Weekly Industry Brief: 5.26.2015

Hope everyone in the US enjoyed a long weekend! Below is a recap of industry highlights over the last week.  Sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after the headline.

Brand/Retailer:

  • FAO Schwarz’s Manhattan store to close in July as rents rise. Link
  • Target to focus on fresh, healthy foods. Link
  • Etsy plunges 13% after reporting its first-quarter financial performance. Link
  • WordPress sets its sights on ecommerce. Link
  • Net-a-porter is still in the red but losing a lot less money. Link
  • eBay preps Amazon Prime competitor. Link
  • Kate Spade partners with startup Everpurse to sell iPhone-charging bags. Link
  • Amazon Prime Now adds local stores in Manhattan. Link
  • Gap’s brand revival may take a few more seasons. Link
  • Fast fashion has completely disrupted apparel retail. Link
  • Retailers digitize the fitting room experience. Link
  • Kohl’s to open off-price outlet. Link
  • Target goes upscale. Link
  • American Eagle launching new clothing brand to lure back teens. Link
  • Anthropologie’s dresses miss tests loyalty. Link
  • H&M to open biggest store yet in Herald Square. Link
  • Marissa Webb’s first designs for Banana Republic aren’t hitting the mark with shoppers. Link
  • Gap meets estimates as Old Navy helps prop up retailer. Link
  • Ann Inc. tops 1Q profit forecasts. Link

Marketing/Social:

  • Google adds tweets to mobile search results. Link
  • Pinterest unveils its first video-like ad and new ad pricing models. Link
  • Spotify launches video streaming. Link
  • Mondelez bets big on ecommerce with shoppable ads and ‘buy now’ buttons. Link
  • Bitly launches audience intel to give marketers more data on how content is shared. Link
  • Google’s mobile buy button is an Instant Articles for retailers. Link
  • Google wants YouTube viewers to shop while they watch. Link
  • Pinterest bolsters ads with cinematic pins. Link
  • Instagram’s cool questioned as it starts emailing users with ‘highlights.’ Link

Start-ups:

  • Flipkart is valued at $15B after latest funding. Link
  • Booze on-demand service Drizly lands $13M to expand. Link
  • Izberg marketplace turns any website into an ecommerce marketplace. Link
  • Mode Media (formerly Glam Media) raises $30M for lifestyle media publishing platform. Link
  • 6Tribes is a social networking app that wants to make tribes of ‘foodies’ and ‘coffee geeks.’ Link

International:

  • Singapore’s postal service reinvents itself for the digital age. Link
  • Expedia sells majority stake in Chinese partner eLong for $671M. Link
  • eBay plots European growth with click-and-collect expansion. Link
  • China cuts import tax on clothes and other goods. Link
  • Alibaba’s latest gambit in fighting fakes: foster local brands. Link

Mobile/Emerging Tech:

  • Messaging app Line is testing a music streaming service. Link
  • PayPal’s instant checkout now works with bigcommerce, no longer requires app. Link
  • Target will roll out RFID price tags to improve inventory management. Link
  • Fetch offers AI-powered Apple Watch app. Link
  • Apple’s new streaming service might cause delay in Apple TV launch. Link
  • Montblanc to Apple: Our Swiss smartwatch will outlast yours. Link

Misc.:

  • Conde Nast launches fellowship program in the wake of internships. Link
  • Disney’s research lab figures out how to put words in your mouth. Link
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Weekly Industry Brief: 5.18.2015

Happy Monday! Below is a recap of industry news from the last week. Sources can be found in the hyperlinked text after the headline.

Brand/Retailer:

  • Balmain is next H&M collaboration. Link
  • Exchange rates took a toll on Gap’s Q1 results. Link
  • H&M readies new beauty line. Link
  • Nordstrom outlet stores fuel growth. Link
  • Opening Ceremony signs footwear license with Aldo product services. Link
  • Net-a-porter takes on Neiman, Nordstrom and Sakes with new app. Link
  • WalMart to test an unlimited three-day shipping service that’s half the price of Amazon Prime. Link
  • Macy’s embraces a “digical” world. Link
  • Verizon to buy AOL for $4.4B. Link
  • Amazon is working with indie merchants to expand Prime inventory. Link
  • JetBlue upgrades Amazon Prime members. Link
  • Why Nordstrom is the Amazon of department stores. Link
  • Macy’s adding a touch of luxury to its platinum stores. Link
  • Old Navy thrives after a style-conscious rebirth. Link

Marketing/Social:

  • Apple may include social network for stars in its new streaming music service. Link
  • Twitter seeks path to more video bingers. Link
  • With Facebook’s instant articles, publishers may find 70 cents is better than a dollar. Link
  • Pinterest survey finds service influences purchasing decisions. Link
  • Facebook tests search engine to share links. Link
  • Taylor Swift nabs Twitter’s first celebrity custom emoji. Link
  • Lonely Planet will launch its first U.S. magazine as interest in international travel grows. Link

