Hello, you are listening to the Omni talk fast five brought to you in partnership with Microsoft, the a&m consumer and retail group, takeoff, sezzle and silk. The Omni talk Fast Five podcast is the podcast that we hope makes you feel a little smarter. But most importantly, a little happier each week too. Today is November 10 2022. I’m your host Anne Mezzenga
And I’m Chris Walton.
And we are coming to you live today from
The Lululemon store at the Mall of America Anne
Yes, the experiential store at the Lululemon Mall of America we are so excited to be here. Lululemon is hosting us live we are like
Yeah I got a new … Just for the occasion Anne.
I know I’m Chris
Yeah I know a girl could
I know we’ve got I’ve got a coco blue smoothie from The cafe that’s here.
It’s a cool Space though.
It is so cool. And Chris, they’re doing so Black Friday is coming up. That’s on the way. But what I think is really cool about Lululemon. They are doing an anti Black Friday in here they are
Anti black friday, what does that mean.
They’re gonna create an oasis in the same space that we’re in right now.
Like Oh, Gallagher Oasis or like
Oh, I wish that’d be amazing. All of the oases. But no Lululemon at Mall of America here is doing a Black Friday oasis where they’re going to have massages they’re going to have like quiet personal styling sessions so that you don’t have to be like in the craziness of Black Friday you can actually
Relax and get away and like this quiet space of respite in in the crazy mall and your Lululemon. Lululemon is all across the country are gonna be doing this on Black Friday too. So check your local store for more details. And the other cool thing
So they tell us here that these spaces can also be rented out so I think it’s really cool to be here to kind of see how the concept of store with a meaning of a store is is kind of evolving as we go along is as like a community space that’s available for I mean, you know, you can have your bachelorette parties in here Chris.
One could Anne one could but yeah, for those for those that are watching us watching the video of this podcast like there’s if you if you were to turn the camera there’s actually a full on sauna.
At the back of this event space,
And a cold plunge
And a cold plunge tub as well.
Yeah, like they’ve gotten they’ve gone full in like whoo lemon started as a yoga studio. I didn’t know this. Did you know that?
I didn’t know that either. Maybe I did
Started as a yoga studio with a design studio in the back. And so it’s kind of coming full circle into like, what else can that store space be? So we are very thankful to Lululemon for outfitting us today and for giving us the space to record the Omni talk Fast Five, Chris. So
Yeah, it’s pretty cool to see how they let local entrepreneurs in here, local businesses, local people in general in your space and make themselves a part of the community. And this is again at the Mall of America too.
This is like a happening. Big, busy store. It’s already Javon here at noon, on Thursday. All right, as we get to the Fast Five, let’s do it. All right, well, Anne you know that today’s Fast Five headlines are brought to you with the help and support of manifest.
I’m getting so excited for manifest this week, I talked to this company called phononic. Okay, which I gotta tell you a little bit about it’s it’s company that uses semiconductors for Heating and Refrigeration, as opposed to like the traditional like, bands and cooling systems that you find in most places.
But anyway, they’re like, getting big in the whole, like, refrigerated tote space, and they work with all the micro fulfilment providers, and this place is gonna blow up I think, but I can’t wait to meet them at the conference. It’s going to be from January 31 to February 2, as we talked about on the show, and Omni talk fans can still save $200 on the registration by heading to manife.st/omnitalk. That’s manife.st/omnitalk. All right. In today’s past five, we’ve gotten news on Amazon linking up with Planet Fitness. Luxor one’s new public smart locker system expanding nationwide. Etsy, rolling out mobile visual search Amazon again, this time for making in store digital ads in Amazon Fresh store as part of its retail media network. But first we take off today with big news out of Kohl’s or is it Levi’s Anne I don’t know which which is
I don’t know. So Chris, that is right. headline number one. Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass is headed to Levi’s to become their president. And then to succeed now CEO Chip Berg within 18 months. According to retail live gas will leave her position at Kohl’s on December 2 And during the interim period before she takes over for Berg, Gass will lead the Levi’s brand and its global digital and commercial operations. Tom Kingsbury, who joined the Kohl’s board on the recommendation of activist investors last year will take the chief executive duties on an interim basis that calls until a replacement is named. All right, Chris.
