Weekly Industry Brief 12.15.2014

Hi there! Below is a recap of news in fashion, retail, and technology over the last week. All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after each headline:

Holiday:

  • Behind the holiday trend of self-gifting. Link
  • Best Buy offers free two-day shipping to lure holiday shoppers. Link
  • Retailers grapple with shifting holiday patterns. Link
  • Meet the secret army of meteorologists who keep your holiday deliveries on time. Link
  • Amazon drives more holiday web retail traffic than biggest TV ad spender. Link

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Amazon introduces “Make an Offer” option. Link
  • Gucci, Coach tie for top spot in L2 digital study. Link
  • Amazon launches Surprise!, a Facebook-powered app for sending personalized e-cards. Link
  • The buzziest beauty brands of 2014. Link
  • ASOS sales soar in the UK, not so much everywhere else. Link
  • In the next few weeks, U.S. retailers can add the Shop Now button to their pages. Link
  • Online retailer Frank & Oak opens Canadian flagship. Link
  • Digital kiosks fuse in-store and online shopping. Link
  • Gucci CEO and Creative Director step down. Link
  • H&M taps Olivia Wilde as conscious ambassador. Link
  • Nordstrom partnering with eBay for smart fitting rooms. Link
  • Marriott debuts hotel brand for millennials in New Orleans. Link
  • How Tommy Hilfiger had its biggest year ever. Link
  • Bloomingdale’s social shopping experiment, Zoomingdales. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Instagram hits 300 Million users. Link
  • JC Penny has store shoppers surprise complete strangers with gifts. Link
  • The new co-op isn’t retail ad budgets, it’s audience data. Link
  • LinkedIn rolls out a simplified homepage with analytics and news feed front and center. Link
  • Polyvore reveals the most searched fashion brands. Link
  • The worst corporate tweets of 2014. Link
  • Lowe’s explores native tools on Vine and Instagram. Link
  • YouTube’s most popular ads of 2014. Link
  • The most discussed topics on Facebook in 2014. Link
  • Snapchat poaches start tech banker from Credit Suisse. Link
  • Facebook search can now find specific posts. Link
  • The most viral tweets of 2014. Link
  • Brands can now turn positive reviews into native ads and only pay when people share them. Link
  • How Hendrick’s gin has found creative ways to fluently speak to hard-to-reach hipsters. Link
  • Facebook dumps Bing, will introduce its own search tool. Link
  • Apple store online now accepts PayPal in US and UK. Link
  • Google Plus lets you define your own gender. Link
  • Under Armour is Ad Age’s marketer of the year. Link

Start-ups:

  • Tinder competitor Hinge raises $12M to bring its friends-of-friends dating app abroad. Link
  • Chef’d uses crowdfunding to roll out recipe-and-ingredient delivery service for gourmet meals. Link
  • Facebook’s Oculus buys two startups for virtual reality gestures, 3D. Link
  • Change.org raises $25 M from big names to go global and mobile. Link
  • Guy-oriented web content startup Woven Digital raises $18M in funding. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • India’s SnapDeal acquires Wishpicker to deliver better product recommendations. Link
  • Southeast Asia gets own online shopping festival. Link
  • Apple to open research site in Japan. Link
  • China’s Baidu set to partner with Uber and reportedly invest up to $600M. Link
  • Is Asia setting the trend on selfies? Link

[EU]

  • Google News shut down in Spain. Link
  • Amazon UK glitch sells thousands of products for a penny. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Android Wear adds customizable faces to its smartwatches. Link
  • eBay draws inspiration from Pinterest for iPad commerce app. Link
  • Iowa is building the nation’s first smartphone driver’s license. Link
  • Shazam launches new version of mobile app. Link
  • Chicago and New York officials look to build Uber-like apps for taxis. Link
  • Invasion of wearable in the workforce. Link
  • Snap Fashion extends its visual search engine app into men’s clothing. Link
  • App detects when your friends are nearby and immediately silences your phone. Link
  • Hulu offers free streaming on Android over the holidays. Link
  • Whatsapp may be working on a web version of its popular messaging app. Link
  • Venmo lets users sign in using bank account log in. Link

