Weekly Industry Brief: 7.27.2015

Hello! Industry news from the last week.  Sources in the hyperlinked text after the headline. Have a great week!

Brand/Retailer:

  • Amazon Prime credit card will give you 5% cash back. Link
  • AirBnB launches new product to attract business travelers. Link
  • Apple profit up 38% but iPhone sales disappoint Wall Street. Link
  • Amazon spikes 14% after it reports surprise Q2 profit and better-than-expected revenue. Link
  • Etsy attracting more short sellers. Link
  • Moda Operandi’s co-founder is shutting down Tinker Tailor. Link
  • Rocket Internet says portfolio value is up 47% from IPO. Link
  • Everlane appoints former Gap creative director Rebekka Bay as head of product and design. Link
  • Comcast in talks with multiple new media firms. Link
  • Inside the fight for survival at Gap, J.Crew and Abercrombie. Link
  • Neiman Marcus partners with The RealReal to expand in-store consignment. Link
  • Macy’s to expand same-day delivery to new markets. Link
  • Stores like Bass Pro Shops and Restoration Hardware adding bars and restaurants to encourage lingering. Link
  • Dolce & Gabbana launches capsule collection on Net-a-porter. Link
  • Limited Too is back for millennial moms and their tweens. Link
  • Nordstrom launches personal shopping service for women under Trunk Club brand. Link
  • Amazon showrooming forces stores to go digital on price displays. Link
  • Converse wants chucks to feel like Nikes. Link
  • Inside Mercantile, J.Crew’s bet on cheaper clothes. Link
  • Tory Burch to launch Tory Sport. Link

Marketing/Social:

  • The Gap forms partnerships with companies from Birch Box to Virgin Hotels to boost business. Link
  • YouTube offers a solution to the vertical video problem. Link
  • Meerkat will now let you live-stream video from GoPro. Link
  • Print Renaissance: independent fashion magazines in an increasingly digital world. Link
  • Forever 21 turns your Instagram photos into real-time, real life portraits. Link
  • Victoria’s Secret ranks first in social popularity. Link
  • Nordstrom goes big with rooftop Instagram installation to promote sale. Link
  • YouTube chief pushes ahead with subscriptions despite questions. Link
  • Twitter introduces event-based ad targeting. Link

Startups:

  • eBay acquires San Francisco-based consignment, Twice. Link
  • Jet.com uses clever tactic to save money. Link

International:

  • Starbucks to launch mobile ordering in UK. Link
  • Taylor Swift to sell clothing on JD.com for Chinese shoppers. Link
  • How Burberry is building its Japan business. Link
  • F21 Red is coming to Canada. Link
  • eBay-backed Asian ecommerce company Giosis lands $82M in funding. Link
  • Facebook and other tech giants expand internet access in Africa. Link
  • From jewelry to hotels, Hong Kong business feel China’s pain. Link

Mobile/Emerging Tech:

  • New York Times will offer free articles on the Starbucks app starting next year. Link
  • Number of mobile retail websites using responsive design more than doubles since 2014. Link
  • Starbucks joins with Lyft on loyalty program in app. Link
  • Apple Watch to be sold at Best Buy. Link
  • Apple Music, iTunes and App Store suffer outages. Link
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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

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

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 4.20.2015

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

Retailer + Brand News:

  • How teens are spending money, what they like and where they shop. Link
  • Etsy completes its IPO, valuing the craft marketplace at over $3.5Billion. Link
  • Kit and Ace maps westward US expansion. Link
  • Shopify files for IPO. Link
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods forecasts $9B in sales by 2017. Link
  • Music services overtake CDs for the first time. Link
  • Yahoo in talks to buy Foursquare. Link
  • Michael Kors winning with teens. Link
  • The North Face looks to training gear to boost sales beyond winter. Link
  • Glossier CEO on building a skincare, cosmetic empire online. Link
  • Toys “R” Us playing customer experience to win against WalMart, Amazon. Link
  • Inside Moleskin’s plans to sell you more than just notebooks. Link
  • Urban Outfitters launches new sport menswear line, Halo. Link
  • Target has more web woes during debut of Lilly Pulitzer line. Link
  • Uniqlo to collaborate with Carine Roitfeld. Link
  • Men’s Wearhouse has a plan to make Joseph Abboud a $1B brand. Link
  • Khol’s flexing its New York fashion muscle to bolster comeback. Link
  • Lilly Pulitzer sells out at Target. Link
  • Outdoor Voices takes on Lululemon with $1.1M in funding. Link
  • Net-a-porter brings Chanel “digital pop-up” ecommerce. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Jay-Z to personally call select Tidal users. Link
  • Instagram takes another step toward ecommerce. Link
  • Why Facebook might emerge as the biggest Internet of Things company. Link
  • Twitter unveils new homepage for people who aren’t signed in. Link
  • How Old Navy is winning at YouTube. Link
  • Forrester analyst: Emotional campaigns will bypass ad-blocker in brains. Link
  • The rising power of social media influencers. Link
  • Burberry live streams on Periscope. Link
  • Snapchat signs a deal for second season of ‘Literally Can’t Even.’ Link
  • Is Facebook trying to edge out YouTube? Link
  • Chevy runs digital video ads in print. Link