Yeah, I’m gonna
Take a deep breath before you have a lot of feelings about it.
You said Retail live retail dive too, by the way, I think you might have said retail live, which is a classic
Okay, all right.
I gotta do that because this is going to be a big one. This could be an old timer, like I’m going to start the show up high. And then I’m going to bring down the volume level, but this is going to be an 11 style rant. dialling it up, spinal tap. So all right. So here’s, here’s my take on this. It’s a bad move from Levi’s. From this perspective of what gas has done at Kohl’s.
There is nothing that entitles her to get the keys to the denim kingdom that is Levi’s, in my opinion, and here are the facts. Okay.
I’ve spent a lot of time on this yesterday.Bring in the facts. The facts. Number one, it’s probably the most important here. The market cap of Kohl’s during her tenure went from $8.2 billion. I looked this up yesterday, when she took over in May of 2018. And it now stands at $3.1 billion as of yesterday. So $5 billion difference less than half of what it was previously valued when she took over, okay, her resume prior to Kohl’s was roughly six years at p&g and other almost 17 years at Starbucks two experiences that are about as far away from denim and apparel as the shareholders have been from seeing a return on their investment over that period of time, as I just said, but and wait, there’s more. Okay. Number three, the strategy she put in place we’ve talked about this on the show a lot yet. They’re they’re laughable, particularly to points particularly to small format plans, which we’ve talked about that a lot like why do I need a smaller Kohl’s? Like I don’t get that? And also, of course, the athleisure and wellness pillar yet is another staple of theirs. Like we’re sitting in Lululemon right now. What right does Kohl’s have to win in that space when Lululemon Target What’s the other what’s the Fabletics is I can never remember us trying to think of all those people are playing the same space it’s getting to where the puck is not where the puck is going. And then the last point I would make too, is if you look at the activist activity, of course, July 2, I looked this up to you look back July 2, Kohl’s decided not to sell itself to the franchise group for reported $8 billion $8 billion dollars. That was July four months ago.
So you’re gonna tell me that gas wasn’t already having conversations with Levi’s, or at least had feelers out there around this time?
So if I’m a cold shoulder, I’m pissed. I’m slightly pissed. And I’m actually I’m probably, if you’re smart, I think you’re saying Good riddance. Buyer beware. Levi’s is my last point. Buyer Beware, rant over. Alright. Anne take me off the ledge.
I’m gonna have to take you off the ledge because do you think the shareholders are really surprised. I mean, I would I don’t know that. I would be surprised like
Activist shareholders are probably jumping jumping, but chomping at the bit.
Yeah, they’ve been calling for her exit for months. And so I think to me like this, I’m not surprised you. You said like, What’s she looking for a job? Like, probably, I don’t know, I can’t fault her for like going out and exploring when all of these investors are telling the board that they want you gone. And you know, you probably the writing’s probably on the wall
That’s par for the course as a CEO
I guess, I guess, but I guess I can’t, I can’t, I can’t fault her too much for exploring other opportunities. Now, my real issue here is from Levi’s side and I guess I, it sounds like that’s where you are today, like for sure. Is you guys making the right hire here for the future of Levi’s. And that, to me is is questionable. I don’t know that I would be making this hire if I was in that position. I dug deep Chris, I tried.
to figure out like, what is going on in Levi’s? My number one thing I could think of here was that you know, Kohl’s is they have an exclusive relationship with Levi’s to sell their silver tab, denim line. So perhaps that’s an issue like she’s the end user, if that’s if Wholesale is going to be a bigger strategy going forward for Levi’s, maybe they want somebody in that position that can kind of help navigate those relationships. I don’t know though. I still think like, if I’m Levi’s, I’m looking for somebody that’s got more innovation chops, more digital chops, that’s going to try to move the brand forward.