Other:

  • 2015 technology trends to watch. Link
  • McDonald’s seeks help wooing millennials. Link
  • TV disruption on display as Netflix and Amazon go head-to-head at Golden Globes. Link
  • Analysts claim teens still prefer print books. Link
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WEEKLY INDUSTRY ROUND UP: 10.7.2014

Top industry news from last week.  All sources can be found in the hyperlink after the headline:

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Asos rises on Amazon bid talk. Link
  • Walmart opens Click-and-Collect facility. Link
  • Fab launches Hem, a new online furniture shop. Link
  • eBay opens fine art live-auction sites for second time. Link
  • HP is splitting into two publicly-traded companies. Link
  • Selfridges’ new £40m site reviewed. Link  
  • Smaller Bloomingdale’s sets tone for expansion. Link
  • How Kate Spade Saturday is carving out its own identity online. Link
  • Uniqlo opens first L. and Philly stores. Link and Link
  • Zalando makes lackluster debut in Germany IPO. Link
  • Into the Gloss launches its own line of beauty products.Link
  • With new app, Groupon goes after grocery deals.Link
  • Retailers predict holiday sales to grow 4% this year.Link
  • Amazon lets you add items to your wish list by tweeting.Link
  • Curbside powers same-day pickup at Target, raises $8M. Link
  • Gap Inc’s social media: selling feminism and equality, not t-shirts. Link
  • Alexander Wang unveils sport H&M ad campaign for his new collection.Link
  • Delias puts itself up for sale.Link
  • REI to embark on ambitious website makeover.Link
  • Saks Fifth Avenue to open in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Facebook agrees to ease policies on using real names for accounts. Link
  • Yahoo reportedly looking into Snapchat investment. Link
  • Facebook looks to the healthcare field as it eyes increasing engagement. Link
  • Buzzfeed introduces Buy It button on sponsored posts. Link
  • Facebook receives EU approval for $19B WhatsApp deal. Link
  • Twitter teams up with MIT to create new research lab to analyze every tweet. Link
  • Pinterest curates its own content with new weekly collections called “Pin Picks.” Link
  • Facebook updates research strategy. Link

Start-ups:

  • Houzz raises $165M for ecommerce push. Link
  • MiniLuxe brings high-tech beauty salons nationwide with $23M in new funding. Link
  • New e-delivery service sends groceries right to the trunk of your car. Link
  • com is a new marketplace that gives customers cash back. Link
  • AppBoy raises $15M. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Zara partly cedes China web control to Alibaba to aid growth. Link
  • Chinese online shoppers favor U.S. e-retailers. Link
  • South Korean mobile powerhouse buys Shopkick. Link
  • India will top China in device sales growth next year, report finds. Link
  • TopShop invests in mobile-social for China push. Link
  • China’s fragrance market can reach its potential. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • Lorna Jane dumps plan to sell. Link
  • Williams Sonoma confirms November 18th opening date in Melbourne. Link

[CA]

  • Staples closes 15 stores in Canada. Link
  • Spotify expands to Canada. Link
  • Sears to sell down Canada stake. Link

[EU]

  • Forever 21 cuts losses as it tries to crack UK. Link
  • Launching marketplace, eBay aims to drive consolidation in Russia. Link

[LATAM]

  • Williams Sonoma takes e-commerce operation to Mexico. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • eBay to split off PayPal as mobile payments gain ground. Link
  • Visa says Apple Pay will pave the way for more mobile wallets that people can actually use. Link
  • Square raises $150M. Link
  • What Rue La La is doing with iOS8. Link
  • Burberry has a special group dedicate to wearable tech and innovation. Link
  • Apple Pay promises big changes at the cash register. Link
  • Apple confirms slower adoption rate of iOS8. Link
  • Target ramps up mobile for personalized holiday experiences. Link
  • Groupon launches standalone app for receipts-based offers. Link

