Hello you are listening to the Omni talk Fast Five brought to you in partnership with the A & M Consumer and Retail group, Firework, SPS commerce and Sezzle ranked in the top 10 of podcasts globally the Omni talk fast five is the podcast that we hope makes you feel a little smarter but most importantly a little happier each week too.
Today is March 30th 2023 I’m your host Anne Mezzenga and I’m Chris Walton and we are here once again to discuss all the headlines Making Waves in the world of Omnichannel retailing Chris we survived shop talk Sony 23 survived is a relative term man I think I got to give you credit for making it through that read too because I know you’re not feeling your May West here I am not feeling I don’t know what that I still don’t understand what that means exactly you said that to me yesterday and.
I was like feeling my May West what what is that exactly feeling your best Dan you’re Mae West your best that’s what it means but uh yeah you’re a little under the weather today but you’re soldiering on as we always do at Omni talk with our incredible travel fans but shop talk was great oh my God probably one of the best shop talks ever for multiple so far but you’ll notice that we’re we’re wearing our medals our medals from Jenny Wolfe Jenny wolski gave us these medals yeah.
She’s a marathon runner she loves our show she says she listens to it when she runs yes she believes she’s completed a half marathon 13.1 miles worth of listening yeah so I’m gonna probably put some mile markers into this show and as we’re going along as a shout out to Jenny as we go along at least I’m going to try to but uh yeah you had a fun experience in the airport yesterday too yes I need to give a quick shout out to this wonderful woman who we got off the plane last night in Minneapolis I desperately needed to go to the bathroom.
I was I drank like 15 giant jugs of water and then finally got off the plane and was running to the bathroom and the sweet woman came up to me and she was like hey this is a weird question but are you Anne Mezzenga I was like yeah and she she said I just started listening to the podcast and I love it I just came from shop talking I was like oh my gosh and I coughed because I’m not feeling well and not kidding you pee starts going on my leg so I just have to abort the conversation and run into the bathroom so I’m so sorry thank you.
whoever you are for I’m sorry we didn’t get to continue the conversation one of the most embarrassing moments of my life wow oh my God no cut no completion of the conversation it was it was terrible a cough and it was over after having two kids it’s just like it’s the way it works sometimes with the way it works but Dad we survived we’re here it’s my favorite show of the month because our friends for the a m consumer and Retail Group are here why don’t you introduce them yes joining us today and back for their regular monthly appearance our friends from the a m consumer and Retail Group this week we have lakshman lakshman on and Billy Christensen locksman and Billy.
Why don’t we take a second here for each of you to introduce yourselves and lakshman because you’re a first timer I’m gonna start with you hey let’s park Let’s uh open the champagne now uh yeah let’s do it it was awesome awesome to be here thank you for hosting us um my name is lakshman I am a consultant slash operator uh work the target for seven years and uh yeah in the in the mmbi merchandising marketing business intelligence program and also in supply chain and loss prevention teams and uh currently with the a m consumer Retail Group as a managing director partner so good to be here [Music] um Billy why don’t you go next.
Hi uh great to be back I’m glad that this uh validates that previous my previous appearance was my maiden voyage and not my only Voyage but I was a good sign bill always a good sign yeah always a good sign uh so I am a senior director in the consumer and Retail Group um like locksmith and and uh we’ll make this just a nice little Target reunion uh since I spent time at Target as well that’s right um but uh no I uh we have both an operating and a Consulting background and uh really excited to be here and and keep the conversations going well we’re really excited to have both of you and I think Chris we should get do I get started on the road let’s get this show going all right in today’s Fast Five we’ve got news on Choice markets plans to scale up what it calls mini stores Gap Calling it Quits on its retail media Network an interesting new pricing strategy from telfar Levi’s testing AI generated fashion models can’t wait to get into that one.
