Weekly Industry Brief: 11.26.2018

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

Brands and Retailers

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

Marketing and Social Media

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

Startup + Emerging Tech + Acquisitions

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


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

Weekly Industry Brief: 11.27.2017

Cyber Monday Edition! You’re probably still on conference calls, waiting for the final hours of sales to hit your constant flow of reports, hoping for the ultimate win of a glitch-free Cyber Monday (sorry, J.Crew!)…so while you are doing that, take a look at a recap of news from the last week.  Sources can be found in the hyperlinked text after the headlines.

[Special Section!] Holiday Shopping

  • Cyber Monday runs up $840M so far in US sales online. TechCrunch
  • Black Friday online sales surge to new records with mobile pushing fastest. Fortune
  • This Black Friday, some mall visitors came out for more than bargains. Washington Post
  • Thanksgiving ecommerce sales hit a record $2.87B, up 18.3% year-on-year. Techcrunch
  • At $1B a day or more, online shopping in the US has already set a new record this month. CNBC
  • Macy’s CEO sees strong start to holidays, helped by coat sales. Bloomberg
  • Inside the Wal Mart vs. Amazon battle over Black Friday. The Wall Street Journal
  • Nike, Macy’s suffer technical snafus on Black Friday. The Wall Street Journal
  • Soaring web sales continue to dominate holiday retail. CNBC
  • Millennials and the cosmetics boom. New York Times
  • Five digital stats that sum up Cyber Monday and Black Friday. AdWeek
  • Cyber Monday sales up 16% so far, even though best deals were already gone. AdAge

Brands and Retailers

  • Amazon wants you to buy an Echo next to that Whole Foods turkey. Bloomberg
  • Retailers offering delayed shipping options to avoid peak charges. The Wall Street Journal
  • Retailers experiment with a new philosophy: smaller is better. New York Times
  • Victoria Beckham scales up with $40M private equity investment. Fashionista
  • Crew to close more stores amid sinking sales. Fashionista
  • Everlane is opening its first brick and mortar stores, after years of swearing it wouldn’t. Washington Post
  • WeWork reportedly expanding into retail. Retail Dive
  • Inside the revolution at Etsy. New York Times
  • The future of retail in the age of Amazon. Fast Company
  • High-end stores that don’t actually sell anything are the future of retail. Quartz
  • Urban Outfitters surprises with strong Q3 earnings. Chain Store Age
  • Abercrombie same-store sales blow past estimates. Business Insider

Marketing and Social Media

  • Advertisers leaving YouTube due to ad placements. Seeking Alpha
  • Inside year three of REI’s #OptOutside campaign. AdWeek
  • How Sephora is quietly supporting female entrepreneurs. Glossy
  • Facebook debuts web-based VR experiences within standard newsfeed. Marketing Land
  • From collaborations to new stores to Paris Fashion Week, here’s how Lacoste is trying to stay relevant. Fashionista
  • Snapchat debuts two new advertising products. TechCrunch

Startup and Emerging Tech

  • Augmented reality will transform city life. Venture Beat
  • Meet the Everlane of skin care. The Cut
  • Robot makers raise funding in fight against Amazon. Bloomberg
  • Baidu unveils home robots and smart speakers. Venture Beat
  • Four futuristic features every retail store will have by 2025. Time


  • Amazon recruits Indian merchants on hunt for lower priced merchandise. New York Times
  • Amazon gears up to begin selling in Australia. Reuters
  • French shoppers to spend more online this holiday than last year.  Reuters
  • Demand for gold in China lifts profit at world’s largest jeweler.  Bloomberg
  • Amazon is selling its cloud services business in China to local firm.  Fortune



Weekly Industry Brief: 11.21.2016

Happy official kick-off to the holiday shopping season!  Here is industry news from the last week with sources found in the hyperlinked text after the headline.


