Weekly Industry Brief: 11.26.2018

This is my first Cyber Monday away from brand-side commerce in many years. I hope you are all swimming in positive (profitable) comps! In the meantime, you can checkout headlines from the last week here.  Sources are in the hyperlinked text.

Brands and Retailers

  • Walmart passes Apple to become No. 3 online retailer in the U.S. TechCrunch
  • Black Friday is now retail’s digital stress test.  Bloomberg
  • Black Friday sales were the best they have been in years – but companies lost out because they weren’t ready for success.  Business Insider
  • Amazon, Apple and Facebook once led the market. Now they are driving it down.  The New York Times 
  • Victoria’s Secret is bringing back swimwear after abandoning it nearly 3 years ago.  Business Insider
  • Amazon reports customer data snafu as holiday shopping heats up.  AdAge
  • Thanksgiving online spend hits a record $3,7B, mobile accounted for one-third of sales.  TechCrunch
  • Kohl’s cracks the retail code.  Fortune
  • A new wave of beauty brands are catering to the post-Glossier customer.  Fashionista
  • Former Toys ‘R’ Us employees get a long overdue severance payout.  Fast Company 
  • Columbia Sportswear says the president’s new wave of levies will not bring jobs back to the US.  The New York Times
  • Walmart, J.Crew, Lululemon: Retailers’ websites struggle to handle the Black Friday bonanza.  Fortune
  • Neiman Marcus is exploring options that include a sale.  StocksBeat
  • The new trend in luxury retail? Not selling anything.  Fashionista
  • Gap considers closing hundreds of stores with urgency.  Fortune
  • Walmart is finding ways to be nimble and thinking like a startup.  AdWeek
  • Ikea to slash thousands of jobs in restructuring.  The Wall Street Journal
  • GM plans to cut 14,000 jobs, close factories as downturn looms.  TechCrunch
  • Amazon exec tapped to lead Airbnb to the public market.  TechCrunch
  • US Postal Service exposed data of 60 million users.  TechCrunch

Marketing and Social Media

  • LinkedIn violated data protection by using 18M email addresses of non-members to buy targeted ads on Facebook.  TechCrunch
  • Cards Against Humanity sold diamond and TVs for 99% off on Black Friday.  TechCrunch
  • Why holiday windows still matter.  The New York Times 
  • Ticketmaster and Fanatics link up to sell march and tickets on each others’ platforms.  TechCrunch
  • Instagram is purging fake followers from the app.  Fortune
  • Apple’s gorgeously detailed holiday ad has a moral that all creatives should take to heart.  AdWeek
  • Coca-Cola wiped its social media accounts and relaunched with a positive, happy new look.  AdWeek
  • Facebook Watch pivots to an older audience.  CNBC

Startup + Emerging Tech + Acquisitions

  • Google Home Hub is a makeup how-to machine for your vanity.  Fast Company
  • For retailers and brands, sustainability needs good tech.  Forbes
  • Neo banks are finally having their moment.  The New York Times
  • Amazon aims to put digital wallet in brick-and-mortar stores.  The Wall Street Journal


  • Alibaba vs. Amazon reveals China’s digital commerce edge.  AdAge
  • Dolce & Gabbana in China storm over videos seen as racist.  AdAge
  • How Farfetch leverages its WeChat strategy.  Jing Daily
  • Lowe’s to exit Mexico retail business.  The Wall Street Journal

Weekly Industry Brief 11.19.2019

Happy Thanksgiving week slash one-week-til-Cyber-Monday! This year marks my first year in many years that I won’t be on the phone every other hour for war room check-ins over the holiday weekend.  Wishing everyone positive comps and no website crashes!

In the meantime, do a quick skim of the industry news from the last week here. Sources are in the hyperlinked text after the headline.