but we begin today with big news from Amazon and Panera Ann all right let’s go to headline number one Chris according to an Amazon company blog post written by 2022 omnistar dilip Kumar Panera will be taking its loyalty program my Panera to a quote whole new level and quote with Amazon one’s newly launched loyalty linking capability so Amazon one which omnitalk fans know is Amazon’s palm recognition service that lets customers enter identify and pay for items all with the scan of the pump with a skin of the Palm but this is the is the first time that Amazon is linking the my Panera loyalty memberships to customers Amazon one profiles via the payment system big note there the new Amazon one with the Loyalty linking feature is launching at two Panera Bakery cafes in the St Louis area and will become available at additional Panera locations in the coming months uh lakshman let’s go to you first here what do you think do you like this move from Panera or do you think it’s not that big of a deal much to do about nothing well let me start you know with a question for the group right.
what is Amazon really good at good question what do you think what what what’s your response well it’s a digital Commerce right and how they’ve been in monetize everything under the Sun including Marketplace including you know the AWS services and how they can cross-reference all of these assets and build upon an ecosystem which serves you know their advancements of their uh priorities and their objectives right now what are they not really good at what are they not proved to be good at in the last five years great question physical stores right I think you’re going yep yeah so the check the self you know um the contact list the self checkout.
You know craze that they started out with you know the stores are kind of shutting down right Amazon Fresh hasn’t taken up as much as you would have hoped so they have developed all these Assets in the field in the retail space that they have to somehow monetize and redeploy right now for Panera it’s a good deal because we talked about 50 million Americans right in their loyalty programs um but one in two Americans roughly are in the prime program so for them the space is much more to grow and they could probably leverage this relationship in that way right whereas for Amazon it is just about monetization of all the assets that they’ve created the technology that they’ve created and keep in mind that no retailer out there will touch their checkout technology right nobody is going to do that so there is has to be somebody who’s not in the counter space or in the counter space who can probably leverage the technology so that’s probably the link that I’m seeing and then you know you think about other things as well right I mean radio media networks.
They are Kings at they probably sponsor you know Panera to a greater degree when this is their web page and that would become a win-win relationship yeah yeah no that’s a great point I was even thinking like do we see the Panera membership as part of prime you know the subscription like right who knows but Billy what do you think here you know I think there’s there’s one other bit of uh one other thing in here that we want to recognize Amazon being really good at and that’s getting your information right right and this is just another means to get more of your information and and so you know on the one hand that could be you know for Amazon that’s obviously a great thing yeah um and it helps it’s it’s another thing for them to monetize or another out you know aspect that they can monetize you know as a consumer
I was thinking about it through a different little bit of a different lens which is this is just another thing because I was reading up on how yeah you got to register for it and everything else and and reading through you know some of the articles that are out there on it right it talked about oh this you know this helps get rid of that well no it doesn’t you still got to go through the process of signing up for another Rewards program to right you know to to do all of this stuff so I as a consumer I’m looking at it going I I think it’s Much Ado About Nothing as a consumer but but you know from an Amazon perspective I mean it’s more information and that’s what I mean that’s what they monitor ties and so I mean kudos to them see I gotta disagree with you Billy because I think that it is a friction point for sure but when you think about it’s it’s one time so like you add your credit cards to your mobile wallet one time I mean this is a one-time process.
And you get all the benefits of you know especially Panera the repeat customers what did lakshman say one in six uh people in the US are members of the my Panera program like if you’re going there five times a week to be able to have that convenience it’s well worth I think the one-time sign up um right but you are if you if you got my Panera Awards haven’t you already done that so that’s why I say it’s an additional thing you’ve already done all of those things yes but because I was I as with you Billy too I was like I was in your Camp I was like this is kind of silly from a consumer perspective like at the end of the day is playing with my palm that much better than just using Apple pay as an example but the trick here is like it’s actually taking away the scan of the Panera app too yeah so if you think about it it’s much more fluid of a transaction for the consumer where they don’t have to take their phone out of their wallet and then they don’t have to scan the mobile pay or scan the app so I think there’s some benefits there that make my life easier especially as we always say if I’ve got kids in tow as well which is always a problem for me um but so that’s the part I like about it but locksman looks like you want to get the last word in here let’s give you the last word yeah.