Start-ups:

  • Vessel raises more cash to battle YouTube. Link
  • How a U.S.-made athleticwear brand raised $100K on Kickstarter. Link
  • The investors behind the next billion dollar startups. Link
  • Pharmacy startup PillPack could change the way America takes its medicine. Link
  • Snaps raises $6.5M to help brands take over emojis. Link
  • EyeEm raises $18M to expand its photo marketplace. Link
  • Spring closes $25M in funding. Link
  • Andreessen Horowitz hires former Facebook lawyer to help its startups. Link
  • Coin, the one credit card to rule them all, is finally shipping. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • China steps up economy. Link
    • New Hong Kong tourism restrictions to boost Japan, Korea. Link
    • Foreign companies at risk from proposed Chinese law. Link
  • [EU]
    • Ikea to invest up to 3Billion Euros in new shopping centers. Link  
  • [CA]
    • Major retail gains helping Canada economy turn around. Link
    • Loonie gains almost 2 cents as oil rises. Link
    • Apple planning Apple Pay launch in Canada for November. Link
  • [LATAM]
    • Ralph Lauren looks to Brazil as global growth accelerant. Link
    • How Macy’s found its fit in the Hispanic market. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Whatsapp hits 800 Million users. Link
  • Instagram develops app for the Apple Watch. Link
  • Taco Bell to launch loyalty program via app. Link
  • For the fashion set, the jury is still out on the Apple Watch. Link
  • This new app wants to be the iTunes of smells. Link
  • New York Times makes Now App free, scrapping monthly fee to attract readers. Link
  • Epicurious brings cooking instructions to the Apple Watch with new smart timer app. Link

Other:

  • How your t-shirt can make you rich. Link
  • Netflix is now bigger than CBS. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 4.13.2015

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

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Modcloth test drives offline retail, starting with an LA pop-up. Link
  • Millennials say Amazon provides the best customer service. Link
  • American Apparel hires new menswear designer. Link
  • Apple stores (and workers) get makeover ahead of Apple Watch launch. Link
  • Oyster launches e-bookstore with a la carte service. Link
  • Farfetch’s global platform play. Link
  • Chanel finally admits that its future includes ecommerce. Link
  • Fast Retailing lifts profit forecast 20% on strong Uniqlo sales. Link
  • Amazon gets green light from US regulators for new drone test. Link
  • Woolworths hires Pharrell to ‘make sustainability cool.’ Link
  • Amazon seeks to shut down paid reviewed sites. Link
  • Walmart and Target being crowded out online by Amazon Prime. Link
  • Even Etsy’s IPO process is artisanal. Link
  • eBay, PayPal offer new details about split. Link
  • Missguided unveils plans to sell through Nordstrom. Link
  • Lululemon’s kids store may be a sign we have reached ‘peak yoga pants.’ Link
  • Walgreens closing 200 stores. Link
  • Nordstrom tests in-store partnership with online shoe seller. Link
  • Victoria’s Secret is getting into fast fashion. Link
  • Coach enters exclusive fragrance agreement with Interparfums. Link
  • Crate and Barrel takes comprehensive approach to ecommerce. Link
  • Craigslist faces demise as vertical marketplaces rise. Link
  • Instacart is quietly working with third parties to outsource some of its deliveries. Link
  • Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, Forever 21 take over malls as retail’s old guard fades. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Study says consumers join more loyalty programs but activity is down. Link
  • Did Lord & Taylor’s Instagram influence campaign not follow FTC guidelines? Link
  • U.S. teens’ social media activity is diversifying. Link
  • Youtube confirms plans for ad-free, subscription based service. Link
  • Facebook launches dedicated web interface for Messenger. Link
  • Twitter is testing the ability to pin apps to brand profiles. Link
  • Twitter replaces ‘Discover’ tool with detailed trending topics. Link
  • LinkedIn raises its game in social media with Elevate, an app to suggest and share stories. Link
  • Facebook is testing a new trending section with five news categories. Link
  • Twitter’s evolving plans to make money from its data stream. Link
  • See the first brands to use Instagram’s carousel ads. Link
  • Growth of ad blocking adds to publishers’ worries. Link