Other:

  • Consumers now expect everything to work on all devices. Link
  • Google announces new Spain campus for entrepreneurs. Link
  • Froont wants to make sharing responsive web design as easy as sharing code. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY ROUND UP: 9.22.2014

Top industry news from last week.  All sources can be found in the hyperlink after the headline:

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Zara builds its business around RFID, learns from others’ mistakes. Link
  • Nordstrom employs New York Instagrammers to personalize fall accessories. Link
  • Amazon touts reduced shopping cart abandonment with newly expanded “login and pay” service. Link
  • Amazon purchases buy.com domain for $4.6M. Link
  • Lululemon inks two corner deals in Soho, will open first Men’s store. Link
  • Uniqlo expects profits at U.S. stores in couple of years. Link
  • Yahoo’s core business value cut in half after Alibaba IPO. Link
  • Prada profit down 21% due to weak demand in Asia and Europe. Link
  • Packaged goods marketers wade warily in ecommerce. Link
  • Apple and Amazon take baby steps toward digital sharing. Link
  • Asos facing backlash from leading fashion brands over discounting. Link
  • Rue La La debuts its first exclusive collection on its ecommerce site. Link
  • Versace embeds instant ecommerce in runway show livestream. Link
  • Zulily keeps it simple and masters ecommerce fundamentals over gimmicky marketing tactics. Link
  • Macy’s, Bloomingdales adding same-day delivery. Link
  • Stronger U.S. demand and ecommerce sales boost H&M. Link
  • Target selects 16 brand partners for sustainability push. Link
  • Rebecca Minkoff launches maternity capsule. Link
  • Home Depot’s data breach bigger than Target’s at 56 Million cards compromised. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Ralph Lauren launches creative initiative and campaign ‘Project Warehouse.’ Link
  • How Ikea brings design ideas to life in social. Link
  • Twitter redesigns profiles for iPhone app. Link
  • Facebook is convincing advertisers to spend. Link
  • Puma returns to roots in new campaign. Link
  • A look at Lilly Pulitzer’s social media marketing. Link
  • Pinterest plans to help advertisers track performance; serve ads based on pinned brands. Link
  • YouTube adds real-time analytics with minute-by-minute view counts for videos. Link
  • Facebook now shows real-time events higher in your feed. Link

Start-ups:

  • com founder raises new funds for Amazon rival. Link
  • Shippo gets $2M funding for its shipping API for small businesses. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • H&M begins selling online in China. Link
  • Alibaba’s IPO world record. Link
  • WeChat launches mobile payment service. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • Brooks Brothers continues Australian rollout. Link

[CA]

  • Hudson’s Bay to open first Saks in Canada in Spring 2016. Link
  • Nordstrom joins rush to Canada. Link

[EU]

  • Click and Collect shoppers predicted to pick up £6.5B of goods by 2019. Link
  • Sweden’s Klarna: With U.S. launch, it’s all about online payment friction. Link

[LATAM]

  • Zara sells online in Mexico. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Macy’s to roll out beacon technology to all stores this fall. Link
  • Subway to use Softcard NFC for mobile payments. Link
  • Photos shot with Goolge Glass will now sync with your iPhone immediately. Link
  • Sqaure’s Cash App lets you text or email money for free. Link
  • Apple’s iBeacons are going to transform much more than advertising. Link
  • Three reasons Apple Pay is going to work. Link
  • The big picture on digital receipts. Link
  • Fartfetch launches discover app. Link
  • iPhone’s NFC tech will only work with Apple Pay. Link
  • Oculus announces mobile SDK and platform for developers. Link
  • The best iOS8 features you may not know about. Link
  • Apple sells 10M iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in launch weekend. Link
  • Why the U.S. lags the world in mobile payments. Link
  • Amazon, Lowe’s and E*Trade embrace iOS8’s Touch ID to reduce mobile commerce friction. Link
  • Beacons land on retailers’ holiday wish lists. Link

Other:

  • Whole Foods to test rewards program as competition grows. Link
  • Digital innovation is in the spotlight at London Fashion Week. Link
  • Apple TV is now armed and ready to be the centerpiece for Apple’s smart home takeover plans. Link
  • The slow death of the no-logo movement. Link

Ready for wearables to be fashionable?