I I’ve already been chastised by Anne on this a few months back where anything which is seamless touchless contactless right I was kind of skeptical about it and Anna’s like you know imagine you having two kids and four bags and you know so I I got my You Know lesson there right right great Point especially with curbside pickup too like that was the other thing too like you that happened this week too like somebody said to somebody said online like well I don’t want to do that but like have you ever done it without with kids in the car you don’t want to go get out your kids and get your Starbucks so anyway all right let’s keep rolling headline number two Choice market plans this is very very a good segue from the last headline too I’m gonna say headline number two Choice market plans to open at least five more frictionless mini mart C stores by the end of 23 quote with a big ramp up in 2024 Choice market founder and CEO Mike Fogerty said in an email to c-store dive recently according also to retail dive the move comes on the heels of choice Market’s recent series a funding round.
And just five months after Choice market debuted its first Mini Mart location on the University of Colorado and shoots Medical Campus I always love when I get to drop my German accent and the first store was approximately 400 square was up was in approximately 400 square foot c-store is open 24 hours a day and is also fully autonomous you basically just walk out that’s the only way to shop it there is no traditional checkout option and I’m gonna go with you first on this one yeah I just went to Choice market in Denver a few weeks I know that’s where I’m going to you first yeah so my question for you is this our autonomous stores now not dead or is this a real use case with legs this is definitely a real use case with legs I think we’re still gonna see slow adoption with the larger format stores but first of all you will not find two better guys on this planet than Mike Fogerty and they’re achieving officer Ben kipfer agreed Ben uh took me through.
The toy store in Denver we were talking about this and and their expansion plans and you know this is how you make money on this concept it’s small format it’s fully autonomous you don’t have to worry about Staffing it’s open 24 x 7. like this is the perfect use case and this is what we’re seeing a lot of early adoption and success with at stadiums at you know the hospitals at the campuses like this will be a really successful concept and this is how you can quickly and easily scale so I think this makes a ton of sense for them um and I also think that it’s you know it’s going to be interesting to see where some of these other other providers they’re working with A5 for this one but I’m interested to see if other people kind of move in the same direction because you know that the campuses want it you know that developers want this for the floors of their condo buildings like the one that.
I went to in Denver like it’s it’s got legs 100 agree and there’s another point I would make here too that I think is really important coming off the last story and what locksmith said too about Amazon’s ability to do physical retail yeah these guys get physical retail they’re literally I’m breathing it every day they know merchandising they know how to sort their stores like you go into them they’re very captivating very intriguing so these guys get it yeah and because of that they have a foot up and an advantage to make a concept like this work that’s such a good point that’s the important thing they Source local product Mike’s whole philosophy is like have a good better best product option so that you are covering all the bases and the price point I mean yeah and they’re working in the stores like they are hungry they are entrepreneurs they want to make this work yeah so they’re gonna figure it out I think so kudos to them but Billy what do you think you’re shaking your head looks like you’re agreeing I I couldn’t agree more with both of you on everything that you said and I think you know and.
You hit the thought that that you said the thought that for me resonated quickly um when I was you know looking looking in into this before the you know before this which is they figured out the right place and the right size right this is not the size of a Target or a Walmart this is that small footprint with you know Concept in the right places where the you know you’ve got that right kind of traffic and I think that’s where you know to to we’ll bring up Amazon again is that’s where Amazon’s stores I think maybe stub their toe a little bit is they they missed that element of it they try to do maybe too much too soon I agree with you this like when I saw this and I had never heard of Choice market before uh you know you know preparing for this and was immediately just like wow when is it opening near me I want to go check this out this is exactly what I had hoped this concept would be yeah so I I couldn’t agree with you all nice you hear that Mike Fogerty he wants it in Atlanta he wants one in Atlanta last week what do you think the The Limited assortment small footprint is the key here right yes and this automatically means that you have reduced the operational complexity.
