WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 3.26.2018

Hi friends! Here is a recap of industry news from the last week.  Sources are in the hyperlinked text after the headline.

Brands and Retailers

  • Amazon has considered buying some Toys ‘R’ Us stores.  Bloomberg
  • WalMart’s ecommerce CEO explains why its many acquisitions will help it reach millennials.  AdWeek
  • WalMart to start selling cars at 250 stores.  AdAge
  • Everlane launches underwear basics.  Fast Company
  • Billionaire CEO wants to launch GoFundMe to buy Toys R Us.  The Washington Post
  • Best Buy to stop selling Huawei.  CNet
  • Ulta, Gap, Target and more: these retailers are still opening stores in 2018.  CNBC
  • Sephora is capitalizing on limited edition by commissioning exclusive products from brands.  Glossy
  • Nordstrom to partner with sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods at its stand-alone men’s store.  CNBC
  • Gap Inc. pledges to conserve 10B liters of water by 2020.  Fashionista
  • Chanel Beauty is expanding distribution in an effort to talk directly to customers.  Glossy
  • How retailers are defending their reason for existing in the Amazon age.  Glossy
  • New Look to close 60 stores.  Telegraph
  • Amazon just passed Alphabet to become the world’s second most valuable company.  CNBC
  • FedEx to add 500 new locations in Walmart stores in two years.  Business Insider
  • Everlane’s five tactics for winning at physical retail.  Business of Fashion

Marketing and Social Media

  • Facebook and Google face emboldened antagonists: big advertisers.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Rivals chip away at Google’s and Facebook’s US digital ad dominance.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Instagram tweaks its feed to show newer posts first again.  Fortune
  • Home Depot expands partnership with Pinterest.  Retail Dive
  • Sonos is yanking its Facebook ads in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.  Fast Company
  • As Instagram Shopping goes global, brands look to optimize mobile commerce strategies.  Glossy
  • Elon Musk just deleted the Facebook pages for Tesla and SpaceX.  Fast Company
  • Facebook debuted 3 new ad products for retailers at ShopTalk.  AdWeek
  • YouTube just become the top grossing iPhone app of the first time.  TechCrunch
  • Glossier’s customer obsession is about stirring up conversation.  RetailDive
  • Hulu has started to address advertisers’ inventory frustration.  Digiday
  • YouTube to increase ad inventory.  The Verge
  • Snapchat launches Map Explore feature to highlight breaking news.  The Verge

Startup + Emerging Tech + Acquisitions

  • Amazon has patented a drone that reacts to people shouting and waving at it.  USA Today
  • Salesforce is buying MuleSoft at enterprise value of $6.5B.  TechCrunch
  • This sneaker startup’s explosive growth comes from creative partnerships.  Fast Company
  • Dropbox pops in IPO.  CNN Money
  • Google may acquire light-field tech company Lytro for VR/AR.  CNet
  • Cheddar raises $22M for international expansion.  The Wall Street Journal
  • WalMart’s future could include drone assistants and smart cars.  Engadget
  • Tech’s next big wave: big data meets biology.  Fortune

International

  • India’s commerce market is exploding. Quartz
  • Uber exiting Southeast Asia.  TechCrunch
  • How to chase the next half-billion internet addicts in China.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Alibaba is doubling down on Southeast Asia as its rivals are moving in.  Quartz

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.

WEEKLY INDUSTRY BRIEF: 12.29.2014

Hi there! This is my last weekly recap of 2014– crazy!  I hope everyone has a very happy and healthy 2015.

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:

  • Five retailers who nailed it this holiday season. Link
  • Amazon reveals holiday gift list, Elsa dolls number one. Link
  • Holiday selling spikes late in the game. Link
  • Amazon sorts itself out for holiday. Link
  • UPS and FedEx cap holiday deliveries amid late surge. Link
  • The best holiday sales growth in three years. Link
  • Retailers playing nice with after-Christmas returns. Link
  • It was a very mobile Christmas. Link

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Demand for L.L. Bean boots soar. Link
  • Urban Outfitters moving to super-size store in Chicago. Link
  • Inside eBay’s secret retail lab. Link
  • How Starbucks makes every store feel unique. Link
  • American Apparel investor says board withheld key information. Link
  • Wal-Mart and Macy’s strive for inventory optimization. Link
  • Wal-Mart tests gift card exchange program. Link
  • Delia’s store closings are happening and gift cards only valid through January. Link  
  • Google fights Marriott’s plan to block wi-fi hotspots. Link
  • Shoe customization gains traction. Link
  • ASOS ordering system crashes as shoppers seek bargains. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Facebook’s popularity among teens dips again. Link
  • Pinterest will open promoted pins to all advertisers following success of beta program. Link
  • Ten most innovative digital ad products of 2014. Link
  • Brands that scored big in social media this year. Link
  • Beauty marketers spent 23% more on digital in 2014. Link
  • New sales channel – Shop Spot – will let you purchase a product directly from any media source. Link
  • Facebook must face lawsuit over scanning of users messages. Link
  • Twitter users experience log in problems due to authentication issue. Link
  • Netflix primes Tumblr service. Link