Technology and fashion.  What better topic to cover on this blog? This week there is no shortage of coverage to review, from Fashion Week to Apple’s big iWatch reveal on Tuesday.

Starting with Fashion Week, we saw two designers present smart jewelry as part of their  Spring/Summer 2015 collections. First, Rebecca Minkoff (with help from Case-Mate) unveiled a smart bracelet as an introduction to a collection of accessories that sync with phones to provide call and message alerts as well as double as a USB device. The bracelets communicate with your phone via a Bluetooth signal. There is also a mini charger in the collection, designed to fit in a small clutch. These accessories will be available at Rebecca Minkoff and Nordstrom stores just in time for holiday and range in price from $40 – $120.

Opening Ceremony Wearable Bracelet

Opening Ceremony x Intel via Fast Company

Another newsworthy designer wearable came from Opening Ceremony, who collaborated with Intel to make fashionable bracelets dubbed MICA (or, My Intelligent Communication Accessory).   At start, the features of the bracelet include SMS messages, meeting alerts and so-called “general notifications.”  Unlike Minkoff’s BlueTooth enabled bracelet, the MICA is 3G enabled and does not rely on a phone for connectivity. The bracelets charge wirelessly and feature “premium finishes” like pearls and water snakeskin. These accessories will be sold at Barneys and Opening Ceremony stores this holiday season.  No reports on price just yet.

Apple iWatch

Apple iWatch via Engadget

Lastly is, of course, the Apple iWatch. Early next year, you can spend $350 to purchase a watch that syncs with your iPhone 5 or above.  Features include Apple Pay, a slew of sensors, and six different bands to choose from.

Now we’ll watch as the public warms up to wearables that serve purposes beyond fitness tracking.

Lots of good coverage to check out around the web, including:

Quantifying the Runways at New York Fashion Week (Inc Magazine)

Tech Companies and Fashion Designers Try to Put the Wear in Wearables (Wall Street Journal)

Designers are Jumping Into the Wearable Tech Space This New York Fashion Week – Should We Care? (Forbes)

Apple Smartwatch Boost to Wearables (Women’s Wear Daily)

Opening Ceremony and Intel Reveal MICA – My Intelligent Communication Accessory (BusinessWire)

Making Instagram Shoppable

On every retailer’s to-do list this year is to monetizeInstagram.  The concept is a no-brainer as the visual social network gains more interaction than Twitter and Facebook.  Executing a sale from the platform, however, isn’t as easy as a quick like, specifically because there is no outbound linking from a photo.  Retailers have been struggling to figure out ways to monetize this content.  We’ve see tactics like using the product SKU as the location of the photo, using the entire product name for easier online search later, shortened URLs used in copy for easy memory, and the ever-present shop-able Instagram galleries on websites.

None of these are perfect, of course, as Instagram is after all a social platform not an ecommerce platform. But some retailers have put new solutions in place just in time for this holiday season, partnering with start-ups in an attempt to figure it out. With the insights they’ll gain this season, if not the sales, these retailers will have a solid start on their social commerce strategy.  Here are some examples:

Nordstrom:

Nordstrom Like2Buy Instagram Shopping

Innovator Nordstrom partnered with  Curalate to launch their Like2Buy service. The service is basically a shoppable web gallery (outside of Instagram) that the users have to click through from the Nordstrom profile page. The stronger selling point is the curated gallery aspect, in which you can shop only the selection of  photos you’ve liked previously.  Target and Charlotte Russe have also signed on as early launch partners.

Fox & Fawn:

Beverly Hames, an owner of Fox & Fawn, a vintage boutique in Brooklyn, says that sales arising from pictures she posts free on the store’s Instagram feed, now account for 20 to 40 percent of daily revenue.

