This is issue no. 102 of 180. The last issue saw a 42.41% open rate with a 5.58% going to this article on how Facebook is blocking ad blockers. Look at this amazing ad play by mattress manufacturer Casper. Watch this if you want a Nike U.S. Olympics ad to make you emotional.
ECOMMERCE: The hype around social media apps trying to become shopping hubs has never been higher. But so are the red flags. Facebook was eager to showcase its partnership between Messenger and retail startup Spring at the developer conference F8. But Spring CEO Alan Tisch said he had “very low expectations” going into the deal with Messenger to operate a chatbot for shopping. It was “great for brand alignment and PR but it’s a huge shift in behavior you’re asking from users,” he said in an interview with The Information. Messenger’s “not about to replace shopping.”
ECOMMERCE: BloomReach has always been about helping online retailers maximize their revenue algorithmically by adjusting content in an automated fashion based on what it knows about the visitor and his or her preferences. In the latest release announced today, the company builds on this by offering data and analytics to help human merchandizers make better daily decisions about how to optimize their product pages. The idea with the new version of BloomReach Compass, is to take data and integrate it into the lives of online merchandizers.
MEDIA: I’m on Instagram. And I enjoy it a lot, but if there’s one part that makes me want to rage quit, it’s the endless photos of fitness influencers, models and beautiful people holding up packets of skinny tea. You know, the tea that helps people lose weight by basically being a fucking laxative. It’s not that they necessarily believe in the product, if they did it might not piss me off as much as it does. It’s that holding pictures of skinny tea is their entire business, and they’d call themselves entrepreneurs for doing it.
MEDIA: Like most other media conglomerates, Disney is fighting the threat that cable cord-cutting poses to its existing operations, whether it’s the movie business or the ESPN sports network. But CEO Bob Iger is also smart enough to be thinking about how to take advantage of that trend at the same time. That desire can be seen in two of the moves that Disney announced on Tuesday night. The first was the acquisition of a 33% stake in BAMTech
INNOVATION: The innovation doesn’t stop with the app. Nintendo, one of the game’s investors, has developed a small wearable called Pokémon Go Plus. The device lights up and vibrates when the wearer nears a Pokéstop or a Pokémon they have previously caught. Gamers interested in getting their hands on one will be able to do so sometime in early September, for the not-so-bargain price of $34.99. But this new device misses out on some obvious functionality.
BRAND: The sensor would allow users to log in more quickly and theoretically authenticate Apple Pay purchases. Like with iPhones, the new Pro laptops will encrypt fingerprint data so it can’t be removed from the devices. Apple will also release a new version of its Mac operating system named Sierra this fall that brings Siri, new messaging and photo-management features, deeper iCloud integration, and more efficient file storage to Apple’s desktops and laptops, the company said in June.
ECOMMERCE: Wayfair could certainly stand to rein in costs, including advertising and customer acquisition -- it estimates it spends $62 to attract each new customer. And as Amazon has done in the past, it could try to pull cost levers every now and then so that it posts a quarterly profit, even a meager one.But like Amazon, Wayfair's online sales are growing faster than the overall e-commerce market, not to mention the traditional retailers Wayfair is trying to displace. The company estimates it's taking up to 40 percent of U.S. online spending growth in the home and decor categories.
ECOMMERCE: Jeff Bezos famously said, “Your margin is my opportunity.” And it appears the established retailers and packaged goods companies are, finally, starting to take him seriously. Digital disruption has already claimed Blockbuster, Radio Shack, Borders, Circuit City, and Sports Authority. Best Buy, Sears, JC Penny, and Aeropostale are circling the drain. No retail CEO wants to join that list. That’s part of the reason Walmart spent $3B, that’s 43% of its cash on hand, to purchase a two-year old startup called Jet and Unilever spent a billion to buy Dollar Shave Club.
ECOMMERCE: Amazon’s longer-term goal is more fantastical — and, if it succeeds, potentially transformative. It wants to escape the messy vicissitudes of roads and humans. It wants to go fully autonomous, up in the sky. The company’s drone program, which many in the tech press dismissed as a marketing gimmick when Mr. Bezos unveiled it on “60 Minutes” in 2013, is central to this future; drones could be combined with warehouses manned by robots and trucks that drive themselves to unlock a new autonomous future for Amazon.
BRAND: So Nike will get a lot of exposure over the next few weeks -- from athletes wearing its apparel and all the Nike commercials airing on NBC and its family of networks during the games. NBA superstar LeBron James -- who just signed a lifetime endorsement deal with the House of Swoosh -- recently gave the company the best exposure possible as well. LeBron's Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title in June, beating the Golden State Warriors and Under Armour (UA) spokesman Steph Curry in the process.
Last Word: On Overcoming Amazon's Influence As A Small Online Retailer
If you're less than four years old and you're not named Jet.com, the quick answer is that you cannot. The more nuanced answer is that Amazon can be a competitor (not smart) or it can be an amplifier (smarter).
That is Amazon's business in a nutshell: massive investments in fixed costs in an attempt to minimize marginal costs. Some businesses, like AWS, are naturally leveraged: you buy and equip a data center that can be used by multiple customers; the more customers using said data center the more those fixed costs can be spread out. What is so, frankly, awesome about the e-commerce business is that the company is pulling off the same trick: Amazon has and is making massive investments in fixed costs like distribution and sortation centers (now 145 worldwide), increased automation, even planes and eventually drones, and then increasingly charging sellers on a marginal basis to use that infrastructure; Prime, meanwhile, both provides an annuity-like funding source even as it significantly increases the volume of purchases.
In September 2015, Shopify partnered with Amazon to allow merchants to seamlessly set up their own seller profiles on Amazon's marketplace. Additionally, Shopify merchants can add a "Login and Pay With Amazon" option on their own e-commerce sites to remove friction from the payments process by pulling shipping and billing information via Amazon accounts.
Amazon may not be how you catalogue your product. Eventually, it may be how your product is carried from your local shipping center to your consumer - by drone. Eventually, you may advertise on Amazon. It's Chinese counterpart, Alibaba, raked in $6B in display ads in the previous fiscal year. You may use Amazon's Prime planes to move your products from your east coast warehouse to that on the west. Or it may be how your consumers checkout faster, removing the barriers to sale that have plagued small retailers for years.