Weekly Industry Brief: 12.17.2018

And just like that, we’re on my last post for the year!

Back in the beginning of 2018, Amazon had just announced 20 finalists for their second headquarters and Toys ‘R’ Us was still a store. A lot has happened since then and I’m proud to have archived it here.

I am wishing all of you a wonderful holiday and a happy new year.  Hopefully you are closing out the year by spending with family, friends, and loved ones, taking time to reflect on this year and planting seeds for all of the potential of the year ahead.

(P.S. If you want a quick cry, check out the Google Year in Search video.)

With Love, Carolann

Brands + Retailers

  • Google will open a new $1B campus in NYC.  Fast Company
  • Report says Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder had asbestos for decades.  Fast Company
  • Starbucks opens first east coast reserve roastery.  AdAge
  • Facebook discloses bug that opened private photos to apps.  AdAge
  • The data New York gave to Amazon.  The New York Times
  • Here’s how Nike, Alibaba and Walmart are reinventing retail.  Wired
  • A look inside Macy’s new retail strategy.  Retail Dive
  • Dollar General has suddenly become one of the biggest retailers in the US by store count.  Business Insider
  • Retailers embrace payment apps to sidestep $90B in swipe fees.  Bloomberg
  • Amazon looks to limit products that don’t drive profit.  Forbes
  • Amazon eyes private label toys.  Retail Dive
  • Starbucks adding delivery services to more than 2,000 stores via Uber Eats.  TechCrunch
  • Instacart and Amazon-owned Whole Foods are parting ways.  TechCrunch
  • Aerie momentum continues for American Eagle.  Forbes
  • What every direct-to-consumer brand can learn from Nike.  Forbes
  • How Barney’s, Saks and Neiman Marcus are tackling luxury beauty.  Glossy

Marketing + Social Media

  • The making of a computer-generated influencer.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Why beauty and wellness brands like New York City subway ads.  Glossy
  • Facebook’s version of YouTube takes shape with pranksters, magicians and cartoons.  The New York Times 
  • Stories from inside the $9B Instagram economy.  Fast Company
  • Instagram is testing creator accounts for high-profile influencers.  The Verge
  • Hulu introduces new programmatic marketplace.  AdAge
  • Facebook rolls out search ads and they’re currently free.  AdAge
  • Rookie cataloged a generation of girlhood.  The New York Times
  • Instagram will start telling brands which products users bookmark which could be used for ad targeting.  CNBC

Startup + Emerging Tech + Acquisitions

  • Walmart will soon use hundreds of AI robot janitors to scrub the floors of US stores.  CNBC
  • Procter & Gamble buys Walker & Co.  AdAge
  • Headspace vs. Calm: the meditation battle that’s anything but zen.  The Wall Street Journal
  • How “brick-and-mobile” is transforming in-store shopping.  Retail Dive
  • Powerful pricing: the next frontier in apparel and fashion advanced analytics.  McKinsey


  • eCommerce is thriving in Africa despite hurdles to the “last mile.”  Quartz
  • Walmart partners with Rakuten to open its first ecommerce store in Japan.  TechCrunch

Weekly Industry Brief: 5.29.2018

Welcome back to work! Here is a recap of industry news from the last two weeks (yes, two weeks…you can stalk my Insta to know why I didn’t post last week!).  Sources can be found in the hyperlinked text after the headline.