Start-ups:

  • Meet MikMak, the shopping app aiming to be QVC for millennials. Link
  • Decorist raises $4.5M to bring customers affordable design advice and room makeovers. Link
  • Tango offers shopping on its messaging service. Link
  • Former Lucky editor gets into tech scene with shopping app. Link
  • Carl Ichan takes $100M stake in Lyft. Link

International:

  • Apple bullish on Apple Pay in China amid talks with Alibaba. Link
  • Walmart taps Alipay to bring mobile payments to 25 China stores. Link
  • Sephora picks JD.com for China online store. Link
  • India’s largest online fashion portal Myntra goes mobile-only. Link
  • Zalora is using a pop-up shop to grow in Hong Kong. Link
  • No end in sight for Alibaba’s counterfeit problem. Link
  • Ikea to test new, smaller retail concept at new store in Ontario. Link
  • Kijiji, a flop in the U.S., rules online classifieds in Canada. Link
  • UK online fashion retailer Farfetch snaps up London’s Browns. Link

Mobile/Emerging Tech:

  • Apple buys GPS firm Coherent Navigation. Link
  • Marriott launches Concierge App, letting guests text in any request, anytime. Link
  • North Face uses virtual reality in stores. Link
  • Swatch to sell low-price watch with mobile payment functions. Link
  • Mobile shopping app Wish raised $500M at $3B valuation. Link
  • Google reportedly will add buy buttons to its mobile search results. Link
  • Amazon Echo finally lets you shop with just your voice (sort of). Link
  • Smartwatches are expected to fuel ads on wearables. Link
  • Google’s self-driving cars hit the road this summer. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 5.11.2015

Happy Monday! Below is a recap of industry news over the last week. Sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after the headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Net-a-porter creates social network for mobile luxury shopping. Link
  • Zulily shares tumble 17% after lowering sales outlook for the year. Link
  • Kohl’s adds store pick up service for online orders. Link
  • Target, Wal-Mart race to construct fulfillment centers for ecommerce business. Link
  • Joe Fresh to be pulled from JC Penny stores in 2016. Link
  • H&M to open its largest store ever in NYC. Link
  • Luxe meets ‘athleisure’ in techie cashmere. Link
  • WalMart focuses on creating pickup points for goods ordered online. Link
  • Bonobos founder steps down as CEO. Link
  • Converse and Comme Des Garcons release latest sneaker collaboration. Link
  • Amazon delivery drones could find you wherever you are. Link
  • Urban Outfitters set for good times as company moves forward with right strategies. Link
  • Forever 21 coming back to downtown Brooklyn. Link
  • Why athletic brands may be the greenest fashion sector. Link
  • Apple expands renewable energy goal. Link
  • Pitney-Bowes to acquire Borderfree. Link
  • In the race to digitize, Nordstrom and Macy’s are neck-and-neck. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • This simple Instagram hack landed Z Gallerie a lot more print catalog subscribers. Link
  • Twitter gives control of its marketing department to CFO. Link
  • Google rolls out new ads as mobile searches top PCs in 10 countries. Link
  • IBM partners with Facebook to launch personalized ads for brands. Link
  • Facebook opens Internet.org to all developers in response to net neutrality concerns. Link
  • Google integrates food ordering into search results for restaurants. Link
  • Google pushes advertisers to smaller screens. Link
  • Google steps up local search competition. Link
  • Only half of online video ads are viewable, Google says. Link
  • Bloomingdale’s explores influencer closets to inspire envy. Link
  • Pinterest opens door to app developers, expects new recipe, wedding, travel tools. Link

Start-ups:

  • Former Apple Retail boss unwraps new web startup ‘Enjoy.’ Link
  • Mattress startup Casper plans to open pop-up stores in San Francisco, Austin and DC. Link
  • FitBit files for $100M IPO. Link
  • Lending startup Affirm raises $275M. Link
  • Amazon’s prices are often undercut by upstart Jet.com. Link
  • Fashion startups bypass department stores to reach consumers. Link
  • Former Kiva.org CEO brings new ‘Branchless Bank’ app to Kenya. Link
  • Baby registry site Cricket’s Circle selects $2.25M seed round. Link
  • How Uber’s valuation went from $60M in 2011 to a rumored $50B this month. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • Alibaba boosts its stake in online retailer Zulily. Link
    • China’s middle class: the savior for Coach’s flagging sales. Link
    • JD.com grows to 105M active shoppers. Link
    • Yahoo Hong Kong strengthens ecommerce push. Link
  • [EU]
    • Tom’s debuts London outpost, second European store. Link
    • Ralph Lauren launching luxe concept in Milan. Link
  • [CA]
    • First three Saks off Fifth stores opening in Ontario next spring. Link
    • WalMart to buy 13 Target stores in Canada. Link
  • [A/ME]
    • Ace to add two home improvement stores in Dubai. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • On-demand beauty apps expand their offerings as competition heats up. Link
  • What retail apps are trying to achieve on the Apple Watch. Link
  • 15 wild new ideas in virtual reality. Link
  • Merchants leverage beacons to pay for parking and drive store traffic. Link
  • Secret to shut down. Link
  • App Annie acquires Mobidia to expand to 60 countries by year’s end. Link
  • Walgreens uses mobile apps to solve in-store headaches. Link