Start-ups:

  • Lobster wants to be Google of user generated content. Link
  • Online consignment firm The RealReal secures $40M in funding. Link
  • Amazon acquired Shoefitr to improve how it sells footwear online. Link
  • Bedrock Venture is betting big on tech-enabled early stage startups. Link
  • The ‘Netflix of books’ hopes to open up the e-book market. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • JD.com sees growth in warehouse services after Uniqlo agreement. Link
    • Uber launches auto rickshaw service in India, allows cash payments for first time. Link
    • HotelQuickly beats HotelTonight to Asian market. Link
    • US overtakes China as world’s best place for ecommerce. Link
    • Indian ecommerce sites altering returns policies. Link
    • China’s export numbers miss expectations. Link
  • [CA]
    • Michael Kors launches Canadian ecommerce website. Link
    • Saks’ ecommerce, outlets, and Canada roll-out set to lift Hudson’s Bay. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Apple’s iOS 8.3 rolls out with a new world of emoji and bug fixes. Link
  • Google Wallet adds new integrations with Shopify, Seamless, Dunkin Donuts and more. Link
  • Macy’s app boosts omni-channel prowess with nearby pickup push. Link
  • Apple Watch and Selfridges: a timely partnership. Link
  • American Express lab is testing facial recognition technology. Link
  • Flipkart’s move to dump mobile site could hit Google. Link
  • Apple Watch pre-orders hit almost 1 Million on first day. Link

Other:

  • Isabel Murant talks high-waisted jeans and why she doesn’t have a muse. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 4.6.2015

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Yoox to buy Net-a-porter for $775 Million. Link
  • Chanel to launch ecommerce. Link
  • Amazon launches ‘Dash’ home ordering kit. Link
  • Google announces budget-priced Chromebits and Chromebooks. Link
  • American Apparel to lay off 180 employees. Link
  • GoDaddy pops 31% as it opens for trading, raising $460M in its IPO. Link
  • Everything to know about Primark, the EU fast fashion brand about to crush its US competition. Link
  • Amazon’s one-hour delivery lands in Atlanta. Link
  • Membership-based delivery services are beginning to disrupt the $600 Billion-a-year grocery industry. Link
  • Groupon quietly launches Groupon Stores, a marketplace for its $2B goods business. Link
  • JayZ relaunches Tidal with music’s biggest artists as his co-owners. Link
  • Birkenstocks SVP says Birks aren’t normcore. Link
  • Sophia Amuroso opens up about what’s next for Nasty Gal. Link
  • Nordstrom Rack’s digital secrets to in-store success. Link
  • Online consignment store sees strong fast-fashion demand. Link
  • Men are now the biggest online shoppers. Link
  • Saks President steps down, Hudson’s Bay names new president. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Tinder launches its first in-app ad: a video spot for Bud Light. Link
  • Calvin Klein to sponsor exhibit in Central Park. Link
  • Pinterest’s new browser extension makes pinning way more efficient. Link
  • Mobile ads will smash $100B mark worldwide in 2016. Link
  • Pinterest shaking up social, search and shopping as it celebrates fifth birthday. Link
  • Twitter publicly launches Curator, its real-time search and filtering tool for media outlets. Link
  • New system tracks which ads coaxed your feet to walk into that store. Link
  • New York Times launches Men’s Style. Link
  • Tom Brady makes Periscope debut while shooting an ad for Ugg Australia. Link
  • Pinterest says more guys are joining the site than ever. Here’s what they are doing. Link

Start-ups:

  • Square rolls out open tickets to you can keep your tab open at bars. Link
  • Watch out Uber and Lyft, Ford’s working on its own ridesharing service. Link
  • Kickstarter’s ‘Campus’ offers project creators community guidance. Link
  • Instabrand raises $2.5M in venture funding. Link
  • LimeRoad, a fashion scrapbooking site based in India scoops up $30M Series C. Link
  • Reformation raises $12M. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • Snapdeal turns to local languages for better sales. Link
    • Japan app store prices to increase within 24 hours due to exchange rates. Link
    • Hilton expands digital check-in and rooms selection technology to more hotels. Link
    • China targets the dollar. Link
    • Korea’s online retailers see global sales growth. Link
  • [CA]
    • WalMart scaling back on free shipping to shoppers in Canada. Link
  • [EU]
    • Westfield and Inition use Oculus Rift virtual reality to showcase future of retail. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Target merges art, apps and sales for unique product integrations. Link
  • Venmo finally getting an important security feature. Link
  • Woolworth’s Apple Watch app brings shopping lists to your wrist. Link
  • Smartphone-dependents often have no backup plan for web access. Link
  • IBM gets serious about Internet of Things with $3B investment. Link
  • Apple Pay’s biggest hurdle to overcome is at checkout. Link
  • New York Times to bring one-sentence stories to Apple Watch. Link
  • Whatsapp for Android allows users to make calls. Link
  • Verizon Wireless customers can now opt out of ‘supercookies.’ Link
  • Alibaba, Xiaomi partner for wearable payments. Link

Other:

  • AirBnB adds Cuba to destination list for US travelers. Link
  • The micro-living trend checks into hotels. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 3.16.2015

Happy Monday! Below find a recap of industry news from the week.  All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after the headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Sephora bets big on digital growth with disruptive experiences. Link
  • Urban Outfitters earnings beat estimates. Link
  • Ikea takes global expansion one market at a time. Link
  • Target culls special offering for Men. Link
  • Amazon launches Exclusives to surface “up-and-coming” brands. Link
  • More details emerge on Amazon rival Jet.com. Link
  • Google opens its first Google-branded store-in-a-store in London. Link
  • Google says Millennial influence on the rise in B2B buying. Link
  • LL Bean putting boots on the ground, expanding to at least 100 stores. Link
  • Reed Krakoff halts production. Link
  • Sorel to enter outerwear. Link
  • Diesel reinventing its stores. Link
  • Rent-the-Runway CEO says the future of ecommerce depends on delivery start-ups. Link
  • Target lays off 13% of its corporate HQ staff to cut costs. Link
  • ASOS adding budget-friendly bridesmaid dresses to the mix. Link
  • TopShop opens first Atlanta store. Link
  • Glamour Magazine eyeing ecommerce. Link 

Social Media + Marketing:

  • H&M Home unveils its first-ever AirBnB for SXSW. Link
  • Alibaba said to be investing $200M in SnapChat. Link
  • Facebook acquires social shopping app The Find. Link
  • Buzzfeed’s videos reach 1 Billion monthly views. Link
  • HBO Now will stream on Apple devices. Link
  • BeautyCon launches its own media site to connect social media stars with fans and brands. Link
  • Brands now posting more to Instagram than Facebook. Link
  • L’Oreal moves to make all types of ads “shoppable.” Link
  • Why Neiman Marcus is a fan of SXSW. Link
  • Old Navy tries Tumblr for Gen Y’s Spring push. Link
  • Facebook, Occulus and the future of virtual reality. Link

Start-ups:

  • Bento wants to be your app matchmaker. Link
  • Online only start-up targets women who do their makeup on the go. Link
  • Rocket Internet invests in Indonesia’s Bridestory. Link
  • Xiaomi becomes the world’s most valuable tech start-up. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • China’s upper middle class women are driving ecommerce and social media in China. Link
    • Taiwan-based Foxconn launches ecommerce platform in China. Link
    • Tapping into the growth of India’s emerging mobile markets. Link 
  • [AU]
    • Thousands flock to New Zealand’s TopShop opening. Link
    • ASOS gets its mojo back in Australia after cutting prices. Link
  • [EU]
    • Alibaba to boost UK trade on its platform. Link
    • Selfridges launches ‘genderless’ shopping in Manchester. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Look to Whole Foods to see how the Apple Watch could change retail. Link
  • Meerkat tests our desire to share live video. Link
  • Apple’s ResearchKit a big hit at SXSW. Link
  • Beacons are moving out of the pilot phase and helping retailers and marketers revolutionize in-store shopping. Link
  • Google accidentally reveals its own mobile events app. Link
  • Apple’s iTunes suffers unusually long outage. Link
  • Mizuno bets on smart eyewear despite Google’s troubles Link
  • For SXSW marketers, smartphone apps are yesterday’s news, wearables are what matter. Link
  • Starbucks to expand mobile ordering to three more states. Link
  • Beacons, live-streaming and indie radio apps guide SXSW experience this year. Link