  • Neiman Marcus turns to Rent-the-Runway to lure younger shoppers. Link
  • Sources say J.Crew considering carving out Madewell. Link
  • Amazon files first lawsuit against counterfeit sellers. Link
  • This Black Friday, Everlane wants to buy 8,000 helmets for Vietnamese workers. Link
  • Anthropologie’s new Anthropologie & Co. in Palo Alto includes a Terrain café with menu by Vetri. Link
  • Amazon’s marketplace concept spreads to other retailers. Link
  • Target ships online orders from 1,000 of its stores. Link
  • NastyGal’s bankruptcy: What went wrong? Link
  • Coach, Kors and Kate: The handbag wars. Link
  • Target planning hundreds of small stores. Link
  • Gap to shut more stores as demand remains sluggish. Link
  • Nordstrom takes a big writedown on Trunk Club. Link
  • More people than ever will shop online over the holidays, spending to rise by 18%. Link
  • Patagonia to donate all Black Friday proceeds to environmental groups. Link
  • Fifth Avenue security disruptions will be permanent. Link
  • Amazon just turned Black Friday into a month-long event. Link
  • Starbucks is selling a $150 smart mug that lets you control the temperature of your coffee. Link
  • Fast Retailing CEO not interested in J.Crew, other acquisitions. Link
  • Amazon aims for double-digit Christmas growth while WalMart and Target hope for flat sales. Link


  • How Alibaba turns wealthy shopaholics into marketing squad. Link
  • Facebook considering ways to combat fake news. Link
  • Snapchat parent files for $25B IPO. Link
  • Instagram enters live video fray (and takes on Snapchat). Link
  • Facebook says it found more miscalculated metrics. Link
  • Forget filling ad breaks; some marketers make the podcasts. Link
  • Spectacles finally arrive in NYC with a Central Park Snapbot store. Link
  • Acne Studios founder is not down with our celebrity fashion obsession. Link
  • Google can now tell you how busy a place is before you arrive. Link
  • NBCUniversal invested another $200M in Buzzfeed. Link
  • Pinterest debuts Explore, a feature that surfaces trending pins and native videos. Link

Startup/Emerging Tech

  • You rarely livestream but 1M people livechill on Houseparty. Link
  • Alexa will soon be able to send text messages through AT&T. Link
  • McDonald’s plans tech push with heavy focus on mobile. Link
  • Virtual reality lets Chinese customers shop Macy’s famed New York store. Link
  • Google buys shopping search startup to make images more lucrative. Link
  • Sources say Apple abandons development of wireless router. Link
  • How predictive AI will change shopping. Link
  • Analysts say Playstation VR will be top-selling VR system in 2016. Link


  • Why Abercrombie is pulling out of Hong Kong. Link
  • What US retailers can learn from Alibaba’s record-setting Singles Day. Link
  • China’s fashionistas flock to online luxury rentals. Link
  • Jeff Bezos invests billions to be top ecommerce player in India. Link
  • Alibaba buys a third of Chinese grocery chain. Link
  • Facebook to hire 500 new staff in major UK expansion. Link

Weekly Industry Brief: 11.30.2015

Happy Cyber Monday!  Below are some industry highlights from the last week.  Sources can be found in the hyperlinked text after the headline.

Note: I’ll be taking a short break with the weekly updates as I ramp up at my new job. More to come soon. Cheers!


  • When and where do Black Friday’s biggest crowds actually hit? Link
  • Black Friday shopping with thinner crowds as Americans spend more online. Link
  • Black Friday News: fewer people in stores, Everlane gives profits to factory workers. Link
  • US holiday sales on track amidst online boost. Link
  • US store sales down slightly for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Link
  • Online sales surge ahead of brick-and-mortar retailers’ big day. Link
  • Holiday shopping unlikely to cheer many investors. Link
  • Thanksgiving/Black Friday online sales hit $4.5B, 34% of purchases made on mobile. Link
  • Google shares Black Friday location data for marketers. Link


  • Neiman Marcus web site suffers outages for second straight day. Link
  • Burberry, Google launch interactive video experience at London flagship. Link
  • Wal-Mart revamps ecommerce technology as Amazon applies pressure. Link
  • Amazon touts new drone prototype, plans multiple designs. Link
  • Kate Spade’s CMO talks phone-charging purses, Pixar and dressing room selfies. Link


