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 Brief: 11.24.2014

Happy week of Black Friday! Below is a round up of industry news from the last week. All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after each headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Nordstrom unveils customization studio. Link
  • Century 21 ups ante with C21 edition. Link
  • H&M to launch eight new online markets in 2015. Link
  • Neiman Marcus links with St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. Link
  • Gap names new presidents for Banana Republic and Gap brands. Link
  • WalMart tightens online price-match policy. Link
  • Fashion boutiques team up with Farfetch.com for click-and-collect service. Link
  • Zappos tests brick-and-mortar pop up shop this holiday season. Link
  • Net-a-porter said to consider 2015 IPO. Link
  • What FEED can teach companies about making meaningful connections. Link
  • Ikea to reissue original midcentury furniture. Link
  • Amazon to launch travel booking website. Link
  • Cavernous stores wear on Forever 21. Link
  • Apple’s plans for Beats Music start to take shape. Link
  • AT&T and Starbucks to bring wireless phone chargers to some coffee shops. Link
  • Amazon leases Manhattan building, hinting at ambitions. Link
  • Wonder to close most of its stores. Link Burch Creative refutes these reports. Link
  • Amazon plans fashion photography studio in London. Link
  • Coach rolls out new retail concept. Link
  • Black Friday: Top US shopping day fades to gray. Link
  • Nordstrom reshuffles its traditional half-yearly sales. Link
  • Fab is close to a fire sale but CEO gets another chance. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Wanelo launches buy now technology. Link
  • How Michael Kors forces Instagram to do retail. Link
  • Google to help publishers make money by blocking ads. Link
  • Facebook testing collaboration tools for businesses. Link
  • Why fashion marketers should be paying attention to Ello. Link
  • TV looks to offer web-like ad targeting. Link
  • Forrester says brands are wasting money on Facebook and Twitter. Link
  • New York Magazine creates ‘pop-up blogs.’ Link
  • Ikea recreates iconic mealtime master paintings. Link
  • Google adds detailed info to shopping search results on mobile devices. Link
  • Amazon announcing Black Friday specials on Snapchat. Link

Start-ups:

  • Glossier raises over $10M to reinvent the beauty industry. Link
  • How crowdfunding is changing the fashion business. Link
  • Memoir raises $5.5M to stitch together your digital photos. Link
  • Kik raises $38M to battle Snapchat for teens. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Lazada battles global ecommerce players and Indonesian rivals. Link
  • Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdale’s and more accept Alipay to woo rich Chinese shoppers. Link

[EU]

  • Zara to open new Irish stores as retail recovers. Link
  • Royal Mail warns competition from Amazon will hamper growth. Link
  • UK looks to keep records on internet users. Link
  • UK shoppers plan holiday spending spree, Deloitte says. Link

[AU]

  • Sephora store opens in Sydney on December 5th. Link

[A/ME]

  • Dubai’s Souq.com plans “Black Friday” equivalent to help boost sales growth. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Sephora rolls out Apple Pay in all Bay Area and Manhattan locations. Link
  • Target’s new app steers you to the right aisle for Black Friday. Link
  • Victoria’s Secret adds messaging to app. Link
  • For Opening Ceremony x Intel MICA smart bracelet, beauty beats brains. Link
  • Google Play store opens to Chinese developers. Link
  • US mobile payments market to boom by 2019. Link
  • This clever app scans wine and beer bottles to help you find drinks you’ll love. Link
  • Moleskine Smart Notebooks turns your sketches into adobe-friendly vector files. Link
  • Square reveals plans to support Apple Pay in 2015. Link
  • App, magazine and IRL community for collaborating creators. Link
  • Adobe shaping the future of creative mobile apps. Link

Other:

  • The $100 custom shirt is here. Does it have room for profit? Link
  • Experts predict retailers will face holiday hacking surge. Link
  • The post-PC CEO: no desk, no desktop. Link
  • A look at seven game-changing tech advances for retailers. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY ROUND UP: 9.29.2014

