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Jason & Scot Show Episode 293 – E-Com leadership changes and news

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A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 293 is a recap of the weeks news, including major leadership changes.

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Episode 293 previews Amazon no good, dirty, rotten, Q2. Including why Amazon’s much hailed SCOT software may have led them astray (not a surprise given the name). We also discuss the recent leadership changes at Amazon, Google, Pinterest, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Episode 293 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Thursday June 30, 2022.

Transcript

Jason:
[0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 293 being recorded on Thursday June 30th 2022 I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I’m here with your co-host Scot Wingo.

Scot:
[0:38] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott show listeners Jason this is a start-up land it’s like a triple witching we have the end of the month
the end of the quarter and the end of the first half so too it’s a big day to be
making sure you’re hitting your opening so that’s what I’ve been doing today how is your summer been.

Jason:
[0:59] Less XLE than yours it sounds like.

Scot:
[1:02] Oh I’ve seen you in that department of Commerce data comes out so.

Jason:
[1:13] I don’t know maybe I feel like we should move it to like python or are something more more hip for the geeky kids.
But I am I’m having a great summer there’s been plenty of New Avengers and Star Wars content on in it’s fun to see some people in person there have been a few more in person events,
I’m a little stressed tonight though there’s a big day for listeners is being recorded on on June 30th,
and Twitter is sun setting my Twitter clients that I use numerous times a day tonight so it’s,
it’s possible that a lot of people that are used to getting spammed all day by me on Twitter are going to go into withdrawal tomorrow.

Scot:
[1:56] No you’re gonna have to use the app like the rest of us mere citizens.

Jason:
[2:01] Yeah yeah the neophytes I have to jump in with the unwashed masses and the vanilla Twitter client or some other third-party client if any listeners have a personal favorite I’m open to suggestions.

Scot:
[2:15] Yeah they’re not a lot of good ones whatever you do don’t sign up for that paid service because it just makes your tweets take 10 times longer to go out it’s like the opposite of a feature.

Jason:
[2:25] Yeah doesn’t sound that appealing.

Scot:
[2:27] It’s supposed to keep you from drunk Tweeting or something but then like you just kind of forget that they’re all cued up out there waiting.

Jason:
[2:34] My best Tweets are the advised ones.

Scot:
[2:37] Yeah yeah your best ones are grumpy grumpy old Jason once where you’re like all right digital on the get the most interaction.
Cool well we wouldn’t be a Jason and Scot show without some Amazon news.

Jason:
[3:00] News new your margin is there opportunity.

Scot:
[3:07] Yeah there’s a lot going on at Amazon one of the.
If you kind of remember back in our queue to 2022 recap from their earnings they talked a lot about how they had over built their capacity for warehouses so that’s the first time they’ve done that since,
oh I don’t know 1995 and
that was just like a line in an earnings call well now we’re starting to see that they’re closing warehouses there’s been reports of them closing between five and ten warehouses I’ve heard they’re closing delivery stations and figuring all that out
one of the funny topics is a lot of folks started contacting me and realize said things like hey did you know your mention and this Amazon article is like what,
what turns out they have this technology they’ve developed called the supply chain optimization Technologies,
abbreviated sco T which happens to be my name.

Jason:
[4:04] And for newest nur’s that’s actually the correct way to spell Scott is it not.

Scot:
[4:08] It is yeah it was the 60s and my dad thought it would be fun to have a unique name and it’s he was right it’s made me infinitely google-able so I have a lot of very easy to find on the Google.
I’m very envious of my friend Michael Jones who is impossible to find on Google so so no anonymity for me,
but anyway you know what’s interesting is and I want to read this little excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article a thousand or something,
you and I both know at Amazon because they have this engineering culture they try to take people out of most decision-making
process sometimes they call it hands off the wheel so they have all these AI like one time we had a guest on that told us how you know frequently a vendor will be negotiating with an Amazon buyer through a chat and it’s a bot on the other side of the the chat not a human.
So they have this technology called Scott and what it does is it makes three different projections for basically the orders for looking out into the future it does a high medium and low and during the pandemic.