Your operating expenses are low to kind of move the same boxes as many boxes that you need to move through the supply chain right and the the act of replenishment is much more simplified and so the end-to-end management of this is much more streamlined if you will and for you to deploy a technology that kind of works we know that it works there and we’re expanding it is is a great is a great way to approach this rather than you know looking at this as a big grocery format and struggling with economies of scale there right and the rois we’re seeing this convenience format in and out I mean you look at airports you still see a lot of you know people going in there I still think at the airport they have to reduce the assortment just have to have the basic excuse that’s a great Point actually yeah there is too much in those assortments in those airport stores you don’t need like the tchotsky like stuff.
You know yeah it’s a great Point yeah so I think I think this has legs uh all right we’re in unanimous agreements yeah that’s crazy somebody was telling us who came up to us at shop talk and was like you guys need to stop agreeing on things oh yeah get better when you fight yeah he’s like yeah yeah but so we might get to that though yeah we might but I think it’s funny we universally agreed on that one yeah so that’s cool for for choice and those guys all right let’s move on to headline number three according to marketing dive Gap has shut down its retail media efforts uh Gap unveiled its retail media Network GPS media in February of 2022. GPS media was intended to help the embattled retailer attract Brands interested in placing ads on gap’s website that could be targeted with first party data but now Gap is Calling it Quits and says it plans to direct more resources toward areas like Logistics and fulfillment Billy we’re going to you first on this one is this a blip or a sign of more announcements like this to come you think I think it’s a sign of more to come with.
You okay it’s another it’s you know the last time I was on we had a different topic it was Gap in Amazon and you know my my point then was uh one it’s heartbreaking to see because it’s just this feels more like Gap just grabbing anything they can to try to see what sticks and nothing’s anchored in an overarching strategy and I think this is another example of that um I just I don’t see I I don’t see what kind of proposition bran you know Gap would bring to anybody to want to advertise like where are the tie-ins what is you know Gap it it pains me just because I’ve got such a soft spot in my heart for the brand right growing up and growing up in the you know 80s and 90s yeah I mean Gap was yeah um and to not see it there anymore right is is a bit heartbreaking I again I I just I want to see from Gap and GAP leadership a strategy what are they going to become what are they going to you know who do they want to be because there’s they’ve kind of reached it in my opinion uh their ubiquitousness that they or the ubiquity that they reached you know years ago turned them from being a brand in a culture if you will as an identity to a commodity and it’s.
It’s you know there I I just don’t see I don’t see anything that that is that is gonna add to the Brad the brand strength with any of these activities that they’re doing it’s just and so just to push you on that a little bit more um and then we’ll go to locksmith too but so but do you think when you said you think it’s a sign of more things to come do you think more retailers then are going to also pull back on their efforts because like you said you don’t see the value proposition on retail media Network for gaap yeah you think this will be a sign of more dominoes to fall in that direction you know I was thinking of it more in the in the more things to come from a gap perspective okay not from an industry but but since you since you posed the question that way um I do think that yes retailers say that are selling multi-brands I think a retail media Network for them right can make a lot of Canon does make a lot of sense right specific Brands unless there are very strong ions that either the brand because they possess on their own like if Nike tried to do this right I mean who people are going to want to be jump on jump on.
Nikes on that train right or Lulu or somebody like that who has that that kind of position I think it makes might make sense for them but you know for so I think in that way it it can make sense but for anybody who doesn’t have that proposition yeah I think it’s going to be you know efforts tried and tried and failed um or tried and abandoned yeah um not so not everybody’s Nike not everybody exactly that kind of that kind of wait locksmith what do you think what are your thoughts here yeah it’s a trade-off question at this point they are now beginning to ramp up their investments in a shared network for their Logistics right similar to what we see others do in the space so at this point it’s a question of you know where do you put you know your resources behind and efforts behind I think they are seeing that there is greater Traction in the market for a shared economy for distribution and Logistics and I mean 48 40 of the market is controlled by Amazon and uh you know Target and Walmart Roundup the first you know the top 60 of the spend in the space so you know it’s very hard to break in very very hard to get scale in the retail medium space right now uh.
