This is issue no. 112 of 180. The last issue saw a 40.87% open rate with 9.41% going to this article on 10 UX Best Practices for eCommerce Success. Yesterday's read on One King's Lane had a faulty link. This one delves into their $30M fire sale. Ben Lerer talks digital media and eCommerce here on WSJ [AUDIO].
BRAND: Express ($EXPR) CEO David Kornberg disclosed the deal during a Wednesday morning conference call with stock analysts, and Homage founder Ryan Vesler blogged about it on the Columbus company's website. “Leaning on the experience, talent and team of Express will help us reach a goal I’ve long wanted to achieve — to bring Homage to more people,” Vesler wrote. Homage CEO Jason Block said in an email that Express will consult with the company on an ongoing basis and the investment will allow Homage to expand both its digital and brick-and-mortar presence. “This allows us to participate in the potential growth of Homage,” Kornberg said on the call.
ECOMMERCE: Best Buy's quarterly financial results on Tuesday were downright Amazon-like: Consecutive quarters of double-digit online sales growth. Hot new products including virtual-reality headsets and techy watches. Words like "exploration" and "experimentation."Gone were the store-closing announcements of quarters past, along with talk of bad weather or other tired excuses for why consumers aren't shopping (many of which we've heard from Target, Macy's and other retailers in recent weeks). Shares surged 19 percent on the news, marking Best Buy's biggest one-day stock gain since 2001.
MEDIA: It did not. Instead of a bulletproof success story, Rio delivered a complex portrait of the rapid changes affecting the TV business and of a viewership still hungry for Olympics coverage, but also for new ways to consume it. Over 15 days of competition, NBCU’s Olympics coverage averaged 27.5 million viewers across all platforms, including digital streaming — down 9% from 2012. But traditional TV ratings told a far grimmer story, one that began with Nielsen numbers.
DATA: Facebook makes a deduction about your political views based on the pages that you like — or on your political preference, if you stated one, on your profile page. If you like the page for Hillary Clinton, Facebook might categorize you as a liberal. Even if you do not like any candidates’ pages, if most of the people who like the same pages that you do — such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream — identify as liberal, then Facebook might classify you as one, too.
MEDIA: Google has announced that it will begin cracking down on “intrusive interstitials” on January 10, 2017, because this type of ad “can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.” Google will be potentially penalizing — i.e., lowering the rankings — of these web pages. Google said “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” Google explained which types of interstitials are going to be problematic, including:
ECOMMERCE: This shift to mobile-based e-commerce from desktop is lifting the prospects of some leading web merchants and depressing them for others. This competitive challenge to the e-commerce elite can be seen by comparing the world’s 25 largest e-commerce competitors, as ranked by Internet Retailer’s recently released Global 1000 Database, to the world’s 25 largest mobile commerce competitors, which are ranked in IR’s 2017 Mobile 500, published earlier this month. These rankings show that some of the world’s largest e-commerce players are losing ground in the faster-growing mobile commerce field.
MEDIA: Pinterest is buying read-it-later service Instapaper to ramp up its run at Facebook as a rival next-generation, increasingly insular media portal. On Tuesday, Pinterest announced it is acquiring Instapaper, which people can use to save articles from around the web to check out later. Instapaper’s service will remain available post-acquisition, and Pinterest has no plans to put ads in Instapaper, according to a Pinterest spokesperson. People use Pinterest and Instapaper for similar reasons. The similarity is almost too close for the deal to make sense.
MEDIA: Some marketers believe programmatic is not fit to drive branding. However, programmatic buying is changing and becoming less about cheap impressions. Forrester forecasts that open exchange buying – which is often associated with obscure inventory sources auctioning off ad placements – will represent less than 20 percent of programmatic ad spending in the United States by 2021, down from 65 percent in 2015. Additionally, big brands are recognizing programmatic’s potential beyond direct response to strategically target consumers along the entire path to purchase.