[5:12] The high wasn’t high enough so they were kind of taking the high and adding some percentage to it
and building out the Fulfillment infrastructure and everything based on what this a I did
well because the a I had never seen a pandemic and it obviously it couldn’t keep up with the upside of the pandemics demand curve it didn’t see the downside of the demand curve coming either,
and then I think the humans you know when you when you have your,
pilot like six to eight quarters into adding 10% to what this thing does and nailing it.
You know they also didn’t anticipate this in the bottom fell out and that’s one of the reasons why you know they just kind of too,
kept taking the Scott forecast adding 10 to 20% and then suddenly they found themselves kind of with their skis out over a cliff.
This is really interesting that kind of in a way that the an AI gone wrong kind of caused some of the problems here so I thought that was kind of funny.

Jason:
[6:09] Yeah I mean like the synopsis here is that Scott is the biggest money sink in Amazon.

Scot:
[6:18] It’s true yep I like to think because they listened to the podcast they named it in honor of me and somewhere in there is a robot named Jason I’m sure.

Jason:
[6:26] Because you are their Nemesis yeah.

Scot:
[6:28] Yeah retailgeek it’s hard to do an acronym for retailgeek but I’m sure someone there is is working on.
Also you know as listeners know there’s a new CEO and the jassy and there have been a lot of high-profile departures and it’s not clear if he’s cleaning house or.
Um you know these these issues stocks down a lot of the compensation that Amazon is from stock-based compensation and then,
you know someone has to be accountable for these problems so they had there was kind of this domino effect so there was right one Jesse took over there was two other people that were are parents Bell and Wilkie and they left,
and then just recently this year a 23 year old veteran Named Dave Clark left and he ran the whole consumer business.
Interestingly he went to a company that’s been in the news a lot called Flex Port their CEO has been on CNBC and the all in podcast talking about how to fix the supply chain problems.
So that’s that’s interesting that he was able to see your Flex Port was able to lure away a 23 year old Amazon bet.
So there was some Sour Apples on the way out Dave Clark told someone that Jesse’s just a,
terrible micromanager and yeah he’d been there 23 years and shouldn’t have to be micromanage and that kind of thing.

[7:51] And then they announced that this the guy that ran North America consumer who previously had reported to Dave Clark his name is Doug Harrington he was moving up into that role,
what caused a further chain reaction for those people that didn’t get the Dave Clark opening one of those was Alicia bowler Davis she was SVP of global consumer,
and she went to this online pharmacy called Alto Pharmacy and then Dave Bozeman he went to he was the VP of Amazon transportation services kind of the middle mile so she was if I understand she was Last Mile and he was middle mile,
so they both left so that’s interesting that the Fulfillment center they’ve been building out and to the key Executives for the last five years or so left those not clear if
that was because of this build out and someone had to be accountable or if they got picked away or what’s going on there,
so a lot of changes in Amazon at the upper echelons and yeah some chaos here as they re adjust for the new post covid normal.

Jason:
[8:54] Yeah and I mean almost feels like there’s a little bit of a perfect storm of reasons for that senior leadership to start to turn right which historically they have had very little turn by the way right through most of their history
but you know the the founder departs as you point out there’s a ton of the overwhelming majority of compensation is,
stock equity and is that becomes less valuable like those jobs are.
Are less sticky you know and there’s just the rates of growth at Amazon are are naturally slowing down and it’s,
you know for a lot of people that you know are used to being the Rockstar that’s you know constantly doubling your business and growing really fast it’s not as much fun to.
To manage their downturns and you know at best slower rates of growth.

Scot:
[9:45] Yeah and then you notice some changes coming in the grocery side.

Jason:
[9:50] Yeah so grocery ends up being kind of a really interesting part of this whole Amazon churn so the first thing to know is the new head of consumer that did win Doug Harrington,
had previously started Amazon Fresh at Amazon so so,
he is a grocery guy and his pre Amazon experience is with webvan which is sort of the original digital grocer.
So he is a pure digital grocery guy obviously he’s had brought more recently he’s had broader roles it.
It Amazon.
Then then just grocery but you know one would assume that Amazon Fresh is near and dear to his heart that’s the only brick-and-mortar concept that still.
Sort of in play and growing at an Amazon so that’s kind of interesting and historically there’s been kind of a tension between Amazon Fresh which is.
The grocery business Amazon built organically and Whole Foods,
the grocery business that Amazon bought right and there have been times when they seemed like they were smashing them together and then there are times when they’re pulling them apart and at the moment they’re opening a chain of Amazon Fresh doors that compete with Whole Food.

