This is issue no. 113 of 180. The last issue saw a 🔥 46.48% open rate with 8.26% going to this article on $EXPR's investment into Columbus' Homage (more coverage here). And this new product is where my allegiance to the tech fashion industry ends. What do brands look for from native advertising partnerships?
BRAND: The object of the game, which is on Warby Parker's website, is to match and clear groups of like-colored balls in a bowl. The bowl is set on a desk with books that have made-up titles like I Know You're Bored, but What Am I?; The game expresses Warby Parker's focus on design and entertainment. "Warby Parker stands for fun, creativity and doing good in the world. Co-creating a video game sets us apart from other lifestyle and accessories brands," said Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker. "
ECOMMERCE: Take department stores Sears, J.C. Penney and Kohl's, or traditional grocers Supervalu and Safeway. All were among the 20 highest-grossing retailers in America by sales at one point in the past 15 years, only to see their dominance fade.Macy's, which has seen its market capitalization drop by 43 percent in the past year, is still in the top 20. But the country's largest department store by sales has fallen in the ranks to 16th (from 9th in 1995). Meanwhile, Amazon, Apple and Kroger sales have surged. Last year, Amazon and Apple were the 8th and 12th biggest U.S. retailers.
MEDIA: Snapchat definitely does have capabilities akin to apps in the social networking and messaging app categories. But with a camera as its front door, the app is best thought of as a utility for visually capturing moments that matter and communicating them creatively in a private or semiprivate way. “We’re like a camera company,” said Bryan Kim, manager of Snapchat’s strategy group. “And we encourage creativity, which is why there are so many creative tools on our platform—doodles, geofilters, stickers and lenses.”
DATA: An uptick in patent applications for augmented reality over the last five years offers clues about which companies are pushing the technology forward in what could be a competitive industry. Microsoft applied for more than 600 augmented reality patents between 2009 and 2015, with applications spiking to 164 in 2012 alone. Samsung was the second most active, applying for 374 over the same period, while Sony was a little behind. Google came in at 230, while Magic Leap applied for 177 and Apple 116.
DATA: Data is simply table stakes. Every corporation on this planet has fundamentally more data available to it than it did just a few years ago. In fact, 90% of the world's data was collected in the past two years. Having data means virtually nothing. Turning that data into meaningful, immersive, empowering experiences means everything. It's not simply up to organizations to break down the silos that exist between the creative geniuses and the data jockeys. The creatives must make sweet love to the data. Those that do will realize that nothing removes the constraints from creativity more effectively.
DATA: There is a way to use customer insight data to strengthen, rather than weaken, connections to customers. We’ve observed businesses make big improvements when they strike a balance between the creativity of their people and the science of sales. What made the difference? Five broad rules enable managers to move from working for customer data to having the data work for them. Determine decisions first, data later. Most managers know that data is not an end in itself: It must serve the business.
MEDIA: Separate from its video sharing app, Apple has developed and tested multiple social-related features for its iPhone and iPad operating system over the past year that have yet to be released, according to people familiar with the matter. One system that has been tested and still may launch in the future is a bolstered version of the “proactive assistance” functionality. The current implementation, bundled into iPhone software since 2015, recommends points of interest, contacts, and apps based on location and time of day.
ECOMMERCE: ShipMatrix backs the USPS’s claim to ecommerce delivery superiority, at least from a volume standpoint. In 2015, its data showed USPS leading with a 56.5% share of parcel volume delivered to residences, followed by UPS with 29%, FedEx with 12% and “other” with 2.5%. ShipMatrix president Satish Jindel notes that USPS’s delivery share includes parcels handled by UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost but delivered over the final mile by USPS. “They’re the largest carrier for Amazon,” Jindel said.
INNOVATION: If someone takes all 20 rides on UberPool, then they'll be paying a total of $60 for 20 rides, or only $3 a piece. In San Francisco, that's only $0.75 more than the bus and way less than the $5 to $8 I typically pay for an UberPool ride. While Uber hasn't publicly commented on the success of other experiments like this one, the fact that it's repeating it in larger markets could signal that it could become more widespread. In July, Uber tested a similar $0.01 "Pool Pass" in Boston that had the same upfront cost structure and one-penny rides after that.
MEDIA: Apple bought Beats, cofounded by ex–Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine. Ten months later, Iovine was instrumental in the launch of Apple Music — then just another subscription-based streaming music option in a crowded room. Today, with Iovine’s connections and industry guile, Apple Music is becoming a de facto record label of its own. In just over a year, Apple has struck deals with Drake, Future, Chance the Rapper, and Travis Scott. But Frank Ocean was the last straw.
BRAND: Marketed under the Acura badge, Honda’s stalled premium brand in the United States, China and other regions, the NSX marks the latest effort by the Japanese automaker to reclaim its reputation as a leader in innovation and engineering after a spell of sluggish sales due in part to “play-it-safe” designs. Honda beefed up the model with a hybrid powertrain consisting of three electric motors and a twin-turbo V-6 engine approaching the power of a Ferrari.
MEDIA: With PressPlay, Curry will be able to access China’s audience of 620 million smartphone users and 641 million digital viewers. Viewers will be able to follow Curry through his training, family time and other behind-the-scenes footage. Curry will also answer questions from fans via a pre-recorded live stream. “With the ubiquity of mobile devices and social media, today’s biggest celebrities are expected to engage with their fans worldwide.
VOICE FIRST: Amazon has sold four million Echos that use the Alexa Voice Service. Mary Meeker of KPCB made a point earlier this year to compare Echo growth favorably to the first two years of iPhone sales. Some independent analysis suggests this may be right. Whereas iPhones serve an individual, devices like the Amazon Echo serve an entire household. U.S. Census data reports that average households have 2.58 people. That means four million Echos are likely to be serving 10 million people. That is not far short of the 13 million iPhones sold in the first six quarters after launch.
RETAIL: Sears is running out of money. The company's cash and equivalents have fallen to $276 million from $1.8 billion one year ago, Sears said Thursday. As a result, the retailer was forced to accept $300 million in financing from Sears CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments. Sears is losing cash as sales plunge at its namesake and Kmart stores. Net sales fell 8.8% to $5.7 billion in the second quarter. Same-store sales plunged 7% at Sears stores and dropped 3.3% at Kmart stores.
Graphic of The week: In light of Apple's Pivot to Service-based Revenue
A few notes on the charts above:
Before 2000 Apple didn't report revenue from Other Products or Services, so it is possible that the share of Macs in those years is overstated in the top chart
In 2004 Apple changed from reporting sales of 4 different categories of Macs to 2 categories: portables and desktops
In 2012 Apple consolidated all Macs into a single category for reporting purposes
In 2015 sales of iPods were so low that Apple included iPods in Other Products rather than as a separate segment. It appears likely that this will continue in future years