Unless you have a broad assortment offering right a Target can attract diverse group of customers while Gap attracts only a certain type of consumer right so it’s really hard to sell in a lots more into that particular Channel so I think it’s it’s a question of trade-off yeah well Chris I mean your thoughts around this answering I love that the dimensions to this question but your thoughts were more specifically I think going back to what you asked Billy too is like how how many are too many retail media networks yeah 100 that’s I like the move I think it’s really smart and I I agree with both of what you guys re saying like for me like I would be put at first uh two parts of this first I would be definitely putting my efforts towards the logistics side of things relatively speaking because like Billy said they’re ubiquitous they have that stood up their scale that they can take advantage of in that direction retail media not so much right like like Billy’s like you guys both said like they’re kind of limited in what they can tie in and the the value proposition.
They can give to the brands that would want to advertise and so yeah my second part would be like I found out at shop talk I was talking to Irene’s um yeah from Treasure data we had an awesome podcast with recently you guys should listen to it if you haven’t yet she told us that there are over 40 retail media networks that have been stood up yeah and I got thinking I’m like who are those 40 like that’s crazy so outside the big guys where like you have multi-brands in their offering which is most likely the Branded Grocers the Branded Mass super centers that are in the home category is the cpg categories the health categories the beauty categories I have trouble seeing this working to that degree where there’s 40 of them throughout the country so I think there’s going to be more of this happening when I put it in that perspective but what do you think well my just last closing word real quick would be that I disagree with you about fulfillment I wouldn’t be focusing on that either I think well that I think yeah focus on how they make themselves relevant across all their brands to the next generation of consumer or you don’t have a fulfillment and Logistics Network that’s going to be worth leveraging that’s a great people aren’t you yeah.
And I think I said that on that podcast too I think it’s just relatively I like this better than the other one right yeah all right let’s keep rolling according to Yahoo life first time Yahoo life’s been said on this program so far the New York based brand whose popular handbag the Bushwick Birkin oh hey has announced the live pricing model for their latest collection which will debut on March 27th or debuted on March 27th here’s how it worked and special thanks to Omni talk superfan Fredo for bringing this to our attention according to the Telfair site The Collection drops at the wholesale price more than 50 percent off retail and then goes up every second until it reaches full price whatever price it sells out at that becomes the price for future drops of course some Shoppers are arguing that the new pricing model may cause a quote Panic or quote fear of missing out among potential buyers While others are according to Yahoo praising Telfair for their quote bravery in thinking quote outside of the box and breaking pricing norms and even easing pricing barriers Billy this is kind of your wheelhouse on which side of this argument do you fall first of all love it I’m a big fan of this because for the very reason that it is getting the strong reaction that that story talked about right yeah I I think first and foremost shows that it’s resonating with.
With the target audience right I think the idea of generating fomo and all of that um I also like and it very much Harkens to to me hearken back to the Target limited time offers and Partnerships with Miss Sony and Lily Pulitzer and and what happened there and now granted there was you know a lot of I would say disgruntled people on the resale Market where some of the you know people were going into the Target stores buying a ton of stuff putting it out on eBay for multiples of the of the sticker price but the reality is that’s the free market economy right people if people are going to pay for it why wouldn’t you put it for that price I think this is going to have a very similar effect where people who will want you know if the bag that they put out is desirable and again whatever their structure is from a wholesale to a retail and the units involved Etc you know however they run that I’m I’m very keen to understand what those details are but the fact is if it’s generating that kind of hype and generating that kind of buzz and people really want it I mean that’s that’s that’s gonna only strengthen the brand and only gonna make it more desirable only going to make it more popular so I I really like this.