[11:02] You would assume Whole Foods is kind of upmarket expensive grocery and Amazon Fresh is meant to be well Market but like when it washed Amazon Fresh was a little more mid-priced,
then we expected and Whole Foods is kind of moving down price a little bit more than you might expect so it’s all,
it’s all been interesting they fight a lot over over Revenue recognition for online grocery orders and it’s I would argue it’s a confusing customer experience right now because you can order a.
Assortment of items with different prices and different service levels from Amazon Fresh and from Whole Foods.
So it’ll be interesting does Amazon fresh wind because that’s Doug Harrington’s baby or you know does he at least.

[11:44] Put more more stock in solving that problem you know I would argue digital grocery is the biggest white space in the kind of digital retail thing and so it.
It’s not bad for Amazon that they have a senior leader that understands that space so it’s that’s going to be interesting,
and then on the whole food side the you know the founder of Whole Foods has remained in places the CEO which is kind of surprising given that when was the acquisition 2017.

[12:12] Five years ago so five years sounds like a suspicious number for an urn out but.
The you know he stuck he was the founder he stuck with a company for a long time like culturally he’s,
kind of different than Amazonian so when one might not have expected him to last that long but now there’s a new CEO which is a long time Lieutenant of his Jason Bushnell boo shell rather and,
whether this is the first initiative from Jason or it’s a coincidence like Whole Foods has kind of announced that they are pivoting their pricing strategy in really focusing on,
improving their value prop and reducing their prices and obviously there’s a lot of Economic headwinds and there’s kind of a.
You know a big big segment of consumers that are concerned about the economy so superficial you go oh yeah it’s obvious.
That Whole Foods would want to get cheaper but I would actually argue.
That we’ve really seen and shout-out to our friend Steven Dennis we’ve really seen like this very overt bifurcation of the consumer and there’s a bunch of consumers that like do not appear to be changing their shopping Behavior based on inflation and,
economic concerns and then there’s a bunch of value-oriented consumers that are very overtly changing their shopping behaviors and you would.

[13:33] You know a lot of luxury brands are actually raising their prices right now and doing quite well and so you’d almost expect to see Whole Foods lean into that affluent consumer,
and Amazon Fresh you know try to try to Target that that value went into consumer but it appears they both have decided to go after value.

Scot:
[13:51] Yeah it’s super confusing as a consumer to figure out and sometimes what I want I want for things and it’ll split the cart between the Whole Foods in the prime and like then then it’s a hot mess at that point.

Jason:
[14:04] Yeah I can’t get my weekly shop from either one like I like some of the items and my weekly shop are not available from Whole Foods and some are not available from Amazon Fresh it’s annoying.

Scot:
[14:14] Yeah.

Jason:
[14:14] To add further customer confusion so Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s grocery store concept what you might have thought that there’d be a bunch of benefits to being a Prime member and shopping in Amazon Fresh.
But you’d be wrong until recently like there were no special Prime benefits for Amazon Fresh Shoppers and so they just launched last week a new program which is kind of a.
It’s I would almost call it like a traditional retail grocery Affinity program you basically get 20% off on a lot of.
On an undisclosed random list of thousands of items where they call everyday essentials if you’re a Prime member shopping at Amazon Fresh So this is you know I mentioned that Amazon Fresh didn’t come out.
Quite as good a value as I was expecting well this is the big move to maybe make them you know compete more directly with with Aldi and.

Scot:
[15:08] Caught another thing I wanted to pick your brain on is a couple folks have tagged us on social media because they have seen the prime pay badging and new payment mechanism out in the wild have you had a chance to play with that.

Jason:
[15:22] I have and I confess I’m I’m a little more perplexed than I was when it first launched so maybe like the 30-second recap,
um you know Amazon announced this new beta pilot called Prime pay and it’s essentially letting third-party sellers that are not selling on Amazon.

[15:46] Accept Amazon pay and.
Offer Prime benefits and have your orders fulfilled from fulfillment by Amazon.