Start-ups:

  • eCommerce platform adds social good outcome to every purchase. Link
  • Crowd-funding startups are looking to refashion the business of fashion. Link
  • Xiaomi raises $1.1B at $45B valuation. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • China finally closes the ‘third party’ Gmail loophole. Link
  • India’s online retailers truly arrived in 2014. How much will they grow? Link
  • Japanese retailers gearing up for New Year’s sales. Link

[EU]

  • Russian shoppers want imports even after the Ruble’s fall. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • $30 smartphones are here and they’re getting better every day. Link
  • Dr. Pepper, Wal-Mart engage mobile shoppers ahead of college football playoffs. Link
  • Amazon sees nearly 60% of consumers shop for holidays on mobile. Link
  • The strategy behind Airbnb’s mobile web redesign. Link
  • Will 2015 be the experimentation year for mobile payments? Link
  • Why 2015 may be the year of multiple mobile apps on one screen. Link

Other:

  • LG partners with Mercedes-Benz to develop a system to power self-driving cars. Link
  • The Interview nets $15M in online sales during opening four days. Link
  • Understanding the Christmas attacks on xBox and PlayStation networks. Link
  • Amazon details new features for its collaboration tool. Link

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

WEEKLY INDUSTRY ROUND UP: 11.4.2014

My recap of top industry news from last week.  All sources can be found in the hyperlink after the headline:

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Starbucks to start delivering in 2015. Link
  • Neiman Marcus launches MyNM to personalize ecommerce. Link
  • Aeropostale launches collection with social media stars. Link
  • Coach exceeds estimates as it grows overseas, curbs discounting. Link
  • Vente-Privee to shut U.S. venture. Link
  • Alibaba eyes payments tie-up with Apple. Link
  • Lululemon founder’s family bets on casual luxury with new retail venture. Link
  • Why online retailers continue to open brick-and-mortar stores. Link
  • Retailers and shippers retool for the holiday season. Link
  • Amazon opens pop-up store to push its Fire smartphones. Link
  • Burger King to accept PayPal. Link
  • Amazon launches crowdsourced publishing program. Link
  • Beyonce and Topshop team for Ath-Leisure brand. Link
  • Timberland’s newest partnership: Tires. Link
  • Target quietly testing mobile payment app to rival Apple Pay. Link
  • Sophia Coppola directs Gap’s holiday ads. Link
  • American Express and Etsy partner to support small businesses. Link
  • CNET launches a print magazine. Link
  • Ralph Lauren uses interactive windows to launch line at Harrods. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Gap’s interactive holiday campaign: Play your Stripes. Link
  • Youtube weighing new subscription service. Link
  • Bing now lets you search by emoji. Link
  • Publicis snaps up Sapient for $3.7B to build a digital media powerhouse. Link
  • Instagram video ads are finally live. Link
  • Luxury brands are still casting a leery eye toward social media. Link
  • Digital to overtake TV ad spending in two years, says Forrester. Link
  • Snapchat discussing new ad type that’s similar to live TV. Link
  • Nobody beats Amazon when it comes to subscription services. Link
  • Michelle Phan is building a beauty empire. Link
  • SheKnows acquires BlogHer. Link
  • Alex from Target rises to internet fame. Link
  • Heineken partners with brands to create exclusive luxury goods. Link
  • Reddit opens a crowdfunding site. Link

Start-ups:

  • Cloth is where Instagram and your closet collide. Link
  • Deliv widens same-day delivery, following Google. Link
  • Changing the rules of ecommerce. Link
  • Slack is now worth over $1B. Link
  • Crowdsourced design marketplace Minted raises $38M more, adds fabrics and home décor. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • China’s JD.com starts operations in $1B warehouse. Link
  • Investment in Tokopedia may be the boost Indonesian ecommerce needs. Link
  • China’s economic growth falls to lowest in 5 years. Link
  • Amazon’s strategy for India: stick to the concept of sister site. Link

[EU]

  • London pop-up mall blends digital and physical retail. Link
  • UK arm of Ikea to embark on price cutting program. Link

[CA]

  • Ikea Canada boss aims for a revamp as competition heats up. Link

[A/ME]

  • Macy’s to open in Abu Dhabi. Link

[LATAM]

  • Mexico enters the fashion limelight. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Neiman Marcus makes it easier for mobile shoppers to buy items they spot on the street. Link
  • Marriott woos millennials with mobile apps and wireless charging. Link
  • Microsoft unveils fitness smart band that understands voice commands. Link
  • PopSugar plays fave with data in new shopping app. Link
  • In 72 hours, ApplePay is already the wireless payment leader in the US. Link
  • Google launches Android 5.0 Lollipop. Link
  • Amazon voice search leads the way in mcommerce. Link
  • Neiman Marcus simplifies purchase process with mobile photo feature. Link  
  • How Aeropostale and Asos are getting mobile right with millennials. Link
  • Google’s redesigned calendar app combines brains and beauty. Link
  • Starbucks to offer delivery service via new app. Link
  • Hotels try smartphone apps as room keys. Link

