Every year, I look forward to the Retail Dive Awards. This year, Corinne Ruff put together some great categories that sparked a lot of water cooler talk among the Pluris team. While all the categories are discussion-worthy (you can see them here), a few really stood out.
Company of the Year
Thinking about the Company of the Year, Tesla immediately comes to mind. They’ve disrupted the world and are really making people think the future is here, today. With their battery system, they’re thinking about power in a different way, which could completely change the power grid.
Storing power at the point of use is next-level thinking, past the existing “back into the grid” functions of wind and solar. They’re not only solving the demand issue, but also the generation issue – with added benefits like support during a power outage or the opportunity to “gift” or donate your surplus to another household in need. And like LED lights, commercial applications are leading the way with several box store chains using batteries today to reduce expensive power demands. I recall a WSJ article citing savings up to $6,000 per year for J.C. Penney locations, and that stands to grow.
What does this mean for the future? The U.S. power structure is antiquated. Aside from the shift in power grid, this system also drives consumers to be more conscious of power consumption. It’s measurable, so understanding waste is really transparent. And while the data can heighten our awareness of consumption, the technology will empower us to act on that. There’s an app for that, right?
Most Promising Startup
This is a tough one because there are a lot of folks doing great work. Thinking about utility, Leesa Sleep comes to mind. The online luxury mattress company ships mattresses directly to the consumer. No more tying a sail to the top of your car and hoping for the best as you plug down the highway? Yes, please. These guys are going to give brick-and-mortars a run for their money.
Playbuzz is another “mature startup” (a few years old now) that has delivered a simple feature with a large impact. Being able to create quizzes, lists, and polls and embed them on your website seems pretty basic, but their adoption rate speaks for itself. People dig it.
Most Intriguing Investment
Despite all the rumors that millennials are abandoning Facebook, we have to admit they’re a fascinating organization to watch. Their investments in chat platforms and virtual reality headsets means they’re still working to bring together experience and chat, continuing to push the definition of “social” out just a little farther. Whether they’ll be successful with this latest endeavor remains to be seen, but the acquisitions are a smart next step and their ability to switch platforms to the “craze of the month” means opportunity for more startups – something that is not lost on what my nephew calls the “outdated FB social platform”.
I cast my votes for the obsessions, controversies and disappointments of the year but what I love about this survey is the opportunity to really take a closer look at who’s doing what really well. Technology is ever-developing and there are some really smart people at the helm of new ideas. It is certainly an interesting time to be a marketer – and a consumer.