ECOMMERCE: Retail e-commerce sales–which include products and services (except for travel, restaurant and event ticket sales) ordered via the Internet over any device–will reach more than $1.9 trillion worldwide in 2016, accounting for 8.7 percent of total retail spending. While the pace of growth for overall retail sales will be relatively subdued for the year (up 6 percent), the digital portion of sales continues to expand rapidly, with a 23.7 percent growth forecast for 2016.
ECOMMERCE: WayFair one of the world’s largest online destinations for home furnishings and décor, today announced the launch of Patio Playground, the company’s first-party virtual reality application, available on the Oculus Rift Experiences store. Developed by Wayfair Next, the company’s in-house research and development team, using Facebook’s Oculus Rift platform, Patio Playground allows shoppers to immerse themselves in an inspirational landscape, where they can explore, rearrange, and discover furniture and décor from Wayfair’s catalog.
BRAND: Downtown Detroit will look a bit more hip by the end of the year. Warby Parker, the New York City-based company that specializes in hip eyewear, said Tuesday it will open a store in downtown Detroit. It will be on the first floor of an eight-story building at 1449 Woodward, next to the recently opened “athleisure” store, Kit and Ace and across the street from Détroit is the New Black. “We’re very excited to have a retail store opening soon in Detroit,” a Warby Parker spokeswoman said in an email.
DATA: Despite a lengthy list of contribution margin factors, the 80-20 rule applies. For any given product category, a handful of items drive most of the impact on margin. Here is a sample equation: Contribution margin = offer price – PO cost – shipping cost + shipping revenue – inbound freight + vendor allowances – coupon rebates. Analyzing contribution margin opens up new opportunities to improve profitability in the areas of price optimization, vendor negotiation, marketing performance and shipping and inventory management.
Last Word: Authenticity, NPS, and Serendipity
Just follow along, Tristan Walker's timeline is a joyful curation of customers who are organically mentioning his product. The one thing that I continue to notice about the persistence of the brand's founder / CEO / and chief promoter? The authenticity.
For those who don't know, Bevel is a shaving system for men of color. It has since crossed over into the mainstream of men who want premium shaving equipment. After a recent Series B, the brand raised its tally to $30M over three rounds. The brand's closest competitors? Harry's Grooming and (tangentially) Dollar Shave Club, though Bevel competes at a much higher price point.
Everything about Walker's brand and its target demo aligns: his Queens background, his liberal politics, his hip hop associations, his Ben Horowitz tutelage, his strategic investors, the inclusivity of his team, and his no frills personality (one that counters his post-Queens, elite prep high school career and Stanford MBA).
Serendipity happens when luck meets preparation. And Walker has prepared. Step one: Nas becomes a strategic investor in 2014. Step two: early in 2016, D.J. Khaled (you know, the Major 🔑 guy) signs a lucrative exclusive deal with Apple Music. Step three: summer of 2016, Khaled releases his first streaming project. Step four: Bevel investor, legend, and Khaled collaborator releases the most memorable record on the Khaled album. Step five: he mentions Bevel. Step six: Khaled amplifies the popular line through his Snapchat channel."
The ensuing explosion in brand interest happened on June 29, moments after consumers woke up to tune into Apple Music's latest exclusive product. "My signature fade with the Bevel blade, that's a major key." And like a rocket, the brand seem to enjoy a new life in the pop cultural lexicon.
I've watched the word 'Bevel' become synonymous for premium hair care, an issue that men of color are wiling to pay dearly for: "If I pay $35 for a hair cut, it better be a Bevel cut!" This quote from one of the many videos distributed across Snapchat, Facebook, and, Twitter as black barber shops (meccas of influence and black entrepreneurial success) began using their recently shipped patented electric trimmers, an amazing innovation for such a young company.
If just one element of Bevel's existence were different, the brand wouldn't be experiencing the float that it's currently enjoying. It's the type of float that becomes a longterm, new-normal. Harry's Grooming has raised 12.5x more than it's emboldened challenger. But it seems that they Bevel has the one thing that money cannot buy. And oh, the trimmers are currently backordered.