This is issue no. 122 of 180. The last issue had a 42.03% open rate with 🔥9.58% going to this article on the earned ubiquity of Herschel backpacks. iOS 10 releases on September 13. Welcome back, NFL. Excuse the late send today, travel has gotten the best of me.
BRAND: It has been clear for many years that the threat to iPhone growth was not modular Android but the iPhones people already have. The hope with last year’s iPhone 6S launch was that new features like 3D Touch and Live Photos would be compelling enough to drive upgrades, but it turned out that many would-be upgraders had already bought the iPhone 6 and the rest didn’t care; the result was the first iPhone that sold less than a previous model. At first glance, as Manjoo noted, the iPhone 7 doesn’t seem like it will do much to reverse that trend.
ECOMMERCE: Amazon’s Alexa will soon be able to pipe up proactively with alerts from gadgets and apps, much like a smartphone does today. It’s Amazon’s first step toward making Alexa more of a general purpose platform for developers like iOS or Android, but the company will have to tread carefully to ensure that alerts on the voice-based platform don’t become intrusive. Introduction of push notifications is part of a broader effort to let developers control more gadgets and apps through Alexa’s voice-based interface, according to three people with knowledge of Amazon’s plans.
ECOMMERCE: Google parent company Alphabet is teaming up with fast casual chain Chipotle to test drone delivery for Virginia Tech students, according to a report from Bloomberg. The pilot program marks a turning point for Alphabet’s Project Wing division, giving the team ample room to experiment with airborne burrito deliveries in one of the first commercial programs of its kind to be greenlit by the US Federal Aviation Authority. The drones, which will be hybrid aircraft that can both fly and hover in place, will make deliveries coordinated by a Chipotle food truck on campus.
FIVE FORCES: Many startups find themselves struggling to stay afloat because of insufficient funding or poor organization. Others are choked by the competition, particularly they’re new in an oversaturated industry. Startups shouldn’t be discouraged from starting in a busy field. Instead, they should grasp the importance of competing for the top spot. Of course, brand-new, small businesses won’t get far if they don’t employ serious strategies for gaining on the competition. Here are five strategies you can use to help your startup get ahead of the competition:
ECOMMERCE: “Our big focus is to create the simplest and most trustworthy way for people to buy and sell locally,” CEO Nick Huzar told TechCrunch. While there are similar apps like LetGo and Mercari, Huzar claims that they “haven’t seen any negative impact from the competition” and that they just keep on growing. Hans Tung from GGV Capital said that he invested in OfferUp because “Craigslist hasn’t innovated for a long time and there is unmet, pent up demand for classified on mobile.”
FINTECH: With MFP, Affirm gives retailers the power and flexibility they’ve been asking for — to build upon successful Affirm integrations by providing multiple, customizable financing options. For example, the new controls can be used to offer special financing promotions to clear specific inventory by promoting sales with attractive financing terms when items are added to shoppers’ carts. Further, with new Affirm modal windows, retailers can customize the experience to match the look and feel of their websites.
MEDIA: For almost a decade, The Business of Fashion has been a trusted source of independent, authoritative analysis on the global fashion industry, arming fashion professionals all over the world with a powerful competitive advantage in today’s turbulent times. Now, it’s time for BoF to take the next step in our journey as a business. Starting October 25th 2016, unlimited access to BoF’s agenda-setting journalism will no longer be free. We invite industry professionals and other loyal readers to upgrade to BoF Professional for unlimited access to our award-winning content.
DATA: The Rise Of The Intelligent Headphone.The “dumb” headphones from the past simply relayed an audio signal from the primary device and did little more than mute, volume control, pause, etc. AirPods are intelligent computers in their own right and this portends to how this will become a new platform as did Apple Watch and Apple TV has become. This new audio platforms will do far more than relay sound, they will augment sound indeed they ultimately will build a foundation for Augmented Reality via voice powered AI and Siri.
ECOMMERCE: If you’ve walked around San Francisco, you’ve probably seen them. An eco-friendly and comfortable wool shoe, Allbirds has already developed a cult following in the tech world. Venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and several people on TechCrunch staff wear them. I’ve never worn a pair but TC’s Megan Rose Dickey, Josh Constine and Andrew Sweeney had good things to say about their shoes. Hoping to be more than just a fad, Allbirds is now raising $7.25 million in additional funding in a round led by Maveron. Other investors included Lerer Hippeau and Slow Ventures.
DATA: According to The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service, Bluetooth headphone revenue overtook non-Bluetooth for the first time in June accounting for 54 percent of headphone dollar sales and 17 percent of unit sales in the U.S. While the headphone category saw a 7 percent year-over-year increase in dollar sales for the first half of 2016, Bluetooth headphones saw double-digit growth with a 42 percent year-over-year increase in dollar sales for the first half of the year. Beats and LG have led the Bluetooth headphone market throughout the first half of the year.
VOICE FIRST: With the massive success of location-based games like Pokeman ‘GO’, it’s no surprise that retailers are also capitalizing on technologies that enhance the retail experience. Ted Baker’s Autumn/Winter ’16 campaign film may have just launched this week, but it’s already making history. The espionage-inspired Mission Impeccable film – executive produced by Guy Ritchie – is Google GOOGL -0.71%’s first-ever fashion brand application of Google App’s Voice Search, which allows users to speak into their phones to activate a Google search.
BRAND: But what exactly is brand transparency? We hear about it an awful lot when it comes to local on demand companies like Uber, which tells customers upfront exactly what they're being charged, but in the supermarket aisles, brand transparency means something different, revolving around knowing what exactly you're putting in your household, and in many cases, your body. The consumer sentiment, Moorhead explains is: "Give me more information than you're giving me."
Last Word: Bullish on eCommerce
Reconsider how you think of eCommerce; it's more than Amazon Prime and DNVB hype. This week, I had the opportunity to spend a little time with the folks at GGV Capital in Menlo Park. While coast to coast flights aren't the best, the takeaways were. We discussed the past, present, and future of eCommerce and how the businesses of today will need to shift to maintain relevance. Of the most important takeaways:
China is leading the United States in eCommerce penetration (and the GGV portfolio reflects this).
Don't think of eCommerce as the merchandising of material goods only. Consider Hotel Tonight, Airbnb, and other experiential apps (often travel centric). These platforms have superior tech (and superior conversion rates).
To that point, as an eCommerce retailer - invest in one-click checkouts. This is the crux of today's wave of investments in mCommerce.
Narrow focus and deepen relationships with consumers. To better understand this context, see Jeff Richard's latest on CNBC.
Experiential eCommerce is a burgeoning market. Travel, events, tickets, and services are each stealing the attention away from traditional retail. Reconsider how you think of eCommerce.