[15:59] Like if their Prime members right so if your Shopify Merchant in you’re selling cat litter,
you know you can have a bad you know and someone’s a Prime member and they’re on your Shopify site you can say hey check out with your Amazon pay and and you know get your goods in one day or even same day,
if our cat litter is in the Amazon Fulfillment Network and that’s that was when they announced this beta and they didn’t provide a lot of the details.
You know my first reaction was that’s a shot directly across the bow of Shopify.
Who had been making a lot of traction with shop pay and was making a lot of noise if not traction with their fulfillment systems and now you know Amazon swooped in and said hey don’t screw around with these,
you know barely scaled fulfillment things just put all your goods in the Amazon’s fulfillment and when you sell it from Shopify will ship the order or when you sell it on Amazon will ship the order,
and will give you access to the.
The biggest bet best digital wallet in the US market which is Amazon pay right and I thought that was super interesting and I was frankly really curious.
If Shopify was even going to allow its Merchants to use it which.
It would have been way off brand for Shopify to not allow that but you have to imagine they didn’t want to vote.

Scot:
[17:18] Yeah.

Jason:
[17:20] And so now fast forward a few months and we’ve seen the first betas in the live in in,
live in the world and they are all Shopify Merchants so first question answered at least for now Shopify is allowing its merchants,
to use prime pay but there’s a huge Nuance in Prime pay that I kind of missed when the beta was first announced but now it’s glaring at me,
um Prime pay will only fulfill your goods if you’re already a Prime member.
So when they first saw this I thought oh my gosh they just captured the whole 3pl market and no other 3pl is going to have any room because you’re not going to be able to compete with the service level of Amazon and the convenience of the aggregated inventory and then the bonus of.
Of the Amazon digital wallet on top of all that that it was just going to be too compelling a value prop and so everybody every small seller in the world is just going to rely on Amazon for all those Services game over.
But.
There’s about 100 million Prime members and there’s about 240 million households in the US so there’s still an awful lot of households that do not have Prime.
And if you’re a Shopify Merchant and you want to sell something to any of those households that don’t have Prime.
You can offer Prime pay for the Prime members but you have to have an alternative 3pl to fulfill for the non Prime members.
So they really haven’t put any of the other 3pls out of business at all they’ve just stolen some of their volume.

Scot:
[18:49] Yeah yeah Anderson more more complexity.

Jason:
[18:53] Yeah yeah so it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out,
but it yeah shout out to our friend Joe a Marketplace poles they always have great content and,
he was the first one in the made me aware of some of these betas in the wild and he found the cat lady’s.com and I’m not going to ask how he he.

Scot:
[19:14] Put me there.

Jason:
[19:17] But Joe I’m a fan and props to you.

Scot:
[19:21] Your fan of Joe or the cat ladies are both.

Jason:
[19:23] Now both originally Joe but now I my my love has expanded to the cat ladies.

Scot:
[19:29] Do they really sell kitty litter.

Jason:
[19:31] I believe they do or at least like artificial grass.

Scot:
[19:35] Yeah that’s definitely in the crap category hey hey I’ll be here all night,
another thing that Amazon announced that I know you’re excited for because you’re actually moving so this is a great time to buy some cabling and some new mesh network key things they announced Prime Day this year it’s going to be July 12th and 13th
and then they promptly have started pushing the deals out like right now like just today and yesterday I’ve been getting flooded with emails that say,
they have a new brand for it and they call it early Amazon Prime Day deal exclusives so it feels feels a little desperate to be honest with you that you know they set up this big shopping holiday and now they’re kind of,
pushing the deals out with a before then I don’t know if they’re trying to juice Q2 or if there.
One school of thought is if we’re going into this recessionary period the more dollars you can grab out of that shrinking wallet due to inflation as well,
get them sooner versus later so maybe they had set this up before
things the macro deteriorated now they’re kind of like wow I wish we could set this earlier let’s go ahead and get some deals out I may be reading too much into that but I don’t ever remember them kind of they’ve always had you know.
Black Black Friday and January or early October kind of things holiday deals in early but I’ve never seen them,
push Prime day as hard and early as they are now.