Yeah, I just I agree with you. I mean, I think the last point I would make here and then we could keep going is like, if you look at the resume,
It’s just not there. And so my question would be is she really the best one that you’re going to come in groom have her take over for chipper at a period of time when he leaves 18 months later roughly? Like Is she the only best answer that you want to saddle your horse to that and all the internal politics that are gonna come with that as she’s sitting there like woman and waiting to take over? And I don’t think so I think this is a it’s a it’s a it’s a it’s a move that I think we’ll look back and I wouldn’t be surprised if Chip Berg actually comes back as CEO at some point when this fails
We’ll see she’s taken over digital innovation like day one. So we’ll start that we’ll start the tracker
Which Kohl’s is so good at today, by the way? All right, headline number two, according to marketing, live dive I mean, Amazon had to add Amazon at Planet Fitness have teamed up to offer Planet Fitness black card holders a free Amazon Halo view wellness tracker and your long membership from November 17 to November 5,
Say that five times,
No, that was really hard. The type also includes a tic tac This is cool. That type also includes a tic tock hashtag challenge encouraging consumers to post a video of themselves doing a fitness inspired dance with the hashtag hashtag glow glow us your moves and Lola’s your moves
When you think you’re like Tic Tac dance is gonna be like, like on the treadmill, I would fall on my face if I tried to
I couldn’t even walk right now to even talk about it at the opening, but we’ll talk about that maybe later. And of course, you also get the opportunity to win one of 10 $500 amazon gift cards. The partnership comes on the heels of Amazon’s decision to shut down its Amazon care business in favour of it’s one medical acquisition later this year. Anne we are sitting in Lululemon used to own and operate three gyms at one time.
At one time. What is your take here?
I think this is absolutely brilliant. One it incentivizes memberships for Planet Fitness, which you always want. And Planet Fitness has a pretty low approachable membership price.
Right that’s what you always told me like, it’s like a share bones place.
Yeah, like bare bones you get, you just basically get access to a bunch of machines. They are also notorious for making it extremely difficult to cancel your membership. Like during the pandemic, there are people that were like trying to sue, you had to physically drive back to the location that you signed up to cancel your membership like total gong show that’s gotten better. But still like this is this is like by default recurring revenue once Planet Fitness gets these people to sign up because they get a free Halo band thing. Now Amazon on the other hand, again, brilliant, you get valuable customer data, whether people are in the Planet Fitness doing the TikTok challenge or not like this thing is on them all the time. Now, you have an opportunity, just like I was pushing the peloton a long time ago to now get this product that’s lower in the market not as there’s not as much awareness around it to get that on like 16 million plus members of Planet Fitness and get potential recurring revenue from their subscription to this once that runss out. So I love it.
Yeah, I think I agree. I don’t have much to add. I think you nailed it. I think it’s a win win on both sides. I wouldn’t I think your point is right, like given the cost of a planet fitness membership. I wouldn’t be surprised if it attracts new members during that period of time.
Right before the holidays
It’s a free thingy Anne. Who doesn’t want a free thingy.
Well, free thingy that’s providing you valuable information. Like that’s a great gift to give your kids.
Amazon of course, as always gets the data.
Yeah. Which nobody is talking about or cares about right now. And that will also
I would give Amazon my data till the cows come home. I’m cured. I know some of you are listening. I’m kind of joking. But you know, for the most part, they they they make my life better.
All right, well, let’s go to headline number three, Chris. According to Sacramento Ino. Great name harbour Walker’s, a subsidiary of Sacramento smart locker manufacture of Luxor one plans to deploy 25,000 of its public lockers nationwide and let other companies and developers decide how to use them, which is the keynote here.
The idea of follows a successful pilot that Luxor one did in sorry that harbour locker is a subsidiary of Luxor one did in Sacramento, creating an on demand public locker network infrastructure built for developers and organisations to improve efficiency by providing alternative drop off storage and pickup services at scales. The public lockers are operated by a smartphone app and allow for delivery, storage and pickup of items around the clock. Seven days a week in many public places, Chris?
Give me Give me your thoughts.