Other:

  • Whole Foods plans stores geared toward millennials. Link
  • How we’ll shop in 2020. Link
  • How 3D printing is saving the Italian artisan. Link
  • Comcast to pay customers $20 if technicians are late as part of customer service revamp. Link

Weekly Industry Brief: 5.4.2015

Happy Monday! I was running a race in Big Sur last week, so apologies for the silence. Below is a recap of industry news over the last couple of weeks.  Sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after the headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Nordstrom tests curbside pickups for online orders. Link
  • Amazon tests package delivery to cars. Link
  • PayPal tops eBay’s marketplace in sales for the first time. Link
  • Adidas to use marine plastic waste in products from 2016. Link
  • LVMH launches new visually dynamic site design. Link
  • Kenzo revamps website. Link
  • Goodbye 50% off: deep discounts are ending. Link
  • Uber is quietly testing a massive merchant delivery program. Link
    • Uber reportedly planning merchant-delivery service with Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and other brands. Link
  • 8 ways buying luxury will change. Link
  • Amazon web services is a $5B business and it’s growing 50% a year. Link
  • Warby Parker valued at $1.2B. Link
  • Amazon expands business-sales marketplace after three years. Link
  • Amazon shares soar to all-time high on cloud surprise. Link
  • Google’s revenue hurt by rising dollar. Link
  • Lowe’s lets consumers run wild with 3D printing. Link
  • Retail’s new reality: invisible shopping centers and virtual assistants. Link
  • Yoox and Net-a-porter merger may move more luxury online. Link
  • Porter launches men’s athletic wear. Link
  • Concept shop Story to tell Dress Barn’s tale. Link
  • Why Nike and Under Armour are spending wildly to watch your every step. Link
  • Nordstrom invests in turning flagships into destinations. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Facebook’s newsfeed tweak could add another ding to mobile site traffic. Link
  • Facebook Messenger accounts for 10% of global mobile VoIP. Link
  • Eva Chen exits Lucky. Link
  • Buzzfeed doesn’t care where you watch its videos. Link
  • Pinterest opens up to brands with new ways to plan posts and buy ads. Link
  • Facebook is courting small businesses again. Link
  • Refinery 29 raises $50M. Link
  • Facebook adds video calling to Messenger mobile app. Link
  • The rise of emoji on Instagram is causing language repercussions. Link
  • The new boys’ club: Retailer Instagram accounts targeting men. Link
  • Hulu wants brands to make commercials with Hulu to run on Hulu. Link
  • The latest fashion, trending on Google. Link
  • Linkedin follows Twitter, shocks social media investors. Link
  • Meerkat for iOS now lets you publish livestreams to Facebook and links to your phone contacts. Link

Start-ups:

  • First look at Uber’s co-founder’s shopping concierge “Operator”. Link
  • Beacon marketer Swirl raises $18M in funding. Link
  • Online fashion mall Lyst raises a fashionable $40M. Link
  • Loop commerce raises $16M to make gifts more personal. Link
  • Chipotle signs deal with food delivery start-up Postmates. Link
  • Rocket Internet cuts stakes in lending sites. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • WalMart to expand China store network by nearly a third after growth stalls. Link
    • China’s middle class propels Apple’s iPhone sales. Link
    • Japanese clothing store sports robot greeter. Link
    • Rakuten takes stake in Chinese online discount provider Fanli. Link
  • [EU]
    • Amazon hikes free delivery minimum spend to £20. Link
  • [CA]
    • Target returns, auctions off leases on most Canadian properties. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Apple Pay to hit Best Buy stores in 2015. Link
  • Anonymous sharing app Secret shuts down. Link
  • An example of how shopping could work on the Apple Watch. Link
  • The Apple Watch can now tell you all about your local Apple Store. Link
  • Apple is testing analytics for the app store. Link
  • Android phones can now launch some apps on voice command. Link
  • Luxottica working on new version of Google Glass. Link
  • McDonald’s beacon strategy pushes in-store conversion rate to 20%. Link
  • Adidas-Spotify mobile app partnership helps music listen to runners. Link
  • Pinterest now wants developers to build apps based on all its data. Link

Other:

  • Amazon launches travel service in three major cities. Link