Brands and Retailers

  • BJ’s Wholesale files for IPO. The Wall Street Journal
  • Urban Outfitters launches third-party marketplace and tests self-checkout in stores.  Marketing Dive 
  • Target’s first quarter store traffic highest in a decade.  AdAge
  • Netflix tops Disney market value as top media stock.  AdAge
  • Facebook, Google face first GDPR complaints over “forced consent.”  TechCrunch
  • Amazon made the top 10 of the Fortune 500 for the first time ever.  Quartz
  • Best Buy expands Geek Squad services with roll out of Total Tech Support.  Star Tribune
  • Ralph Lauren shares surge on designer’s vote of confidence in CEO.  Bloomberg
  • Amazon’s map-tracking package locator now offered to all US shoppers.  CNet
  • Gap leans on heavy discounts to clear store inventory.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Nordstrom wants brands to embrace the size spectrum.  Glossy
  • Matches Fashion saw sales climb a whopping 44% last year.  Fashionista
  • Urban Outfitters sees profits triple in first quarter. Seeking Alpha
  • Poshmark has officially distributed $1B to its sellers.  Fashionista
  • Walmart quietly launches JetBlack, a personal shopping service for affluent city moms.  Recode
  • With three new brands, Target takes aim at Generation Z.  Business of Fashion
  • Target cuts delivery fees by almost half, putting pressure on Walmart and Amazon.  USA Today  
  • The Real Real’s radical vision of secondhand luxury.  New Yorker 
  • How Ulta is winning in the age of Amazon.  Quartz
  • Next time you buy a TV at Best Buy, you may also be offered health care.  CNBC
  • How OPI is hacking Amazon and data algorithms to improve its online site.  Glossy

Marketing and Social Media

  • Why it’s primetime for Instagram Stories.  AdWeek
  • Paypal starts deeper integration with Google; users can now pay directly in Gmail, Youtube.  TechCrunch
  • Snapchat launches first lens that responds to sound.  Engadget
  • A leaked look at Facebook’s influencer marketing search engine.  TechCrunch
  • Ikea’s witty social posts about the Royal Wedding.  AdAge
  • Instagram adds options to mute posts in your feed.  VentureBeat
  • How Lego infuses social media marketing with play.  CMO
  • L’Oreal films Chinese influencer marketing videos at Cannes.  SCMP
  • Ulta partners with Like to Know It.  Glossy
  • Publicis Groupe reveals much anticipated AI platform.  The Drum 
  • New Balance launches shoppable AR in Snapchat. MediaPost 
  • How Vans became the brand that can do no wrong.  High Snobiety
  • Victoria’s Secret has a plan to upgrade its image for younger women.  CNBC
  • Facebook Stories sees 150M users per day and will soon launch ads.  TechCrunch
  • YouTube Music subscription service to relaunch this week.  Seeking Alpha
  • Amazon Prime members now get 10% off at Whole Foods.  Fast Company 
  • Twitter looking to expand its programatic offerings with Timeline Ad Network pilot program.  MarketingLand

Startup + Emerging Tech + Acquisitions

  • Dog-sitting start-up, Rover, raises $155M.  TechCrunch
  • PayPal acquires European payments start-up iZettle for $2.2B.  The New York Times 
  • Kroger buys meal-kit start up Home Chef.  The Wall Street Journal
  • Why Nike’s AR experiment with Facebook Messenger was a hit.  MarTech Today
  • Your favorite stores could be tracking you with facial recognition. Racked
  • Why Nordstrom is betting on high-touch tech in stores.  Fortune
  • Adobe buys Magento for $1.7B.  Bloomberg
  • Target rolling out AR tools in stores to stay competitive in beauty.  Glossy
  • You’ll soon be able to use augmented reality to try on sneakers.  Quartz
  • Cult ‘fast-beauty’ brand Winky Lux raises $6M in Series A to fund experience-first retail plans.  Forbes


  • Ikea pushes into South America.  Reuters
  • Starbucks to open 3,000 more stores in China.  CNN Money 
  • Amazon leads $12M investment in India-based digital insurance start-up.  TechCrunch
  • Amazon plans China event for global growth strategy.  SmartBrief
  • Meet the start-up building a market from scratch to become Africa’s Alibaba.  The Wall Street Journal
  • China may be about to cut import tariff on consumer goods from lipstick to food.  Fortune
  • Retailers’ global expansion cools as businesses get smart about opening new stores.  CNBC

Weekly Industry Brief: 12.13.2016

Here is your weekly industry brief over the last week.  Sources are in the hyperlinked text after the headline. Cheers!


