BRAND: Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer had big careers in the athletic shoe business: Schaeffer was Reebok’s global creative director, and Wilson was its head of brand strategy. But two years ago, they jumped to the opposite end of the market: They became the little guys, launching a shoe startup called NoBull that caters to CrossFitters. They now sponsor four CrossFit celebrities and have 11 shoe styles for sale, and have learned a lot about the benefits of being small. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: Walmart and JD jointly announced that the American retailer would sell its e-commerce division, known as Yihaodian, to the Chinese online retailer. In exchange, Walmart will take a 5% equity stake in JD’s outstanding shares, amounting to about $1.5 billion at the company’s current valuation. Walmart will also become a “preferred seller” on one of JD’s grocery delivery apps, while Sam’s Club will open a store on JD’s flagship e-commerce site. The deal doesn’t mark the conclusion of Walmart in China, which remains a “strategic market” for the future, as CEO Doug McMillon said recently. Read More ⇢
BRAND: Unlike BMW and the i brand, Mercedes would use its existing factories to produce the newly-branded vehicles instead of operating out of a separate one as the i brand does. The first vehicle under the brand is likely to be an SUV model based on the Mercedes-Benz GLC crossover vehicle and would start sales next year. The product line would be broadened further in 2020. Daimler declined to comment, according to Handelsblatt. Mercedes-Benz and BMW wouldn't be the only two German automakers with plans for more electric vehicle sales. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: In the madness of the referendum results, another serious issue facing the nation has been somewhat overlooked: ASOS has been down for hours. Yup. Both the ASOS site and the app crashed last night, and as of this morning they still aren’t working. We’ve now gone 12 hours without access to online shopping. We’ve been refreshing for hours. We just don’t know what to do. Is this what the world looks like now? Is this how we have to live? Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: CPG e-commerce has been slow to come to fruition in the U.S. UK grocers were actually first to market due to concentrated geography, spawning a multi-billion-pound CPG ecommerce market with Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Ocado trailblazing the way for grocery delivery and click-and-collect. But the U.S. industry is now coming online at a fast pace with Amazon investing big, new entrants like Instacart, Boxed and Jet.com driving model innovation, new momentum with early movers like Peapod, FreshDirect, and Walmart.com and anticipated awakening of sleeping giants like Kroger and Albertson’s. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: For e-commerce websites, the fast road to increased revenue is reached by improving conversion rates. More visitors converting into sales is naturally going to increase net revenue and ultimately profits. Through my online marketing consulting agency, I have analyzed e-commerce websites in almost every industry, and I’ve worked with the in-house teams at multiple brands to optimize, therefore improving, their conversion rates in an effort to drive more sales and revenue. Here are five tips you can implement that will help you greatly improve your conversion rates. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: Since late last year, the funding boom has come down several notches and investors have become very choosy and demanding about funding start-ups, especially mature ones such as the unicorns. Already, Flipkart’s valuation has been marked down by four of its investors this year. Flipkart and Snapdeal are struggling to raise fresh funds at their preferred valuations. Last month, an analyst estimated that Zomato was worth half the valuation at which it raised funding in September. Read More ⇢
DATA: Location feeds could inspire people to tweet more while out and about, fuel Moments about particular places, and improve Twitter’s ad targeting data. Better location functionality could be an important building block for Twitter’s future products and revenue potential. Foursquare is powering precise place identification for the Twitter feature. In exchange it gets prominent branding, links back, and the ability to improve its own database. Read More ⇢
DATA: This concept of automation in a UX design cycle seeks to mimic what software development and IT teams are already doing toward delivering releases more efficiently through the creation of automation pipelines. Repetitive labor and intensive tasks that are prone to human error are broken down into repeatable processes across a series of stages, from development, through testing, to production and into the hands of the users, confirming that what can be automated does truly get automated. Read More ⇢
MEDIA: Facebook has grand plans to continue expanding and improving its live video platform this year, starting with support for face-swapping app MSQRD. In the coming weeks, you can go live on Facebook from the MSQRD app and utilize its many different Snapchat-like masks and filters while the video is running. Facebook first acquired Masquerade, the Belarusian startup behind MSQRD, back in March with the intention to "continue enhancing the Facebook video experience." Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: While retail sites offer product recommendations and ratings and review while the consumer is shopping, Sharma says the help ends at checkout. “Once you click the Buy button, there’s no engagement from the brand perspective,” he says. “The customer is left all by themselves to figure out how am I going to get this product, how am I going to return it.” Narvar’s targets retailers that do $100 million or more in online sales each year. Existing clients include retail chain Nordstrom Inc. (No. 18), youth apparel retail chain Urban Outfitters Inc., and cosmetics retailer Sephora USA Inc. (No. 129). Since launching in 2012, Narvar has raised $34 million across three funding arounds, according to CrunchBase. Read More ⇢
BRAND: When CEO Lei Jun takes the stage, in distressed jeans, sneakers, and a blue button-down, he’s confident—cocky, even. You can hardly blame him. Xiaomi, the company Lei founded in 2010, has become the world’s fourth-largest smartphone seller, hawking affordable, stylish phones that cater to China’s immense middle class and its youth culture. Xiaomi has just completed a funding round that made it the world’s most valuable private startup, with an astounding valuation of $45 billion—reflecting investor excitement about not only its phones but also its “ecosystem” of online services and smart-home products, which could turn phone buyers into loyal customers for years to come. Read More ⇢
Last Word: Chart of The Week
Ask venture firms like GGV Capital, and they may suggest that the eCommerce markets- abroad - are the more important investments at this point. Deal volume and deal size have both rise in both countries. For one, geopolitics is an influencer in so much that Amazon and Wal-Mart both face regulatory woes preventing them from capitalizing on reinvestment in foreign countries. Logistics operations are the other shortfall preventing American success in those two countries.
In short, it's still the wild wild east in India and China, two vast countries ripe for commerce innovations. With investments in China and India peaking, so is the need for eCommerce agencies and platforms and apps to fulfill their needs. This part of the business remains an American advantage and we'll likely see quite a bit more cross-Pacific collaboration between Chinese or Indian startups and North American facilitators.