Even boutiques and small businesses are leveraging shop-able Instagram solutions.  Vintage Brooklyn outpost Fox & Fawn utilizes vendor Soldsie to let users leave comments with a hashtag to reserve goods from a photo. Users then have to call to pay but with a more established retailer’s ecommerce site, the users could checkout online.

RewardStyle:

 

The uber popular affiliate blogger network launched LikeToKnowIt, a service that utilizes email bounce backs as the mode of shopping from a blogger’s outfit post on Instagram. Vogue was the first magazine to make its feed shoppable using this service.  They also just announced a partnership with BCBG for fashion week that will enable a shoppable runway.

 

Check out highlights from around the web:

Nordstrom Wants You to Shop on Instagram (Business Week)

Buy What You Like: You Can Now Shop Straight from Instagram (Forbes)

You Can Now Shop the Runway Just Minutes After a Show With These Chic New Apps (Glamour)

On Instagram, a Bazaar Where You Least Expect It (New York Times)

3 Startups Making Instagram Shoppable (Fashionista)

Weekly Industry Round Up: 9.2.2014

Top industry news from last week.  All sources can be found in the hyperlink after the headline:

Retailer News:

  • Nordstrom introduces seamless Instagram shopping experience. Link
  • Rumors that eBay is set to buy ASOS. Link
  • Abercrombie to strip logo from clothing. Link
  • Refinery29 teams up with Simon Malls. Link
  • Evernote launches office gear on market ecommerce portal. Link
  • More and more, fashion designers are selling direct to customers. Link
  • Intel poised to launch luxury smart bracelet at Barneys. Link
  • Report card on back to school: the season’s trends and what they mean for retailers. Link
  • Newegg unleashes its own fleet of delivery vehicles for same day delivery in LA. Link
  • How REI blazes a digital trail. Link
  • Google is working on drone deliveries too. Link
  • Zara withdraws t-shirts after accusations online of anti-Semitism. Link
  • JustFab Inc., which includes ShoeDazzle and FabKids, is valued at $1B following $85M investment. Link
  • Zalando blends data with fashion. Link
  • Claire’s reveals new plan to right sluggish sales. Link
  • Macy’s new Bronx store: localization in action. Link
  • Apple sends invites for September 9th.Link
  • Teens favor tech over clothes. Link
  • Stuart Vevers’ first Coach collection hits Net-a-Porter. Link
  • Are things looking up for Target? Link
  • Uniqlo to open two Boston area stores. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Tweet this hashtag in NYC and Reebok could run a pair of sneakers over to you. Link
  • Facebook introduces bandwidth targeting to match mobile ads to your network quality. Link
  • Introducing Hyperlapse, Instagram’s new time-lapse video app. Link
  • 12 marketers already experimenting with Hyperlapse. Link
  • Gap runs first social campaign for kids’ accounts. Link
  • Pinterest tests news tab on mobile. Link
  • Facebook boosts event visibility with new ad format. Link
  • Nordstrom wants you to shop on Instagram. Link
  • Vice Media sells a stake to A&E Network at $2.5B valuation. Link
  • What’s next for Twitter marketing real world innovation? Link
  • Twitter redesigns signup process to entice new users. Link
  • SnapChat said to have more than 100 million monthly active users. Link
  • Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett to start in H&M holiday campaign. Link

Start-ups:

  • Amazon buys Twitch, bets on content in a hub for gamers. Link
  • Mallzee makes move to become the go-to mobile shopping destination for clothes. Link
  • Honest Co., Jessica Alba’s ecommerce startup, raises $70M. Link
  • How a clothing company successfully turned salvaged trash into fashion. Link
  • Menswear brand will deliver fresh white shirt in less than 90 minutes. Link
  • 3 startups vying to become the “Uber for Beauty.” Link

International:

[APAC]