This is one when we saw it that we wanted to include? Because I think you and I both love this. This was actually one of those weeks that one of those rare weeks rare weeks, rare weeks, maybe that two rare weeks,
You need to get lululemon
God right here, but it’s one of those rare weeks where we almost aligned on all the stories. And this one was one where I sent it to you initially and you’re like you gave me the heart in the phone. You know, like this is cool, because, you know, for me, I mean, I just look to Europe, like I always go I’ve said that before on the show, but look to Europe, you can get an idea of what we’re going to be doing here. 10 to 15 years down the road.
And the more I use lockers, the more I love them.
as a concept like I love the personal robot in Zara. I love the robot in bed spy but not the robot but partial locker that was cutting inside the building at the best buy in Eagan.
It just makes my life so much better.
So you know and if I’m always in this on demand world, right, it gives me the option to have goods delivered anywhere I want to somewhere I trust when I’m not at home.
Which is an important thing. So kudos to luxer one, I think for having the guts to establish this idea as a public good.
For everyone to utilise.
Yes, that’s what is so important here. Like I love that. People need to understand that what they’re doing here is not just locker pickup from a retailer like the best by example in the Zara, or like the other example. Cleveron who did the parcel robot in Zara. They have been doing public lockers in Estonia for years. And now granted, that’s a smaller country, a smaller subset of users but you The opportunity here is massive like when you start to think about what this unlocks where now any retailer could have a store or a pickup location, or you know, any DTC brand that my favourite choice favourite part is the Facebook marketplace. Yeah, right like how do you leave something in a locker have somebody paid me when they come pick it up like this open source concept is open and available to any brand to any platform like this is this is the future of how we can have exchanges on a customer on a you know, seller from marketplaces own terms, and I could not be happier about it. I just I love love love this again.
Yeah, it’s kinda one of those ideas. Like if you build it, they will come
And it takes but it takes the investment to build it in this case, as it always does. So All right. How about number four according to chain store age, Etsy has developed its own mobile visual search capabilities. shoppers can tap the Camera icon in the search bar and upload or take a photo and Etsy will surface items that are visually similar to the image they shared. Etsy built a tech from the ground up leveraging what is calling its first GPU back service. After seeing great results early on in its beta testing. Etsy has now rolled out the capability to all iOS users. And we both wanted to talk about this headline this week.
Yeah. So here is their question. And their statement. First, they think it’s a great move by Etsy. And it has them reminiscing about their first time walking through a Best Buy searching a TV model number and buying it for cheaper on Amazon. Sure. How big is the dish disruption power of Etsy doing image search when consumers can walk a brick and mortar retailer, snap a picture on shelf and find a wider and more unique array of similar items at their fingertips on mobile? Oh, I love that question. I can’t wait to take a chop at that one, too.
I know, I wasn’t even going there right away with this like, to me visual search. Like I love it so much. I started talking about this in a presentation I gave at shop talk earlier this year. But you know, it certainly is a benefit to the customer in more ways. And one being able to see close comparisons like a dupe of a luxury product, but truly opening up an endless aisle of products that’s available to them. But I think that there’s so much more to this tech for the consumer and the retailer than just being able to like have that quick cost comparison. I don’t know if the
Federal room price compare. Yeah, that was even in the memory. That was the very first video we ever shot at Omni peak. I was sitting in a Starbucks.
It showed how you use the Starbucks app. Yep. To do visual search on a bag of coffee. And I could buy it right. And then we did it. Remember we did that story at Macy’s.
And everything that story was like, way more expensive. Right on Amazon.
That’s right. I forgot about that.
So I think I think that’s a part of this.
But I think you’re right. I mean, there’s so many more angles to this. I’ll get back to the point too. I want to hear what you have to say first, but I want to get back to the point about, you know, what a&m is asking in terms of what does it mean, in terms of, you know, for the furnishing space, particularly in terms of being able to find those items, other places? Because I think there’s some nuance there. That’s important.
