He-Man is in the Cloud ⚔️

I recently bought a t-shirt online. Printed on the shirt is a hilarious mash-up of a cartoon from the 80s (He-Man) and a modern-day meme (“do you even lift?”). The inspiration came from hearing the phrase in a podcast I was listening to and seeing that image show up in the search results from Google:

My awesome t-shirt slated to arrive this week

I now have an awesome t-shirt coming in the mail, driven by the casual mention of a phrase in media I consume for entertainment.

Nothing to see here

On some level, there’s nothing to see here. People have been buying things online for a long time, but it’s all a matter of scale. Back in 2014, e-commerce in the United States was $294B, and Forrester was predicting strong annual growth of 9.5%. Looking back, this seems almost quaint. From 2014 to 2019, retail e-commerce in the USA grew on average over 15% year-over-year — until 2020 when it grew by 30% to 44%, depending on the source:

Who’s winning?

One of the most shocking — and yet intuitive — aspects of the retail e-commerce story is who is winning. Amazon is running away with over 38% of the total market. That’s almost x2 all of the other top 10 e-retailers combined:

On a personal note, I am someone who has fallen into an Amazon buying pattern. In decking out my new office, I’ve almost exclusively relied on Amazon and at home, we receive multiple shipments from Amazon every week.

Back to the Cloud

The strategies that successful e-retailers are employing are almost exclusively Cloud enabled. Yes, Amazon has massive fulfillment centers, but the reason we buy from them is that they have made the online purchasing (and return) experience so darn easy. The place I bought my t-shirt, Redbubble, creates their products based on art submitted by users and produces them on an as-needed basis. Honestly, how many people out there would wear a He-Man meme t-shirt? I’d like to think I’m not alone here, but it can’t be a huge market. And if He-Man isn’t your thing, you could always buy a She-Ra tank top…

Companies succeeding in digital today are getting it right by doing three things:

  1. Optimizing for client experience
  2. Capitalizing on a few searches for many things
  3. Leveraging the efficiency & scale of the Cloud

Many, many companies and brands are missing the boat here. Plenty of opportunities exist not only in e-retail, but in monetizing digital products and experiences. In addition to my online good purchases, I’ve noticed my buying habits have started to include more and more online subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc), purely digital goods (audio and digital books), and even recurring donations to creators whose work I enjoy (Patreon, Twitch Subscriptions, etc).



CEO/President of @metaltoad. Passionate about creating job opportunities in the tech industry.

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Joaquin Lippincott

CEO/President of @metaltoad. Passionate about creating job opportunities in the tech industry.