Coinstar has partnered with Threadless, the crowdsourced Tshirt company to test out kiosks containing their stylish products. It’s an interesting move and exciting to see from a company whose major claim to fame in the past was collecting the money you found in your couch cushions. It’s a good reminder that “ecommerce” doesn’t have to occur on a website like Amazon.com.
Ecommerce currently makes up between 5-10% of retail spending, but I wonder if we are in a transitional phase much like when early cars looked like horse carriages? Current ecommerce websites are essentially better versions of catalogs, but a new crop of companies and experiments hint at the future. Square, Tesco’s QR/subway experiment, Apple’s self check out, and other innovations suggest a future where ecommerce is more of a “Bricks & Clicks” or “Clicks & Mortar” experience.
Retail is going to shrink and proliferate. Coinstar is also the company behind RedBox (Netflix’s retail competitor). Blockbuster was once the undisputed king of the video rental industry but was squeezed by Netflix on the digital side and Redbox at retail. If your product doesn’t need to be touched or demonstrated and it is relatively small, your retail footprint is going to shrink dramatically. This is bad for retail clerks, but exciting for entrepreneurs because it could become easier to sell products in places that you couldn’t previously.
On a completely unrelated note, this is a presentation I made unmasking the secrets of winning a Threadless design competition.