Apple Pay Coverage:

  • Apple Pay isn’t ready to replace your wallet. Link
  • What are anti-Apple Pay merchants afraid of? Link
  • More US banks switch on Apple Pay support. Link
  • Apple Pay rival, Current C, says it’s misunderstood. Link
  • The worm in Apple Pay. Link

Other:

  • Four brands that built empires without traditional advertising. Link
  • Isabel Murant says build strong base and stay focused. Link
  • Sour Patch Kids opens Brooklyn house for touring bands. Link
  • Taylor Swift pulls all her albums from Spotify. Link
  • The Arrivals: A line of coats from a venture capitalist and an architect. Link

Weekly Industry Round Up: 10.27.2014

My recap of top industry news from last week.  All sources can be found in the hyperlink after the headline:

Retailer + Brand News:

  • Target eyes holiday turnaround on free shipping and faux fur. Link
  • Retail’s new battleground: The I want what I want when I want it generation. Link
  • Trunk Club to open first brick-and-mortar store on Madison Avenue. Link
  • Under Armour’s rising sneaker sales have yet to tread on Nike. Link
  • Gilt names former Starwood Hotels exec as chief marketing officer. Link
  • Etsy launches card reader for in-person payments. Link
  • Amazon posts largest quarterly loss in 14 years. Link
  • Macy’s links with Google to show mobile users what’s in stock nearby. Link
  • Rakuten, Japan’s Amazon, launches fashion site in the U.S. Link
  • Staples is the latest retailer to be hit by hackers. Link
  • Apple shutting down Beats Music app and rolling it into iTunes. Link
  • J.Crew says it will sit out athletic trend. Link
  • Sears said to be closing 77 stores. Link
  • Groupon’s site now has dedicated pages for 7 million businesses across the US. Link
  • Bloomingdale’s equips fitting rooms with iPads for smart shopping. Link
  • Anthropologie may open in AT&T’s former NYC headquarters. Link
  • Asos sees future payoff from 2014 investments. Link
  • FedEx, UPS make plans for better holiday season. Link

Social Media + Marketing:

  • Ello bans advertising and raises $5.5M in new funding. Link
  • Facebook launches new Rooms app that harkens back to early days of Internet chatrooms. Link
  • Groupon channels Yelp with new listings service. Link
  • Behind Twitter’s move to become a mobile-services shop. Link
  • Tumblr to make over $100M in revenue next year. Link
  • How Facebook is changing the way its users consumer journalism. Link
  • New Target CEO makes mark on holiday efforts. Link
  • Pandora gives musicians a data dashboard to see where their fans are. Link
  • North America holds tight to world’s largest ad spending share. Link
  • Haul videos influence holiday shopping. Link
  • Snapchat rolls out first advertiser. Link

Start-ups:

  • Glamsquad raises $7M for on-demand styling and beauty services. Link
  • Tindr to take a swipe at monetization with new premium dating upgrade. Link
  • Digital lockers will take parcels and clean laundry. Link

International:

[APAC]

  • Zalora opens first offline shop. Link
  • India’s Snapdeal forays into premium designer segment. Link
  • China’s Alipay offers ePass payment service for U.S. retail websites. Link
  • Apple set to open 25 new stores in China by end of 2016. Link
  • Zara stumbes in India. Link
  • Taobao Marketplace launches click-and-collect in Singapore. Link

[AU/NZ]

  • Sydney’s Big Commerce takes on Amazon with Alibaba deal. Link

[EU]

  • American Eagle lands in UK. Link
  • Amazon web services to open German center. Link
  • Primark prepares to make entrance in U.S. Link

[CA]

  • Target Canada to experiment with overstocking in turnaround effort. Link

Mobile, Tablet, + Wearables:

  • Urban Outfitters tackles in-app product search challenge. Link
  • Google wants to organize your life with new email app. Link
  • TestFlight Beta testing goes live for all iOS developers. Link
  • Amazon takes retail approach to push flagging Fire phone. Link
  • Google wants Inbox to be your email system for the next decade. Link
  • Amazon quietly launches app store within its main Android app. Link
  • Square launches app marketplace to make third-party integration painless for businesses. Link
  • Twitter unveils Fabric, a welcome gift to mobile developers. Link
  • Fitbit announces new fitness trackers, including its first smartwatch. Link
  • Microsoft makes progress with phone and tablet sales. Link
  • Nike sees brighter wearables future with Apple. Link

[Apple Pay coverage]:

  • Square encircled as Apple, Paypal aim for mobile payments. Link
  • Apple Pay threatens a competing approach to simplifying payments. Link
  • CVS and RiteAid disable Apple Pay. Link
  • CurrentC is the big retailers’ clunky attempt to kill Apple Pay and credit card fees. Link
  • Bank of America customers double-charged in Apple Pay snafu. Link
  • Jumio launches card-scanning mobile checkout for retailers’ iOS and Android apps. Link

Other:

  • How to turn your company into a movement. Link
  • The psychology of web design. Link
  • Roku could file for IPO soon, raises as much as $150M. Link

 

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

 

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)