Yeah, well, I the first thing I want to talk about is just visual search in general, I gave this example of ASOS, in this presentation that I gave at Shop Talk where, you know, if you are searching for water, if I’m searching for this sweater, if our cousin or the person down the street is searching for this sweater, Chris, you’re all going to have different search terms.
And the return
That was funny watching you do that live,
That people return, you know, like, the best case scenario, I got 200 search results with the most descriptive thing. And the dress that I wanted still wasn’t among those search results. So I think this is great, especially for you know, use cases around the holidays now where, you know, if you thought about the opportunity to give visual search over to your your new associates, that you’re hiring to your new customers where they can be like, I see this thing, there’s visual search that you’ve got up for all of your products online, and you can go right away and know exactly what you know, it’s this hoodie. This is the style name, this is the price like I will get you to this I can get this to order it for you. It just allows so much more functionality and and usability for both the consumer and and the retailer here. And I just I cannot express enough the value that there is in you know, in store experiences offline experiences recommending new products, like it’s so valuable. And I’m surprised we haven’t seen more retailers adopt this more quickly.
Yeah, right. And that, I think, and that’s and that’s a key point because I think there’s still not enough people that are taking advantage of it.
You know, and there’s so many value offshoots from it like you just talked about, but to me the consumer experience side for sure it particularly home furnishings is really interesting.
Yeah, explain what you’re talking about.
Because I mean, we’ve all been there, right? We’ve seen a piece of furniture when you’re out in the world and you’re like, oh, how do I find that? You know, and to your point, there’s a limitation of words to describe that you’re gonna get back a tonne of stuff you’re gonna go on Wayfair, gonna go on Amazon and find it. But so the point that a&m is making the question is really good. It’s good to extrapolate on because, and home furnishings actually, an Etsy in particular, because it’s more like one of a kind of maker type items.
That enables you to find things that you wouldn’t just be able to go find in the world. So the idea that those ideas, those items are just widely available. Yeah, it’s not always true.
And you have a very particular style that you want to hit. And so this type of technology allows you to do that. And we’ve we’ve we’ve been a big proponent of this for a long time. We’ve had been cents on the show, we’ve had sight on the show, but it’s just gonna take time, you know? And the big thing for me and is like, when you search this, and I asked this to the audience, you when you search on Amazon,
Are you Are you still typing or using the visual search capability?
I’m still typing
You’re still type. See, I’m not when I ordered my deodorant.
It’s really quick. It’s super fast. I take a picture of it. So I encourage you
I encourage you if you haven’t tried it yet. Go home today. Try it and you’ll get an exact sense of what this is and why it’s so important
And how retailers investing in this will be prepared for more of these opportunities as you go down the road for like the wearables all the things that are coming out like having visual search already part of your your company’s experience or vernacular is going to help prepare you for the Google lenses, the contact lenses that you’re able to have a shopping list on that we saw.
We name it and we need to talk about all the operational benefits you get from being a retailer to in terms of your item data quality, but alright, let’s finish up the show here.
All right, headline number five Amazon launched digital signage ads, a new product that allows brands to run digital advertisements within Amazon’s physical store environments, specifically in its Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go stores. According to progressive grocer, the Amazon ads product works through Amazon DSP, the company’s demand side platform that allows brands to programmatically buy ads to reach out to audiences on and off Amazon. And it also marks the first time that brands can programmatically advertise within Amazon’s physical stores. All brand campaigns also come with their very own impression reports and sales lift analysis Chris I mean, what what’s not to love
I love this I mean, Amazon continues to play the masterclass long game I mean, this is the perfect example of it. Computer Vision is running in all these stores everyone so it knows everything a person has picked up and and put back the last time they were shopping and that store that data alone
Has to be pure gold to CBGs Anne
Like this is just so freakin smart. Yeah, and no one’s close to doing it. Oh, no. And maybeTESCO is thinking about it.