  • LuLuLemon’s Asia push. Link
  • WalMart looks online for Chinese growth. Link
  • Chinese are traveling more but shopping less. Link
  • Wanda, Tencent and Baidu take on Alibaba with $814M ecommerce deal. Link
  • Hermes first-half profit rises on Asia sales. Link
  • Apple’s opportunity in India. Link
  • Google to open new startup center in Seoul. Link
  • Why social ecommerce is a game changer for niche brands in China. Link 

[AU/NZ]

  • Williams-Sonoma arrives in Sydney. Link
  • Australian retailers ramp up. Link
  • Inside Google’s secret drone-delivery program in Australia. Link
  • TopShop partners with Uber to offer free rides to its AU flagship. Link

[EU]

  • Marks & Spencer hopes for halo effect with unifying brand campaign. Link
  • Online beauty brand BirchBox pops up in London. Link

[CA]

  • LuLuLemon founder’s wife and son open luxury t-shirt store Kit and Ace. Link

[LATAM]

  • Columbia open and ready for business. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Zalando testing mobile clothing recognition app. Link
  • Apple rumored partnership with American Express, Visa and MasterCard for mobile payments. Link
  • NFC and wallet likely in next iPhone. Link
  • Tablet growth expected to be flat in North America and Europe this year. Link
  • Kenzo enhances Printemps pop-up with interactive mobile app. Link
  • Quirky Miu Miu mobile app makes mark at Venice Film Festival. Link
  • Pandora’s Google Glass app puts music controls on user’s face. Link
  • Another season, another app. Link
  • Macy’s offers digital wallet. Link
  • Full-screen ads are coming to the iPhone. Link
  • Rebecca Minkoff introducing wearable tech. Link
  • Storytelling app Steller becomes more of a social network. Link
  • Burger King ups ante on promoting apps with smartphone offer. Link
  • Ritz Carlton strive to improve customer stays with app upgrade. Link

Other:

  • Forbes’ 25 most innovative companies, including Hermes, Amazon, and Chipotle. Link
  • Report finds ecommerce draws hedge funds. Link
  • 22% of millennials feel they are under extreme financial stress. Link
  • The world’s most creative people in business. Link
  • How does internationalization work for online retailers? Link

 

Weekly Industry Round Up: 8.25.2014

Top industry news from last week.  All sources can be found in the hyperlink after the headline:

Retailer News:

  • Nordstrom completes Trunk Club acquisition. Link
  • Office supply etailer Poppin raises another $17M in funding. Link
  • Home shopping site Wayfair files for IPO. Link
  • Thrillest: the newsletter that became a $100M men’s business. Link
  • How Tory Burch built a $1B brand so quickly. Link
  • Tom’s sells 50% stake to Bain Capital to fund sales growth. Link
  • ‘Athleisure’ trand booms as sweatpants leave the gym. Link
  • Retailers wait for shoppers to catch up. Link
  • Starbucks to test coffee-dispensing trucks at three colleges. Link
  • Why online retailers are turning to physical stores. Link
  • Ralph Lauren launches wearable tech apparel at the U.S. Open. Link
  • How Modcloth built a culture of tech experimentation. Link
  • Rocket Internet preps for IPO. Link
  • Zalando said to be on verge of IPO. Link
  • American Eagle comparable sales down. Link
  • Abercrombie & Fitch debuts its first collection featuring the color black. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Tumblr partner will now scan photos for clues about brand affiliation. Link
  • Google makes it easier for advertisers to track which ads generate phone calls. Link
  • Apple’s ‘Misunderstood’ nabs 2014 Emmy for outstanding commercial. Link
  • What marketers can learn from the ALS ice bucket challenge. Link
  • Marketers are sizing up the millennials. Link
  • Amazon prepares online advertising program. Link
  • PacSun partners with StyleHaul for Back-to-School campaign. Link
  • Snapchat planning ‘discovery’ portal for news, ads. Link
  • Twitter will use Stripe to put the ‘Buy’ buttons in tweets. Link
  • Instagram adds tools for brands. Link