Other

  • Generation Z’s data obsession: bits and bytes are the new commodity. Link
  • Disney’s $1B bet on a magical wristband. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 3.9.2015

Happy Monday! Check out the industry news from the last week.  All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after the headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Etsy files for IPO. Link
  • Barneys New York raises ecommerce ante with site relaunch. Link
  • Will Target’s new CEO energize the retailer? Link
  • Rachel Zoe launching a subscription box service. Link
  • Kate Spade wants to sell furniture. Link
  • Fab officially finds a new owner. Link
  • Google introduces insurance shopping site. Link
  • Abercrombie’s style turnaround will take time. Link
  • Nike is opening a clearance store in NYC. Link
  • Bloomingdale’s to open outlet store in Upper West side this fall. Link
  • Farfetch raises $86M at $1B valuation. Link
  • Activewear firms on the run to catch up online. Link
  • Best Buy announces first buyback since 2012 as profit jumps. Link
  • Google confirms plans for wireless service. Link
  • Apple’s addition to the Dow is a win for tech stocks. Link
  • Online denim and basics brand Ayr launches $1 home try-ones to help win customers. Link
  • Nordstrom’s multi-billion dollar plan for ecommerce domination. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • WalMart parts ways with Google local shopping ads. Link
  • Instagram rolls out new carousel ads. Link
  • Instagram lets ads be clickable. Link
  • Nextdoor social network digs deep into neighborhoods. Link
  • Apple may pull its ads from Google Search. Link
  • Publishers love Whatsapp’s potential but struggle with execution. Link
  • How one company convinced Anthony Bourdain to shill as it rebrands scotch. Link
  • Pinterest narrows ad targeting, tests animated pins. Link
  • Google expanding the use of mobile as web search signal. Link
  • Twitter’s new plan to placate Wall Street. Link
  • Why marketers are embracing Oculus and virtual reality. Link

Start-ups:

  • App search engine Quixey confirms $60M round. Link
  • Dash Hudson raises $1M to beat the Instagram shopping conundrum. Link
  • Delivery startup Shyp wants to make returns painless. Link
  • Meet Vive, the ClassPass for blowouts. Link
  • Square, the payment start-up, bolsters its services for small businesses. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • Amazon opens store on Alibaba’s TMall in China. Link
    • Alibaba expands in Silicon Valley with first U.S. data center. Link
  • [AU]
    • Abercrombie & Fitch to close Australian stores. Link
    • Myer’s new British CEO gets a tough welcome from investors. Link
  • [CA]
    • Nordstrom treads carefully with launch of second Canadian store. Link
  • [EU]
    • J. Crew’s international expansion push lands in Paris. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Apple Watch and new MacBook announcement from Apple’s Spring Forward event. Link
  • WalMart expects customers to adopt mobile payments. Link
  • Sephora’s commitment to digital beauty leadership includes beacons and augmented reality. Link
  • Domino’s makes ordering on-the-go even easier with smartwatch integration. Link
  • Joe Fresh launches app. Link
  • SXSW to have a thousand beacons to help attendees connect. Link
  • MasterCard CMO on new mobile “priceless surprises” and Apple Pay. Link
  • Wearable tech is the next big opportunity in pro sports. Link
  • Apple Pay on the Apple Watch is smarter than you think. Link
  • Five takeaways for marketers from mobile world congress. Link

Other

  • Why so many people are suddenly wearing $600 Canada Goose coats. Link
  • How four women in an RV plan to change young girls’ lives. Link
  • G Adventures founder on how travel can make you a better leader. Link

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 2.2.2015

Hi there! Below is a recap I compiled of industry news over the last week.  All sources can be found in the hyper-linked text after the headline.