Um uh yeah I I read it and was skeptical at first but then that I thought about I was like no actually this is I think this this has I don’t know that this is a scalable model I think this is something to generate buzz and hype on on small things but I I like it for what it is interesting I’ve vaccinated like 15 times and I think I just did again while you were talking about that but Anne what do you think are you with Billy on this yeah I mean I think you have at least I mean you have two people on this podcast and I imagine several listening who didn’t know about this brand until right now yeah and now our are Keen to follow like something that has has hype has demand like this isn’t the first time you’ve seen something like this happen it’s happening in the third party auction sites and Marketplace sites where it’s starting at one price and keeps going up I mean I don’t I don’t see anything wrong with this I think people that are worried about panic and fomo like you guys need to find something new to work I don’t I don’t know see I back and I have literally vaseline on this like 16 times but where I’m at right now I think it’s kind of gimmicky because like I thought about it like how does the economics of this work out if it works out the way you said the resellers are going to be the ones that are jumping on that product because it’s luxury and they’re going to try to resell it and so there’s gonna be there.
You can’t make money on that in the long run if you’re Telfair selling all your stuff at that low of a price and creating that type of demand in the marketplace like I thought about like what if Nike did this with their drops that would never work in the long run so that’s where my head is on it but lakshman settled the debate here what what’s going on they are reversing the ladder here right they’re reversing the mountain ladder they don’t want to sit on excess inventory they want to kind of create the buzz move the product out of the shelves right they want to do it but to your point it’s a margin question right I mean are you growing your top line and bottom line at the same time and if you’re not doing it at the right pace right I mean they are in for a world of you know pain uh some you know a couple of years down the line so for me it’s a margin thing and to your point uh Chris I think if they if they kind of fuel this fire for the secondary Market they are losing their primary position in the market right that’s not what you should be fueling for right that and that’s what I wonder I wonder if there’s a deleterious effect that happens in that way in the long run but Ann you know this you guys far more than I do about this differently far more than I do.
I think it’s more now we’re debating and it’s more of a marketing move you’ve got you you’re getting people attracted interested in the brand with this pricing model with the creating the fomo around the brand and then what they’re doing is using this to set the future price and there’s going to be I mean they they’re not gonna go below value I think it actually stands to maybe increase what the future price is because you know what the market is willing to pay for I mean I guess you’re just saying we’re going to set the floor at our wholesale price and that’s where we’re going to be in the market so they’re resetting their price valuation Billy last word I you know I think that there’s a couple things in here that I think are really important to keep in mind and Chris you said like you said it’s a gimmick and it is yeah and but as long as it’s contained right this is not all of a sudden their entire business model this is right because they’ll still have their core their course assortment that is going to be sold at a certain price that is the foundation that the entire company is built on right the rest of the business is built on as long as they contain it and and use it to their benefit and be disciplined about that then I think it this this will pay very big dividends.
For them you know from a from a marketing and attention perspective yeah and if it works retails are creatures of habit we’ll see other people start doing it really really quickly all right let’s go to headline number five Levi’s is planning to start testing AI generated fashion models according to the business of fashion Amy gershkov ballis Levi’s Global head of digital and emerging technology strategy announced the company will begin experimenting with AI generated models on its e-commerce channels later this year to increase the diversity of models Shoppers can see wearing its products Levi’s partner on the project is lavaland.ai a digital Studio that creates customized AI generated models sometimes I can’t make this stuff out it should also be noted that Levi’s emphasized in a statement that it is still hiring diverse models and will continue to do so and that the purpose of the AI models is to supplement not replace human models in order to create what it described as quote a more personal and inclusive shopping experience end quote lakshman is this where you would advise Levi to invest in AI amid all the like recent AI hype is this where you’d be telling them to go yeah I mean I love this move love this right because Vision yeah you love it because Vision AI has taken up.
You know huge has you know markedly improved in the last three four years right right um you see a number of people putting you know claiming their Wares on LinkedIn showing how they were able to you know uh classify a cat from a tree right uh you know all that you know images that you see that classification has now come to a generative AI you know stage right Dal e has just opened doors for so many so many possibilities here and for you know I went through a number of these in if you just think back you know six months or even 12 months back guys you know you look at all these avatars that were doing created Michaela and you know all these other things that were happening in the in the Multiverse right those were anime those were GMX right they did not have a look and feel a personalized connection whether it was a eye to eye contact right a skin color tone which is very similar to mine and none of it was there right it was artificially made up and it had a very.