Jason:
[21:00] Yeah I mean they always have had some pre-primed a deals like it’s not completely unheard of but I agree with you the volume seem significantly higher
and it’s funny that we still call it Prime day right because for a long time is over it went from like Prime day to Prime 18 hours to Prime two days and now it’s starting to feel like Prime month.
Um which is interesting I don’t know this comes into play,
there are some consumer surveys out there that show less interest in Prime day than years past right and you’re comping against a tough Prime day
in a very different economic environment
and so like it’s possible that there’s some concern like Amazon’s rate of growth has slowed and everything else it’s possible possible that there’s some concern,
that.
That you know Prime day won’t have the it’s for sure going to have a spike but that it won’t have the same spike it has in years past,
um and you know so they’re they’re trying to you know find ways to Goose it more I you know.
I don’t know I do think one of the interesting Dynamics there’s kind of like two opposite forces that happen on Prime day like secretly.
The stuff that sells best on Prime day are Amazon.

[22:20] But the penetration on those Amazon products you know continues to be higher so that that like.
The what the law of large numbers just means like.
You know not you can’t sell a smart speaker to as many people as you used to be able to do because everyone has a heck of a lot of smart speakers right and they’re they’re frankly getting so cheap that it’s not as big a win when they do sell one.
And so then the other half is this long tail in there like one of the problems there so many sellers on Amazon there so many Lightning Deals that like the signal-to-noise ratio in the,
the awareness of some particular good deal and the scarcity of a deal like all of those things that you would normally do that a normal you know brick and mortar retailer with you know constrain inventory,
would do for a sale like they just don’t work as well.
For this Marketplace model and so I do think it’s tricky to keep the hype and you know we’ve seen you know
Prime day was modeled after singles day we’ve definitely seen singles day lose some momentum still a big deal but rate of growth slowing significantly and reasonably that will see that at Prime Day to all that being said
the way to think about prime day is it’s it’s two days of sales in one day which is kind of a big deal.

Scot:
[23:38] Yeah
and then I thought this was interesting that Amazon announced that they’re going to use some of that data that we’ve been collecting in their stores that don’t have a check out the just walk out technology and they’re going to be selling some of that data to Brands so they can basically say to our brand
hey 800 consumers walked by your product three picked it up and put it back on the shelf and you know
of those three they read the ingredients and then they put it back on the shelf and and then presumably there are some action ability to that data what what do you think about that.

Jason:
[24:16] Yeah so I think it’s really interesting you know way before there was just walk out technology like we were starting to get some
some very early technology to give us some insight about how consumers behaved in stores right so you were starting to get some like,
smarter people measuring things that could do heat mapping and and you know we were getting these I could GI tracking technologies that we’d put on on a small subset of customers to kind of understand how they browse through a store,
because you know frankly for the last 100 years of Shopper marketing we mostly have been based on these like urban legends about how Shopper shop,
and not having a lot of data and then e-commerce comes along and suddenly you’ve got super granular data about how people pick products and what they glanced at and didn’t buy and what they added to their card and then check out and
what they you know added to their card and then took out of their car like all of this pre buying behavior that we get in e-commerce,
we’ve never really had in the store and you know the Technologies and the methodologies these match Panel test all these different studies we used to do we’re really sort of Kluge,
and so a lot of us have said hey one of the secret benefits of just walk out technology is that by accident,
it collects all of this really valuable consumer data about how people behave,
before they get to the cash register or before they consummate their purchase since they’re I guess there is no cash.

[25:41] Um and you know we’ve talked about that being a useful Advantage for Amazon and that they’re probably using it too,
um sort of inform how they design these new store Concepts,
and so now like so many other things than Amazon does they take this this.

[25:59] Like you know competitive advantage that they have and they turned it into a product and sell it to other people so now they’re selling those.
Those Shopper insights to cpgs and you know you’re a cpg trying to figure out how people decide to pick your cat litter versus someone else’s cat litter on the cat litter shelf in a retail store.
Um

[26:21] Kroger won’t tell you a lot about how they make that decision because Kroger doesn’t know but now you can get real data from Amazon about how they make that decision and Amazon and you can probably assume that there’s a similar path to purchase at Kroger so,
suddenly like Amazon becomes the market research firm for all of the Shopper marketing so I do think that’s super interesting,
um they’re not alone Walmart actually has a store that’s heavily instrumented like this that they watch first that’s called them,
the intelligent retail lab store that you know it’s kind of a it doesn’t have just walk out technology but it has thousands of cameras and sensors and they sell data from that store through their data licensing arm which is called illuminate if I’m remembering right.
And then you know Amazon launched a new product.