Brands + Retailers

  • Walmart passes Apple to become No. 3 online retailer in U.S. TechCrunch 
  • Levi’s plans IPO that values the company at up to $5B.  CNBC
  • Ticketmaster and Fanatics link up to sell march and tickets on each others’ platforms.  TechCrunch
  • J.Crew CEO steps down.  Fast Company
  • Get ready for the first-ever trillion-dollar shopping season.  Fast Company
  • Netflix is testing a mobile-only subscription to make its service more affordable.  TechCrunch
  • Rent more than the runway: why soon you won’t own any clothes at all.  Fast Company 
  • Why JP Morgan’s top internet analyst expects breakout growth for Facebook and Amazon shares in 2019.  CNBC
  • In the era of online shopping, the retail store is immersive theater.  Quartz
  • How Amazon now shapes what our stuff looks like.  Gizmodo
  • Nike’s huge new flagship looks like the future of retail.  Fast Company
  • FAO Schwarz puts a new spin on its dance-on piano as part of comeback.  CNBC
  • Starbucks to lay off 5% of corporate workforce. The Wall Street Journal

Marketing + Social Media

  • GirlBoss is launching a Linkedin-like platform that’s exclusively for women.  AdWeek
  • YouTube is now showing ad-supported Hollywood movies.  AdAge
  • ThirdLove CEO had perfect response to Victoria’s Secret shade.  Fast Company
  • Advertisers are giving people with 1,000 Instagram followers endorsement deals.  Fortune
  • Buzzfeed will tell you want millennials want, for a fee.  Bloomberg
  • Making YouTube videos stoppable just got a lot easier for influencers.  AdWeek
  • Facebook is shutting down its connected-TV ad network.  Digiday
  • Snapchat’s new commerce channel lets consumers shop without leaving the app.  AdWeek
  • Spotify, Pandora turn to podcasts for listeners, profits.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Saks launches holiday gift guide chatbot on Messenger.  AdWeek
  • Snapchat launches Bitmoji march and comic strips starring your avatar.  TechCrunch

Startup + Emerging Tech + Acquisitions

  • iHeartMedia is acquiring ad ad-tech startup to expand programmatic audio advertising.  AdWeek
  • Ford and Walmart join forces for driverless delivery pilot in Miami.  AdAge
  • Walmart is using virtual reality simulation to train employees for Black Friday.  Vox
  • Facial recognition’s growing adoption spurs privacy concerns.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Fashion’s infatuation with AR continues.  Glossy


  • Disney receives Chinese approval for purchase of Fox assets.  AdAge
  • The great promise of China.  The New York Times
  • How Allbirds plots international growth.  Digiday
  • How Michael Kors is driving Chinese tourists to US stores.  Glossy
  • Another foreign furniture giant is following IKEA to India.  Quartz

Weekly Industry Brief: 11.12.2018

Hi!  Here’s your recap of industry news from the last week. Sources are in the hyperlinked text after the headline.

Brands + Retailers

  • Amazon captures 30% of online grocery spending.  RetailDive
  • Wall Street analysts are now selling more data, less analysis.  The Wall Street Journal
  • LVMH forms partnership for cross-border payments help.  RetailDive
  • Dollar Shave Club branches into fine fragrances and vending machines.  AdAge
  • CVS to test stores with added health services next year after Aetna deal closes.  CNBC
  • Walmart’s celebrity collaborations for the holidays include Ellen DeGeneres and Kendall and Kylie Jenner.  Variety
  • Sears considers selling up to $900M in debt.  Bloomberg
  • Victoria’s Secret’s CMO facing backlash for controversial comments about casting.  Fashionista
  • Apple pumps up its Amazon listings with iPhones, iPads and more.  CNet
  • See the Amazon HQ2 picks: Crystal City and Long Island City.  CNN
  • Ralph Lauren builds on plan to win young shoppers.  The Wall Street Journal

Marketing + Social Media

  • How much does brand DNA matter?  Business of Fashion
  • How digitally native brands negotiate wholesale partnerships.  Digiday
  • Pinterest gets a redesigned feed that looks a lot like Instagram.  The Verge
  • Facebook goes after TikTok with the debut of Lasso.  Fortune
  • Lyft is launching a rider loyalty program in December.  TechCrunch
  • Are you ready for the nano-influencers?  The New York Times
  • Generation Z and its implications for companies.  McKinsey
  • Amazon is mailing a printed holiday toy catalog to millions of customers.  CNBC
  • Google and Amazon pursue shopper marketing budgets.  Digiday
  • Glossier emphasizes experience at 2nd permanent store.  The New York Times

