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The Study

Linear Commerce

For the brands that are most suited to the modern economy: media and commerce operations become one. This is the efficient path for sustained growth, retention, and profitability.

BRIEF

Linear Commerce, 1889

To generate demand for tires, Michelin increased the desire to travel by automobile: a media guide to various destinations. It’s the original case study in linear commerce. The lines of demarcation between media and commerce aren’t fading. It’s always been this way.

MEMO

Content Fortresses

Apple’s privacy move may have intended to impair tech rivals but it will have net positive effects for them. As more pursue first-party data, audience development will become one of the most coveted skills on the market.

BRIEF

The TCG Timeline

Most conventional media groups still believe that reach matters more than depth. By acquiring majority stakes in niche brands, The Chernin Group has created the digital map of what it takes for brands to succeed in a fragmenting market. It's linear commerce 2.0.

MEMO

On DTC, Audience, and Distribution

A practical inside look at how ButcherBox became the first DTC brand use Instacart's third-party marketplace, and 2PM's small role as a growth partner.

MEMO

The Netflix Playbook

Why the Shopify partnership is an indication that the streaming giant is moving towards longer-term physical events. And eventually — an amusement park.

BRIEF

A Digital Supply Chain

There’s a new way to view a brand’s investment in media operations. Every brand should have a digital supply chain or a set of components that, when properly constructed, equip a retail business with an important class of end products: content, first-party data, digital products, and community. There’s a small minority of brands that have a venture-backed war chest or a Kardashian-Jenner sister atop the sales funnel. For those few, conversion rate optimization is the game by improving the landing page, shorting image load times, A/B testing, tuning headless commerce modules, and properly capturing social proof through on-site user generated content (UGC).

Metaverse and Web3

The digital-first future is upon us, agglomeration means new forms of community, commerce, and asset management.

eCommerce as Infrastructure

In the 20th century, we had interstate highways and air travel. Today, we have the eCommerce infrastructure.

BRIEF

The Connected Mall Thesis

A thesis of the mall as a RetailOS: marketplace tech, a region-wide network, and last-mile support.

MEMO

The Digital Electorate

We are beginning to see the early signs of a shifting electorate that will be influenced by digital real estate more than its physical counterpart. Where we live follows our virtual loyalties and not our physical ones.

MEMO

On J-Curves and Agglomeration

Raising USPS prices to combat Amazon's growing influence is no different than digging up paved roads before a period of heightened freight transit.

MEMO

The Ballad of Victor Gruen

If the Austrian philosopher had prevailed in 1954, retail wouldn’t be failing, eCommerce would have remained an afterthought, and urban neighborhoods might have been more integrated.

BRIEF

The Digitally-Native Union

Anchor stores are no longer, the modern brands have the anchor leverage.

BRIEF

The Opendoor Policy

For equity and fairness in the housing market, there's a precedent: The early Sears catalogue helped black Americans shop without discrimination.

BRIEF

Out of Stock

In 2020, retailers coped with the disruption of social distancing initiatives and closures enacted by state and county governments. The pandemic caused reactions that were entirely predictable. It’s the lengths of its first- and second-order effects that we are tasked with managing today. Companies are once again delaying their returns to the office. The “great resignation” has persisted as one of the most damaging responses to the retail economy. Shipping ports are clogged, factories are no longer at capacity, containers are more costly than ever, and each store has differing ways of managing the spread of the pandemic. As a result, inflation has unsettled a republic, and the cost of goods is outpacing the buying power of the typical American.

Consumer Economics

There are second and third-order effects when our way of living and work begin to evolve our existence.

Polymathic Thinking

We are now living in a new age of enlightenment. We have an overload of content, information, and ideas but few formats in which we can harness them for future use. This is especially relevant for today’s creators, entrepreneurs, and technologists.