You know robotic uh you know sense and taste and you know feel to it right but now you’re looking at this it is real and think about all the samples that you get rid of think about all the fitting sessions that you need to get rid of think about all the you know marketing overhead that you spend right this is customizable to a group of people and this can just overlay the customized marketing programs personalized content and this can take off really big in my opinion and compelling points silly what are your thoughts yeah I I think it’s really important this conversation to separate two things right the the representation aspect which was high you know which has been highlighted in conversations about this and just the stone cold business part and I’m going to focus on this local business part first it makes complete sense from a stone cold business perspective for all the reasons laxative was just saying um from the representation part the more social aspects of it I am very very very uh nervous about this.
Um for a couple of reasons one representation in you know using AI for representation you’re creating things that aren’t aren’t there necessarily and that’s that I think is a really touchy thing where it’s really not representation it’s it’s a stylized or an idealized representation and so the idea of how even if they’re you know if they’re showing various body types or various flaws right so that they’re showing imperfections though that’s also going to be based on an idealized set of things as opposed to if you have people where you don’t get to idealize some of that right that’s why we use makeup that’s why we use touch-ups that’s why we use all of that so I think that there’s a you know there when when it.
Treads into the social aspects we’re talking about representation and things like that I am very very that’s a very touchy thing in my mind and I think there’s a lot of room to to unintentionally cause a lot of problems there for the company but from a business perspective I think it’s fantastic I think I mean it really does all of the things you know from a from a cost benefit perspective on the business side um I I couldn’t be happier about that part wow I’m gonna really disagree with you guys on this one I I get the business point of it but I think there’s a happy medium here that would have made a lot more sense for Levi’s and that would be one the diversity of the models I get that they’re trying to do that but Billy I think you bring up some really great points right and let’s talk about the consumer here because that’s what we’re getting lost in yeah if I the reason you’re having models of different shapes and sizes of different ethnicities like is because you want to show me how that product is gonna look on my body and nothing that you’re doing with an AI generated model is helping me get a better sense of what that product is actually going to look like on my body so if I was Levi’s I would be investing in leveraging actual human data collected whether that’s through 3D modeling like we you know we had Chris I had Christian um from Savage by Fenty on the on one of my panels at shoptalk talking about how they’re doing 3D body scans in the fitting room and then using those digital twins to improve their product to give their customers shopping online.
A better sense of how that product is actually going to fit on my body so if I was Levi’s I would never have come out with this I would have said this is we’re going to focus our efforts and our business case on how do we make the product fit my customers better how do we use technology and that it for that reason instead of this total BS tilt you’re on tilt awful really upset about it all right so many there’s so many better decisions they could have made and they like put their foot in their mouths coming out with this and for the reasons yeah wow um here’s what I’ll say to you I 100 agree I 100 agree locksmith almost flipped me in the middle of this podcast yeah because I thought he presented some pretty compelling oh the business business arguments are there the sampling thing the sustainability all that like the cost that it requires to send those samples to everybody they put them on the fit models as you’re doing all this stuff like it’s pretty intense and expensive but um he almost flipped me but Billy flipped me flipped me back because his points are really good and the other point I would make too is and I think this tells you something.