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

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Uniqlo plans major expansion of kids’ line. Link
  • Opening Ceremony: a store in every big city? Link
  • You can now add items to your Amazon wish list with a tweet. Link
  • Urban Outfitters to supersize Anthropologie stores. Link
  • Farfetch launches a shoppable tour guide of the world’s most fashionable cities. Link
  • Little Market online seeks to have a big effect for women worldwide. Link
  • Urban Outfitters: the world’s number one seller of vinyl. Link
  • Macy’s aims to become retail tech powerhouse. Link
  • Urban Outfitters outlines plans to double sales by 2020. Link
  • Louis Vuitton launching biannual magazine. Link
  • Jimmy Choo plans London IPO. Link
  • PayPal to allow more merchants to accept bitcoin. Link
  • Tory Burch hires former Ralph Lauren exec to serve as Co-CEO. Link
  • Retail goes high end in downtown Manhattan. Link
  • H&M Q3 profitability declines on garment costs. Link
  • Amazon grocery delivery coming to NYC. Link
  • Hermes launches online store devoted to iconic scarves. Link
  • Nordstrom pop-up promotes sustainable, responsible goods. Link
  • Microsoft opening a flagship New York store on Fifth Avenue. Link
  • Tod’s may spin off Hogan luxury sneaker brand. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Facebook taps Stripe to power buy button. Link
  • Brand publishers are ditching Facebook in favor of microsites. Link
  • Five things to know about Ello, the social network with a manifesto. Link
  • Invite-only social network Ello: Exclusivity draws demand. Link
  • Facebook prioritizes user IDs over cookies to boost mobile budgets. Link
  • How to make social commerce more appealing. Link
  • Facebook plans drones to provide free wifi to the two-thirds of the world that lack internet access. Link
  • Four creative swap lives for Timberland’s #inmyelement campaign. Link
  • Starbucks launches first brand campaign. Link
  • Facebook reboots ad platform with cross-devices targeting and offline sales tracking. Link
  • Instagram reportedly blocked in China amid Hong Kong protests. Link
  • Is Snapchat a business tool? Yes. Link

Start-ups:

  • App replaces ads on New York subways with art. Link
  • Quibit gets $26M funding round to grow its ecommerce personalization platform. Link
  • Visual recognition app acts like Shazam for furniture. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Singaporeans shift from stores to online shopping. Link
  • India’s online retailers fuel growth at coupon sites. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • Stylerunner offers 3-hour delivery. Link

[CA]

  • Target Canada prices drop lower than Walmart’s. Link
  • Nordstrom opens first store in Canada. Link

[EU]

  • DHL to be the first to do drone delivery in Germany. Link
  • Ireland to introduce postal codes. Link
  • Net-a-Porter, Facebook, Vice among launch brands for the new “LinkedIn for Creatives” platform, The Dots. Link

[LATAM]

  • Sears to mimic Zara in Mexico. Link
  • Online retail picks up speed in parts of Latin America. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • One push notification too many will make consumers delete your iBeacon app. Link
  • Amazon’s secret lab is developing wearables and household devices. Link
  • Apple responds to complaints of bent iPhones. Link
  • Apple pulls iOS8 software update after iPhone problems. Link
  • Guggenheim museum balances beauty with beacons. Link
  • Secret launches Ping, an app that’s all about a black dot, simplicity, and content. Link
  • For Staples, mobile is the center of it all. Link
  • BlackBerry’s square-screened Passport launched. Link
  • American Eagle takes new approach to mCommerce. Link
  • Citibank launches mobile-only bank accounts. Link

Other:

  • UPS now offers 3D printing nationwide. 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

WEEKLY INDUSTRY ROUND UP: 9.8.2014

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

Retailer News:

  • eBay makes New York Fashion Week instantly shopable. Link
  • Nordstrom said to be first retailer to accept Apple mobile payments. Link
  • Neiman Marcus to open first NYC store. Link
  • Saks introduces user-generated content hub to propel purchases. Link
  • Opening Ceremony reveals Intel-powered smart bracelet. Link
  • Digital driving growth at Belk department stores. Link
  • eBay attracts top fashion brands to sell direct. Link
  • NastyGal lays off up to 10% of its workforce. Link
  • Saks Fifth Avenue takes steps ot build on its legacy. Link
  • Staples adds buy online, pick up in store. Link
  • Yahoo Style, a new digital magazine, arrives just in time for fashion week. Link
  • UPS plans to offer pickup points for online orders in New York City and Chicago. Link
  • Google pledges to fight the sale of fake Luis Vuitton bags online. Link
  • Starbucks to launch express stores. Link
  • Amazon taps USPS to deliver groceries in San Francisco. Link
  • Saks CMO explains sweeping changes. Link
  • DVF’s tech-savvy style. Link
  • Visa rolls out online payments campaign for NFL opening day. Link
  • Joe Zee is Old Navy’s fall style ambassador. Link
  • Crew’s sales picked up last quarter. Link
  • PayPal expands further into offline retail and mobile payments with new PayPal Here SDK. Link
  • It’s Uniqlo vs. Uniqlo at the US Open. Link
  • Path of stolen credit cards leads back to Home Depot stores. Link
  • ASOS seeks CIO. Link
  • Six ways competitors are trying to kill Amazon. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Social activism becomes a thing for brands, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge. Link
  • Ikea pitches its 2015 catalog as the coolest gadget ever. Link
  • American Apparel ad banned in UK for sexualizing schoolgirls. Link
  • In social advertising, YouTube converts more customers than anyone else. Link
  • Photo app Twitpic shuts down over trademark spat with Twitter. Link
  • Facebook rolls out privacy checkups to all 1.3B users. Link
  • Hyperlapse is doing well so far. Link
  • How Venmo is turning into a hilarious social network. Link

Start-ups:

  • This startup aims to give everyone the shipping power of Amazon. Link
  • Yahoo buys photo ad network Luminate, shuts it down. Link
  • Food start up adds tech talent as Silicon Valley shakes up the food business. Link
  • Diageo looks to pour new tech into liquor with venture unit. Link
  • Uber strikes deal to build new headquarters in large expansion. Link
  • ASOS founder funds London expansion of New York-style blow dry bars. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Fans form lines in Tokyo for expected iPhone launch. Link
  • Rakuten to buy eBates. Link
  • Baidu Eye prototype unveiled to rival Google Glass. Link
  • Emerging Asian designers hit New York Fashion Week. Link
  • House of Fraser completes sale to Chinese department store. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • The Iconic joins other fashion pureplays in international fashion merger. Link
  • H&M confirms two Sydney stores. Link

[EU]

  • Online shopping on mobile devices overtakes desktop in UK. Link
  • How Yoox turned the lucury-goods industry onto digital. Link

[A/ME]

  • Africa now has 100M Facebook users, 9% of the total population. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Apple courts fashionistas as smartwatch expectations mount. Link
  • Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatch arrives just days before Apple’s expected smartwatch announcement. Link
  • Apple’s big event on September 9th. Here’s what to expect. Link
  • Millennials are the largest group of smartphone owners and adoption is still growing. Link
  • Inside look at the Starbucks app, the most successful mobile payments system in the US. Link
  • Apple adds another high-profile hire with industrial designer Marc Newson. Link
  • The Galaxy Note Edge is Samsung’s new phablet with a new kind of curved display. Link
  • How beacons are changing the shopping experience. Link
  • Apple teaming up with Visa, MasterCard on iPhone wallet. Link
  • Rue La La anticipates bigger-than-ever mobile surge during upcoming holiday season. Link
  • Microsoft woos cost-conscious with new smartphones. Link
  • Why Apple’s iBeacon hasn’t taken off – yet. Link
  • Designers debut wearables at New York Fashion Week. Link

Other:

  • Following purge of tobacco products, CVS renames itself to CVS Health. Link
  • Starbucks announces two new store designs. Link
  • Millennials are saying no to credit cards. Link
  • Two Googlers take top White House tech jobs. Link

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

 

@WalMartLabs Acquires Luvocracy

…or acqui-hires Luvocracy.  According to TechCrunch, @WalmartLabs acquired a solid roster of talented peeps with pedigrees including Yahoo, Blurb, and eBay.  They reportedly plan to use this talent to improve their own site’s product discovery, building off of Luvocracy’s past as a sort of cross between social recommendations, wish lists, and Pinterest. Sort of like Wanelo or Svpply.

Walmart has been on the prowl lately, with this acquisition marking the R&D arm’s14th startup purchase. Recently, they’ve been clearly focused on ecommerce and mobile innovation.  Still fresh is the June  acquisition of fashion commerce and discovery app Stylr.

I don’t hate it as a strategy. In fact, there was just a Mobile Marketer article published on this topic exactly. Big brands are putting their financial resources to good use by acquiring top talent who have innovative ideas and technical skills.  It has become increasingly apparent that the expertise needed is in mobile and social, two areas where perhaps traditional retailers are struggling to keep up. The traditional retailers may not have the culture, perks, location, or thought leadership to attract top talent in these areas but are able to adapt in the shorter term via acquisitions.

It will be interesting to see how smaller brands or brands with fewer resources work around and compete with the likes of WalmartLabs and Nordstrom, which I wrote about recently.

One thing is for sure: mobile and social aren’t going anywhere. I think this was a solid acquisition.

Here is some coverage so far:

WalmartLabs Acquires Kleiner Perkins-backed Luvocracy, a Pinterest-like Marketplace for Product Recommendations (TechCrunch)

Walmart Buys Shopping App Luvocracy (InvestorPlace)

Wal-Mart buys another tech start-up, Luvocracy – only to shut it down (WSJ MarketWatch)

Wal-Mart on the Prowl to Boost Web Expertise (Women’s Wear Daily)

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)

 

 

 

 

Nordstrom is smart.

They may buy Trunk Club.

It was reported this week that Nordstrom may be in talks to purchase Trunk Club, the Chicago-based men’s style start-up.  The service handpicks high-end clothing for its customers after a “getting to know you” session with a stylist.

Nordstrom is known for investing in fashion and tech start-ups.  In 2013, Nordstrom invested in gift-giving service Wantful which has since ceased operations after funding was suddenly pulled.   Nordstrom also invested in Bonobos (which recently secured $55M in new funding) and fully acquired flash sales site HauteLook.

Nordstrom seems to be committed to investing in cool, fashion x tech start-ups.  Note their apparent benefits of partnering with Forerunner Ventures, the San Francisco VC firm that invests in everything you wish you did (re: BirchBox, Serena & Lily, Warby Parker).  In addition to their well-known Bonobos relationship, Nordstrom was the first retailer to bring Wanelo into the physical store experience.

It behooves all parties involved: major retailer gets buzz and access to innovation, start-up gets support from established retailer and investment fund benefits financially from this cyclical success.

Smart.