the worthy (not opportune) micro moments of the consumer exists no matter where she is in her journey of personal enrichment.

The concept of retail master catalog management and PIM must change. Virtual inventory linkage must mature. Merchandising must change. Category management and sourcing must change. PLM must change. Else be ready to die slowly and surely. Death may not be drastic, but it is coming...

Ok smart boy. Sooo, what is the future?
In distant future, Instead, just breathe life into and unleash the products. Like ants in the connected digital internet ant-hill. Like intelligent f**ckin ants (like procreating ants I meant). Empower and seed each of your products (ants) with base customer cohorts (like teaching them about honey and predators). Pour them in the digital veins. Hell ya, let them loose. Let them learn about the consumers on its own. Let the products (ants) bump into each other and exchange notes. Let them learn about the micro moments of the consumers, wherever the consumers are. Let them learn who prefers them, who hates them. Like learning to avoid obstacles and gravitating towards honey. Let them gain a collective consciousness. Let them manage themselves. Maybe they should decide their own freakin worth and price themselves !! they should decide when they are free versus when they are pricey. Let the digital-mother-nature decide when each of them should die and what genetic material they should pass on. Let them syndicate, let them hide... !!

You see where i am going? I shall be happy to pass the pipe (Some powerful shit this is! no?)

First step towards that future? teach your product to show up wherever the consumers are. At the SKU level. With a Buy-Me or rate-me interfaces.

Next, reinvent the concept of sale. Instead, allow people to adopt the products...

Then, learn to code AI. Yes, Artificial Intelligence kinda AI. Its coming my friends... Ready or not :)

I call this, the era of Autonomous Agents (the ants). The "Internet of Autonomous Agents" or #IoAA that is... 

Retail is Dead. Long live Retail.

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