Start-ups:

  • How mixing fashion and data can make Rent the Runway tech’s next billion dollar star. Link
  • Website lets you name your price on high-end clothing. Link
  • Online delivery services still struggle to turn a profit. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Gap to open 40 stores in India. Link
  • ASOS signs Digitas for China social media and digital marketing strategy. Link
  • India to be launch pad for Amazon’s plan to deliver packages using drones. Link
  • Amazon enters Shanghai free trade zone to boost China offering. Link
  • Baidu invests in artificial intelligence. Link
  • Victoria’s Secret in China expansion. Link
  • Western luxury goods go on sale in China. Link
  • Amazon expands its ‘Amazon Coins’ virtual currency to Japan & Australia. Link
  • New restrictions on online billing in India may impact international ecommerce companies. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • Australia’s Cotton On enters Brazil. Link
  • Surfstitch buys out majority holder Billabong, prepares potential IPO. Link
  • Zara opens tenth Australian store. Link

[EU]

  • H&M launches ecommerce in Spain. Link
  • Klarna, an online payment system popular in EU, eyes global expansion. Link
  • Groupon aims to shift from daily deals to retail marketplace in UK. Link

[CA]

  • Nordstrom bets on slow, cautious entry into Canada. Link
  • Elle Canada partners with Hudson’s Bay on ecommerce, video push. Link

[A/ME]

  • Blue Nile unveils Arabic language ecommerce site. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Uber opens up API to integrate in other apps. Link
  • Gap focuses on mobile for fall campaign. Link
  • PayPal rolls out one-touch mobile checkout for apps. Link
  • Millennials say ‘Venmo Me’ to fuel mobile-payment surge. Link
  • Uber Corner Store turns the transit app into delivery service for daily staples. Link
  • Zappos boosts shoe sales with native integration in MapMyFitness app. Link
  • Talking on tablets: phablets on the rise in Asia. Link
  • Square expands its cash advance service. Link
  • Wireless location beacons are now the size of stickers. Link

Other:

  • Wells Fargo launches accelerator to promote innovation in financial services. Link
  • Vegas gets a vending machine for flat shoes. Link
  • UPS confirms security breach. Link
  • McDonald’s digital plans include music, mobile ordering. Link

Etsy Wholesale: The Growing Trend of Bringing Online Offline

As recorded in yesterday’s weekly industry round up, Etsy officially launched its wholesale business. Coming out of beta, the program enables small boutiques to purchase Etsy products to sell in their brick-and-mortar businesses.

According to Etsy’s official announcement post, if accepted into the program the makers (called “sellers”) pay a $100 fee at start followed by a 3.5% transaction fee paid to Etsy for all future purchase orders. For makers having trouble getting in front of the right independent shops, this is an amazing opportunity.  Etsy will essentially do all of the heavy lifting of marketing, PR, and tech systems that facilitate the order.  Similarly, small boutiques and shops can now easily find curated marketplace selections without having to attend trade shows or tirelessly search for that one gem that will delight customers.

My take:  First, the one thing the program doesn’t address (yet) is the big brand partnerships such as West Elm and Nordstrom. I’ve even seen Etsy products show up at Anthropologie stores.  I assume some iteration of this will become part of the program’s roadmap, if not its own program entirely.

Second, Etsy is joining the ranks of other successful online pureplays that are providing an offline experience (Birchbox, NastyGal, Warby Parker) as a complement to their core business. It speaks loudly to the current customer demand for tangible, IRL (in real life) experiences that engage more than just the sense of vision.  Online can (currently) only go so far and while pureplays have cried “old school” in the face of traditional retail, they are now returning to the basics of what it means to provide customers with more than just a transaction. This doesn’t mean throwing innovation in the garbage, it is just the same thing retailers had to do when customers went online: adapt or die.

Etsy is right to adapt.