  • How Nordstrom and Sephora are nailing social media going into Black Friday. Link
  • J.Crew and American Girl embrace social commerce ads for the holidays. Link
  • Target’s big digital holiday campaign combines Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. Link
  • Snapchat debuts Story Explorer, a more detailed approach to live events coverage. Link
  • Shopping app Spring proves to be an inexpensive asset for young brands. Link
  • Vine arrives on the Apple Watch. Link
  • These ecommerce companies are seeing lots of referral traffic from Pinterest. Link


  • Jet.com snags a fresh $350M in funding. Link
  • Deliveroo, an on-demand food delivery services, rasies $100M. Link
  • Rocket Internet’s latest company is ZenRooms, a budget hotel platform for Southeast Asia. Link


  • Facebook prepares for instant articles push in Asia. Link
  • Facebook expands free internet service in India. Link
  • Apple plans to launch Apple Pay in China by February. Link
  • China’s mobile payments war is going global. Link

Mobile/Emerging Tech:

  • Swatch to start selling mobile payment watch in US in 2016. Link
  • Smartphones overtake desktops for holiday shopping. Link
  • Swatch teams up with Visa for a watch that can make payments. Link

Weekly Industry Brief: 12.1.2014

Happy Cyber Monday! 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:


  • Black Friday ecommerce spending up 26%. Link
  • On Twitter, twice as many people talking about Black Friday this year. Link
  • Best Buy’s website down for about 90 minutes on Black Friday. Link
  • WalMart, Target report strong Thanksgiving Day traffic. Link
  • Kohl’s, Walmart, Apple see Black Friday social buzz. Link
  • Black Friday online sales up 8.5% over last year, 20% of sales from iOS. Link
  • Online sales set Black Friday record. Link
  • Yoox group posts record sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Link
  • Macy’s previews Cyber Monday on Sunday. Link
  • Mobile role in holiday shopping expected to grow. Link
  • Net-a-porter sale crashes part of site. Link

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Ebay Now pulled from App Store as company rethinks same-day delivery plans. Link
  • Gap sets deal with Germany’s Zalando. Link
  • NY Subway riders can now shop on Amazon while underground. Link
  • How Target identifies the hottest retail tech 18 months before it’s cool. Link
  • Nordstrom partners with eBay for smarter fitting rooms. Link
  • Zady to open three airport pop-up shops for the holidays. Link
  • These robots are processing Amazon orders. Link
  • Milennials to fuel growth of sporty brands. Link
  • Urban Outfitters, Nicole Miller in Wanelo “buy” button launch. Link
  • Nasty Gal’s first brick-and-mortar store encourages selfies. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Twitter now lets brands tweet deals to users with a new offer button. Link
  • American Girl pledges to give up to 1,000 dolls a day. Link
  • Facebook is intensifying its efforts to filter out status updates posted by businesses. Link
  • Twitter is tracking users’ installed apps for ad targeting. Link
  • Buzzfeed crosses $100M in revenue. Link
  • Twitter adds coupons to its commerce plans. Link
  • Vloggers paid for promotions urged to include clear labeling. Link
  • Twitter experiments with engagement stats directly in tweets. Link


  • Anonymous messaging app Yik Yak said to raise $62M. Link
  • Parcel aims to end missed packages after hours. Link
  • Pop-up shop startup, Appear Here, raises $7.5M. Link



  • Fitbit gears up for Asia expansion. Link
  • Lazada, Rocket Internet’s Amazon clone in Southeast Asia, raises $250M. Link


  • Macy’s Black Friday arrives in the UK as American retailer unveils online shopping deals. Link
  • Wired and Buzzfeed give Germany a try. Link
  • Black Friday takes hold in UK. Link


  • Amazon tipped to open Aussie warehouse. Link
  • H&M sister brand COS opens first Australian store. Link


  • Jumia raises $150M for its African ecommerce business. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Smartphones spur growth of Thanksgiving couch commerce. Link
  • Top 10 best Android fashion apps. Link
  • Xiaomi’s cheap smartphones make a splash in Indonesia. Link
  • Ralph Lauren introduces leather bag with internal LED and built-in USB charger. Link
  • Luxury watchmakers crack down on copycat Android Wear watch faces. Link
  • Neiman Marcus now in Apple Passbook. Link
  • Hammacher Schlemmer tests augmented reality catalog for holiday. Link


  • Girl Scouts to sell cookies online. Link