[27:09] Nine days ago on the 21st that I’m really excited about this called Amazon marketing stream and Amazon marketing stream is,
a much higher volume more granular api-based,
access to all of the marketplace shopping data so that’s you know data on traditional Amazon shopping that like,
previously was locked up or you could only get for your own brand or you could you know you can only get in Amazon premium services.
Now it gets plugged into pack view in all of these of these digital media tools you get all this real-time visibility to have people are making purchase decisions and then at the same time.
They’re rolling out this that same kind of data for how people are making purchase decisions in a brick-and-mortar store,
super long answer but I think this is kind of a big deal and I do think this is the future is kind of replacing,
like urban legends and opinions about how consumers behave with actual data about how they really are.

Scot:
[28:11] You do you think this stuff is kind of stand-alone or they’re going to build this is going to be kind of feeding into this ad Network because they seem to be really putting a lot of effort into Excel.

Jason:
[28:20] Yeah I do so I think there’s only so much so many brands that are so I’ll tell you who’s not in a position to buy that data is all the digital native startups that then cut a deal to get you know distribution through.
Right against the big cpg brands that can afford like have budgets to buy that data and then you know they have so much like institutional.
Impediments that then you know they all talk about how much wonder they are with that data but it’s really hard for them to act on that data and do anything different than they historically have.
And so I think the best way to make that data actionable is you know to filter that data into.
New audiences and new ad formats for retail media networks right so like I think there’s a natural.
Fit between those.
Those two products so I’m sure we’ll see more Integrations in that but I do think for really smart marketers and in particular the folks that are involved in customer experience design,
the the raw data is is super useful and and you know gives gives Brands a competitive advantage that are able to get it and take action on.

Scot:
[29:30] Cool did you so that’s where we are on Amazon any non Amazon news.

Jason:
[29:39] Yeah just a couple of things to keep our show in its it’s tidy timebox format we talked a lot about executive changes so in my mind there are two other huge executive changes,
in our industry this week.
There’s a guy that we’ve talked about on the show several times Bill ready who’s the in X PayPal guy in X PayPal mafia guy.
That red Commerce for the last couple of years at Google and he just announced that he’s leaving Google to become the new CEO at Pinterest so the,
the founder is stepping out of the CEO role at Pinterest and they’re bringing over Bill ready,
and to be honest that has the pundants whipped up into a lather because everyone’s like oh man Bill ready is a Commerce guy he was PayPal he was head of Commerce a Google Now the fact that the Pinterest is bringing a you know a dedicated Commerce guy in the lead the company,
it’s the most overt sign yet that you know Pinterest thinks it’s future is Commerce.

Scot:
[30:39] Yeah which I think it’s driven by the IDF a stuff don’t you.

Jason:
[30:44] Yeah yeah again harder to make a living on ads when you can’t show the efficacy of the ads quite as well and you can’t Target the ads quite as well and so it becomes much more appealing to say,
you know let’s monetize our Audience by selling stuff to our audience directly and also that you know gives you that first party data that then you know keeps you,
well immersed in the in the advertising business so I think for any of these.
Free hydrographic social media sites it’s a,
it’s a perfectly reasonable hypothesis to explore to say hey we got to figure out how to play really well at Commerce and make Commerce part of our core offering and certainly you know Pinterest is doing that they’ve talk forever about how,
how much higher buying intent that their users have then other other social networks Tick-Tock is leaning heavily into it snap is leaning heavily into it it’s a perfectly reasonable hypothesis,
the one unfortunate truth is nobody’s been particularly successful at it yet and.
Have they not been successful because they just haven’t gotten the execution right or is it because the consumer doesn’t really want that like I honestly think that’s an open question I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that Commerce can save all these social media networks I mean it’s worth trying,
but I think the jury’s going to be out and I will say the.