  • Cyber Monday drives $52B in online sales. Link
  • Aerie opens concept store in New York. Link
  • LA City Attorney suing Sears, Kohl’s, Macy’s, JC Penney for alleged pricing scheme. Link
  • Starbucks’ Schultz sees sweeping retail consolidation. Link
  • Millennials making bigger investments in makeup. Link
  • Revolve launches beauty. Link
  • Ikea adapts to growing urban populations. Link
  • American Apparel to close nine stores by end of December. Link
  • Museums rethink retail. Link
  • Sports bras are making Lululemon a lot of money. Link
  • Kylie Jenner and Shopify prepare for what may be the most hyped pop-up ever. Link
  • Starbucks 5-year plan: lots of stores, food and cold drinks. Link
  • Google signs deal with Cuba’s state-run telecommunications company. Link
  • Nordstrom turns to electronic gifting service amid shift online. Link
  • There’s a Crossfit war being fought over your feet. Link
  • Net loss grows at Neiman Marcus. Link


  • Ikea renamed products after frequently Googled problems that those products solve. Link
  • How Costco appeals to millennials and Gen Z without specifically targeting them. Link
  • Snapchat adds four new features including much-requested group chat. Link
  • Weibo’s comeback lures luxury brands. Link
  • Selena Gomez inks $10M deal with Coach. Link
  • How Revolve is leveraging user-generated content for its beauty business. Link
  • Kylie Cosmetics sidelines journalists at store opening. Link
  • Instagram brings live video broadcasts to all U.S. users. Link
  • Facebook Live will spin up 360-degree streaming to match YouTube. Link

Startup/Emerging Tech

  • Job cuts at Honest Co. could mean deal, IPO are tabled. Link
  • Prada uses video, virtual reality to market fragrance. Link
  • Why AR will be bigger than VR. Link
  • L’Occitane ups technology with smart beauty fitting room. Link
  • Retail chatbots show the power of artificial intelligence, just in time for the holidays. Link
  • Adidas to sell 3-D shoes to public. Link


  • Starbucks becomes first retail brand to use WeChat’s gift card product. Link
  • Mexico overtakes Canada as No. 2 U.S. exporter ahead of Trump. Link
  • China Consumers Association cites ‘Misleading’ Singles’ Day promotions. Link
  • China’s retail sales climb 10.8% in November. Link
  • ASOS boosts U.K. sourcing after pound’s Brexit fall. Link
  • Wal-Mart to invest $1.3B in Mexico. Link
  • Hong Kong loses Ralph Lauren flagship, braces for more closures. Link
  • Staples agrees to sell European operations to Cerberus Capital. Link
  • Marks & Spencer to shutter its 10 stores in China. Link
  • Uniqlo targets 100 more stores in China expansion. Link

Weekly Industry Brief: 10.19.2015

Check out my recap of industry news from the last week.  Sources can be found in the hyperlinked text after the headline.


  • Uber’s courier service, UberRush goes live in Chicago and San Francisco. Link
  • Kohl’s expands same-day delivery to 9 cities ahead of holiday season. Link
  • Target teams up with Who What Wear on full-fledged fashion line. Link
  • Under Armour CEO and CFO to step down. Link
  • PayPal will now pay for your return shipping. Link
  • Birchbox is launching its own makeup line. Link
  • WalMart to pour $2B into ecommerce over next two years. Link
  • Nike sets aggressive revenue target of $50B by 2020. Link
  • Nordstrom Rack is becoming a massive threat to Macy’s, Kohls, and JC Penny. Link
  • Balmain x H&M: See the full collection with prices. Link
  • Rodarte to team up with & Other Stories next Spring. Link
  • Starbucks is testing delivering coffee to office workers in the Empire State Building. Link
  • How Levi’s is fighting athleisure by reinventing denim. Link
  • Ralph Lauren opens first store in Brooklyn. Link
  • American Apparel sees bright future after bankruptcy. Link
  • Target enlists entrepreneurs to help it think outside the big box. Link


