Like Maverick in Top Gun, we are back and going Mach 2 with our hair on fire. Anne and I just returned from a 48-hour sojourn from Minneapolis to Chicago and back for IRCE, Uberall just published the first of my three-part series on the importance of location marketing within the omnichannel revolution, and Carter, Anne, and I also got back into the saddle to produce our weekly Fast Five podcast and video content.
This week’s headlines were amazing!
Let’s get right to it and start with one of the coolest f*cking things we have seen in quite some time — Amazon’s new Echo Look.
I cannot do this headline justice — you just have to read it for yourself.
Amazon’s new Echo Look works as a personal styling assistant for your closet. It takes photos or 6-second videos of your clothes to create a catalog of different outfit options for you. It then uses AI to suggest outfits and will even offer scored, side-by-side comparison options of what outfits are best for you.
Said another way — it is like Cher’s closet in Clueless is finally a reality! Or, said even another way — it is like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is now available to every guy in America right from the comfort of his own home!
Echo Look could be game changing. It costs $199 right now, but expect it to go on sale for Prime Day. We here at Omni Talk plan to gobble some up ASAP and promise to let you know if it is as cool as we think it is right now.
More fluffy PR out of Walmart this week. Juxtapose this with the Amazon Echo Look announcement, and you will see exactly why this announcement is poppycock. Just because someone puts “black” on the end of a word does not make it cool, especially if Walmart tries to do it.
Here is how Jetblack works. For $50 per month and if you live in a New York building with a doorman (yes, that last part is real), shoppers can text questions and requests to Walmart. Three options are then offered up to customers, and selected products, if ordered before 2 PM, will arrive the same day.
Sound like anything you know already, but only more inconvenient, more expensive, and far more lame?
It sounds exactly like Alexa!!!!!
If Alexa can already do all of this for me, why do I need to pay $50/month (and have a doorman) for the same service?
God, I can’t wait for the pressure to come for Store No 8 to start cashing Marc Lore’s ego checks. Orange may be the new black, but Jetblack is the new red.
We have been urging readers to keep an eye on the HQ app since last December. This headline shows us why. This week Gravy introduced what it is calling “QVC meets the Price is Right,” thereby bringing live-stream gamification to retail for the first time.
Gravy is like a live flash sale. Great products are offered up live, and then prices begin to drop until inventory stock is completely gone. Here is a video demo of the show.
Expect this unique premise to gain even further steam in the months ahead.
This week another meal kit provider has agreed to sell its meal kits inside grocery stores. HelloFresh announced a deal with Giant Food and Stop & Shop.
So, now for $14.99 to $19.99 per kit, and after they have already made a trip to the grocery store, even more consumers can elect to overpay for dinner with an entire grocery store of ingredients right in front of their eyes and with many other far cheaper meal kit options just a frozen aisle away.
Meal kits have been tried in grocery stores for years. This recent rash of meal kit partnerships with grocery stores is just plain silly. There are far better options out there — see my Retail Dive piece on Myxx recipes.
A retail icon called it quits this week. Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, after leaving his position as Starbucks CEO last April, resigned his position as executive chairmen.
I had the chance to listen to Mr. Schultz speak in 2016. He was absolutely inspiring. Rumor has it, he may even run for office.
On behalf of the bloggers everywhere who work out of a Starbucks, let me just say three words, “Thank you, Howard.”
Be careful out there,
P.S. Speaking of Top Gun, did you hear the news that Val Kilmer is returning for the sequel? Cancel Christmas!
P.P.S. If random movie quotes, unfiltered humor, and point blank candor about retail are your bag, be sure to forward Omni Talk to your friends and to encourage them to subscribe for all our great content each week.
Chris Walton is an accomplished Senior Executive with nearly 20 years of success within the retail and retail technology industries. He is well-versed in merchandising, store operations, inventory management, product design, forecasting, e-commerce, pricing and promotions, and tech product development.
Chris was most recently a Vice President with Target, where he led the retailer’s Store of the Future project and also ran the Target’s home furnishing division for e-commerce. He previously worked for GAP, Inc., as a Distribution Analyst and Manager.
Chris holds a BA in Economics and History from Stanford University, and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
He likes to dress as Darth Vader for Halloween, and his wife also frequently asks him to ask Alexa, "to turn off the music."