this topic chip Berg CEO of Levi’s was on stage at shoptime yes and this topic was notably absent from that discussion could not be it which meant it was off limits because it should have been asked by the CNBC reporter I can’t remember who it was but it should have been asked and so when you get down to yes ai’s cool yes it’s happening but you think back somebody said to me or Michael koziak from Best Buy said two months ago we were at NRF no one was talking about Ai No one now chat GPT happens everyone’s talking about it it’s probably still a little bit over hyped even though it’s probably real and so it wouldn’t be the first place I’d invest I’d go with there’s so many other places I would do before I’d open the social Pandora’s Box like Billy talked about in this direction so I 100 % agree with you Billy last word you know there’s one other thing I think that was in in the article that we were you know read ahead of time which it was talking about oh I can’t you know it’s hard for us to find all of there’s no way we can find all of the people all the physical models to do all of this which I don’t I I didn’t buy that I hired talent
I hired talent for a giant major retailer it’s not an issue I thought that was a really flimsy a flimsy justification yeah lakshman go ahead yeah whatever those people who are browsing from Area 51 what would they be shown that is the question that I had right right all right let’s close up this great show this has been an awesome show it’s been so entertaining and insightful I love it all right uh question number one in the lightning round goes to you lakshman the new Starbucks CEO says he plans to pull Barista shifts every month if you walked in and he was there working behind the counter what drink would you want him to make you well you know anything that has 16 words in it is what I’m going for yeah that’s what I wanted lakshman that’s awesome and a pop cup that is such a great answer I love that all right Billy schnooks rolled out a tech enabled salad bar last week what’s he next thing you’d like to be more Tech enabled in your grocery store oh.
Uh you know I I would love I guess a more Tech enabled you know meets counter or or Bakery counter so I’m not sitting around waiting forever for you know one person who’s working there to service 20 customers answer that’s amazing Billy you guys are killing it um Billy I’m gonna go back to you for question number three Banana Republic just announced they’re unveiling new home categories in three sentences or less is this a good move or bad it is a great move they are building on a an identifiable Banana Republic culture of of the brand I’d like to see the Gap brand capture some of what banana is doing interesting interesting and food for thought this is a strategy that existed back in the 90s so it’s curious to see it come back again all right lakshman last one Lululemon reported solid Q4 earnings but buried in the earnings release was the exactly 442.7 million dollar post-tax impairment charge related to the mirror business what would you be advising CEO Calvin McDonald to do with that segment of the business right now yeah listen I mean they have to just go back to the basics on this right product product which is where they’re killing it they are just you know going to third place in market share they are just on the rise they are just doing so well.
Their Partnerships have been weak for the longest time you go to Orange Theory and you go to a couple of other places they have a few of their you know adult but that’s a channel that they can potentially leverage more rather than you know investing into all these Tech assets right easy for them to do is just build out their digital you know app and make it so much better and have just apis to you know health and fitness apps right and that’s an ecosystem that they can build and leverage very fast rather than creating something out of you know a new category which quite honestly isn’t doing great I mean you look at others like tonal Etc they’re not doing great so 100 agree and like we said when they first announced it said they have to roll it out right and just putting it on the floor in a Lululemon and expecting people come is not going to be enough so all right that wraps us up great show today great show happy birthday to Celine Dion Tracy Chapman did you hear um Luke Combs covered fast car no oh yeah maybe I did oh it’s pretty good yeah that’s one of my all-time favorite songs too and of course to the man who took smoldering Anne to a whole other level in the movie classic shampoo the great Warren Beatty oh my God the actually and Billy it was great having you guys on if people want to get in touch with you get your expertise working for them at their companies.
What’s the best way to get in touch with the a m consumer and Retail Group lakshman yeah I you know we have a number of channels uh we’re on LinkedIn search for Alvarez and Marshall consumer and Retail Group short form crg uh we have a website of our own where we provide details around you know who we are what kind of services we provide what kind of uh sectors we cover within consumer in retail um and uh you know reach out to us I mean you know we we have uh coordinates El lakshmanan at theres and marcel.com that’s awesome awesome all right well that closes us up if you remember if you can only read or listen to One retail blog in the business make sure it’s hell it’s Omni talk make sure his help yeah right our Fast Five podcast is the quickest fastest rundown of all the week’s top news and our twice Weekly Newsletter tells you the top five things you need to know each day and also feature special content exclusive to us and it’s all just for you and we try really hard to make it fit within the preview pane of your inbox you can sign up today at http://www.onmetalk.blog thanks as always for listening in please remember to like and leave us review wherever you happen to listen to your podcast or on YouTube so until then and on behalf of all of us at Omni talk and the a m consumer and Retail Group as always be careful out there.
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