Startup + Emerging Tech + Acquisitions

  • How Yoox is using artificial intelligence to assist design in its private label brand.  Glossy
  • SAP acquires Qualtrics for $8B just before its IPO.  Forbes
  • Google and Sephora are bringing beauty tutorials to the newest home device.  AdWeek
  • Snap’s former No. 2 exec is building an online shopping startup.  ReCode
  • American Eagle invests in Dormify.  Seeking Alpha
  • WalMart building an AI lab insides one of its stores.  TechCrunch
  • Samsung unveils its foldable smartphone.  Fortune


  • China’s Singles’ Day brings in a record-breaking $30B.  Fast Company
  • Alibaba rival JD sees Singles’ Day revenue jump 27% thanks to offline push.  TechCrunch
  • JD.com competes for luxury partners with tech and white gloves.  Jing Daily
  • China’s obsession with short videos has its internet giants worried.  TechCrunch
  • With an assist from Alibaba, Starbucks’ China delivery strategy offers clues of what may be coming in the U.S. Digiday

Weekly Industry Brief: 11.6.2018

I was busy celebrating my two year anni last night, so Happy Tuesday! Sources are in the hyperlinked text after the headline.

P.S. Did you vote today?

Brands + Retailers:

  • Dollar Shave Club expands into fine fragrances.  AdAge
  • Amazon is now offering free shipping on all holiday orders.  Fast Company
  • Facebook opens small business shops inside Macy’s.  TechCrunch
  • CoverGirl cosmetics are now certified cruelty-free.  Fast Company
  • Seven retailers that made pivotal deals in 2018.  RetailDive
  • Bonobos and Nike get their own branded shops on Jet.com.  TechCrunch
  • Uber will now pay college tuition for its most prized drivers.  Fast Company
  • Amazon reportedly to choose two cities for HQ2.  The New York Times
  • Dollar General unveils urban store formate.  Bloomberg
  • Walmart surpasses Amazon as online shoppers most popular grocer.  Bloomberg
  • Canada Goose buys footwear brand Baffin.  Financial Post
  • Sources say Toys ‘R Us plans pop-ups in Kroger this holiday season.  Bloomberg
  • Amazon debuts private-label cleaning line.  CNN

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Facebook sees Stories as the future; ads will follow.  AdAge
  • Goop brings its holiday list to life with new gifting concept store.  Fast Company
  • Snapchat partners with ComScore to add limited measurement tool for Snapchat Discover.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Designing people’s Instagram stories is now a million dollar business.  Fast Company
  • Amazon and Google pursue shopper marketing budgets.  Digiday
  • P&G’s CMO on how to combat the direct-to-consumer threat.  AdAge
  • Target changes up its holiday ad strategy.  AdAge
  • CVS tests membership program.  CNBC
  • Macy’s to keep growing in-house influencer program.  Digiday

Start-ups + Acquisitions + Emerging Tech:

  • Men’s wellness company, Hims, launches Hers.  Fast Company
  • There’s a new crop of women’s wellness brands bringing women’s healthcare into the digital space.  Fashionista
  • Augmented reality takes root with brands, tech.  AdWeek
  • Walmart’s new store format to test technology opens in Dallas. TechCrunch


  • Commercial excellence in China: lessons from the CPG industry.  McKinsey
  • Singles Day is the world’s biggest shopping day, but don’t expect to find it in the US.  AdWeek
  • Rural Indian market represented $12B ecommerce market.  LiveMint
  • Ikea to open first Mumbai store next year.  AdWeek
  • What Net-a-Porter’s Alibaba deal says about the luxury ecommerce opportunity in China. Business of Fashion
  • Amazon opens first pop-up store in Italy.  Women’s Wear Daily