Two Decades of Disruptors

In honor of our 20th Anniversary, we wanted to take a look back at the last two decades. What has developed? What has not changed? Here are some of the disruptors that have forever impacted retail:

1998: The launch of Google. For the first time, you could search for products and brands online. “Googling” became a verb – and searching for competition became the norm.

1999: Jeff Bezos is named Time’s “Person of the Year.” This year, retail sales went up 8.9% to $3T – the largest annual increase in retail sales in 15 years.

2001: E-commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace with a recorded $700B worth of transactions due to the popularity of Amazon, eBay, PayPal and consumers’ interest in the capabilities of the internet.

2002: Wayfair paves the the way for online furniture shopping. It excels in product diversity, customer retention, vast delivery options and overall customer experience.

2004: Facebook launches. By 2007, the platform had 50M users; 500M users in 2010 and 2.2B users in 2017. Today, Facebook can widen your reach with its tools, increase brand awareness and generate revenue, post content (original or not), offer special discounts, and host contests.

2005: YouTube gains speed. Today, the average American adult spends 81 minutes per day watching digital videos. This year, the company’s net advertising revenues are projected to reach almost $4B USD – up 77% from 2015.

2005: AmazonPrime makes its debut. Shipping expectations & costs are changed forever.

2007: Brands like Bonobos offer the “showroom” shopping experience. These strategic “guideshops” have steadily impacted shopping habits.

2007: The first iPhone launched. Today, approximately 68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy today.  

2010: Instagram takes off. The social media platform is projected to top 100M American users this year. It has revolutionized the shopping experience along with Facebook.

2012: Continuity is reinvented with brands’ diversity of subscription services like Blue Apron, Fresh Direct, Stitch Fix and Harry’s.

2013: Brands sell single products – and do well. Companies such as Casper, Bombas and All Birds, began selling only one product and experienced success.

2014: The Apple Watch is introduced. This is just another instance where marketers needed to adjust their tactics to account for the new ways that consumers are engaging with retail.

2016: Drones enter the retail landscape. Today, they are impacting the marketing industry in a variety of ways from flying billboards to delivery services (i.e. Amazon PrimeAir).

2017: The Echo Dot becomes the top selling product on Amazon on the heels of the Amazon Alexa being introduced just three years before. Voice-activated technology moves the needle in terms of marketing strategies and innovation.

2018: It all comes full-circle as e-commerce brands are opening up brick-and-mortar stores (i.e. AmazonGo with its new cash-less store).

Without these disruptors, retail would be entirely different today. We are excited to get more in depth with this at the 7th Annual Marketing Summit next week. Our President, Donna Belardi, will lead the discussion, so bring your most profound insights!


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