Here’s an interesting article by Ben Benoy, one of Dent Research’s portfolio advisors.

“Thanksgiving is officially in our rearview mirror, and all I have to show for it is about five more pounds on the scale and a new belt loop going in the wrong direction.

“I always tell myself before the fourth Thursday of November that I’m going easy on loading up the plate.  But the sight of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole quickly drains out all the discipline the Marines has beaten into me over the years, as much as any enemy could.

“Retailers are smart.  They waste no time.  The very next day, on Black Friday, and then Cyber Monday, they cash in on your post-Thanksgiving lack of self-control (and the dinner-table reminder from the day before that you need to buy holiday gifts for your family), with once-in-a-year door-buster deals.

“Adobe’s digital marketing research group estimated that consumers spent $3.34 billion this Black Friday, which is a year-over-year 21.6% growth.

“What’s startling, though, is online mobile sales accounted for $1.2 billion of that total.  That’s a 33% increase from the year before!

“About 40% of all Black Friday sales were done via a smartphone or tablet. In fact, this Black Friday was the first day in U.S. retail history to earn more than $1 billion in mobile sales.  How far we’ve come in just 10 years…

“And this trend isn’t slowing down at all.

“So much for burning off that turkey gut by fighting off fellow shoppers in the electronics section of your local retailer.  Seems our thumbs get most of the workout now – scrolling through websites furiously to punch in credit card information.

“I can’t help but think: Are we shopping smarter or just getting lazy?

“It’s a combination of both.  Technology has made us more efficient, but make no mistake, we’re downright lazy, too.  Retailers, including companies like Amazon, are betting on it.

“The company known mostly as a giant online marketplace – where you can get anything – is hoping to take advantage of our inner laziness, and get some more traffic to its site, by encouraging you to buy an Amazon Dash.

“This little gem of modern engineering has one job only… to let you order more of your favorite products with a touch of a button, no matter where you are.

“That’s right, the Dash is a one-button device that sticks to just about any surface and connects to Wi-Fi.  Whenever you’re out of, or are getting close to running out of, a specific household item such as coffee or laundry detergent, press the button and Dash automatically places a refill order through Amazon.

“You then get an order form on your phone to confirm the order.  Good thing too, otherwise your small children could order up several hundred boxes of coffee in the mail. Imagine your surprise when you open that box!

“It gets better.  If you want to add some artificial intelligence to your car, look no further than the Dashbot, only this one isn’t an Amazon product.

“This electronic wonder is reminiscent of the red light display and interactive voice control for Kit, the talking car from the 80’s television show Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff.  (I loved that show!  My ring tone, for probably a year, was the Knight Rider theme song.  Turns out the show was way ahead of its time with the technology, too.)

“The Dashbot plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car and connects to your phone via Bluetooth. For just $49 you can suddenly interact with your phone hands-free, so you can stay focused on the road and the maniacs all around you.

“The coolest part of the Dashbot is that it leverages open-source code so the geeks out there can constantly customize its functions.  That means it’s always evolving.

“And, if you or your kid learns just enough of the Linux programming language, you too can hack this device for fun custom functions.  Hopefully ones that don’t make you too lazy! After all, there’s that turkey-gut that needs some attending to and the best way to do that is to actually get off the sofa.

“These devices are just the start of a new tech revolution that’s changing our world, right before our eyes.  Stay frosty, and keep your kids away from the Dash!”

How many more retailers will follow this path?


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