Some coverage from around the web:

Etsy Launches ‘Etsy Wholesale,’ a Platform for Retailers (VentureBeat)

Etsy Wholesale Launches Out of Beta (Etsy Blog)

Etsy Wants to Get More Sellers’ Goods in Brick-and-Mortar Stores (Fashionista)

 

In a Snap: Target’s Image Recognition App

In a mobile innovation and omni-channel play, Target introduced an image recognition app called In a Snap just in time for Back to School. The app is much like those we’ve seen before (as stand-alone  apps or as part of an of existing app) from brands like eBay Fashoin and startups like Toronto-based Slyce or London-based ASAP54.

The app allows users to snap a photo from Target’s ads in magazines like Real Simple or in their upcoming catalog.  Based on the image, the app then leads users to the website which allows them to add to their cart or try out Target’s new click and collect service.

The app comes just in time to compete with Amazon’s FireFly, an image recognition service that comes on its new Fire Phone. The visual search service can recognize over 100 million items from QR codes, bar codes, images and even song clips.

While Target’s app may be less “advanced,” it is still both buzz-worthy and useful, two important characteristics of a new app. The company reportedly built the app in 6-8 weeks in its Rapid Accelerated Development group and is currently collecting customer feedback and working on fixes.

My take: It’s awesome that Target is experimenting with mobile technology but it is even more awesome that they are investing in teams that can quickly develop customer-facing features. The continuous deliver, test and iterate model can make a huge impact at companies that are able to dedicate the resources (financial and human). By rapidly delivering this feature to customers, Target will have the quick feedback they need to improve the product and deliver even more value to their customers.  I don’t think visual search is going anywhere and anything to innovate print is pretty cool.

Target In a Snap App Target In a Snap App

Images from All Bullseye View

More coverage around the web:

The Target ‘In a Snap’ App Makes Shopping, Well, a Snap (Bustle)

New Target App Makes Shopping a Snap (PC Mag)

Target In A Snap Image Recognition App Aimed at Boosting Sales (International Business Times)

Target’s ‘In a Snap’ App Makes Catalogs, Ads Shoppable (ClickZ)

Rent The Runway Launches Subscription Service

Rent the Runway made big news last week with the beta launch of a new subscription service for accessories.  With Rent the Runway Unlimited, customers pay $75 per month to rent everything from handbags, to sunglasses, to jewelry.  The customer gets up to three accessories at a time and can keep them as long as they want, until they are ready to trade in for the other items on their list.

The new section of the website currently features a metallic silver Barbara Bui leather jacket that retails for over $2,300, a nearly $600 Elizabeth and James bag, and $675 Balenciaga sunglasses.

Co-founder and CEO of Rent the Runway, Jennifer Hyman, told WWD that they are aiming to “attack” Zara and H&M, which appeal to the mass market with what she calls fast fashion disposable “junk food.”  With Unlimited, customers can enjoy the thrill and high of wearing of on-trend luxury products without breaking the bank.  A nice proposition for those weary of spending big bucks on a trend that may not last through next season.

My take: Rent the Runway has been doing a great job of distorting their category. Temporary ownership of luxury goods is not a ground-breaking idea but they’ve been able to successfully increase share of wallet from millions of women.  They’ve gone the same way as other successful tech start-ups such as Bonobos, BirchBox and Warby Parker by opening brick and mortar retail stores and now, they seek to capitalize on the subscription business model.  Next up, they are planning a brand face-lift that will include more editorial content (Net-a-porter anyone?) and a further push to sell their products permanently via a Try to Buy program. Though they haven’t said so, I imagine international is on their road map as well as a more digitally innovative in-store experience.

Way to use your VC funding well, ladies.

Rent the Runway launches beta Unlimited program.

Rent the Runway launches beta Unlimited program.

Check out some coverage of the new service around the web:

Rent the Runway, Spotify and Amazon Web Services: Why Own When You Can Share? (PC Mag)

Rent the Runway’s Next Phase (Women’s Wear Daily)

Rent the Runway Just Announced a Subscription Service (Business Insider)

Like Netflix for your Closet (InStyle)