  • Survey finds teens prefer Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Link
  • Facebook pushes shopping features in move toward ecommerce. Link
  • How Facebook’s Moments is solving the other people’s photos problem. Link
  • Target taps Shazam for shoppable link to TV ad campaign. Link
  • How Unilever tapped ‘I Want that Hair’ moments by aggregating blogger videos. Link
  • Facebook tests video tab, intensifying YouTube rivalry. Link
  • How the Instagram effect is changing advertising images. Link


  • Outdoor Voices, a brand for simple, cool activewear, raises $7M in funding. Link
  • How non-technology companies are trying to mimic startups by launching innovation labs. Link


  • H&M’s next target is the Indian middle class. Link
  • Amazon bets on Mexico. Link
  • Zalando feels growth pains as margins miss estimates. Link
  • Starbucks may be opening stores in Italy. Link

Mobile/Emerging Tech

  • Square, the mobile payments company, files for IPO. Link
  • Swatch links with China banking giants for mobile payment watch. Link
  • More brands use beacons to connect with customers real-time. Link
  • Nike debuts interactive shopping app, Tech Book. Link
  • Apple focuses on 3D Touch with new iPhone 6 ad. Link
  • Yaho offers password free log in for email. Link
  • LinkedIn revamps mobile app to boost use. Link

Weekly Industry Brief: 9.28.2015

Below are selected highlights from the week in retail, fashion, technology, and ecommerce. Sources can be found in the hyperlinked text after the headline.


  • Quirky is filing for bankruptcy and selling its smart home subsidiary. Link
  • Amazon offered discounted Prime memberships on September 25th. Link
  • WalmartLabs snaps up Silicon Valley based Punchtab, with focus on Sam’s Club customers. Link
  • Groupon is laying off 1,100 employees and shuttering operations in seven countries. Link
  • Hermes launches a content website to promote its men’s line. Link
  • Apple is about to change everything we know about TV. Link
  • Kenneth Cole is revamping its brand identity by embracing its activist past. Link
  • H&M’s plans for global domination: expanding beauty and opening three stores a day. Link
  • Why Coach is focusing on ready-to-wear. Link
  • Kit and Ace continues its expansion from in-store coffee shops to technical silk for spring. Link
  • H&M sales recover in September after weak August. Link
  • Target hires executive for new operations role. Link
  • Can America’s biggest beauty retailer take on Sephora? Link
  • Uber has a new pre-paid ride service called UberEvents. Link
  • Macy’s to hire 85,000 workers for holiday shopping season. Link
  • Amazon getting ready to launch it’s “Etsy killer.” Link


  • Most Instagram users are outside the U.S. Link
  • Instagram hits 400 Million users, soars passed Twitter. Link
  • Facebook will bring in $163B in global ad revenue this year. Link
  • Kardashians off to a big start with their own web channels. Link
  • Five things to know about Facebook’s Internet initiative. Link
  • Balmain for H&M releases first image from ad campaign. Link
  • Facebook takes 360 degree video out for a spin. Link


  • You can now have wine delivered with your Blue Apron dinner. Link
  • Quixey reaches into apps to boost mobile commerce. Link
  • Lyft moves customer support team to Nashville to combat high-priced San Francisco market. Link


  • Mobile and marketplaces lift French online retail sales in the first half. Link
  • Sephora partners with Indian beauty retailer. Link
  • Google announces plan to put WiFi in 400 train stations across India. Link
  • Alibaba makes Beijing a hub. Link
  • France rejects Google’s efforts to limit application of privacy ruling. Link
  • Nike sprints ahead as China sales defy economic slowdown. Link
  • Billionaire’s startup brings Black Friday to Pakistan’s shoppers. Link


  • You can now order your Starbucks before you get to the store. Link
  • Websites attract bigger audiences but users spend more time in apps. Link
  • Four brands whose creative approach to mobile marketing are getting big results. Link
  • Apple says half of devices have downloaded iOS9. Link
  • More brands flock to Amazon Dash but largely remains an experiment. Link
  • Smartphone users spend almost all their time in their three favorite apps. Link
  • Samsung and Oculus announce $99 gear VR headsets for Galaxy phones. Link
  • Samsung touts mobile payment success. Link

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!


  • 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


  • 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


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


  • 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