[32:10] The sort of part of this the bill ready transition that’s not talked about that I’m frankly more interested in is to me one of the companies that.
His best position to win a Commerce and is underperforming at Commerce the most is the company Bill ready as weaving its Google and you know,
bluntly like I don’t think Google has made a ton of Commerce progress over the over the last two years that bill ready has been there it’s going to be interesting like will Google replace him will they replace him with a,
Google Insider will they replace them with another Commerce person will that person have
some new ideas like you know will they be able to find a way to kind of Marshall some of the inherent assets Google has
and be better at Commerce oh my God I’d love to see Google lean into
in-store Commerce more and help solve search and you know all of these retail media Network opportunities for brick-and-mortar retailers like I feel like there’s a lot of untapped.
Opportunity there that I’ve been surprised to see Google not succeed at and so it’ll be like is this a new chance for Google to start anew.

Scot:
[33:20] Yeah and then you know it’s also interesting so if your Pinterest board and you’re like we need an e-commerce Guru the PayPal Mafia thing is good but that was quite a while ago and Google hasn’t.
Done a ton so I would be hiring somebody to Amazon expects you know it’ll be interesting to see what if.
Because there’s so many floating around what if some of them one of them ended up at Google that would be dug be kind of really interesting to see if Amazon has own Minion.

Jason:
[33:49] Especially when yeah if Flex Port can get a super senior SS team member.

Scot:
[33:53] Yeah why can’t Google yeah it’s kind of weird right,
yeah and then you know to watch someone that maybe had a chip on their shoulder that said hey I didn’t get a promotion I’m gonna
I’m going to you know use all these assets that Google has and bring them to bear I think the reason why is when these people interview at these bigger companies be at a meta a Google or whatnot.
You know there’s not a board sea level and board level focus on it you know 21 if you’re a Google.
The sacred cow is the add thing and if you
if you say something like you know what I want to divert 20% of traffic to this new thing then you know if you’re not going to do that so so startups from probably more attractive because they have more flexibility and they’re not stuck kind of in that innovators dilemma like some of the other
systems are.

Jason:
[34:50] Yeah think about that that’ll be my deep thought for today yeah so I think that one is super interesting I’m gonna continue to follow that closely one side note like Pinterest has previously hired a bunch of other,
I’ll call them like Commerce stars and like one that stands out to me is.
The chief technology officer from Walmart I moved to Pinterest Jeremy King and so I mean there’s you know this is not the first.
White indication that Commerce is an important Initiative for Pinterest so we’ll we’ll see how Bill does there I hope he does well so one other transition that I’m getting a lot of calls about these last couple days,
is Bed Bath & Beyond just had their quarterly their Q2 earnings report and it was atrocious,
so their same-store sales were down like 24 or 25 percent their e-commerce was down like 23%,
um and you know folks may remember like a year or two ago they forced out the.

[35:52] One of the founders is CEO and they brought in a turnaround CEO this guy Mark Triton and I talked a lot about Mark Triton he was like very credibly one of the architects of targets exclusive,
brand strategies and so he was,
the chief Merchant that helped launched a bunch of products at Target that were wildly successful and he left Target to become the CEO of this struggling retailer,
Bed Bath & Beyond shortly after they hired Mark Triton they got a new activists board member Ryan Cohen who bought a big chunk of.
Bed Bath & Beyond Ryan was one of the founders of chewy and made a bunch of his money there he was like a principal shareholder and on the board at GameStop during all the,
the craziness with Robin Hood and GameStop and Bone all that stuff and so,
like Ryan kind of inherited Mark as his turnaround CEO and simultaneous with these like very disappointing Q2 earnings,
they announced that Mark would be leaving and they appointed an interim CEO who’s a Sugo of who’s a,
already a board member at Bed Bath and Beyond and former CEO from like Goff Smith and several other retailers.
So

[37:20] What I have found interesting about all this it’s a really difficult situation but Bethenny on Xena in a tough situation.