It’s so many companies that are like, we’re gonna do this with all kinds of technology. It’s like none and no one camera. You got all all you need here, folks. That’s it. Yeah, you’re right, the data they’re gonna collect is next level, like combining the behaviour that they’ll see from people in store, and then being able to like put that on top of behaviour that they’re seeing online in that same zip code. Like, also, I think it increases the demand for CPGs to be a part of Amazon Russia. Like we were in Foxconn know how much they’re spending their money. But like, just from a consumers perspective, like remember, we were in foster, I think what we thought was most impressive about that is like, you could still get your Heinz ketchup next to like your SIR Kensington, organic, you know, catch up product, whatever it is, but like, I think this is going to be better for the Amazon customers who were only getting like, in some cases, we’re only getting the 365 products and now with the value that they’ll be able to provide brands and CPGs now to be like, Look, there’s a need for your product. People are ordering this online in this zip code, you should be putting it on the shelves in our Amazon Fresh stores. And PS will give you all this data.
Right? And Amazon data about their own brands too. I mean, that’s all part of this.
Yeah, I mean,
It’s just such a good move.
All right, Chris.
I bow In admiration to Amazon.
Philip. I hope you’re listening.
All right, Chris. Let’s go to the lightning round. Chris. We are in one of our all time favourite retailers Lululemon. What is your favourite Lululemon products
Other than this sweet new hoodieI just got Anne
You look fly for a white guy
Oh my God alright.
Pretty fly for a white guy
Oh, geez. I reached for that one. All right. Easy for me the pacemaker short. Last Yeah, I have like a bunch of pairs of those that are probably like seven years old. They look the same as the day I bought them. Wow. Yeah, the pacemaker short.
It must be that careful laundering you’re doing
I am a careful launder
I know you are
I like to launder lots of things. Alright, and I won’t get to choose a favourite. But do you remember your first Lululemon item?
What was it and around what year was it?
It was the black wonder under leggings, just the standard pair of black leggings.
The Wonder under leggings.
Yeah, it was like one of the first leggings that they ever came out with. I think it was like 2006 or 2007. But I remember getting that pair of leggings and being like, wow, this is like they’re very good quality. They’re like I loved it. I loved it. Ever since ever since I’ve been I’ve been a huge fan. Chris the Lululemon logo while appearing to most people to be an upside down horseshoe is actually stylized, a stylized a that is created for another name that was being considered for the brand called athletically hip.
Oh, wow. I didn’t know that. All right.
Chris, what’s the last hip athletic thing that you did?
Oh my god, besides throwing it out, I think would have to be the last time I was in the Lululemon store prior to this, which is when we’re in Chicago. Saw the first of these formats sports in Chicago, and we rocked out with Gideon we took a classroom get and get we got fit with God here with Gideon.
I felt super cool and giddy and kick my butt too. It was really tough. Alright, last one. Lululemon has a surprise and delight policy where each store is gifted the chance to surprise and delight any customer in the store for any reason. Anne what’s the last time you were surprised and delighted?
I have to say my husband made me the most amazing dinner on my birthday.
Yes. And I was surprised
Cooked for you?
I handed over a recipe. And I was surprised. Not that he’s bad at cooking, but I was surprised and delighted. It was one of the best meals of my life.
Well, this is the video you shot of him like chopping kale.
The recipe called for massage.
I don’t know what that means
Apparently you have to do it because you’re slamming So that it like breaks down your salad, but he was literally smashed like a deep tissue massage, like rolling over aggressive
He’s a keeper. You had your birthday on Tuesday, right?
Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Wow. All right. Well, hey, that wraps us up.
Happy Birthday today to turn Edgerton, Ellen Pompeo and one of my all time favourite names to say out loud. Kiernan Shipka. of madmen fame she was Sally Draper, Sally James. Shipka Shipka you can only read or listen to Shipka I don’t know I just like if you can only read or listen to one retail blog in the business make it army talk. Our Fast Five podcast is the quickest fastest run out of all the week’s top news and our twice weekly newsletter. It tells you the top five things you need to know each day and also features special content exclusive to us and just for you and we tried really hard to make it off it was in the preview pane of your inbox you can sign up today at http://www.omnitalk.blog. Thanks as always for listening in. Please remember to like and leave us a review wherever you happen to listen to your podcasts or on YouTube. And as always, be careful out there.
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