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Kate Spade Saturday and Jack Spade to shut down all stores. Link
  • Crew loses 2nd major exec in three weeks. Link
  • H&M profit rises 12% in Q4. Link
  • Yahoo spins off $40B stake in Alibaba. Link
  • H&M is opening 400 stores this year and launching a new beauty range. Link
  • Why Target’s new plus-sized line could redefine $17.5B underserved market. Link
  • Amazon rewards sellers who offer free shipping. Link
  • Google’s BrandLab wants to save businesses (and Google). Link
  • Gap’s creative director Rebekka Bay exits. Link
  • Forever 21 coming to Fifth Avenue. Link
  • Rachel Zoe to launch maternity line. Link
  • Apple reigns supreme when it comes to making money, but now faces even greater expectations. Link
  • Coach shuffles execs, sales fall again. Link
  • Under Armour taps former Nike exec to head footwear business. Link
  • Adobe is suing Forever 21 for pirating Photoshop. Link
  • Amazon’s latest foray: back end email systems. Link
  • AOL lays off 150 staffers. Link
  • Conde Nast unveils branded content shop powered by editors. Link
  • com co-founder to launch artsy online marketplace. Link
  • Jones New York to close stores, end wholesale business. Link
  • Ikea looks to catch up with online retail. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Lyft rolls out national marketing campaign. Link
  • Snapchat’s new Discover feature puts news and entertainment a swipe away from your stories. Link
  • Starbucks, Match want you to have your first date at Starbucks. Link
  • Twitter adds group messaging and video recording. Link
  • Pinterest pushes ads further toward users’ personal spaces. Link
  • TMobile, Macy’s among first advertisers on Snapchat Discover. Link
  • McDonald’s gives away every product advertised during Super Bowl. Link
  • The average Super Bowl commercial could generate as much as $10M in ad value. Link
  • Why Nordstrom’s digital strategy works. Link
  • Twitter displays its value with instant timeline for new users. Link
  • P&G’s #LikeAGirl ad scored the most social buzz during the Super Bowl. Link
  • Vine introduces Vine Kids. Link

Start-ups:

  • Fresh Monk secures new funding round for crowdfunded tshirts. Link
  • ClosetSpace digitizes your closet, builds outfits and offers fashion tips. Link
  • With $40M in recent funding, Classpass hires execs. Link
  • Mobile loyalty startup Lootsie raises $3.5M. Link
  • Minibar offers on-demand booze delivery in 13 cities. Link

International:

  • [APAC]
    • Apple China sales top $16B in Q1. Link
    • H&M to launch in three new Asian markets. Link
    • Free Shipping is the default for Korea. Link
    • Alibaba to launch fund for Hong Kong startups. Link
    • Apple ranks as China’s most desirable luxury brand. Link
    • com follows its own path. Link
  •  [CA]
    • Uniqlo to open Canadian stores. Link
    • Sears Canada names acting president – CEO to top management job. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Facebook tests beacons to feed users local content. Link
  • Apple Watch to ship in April. Link
  • The next step for the mobile wallet? Loyalty programs. Link
  • FTC says internet-connected devices pose big risks. Link
  • Google Now will suck in outside app data. Link
  • Loyalty programs see boost as they go mobile. Link
  • Apple stores to act more like jewelry stores for upcoming gold Apple Watch. Link
  • iPad experiences 18% drop in sales, 22% fall in revenue. Link
  • Android breaks 1B mark for 2014, 81% of all 1.3B smartphones shipped. Link

Apple Watch Coming in April // Still Missing on Fashion

apple watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced April 2015 ship date of the Apple Watch.  Image Source: Fashionista

Part of this week’s record-breaking earnings call from Apple included a long-anticipated announcement of the Apple Watch ship date, which will start selling April 2015. While Apple has invested in making the design sleek, I argue that they are still missing on the fashion piece.

Yes, we’ve seen tech innovation dabble in runways and high-fashion editorials (see DVF and Vogue trying to make Google Glass chic) but the adoption and interest from the fashion world has not picked up. (Worth noting: Google Glass recently halted sales to restructure and reassess the project.)

vogue google glass

Vogue used Google Glasses in their 2013 September issue editorial feature “The Final Frontier.” Image Source: Vogue

Apple is trying to engage the fashion crowd, though. When it announced the watch back in September, a slew of fashion influencers were invited to the press event.  Apple also stacked its executive team with industry folks including Burberry’s Angela Ahrendts, YSL CEO Paul Deneve and Patrick Pruniaux of Tag Heuer.  While that’s a great strategy (here we are talking about it), this alone will not make Apple Watches “desirable.”

I remain skeptical that the Apple Watch will take off with the fashion crowd. I’d like to see more wearable tech a la Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff and Opening Ceremony, which while maybe not as useful as an Apple Watch, at least made style a top priority.  Smaller players, too, are claiming stakes in the fashion x wearable tech market.  Cuff, a smart jewelry company just closed a $5M fundraising round.

cuff startup

Cuff, a wearable tech (“smart”) jewelry start-up recently closed a $5M funding round. Image Source: TechCrunch

Maybe Apple needs to collaborate with a high-fashion partner or bring on a high-fashion creative director. Otherwise, it has an interesting road ahead at joining the fashion industry or targeting a different demographic.