[37:29] And they certainly aren’t performing very well and they have a lot of cooks there at the moment with with conflicting ideas about where to go but I have seen a lot of pundits kind of.
Like dancing on Mark Triton’s grave and talking about what a horrible higher this was and how stupid it was for Bed Bath and Beyond Beyond to go after this this.
Exclusive brand strategy that Mark was trying to execute and how like oh obviously this was doomed from the beginning and anyone could have seen this wasn’t going to work.
Um and kind of writing him off and personally I feel like that’s a little unfair like II.
Mark certainly turned out not to be the right CEO for the circumstances the Bed Bath & Beyond was in but I actually think that that,
you know Bed Bath & Beyond needs to invent a reason for people to go there and spoiler it’s not the 20% off coupon anymore,
um it’s not the treasure hunt anymore,
like you’re not going to win on assortment as a big box like against Amazon right and so one of the smart ways to win against Amazon is to sell stuff that people want that Amazon doesn’t have and if you can invent desirable products,
that’s a smart strategy and every big retailer in America is trying to execute that strategy and Mark like frankly has been better than most of executing that strategy I think.

[38:52] That strategy kind of sucks when you’re hemorrhaging your customer base people don’t have a reason to come to your store and then you,
execute the first wave of your private label products and they all get trapped on a boat off the coast of Long Beach and never make it to the store right and so I don’t know of in a different era if Mark strategy would have worked.
Ed Bed Bath & Beyond I don’t think it was an unsound strategy you know it just right you probably needed a CEO who’s a lot more focused on being good at supply chain and cost-cutting and was willing to make some hard decisions about.
Curating the store assortment and stuff like that to kind of cut costs.
Before you got around to launching these products and you know horrific timing that you tried to launch all these products like you do as a.
During a huge supply chain disruption so I don’t know what do you think you think it was a doom strategy.

Scot:
[39:47] I don’t think the externalities are hard to pick out you know so you go from a supply chain crisis into a inflation.
No stagnation spiral this is like a it’s a really rough rough rough hand that he was dealt for sure.

Jason:
[40:04] Yeah yeah so I don’t know I do think they’re a bunch of other retailers that really aspire to launch more products so I have a feeling that you’ll see Mark glance I’m somewhere pretty soon because I think he has a skill set that.
That will be in demand and then it does not appear they’re calling Sue an interim CEO I don’t think anyone thinks she’s the,
the future of Bed Bath & Beyond so I think they’re they are out there doing a CEO search it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of person,
what you know will step up to that challenge right now.

Scot:
[40:33] While you were talking about it kind of the crazy idea popped in my head you know these these Amazon FBA acquisition vehicles have all seemed to hit the skids pretty hard thrashy oh and what not,
yeah there’s a there’s a path where maybe they buy one of those if you wanted to like parachute in 500 private label Brands to try and restore that,
that’s one acquisition path that you can take to become interesting I don’t know if you know if that makes any sense for the categories or whatnot but that would be an interesting,
way to solve that problem with an acquisition.

Jason:
[41:09] Yeah no I do think there’s something there and I think just the.
You know I’m not sure you want to hire a traditional product Centric Merchant driven CEO.
You know for a traditional product Centric company you know that’s kind of losing its way right like you probably need some complementary skills they add something new to the mix and you’re right like there’s kind of a big remix going on in the world right now there’s a bunch of
digital Talent from you know the Amazons and Google’s of the world this spinning off there’s a bunch of digital Talent from all these,
kind of startup ecosystems that you know we’re we’re playing in the Amazon Echo System and now we’re less appealing and in the the you don’t have to be a roll ups are a perfect example of all those,
you know I think a bunch of those guys you know and and women will probably find,
their next career opportunities taking what they know and taking it to a different kind of business than kind of just recreating what they’ve been doing.

Scot:
[42:10] Totally agree we will see.

Jason:
[42:12] In e-commerce guy solving Carwash for the world or.

Scot:
[42:15] Crazy crazy talk you do cat litter I’ll do car washes.

Jason:
[42:20] That sounds like a great plan and that sounds like a great place to leave it because it’s happened again we’ve used up all our allotted time,
but as I always have
you found the show helpful or it was entertaining to scream at how wrong we were into your podcasting client then you could reward us for that entertainment by jumping on iTunes and leaving us that five star review.

Scot:
[42:44] Thanks everybody and until next time.

Jason:
[42:48] Happy commercing.

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