This is issue no. 125 of 180. The last issue had a 40.61% open rate with a 🔥14.12% going to this unlocked article on the fall of American Premium brands. Happy iOS 10 and Apple Pay Web installation day. I personally believe that abandon cart rates will drop precipitously, as iOS users begin saving their cards to their Apple Pay accounts for mCommerce and web checkouts. For context, I've included an email 👇🏾 for Shelly Banjo's latest on 'zombie malls' (article no. 4).
--- A recent email:
From: Me To: an admired Silicon Valley VC
Consolidating a number of stale 10-15 year leases under the umbrella of a capitalized startup would allow for the development of a physical goods distribution system that I personally believe will be necessary for Postmates' and Uber to expand into the fulfillment of hard goods (at scale). It also becomes a target for Amazon's seemingly inevitable move into a greater density of hybrid 'fulfillment centers / B&M showrooms.' Beyond VC, potential funding sources would include: Macy's, Nordstrom, mall ownership groups, Amazon, and major independent brands (GAP, L Brands, etc).
MCOMMERCE: A recent study from Aruba and Hewlett Packard Enterprise explored the relationship between customers using mobile retail apps and the more traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. It's no surprise that the research showed the use of store apps is on the rise, with one in eight shoppers using a retail mobile apps 10 times a week. That's serious engagement with the digital extension of a retail brand. The study also isolated six trends among consumers that make a pretty compelling argument for businesses of any size to consider developing a dedicated retail app.
ECOMMERCE: The company today launched Lightning Bolt as a software platform for building e-commerce sites on top of its CRM software. Manufacturers in search of more options for selling and marketing online, and business buyers who need to order something fast on a mobile phone, have something new in common. They’re both being targeted by Salesforce.com Inc. and its new “Lightning Bolt” software development framework. “With Lightning Bolt, companies can jumpstart the creation of a new community, next-generation portal or customer-facing website."
RETAIL: Despite popular belief, not all malls are dying. The highest quality shopping centers are minting money as a dearth of high-end properties drives up rents for the best locations. The Zombie Mall Apocalypse trope better describes a much larger group of middling-to-poor malls that are, in fact, in need of salvation -- or a wrecking ball.Things are about to get even harder for the latter group of properties in the coming year, as the bill comes due on a credit binge that began in the heady, pre-financial-crisis days of 2006 and 2007.
DNVB: Now, after years of deliberation and testing, they're offering clothing for women for the first time, including two types of button-down blouse designs and two types of slacks they say will maintain their structure throughout the day – a pain-point they heard from countless women during their trial stages. From there, according to a release, there will be "rapid expansion to more items planned for 2017." What's more, they've also tweaked the company name, dropping the "Supply" to become, simply, "Ministry."
ECOMMERCE: I recently hosted a roundtable dinner series with more than 30 marketing leaders at some of the world’s most prominent retail and ecommerce brands. We ate house-cured pork, drank Negronis and talked about prospecting and attribution. It was the perfect environment for people to let their guard down and get real about the challenges they face today. I know that these challenges are not unique to the marketers who attended the event. Recognize any?
BRAND: It seems natural to compare it to the $72,520 Lexus LS, but the depth of its silent expanse makes it feel nearer to the segment-favorite $96,600 Mercedes-Benz S Class. At 365 horsepower and an expected 0-60 sprint of 5.5 seconds, it is not as powerful or fast as the Mercedes, but it falls in the middle of the power and speed ratings for Audi A8 L and BMW 7-Series. The distance between those fades even more when you consider that this car is more than $10,000 less expensive and just as nicely done in the rear cabin, where it counts.
MEDIA: Snapchat is pushing further into sophisticated digital ad targeting, including letting advertisers target customers using email databases and other data sources. The mobile app company is rolling out three new targeting options for marketers. Through a product called Snap Audience Match, Snapchat is enabling marketers to take existing lists of email addresses and mobile device IDs, and anonymously match that data with Snapchat’s own pool of consumer data, allowing enhanced ad targeting.
ECOMMERCE: In addition to the unparalleled access Moda Operandi offers, they have built their business by creating a heightened client experience. Moda Madison is an example of this—a private, exclusive invitation-only world ensconced in luxury and beauty. Also part of the experience are the staff of stylists they employ who work hand-in-hand with customers, often time traveling to their homes for private appointments. “The stylists help the clients make smart decisions. They know their wardrobe, they know what they’ve already bought, and they understand what makes sense for the consumer."
MEDIA: Adblock Plus is launching a new service that... uh, puts more ads on your screen. Rather than stripping all ads from the internet forever, Adblock Plus is hoping to replace the bad ads — anything it deems too big, too ugly, or too intrusive — with good ads, ones that are smaller, subtler, and theoretically much less annoying. It’ll begin doing that through an ad marketplace, which will allow blogs and other website operators to pick out so-called “acceptable” ads and place them on their pages. If a visitor using Adblock Plus comes to the page, they’ll be shown those “acceptable ads."
BRAND: NFL opened its season this past weekend with a bevy of highlights, but what struck a cord with HYPEBEASTs around the world was the premiere of the Yeezy cleats. With Pro Bowlers like Von Miller, Adrian Peterson and DeAndre Hopkins taking the field in both 350 and 750 versions, many of us assumed they were player customs that will never see an official retail release. Well, we made an ass out of ourselves. Just a few moments ago, adidas Football tweeted images of both the Yeezy 350 and 750 Cleats, ending the message with “Coming Soon.”
ECOMMERCE: Dia&Co, founded in 2014, sells clothing and accessories to women who wear plus-sized apparel via a try-on-at-home model. Customers take an online survey to explain their tastes and then are shipped a five-item box of clothing and accessories. They buy the pieces they like and ship the rest back for free. Each box comes with a $20 styling fee that can be used as a credit toward a purchase of an item in the box. If a customer buys every item in a box, they receive a 20 percent discount. The model is almost identical to that of Stitch Fix, an older personal-styling startup that is doing hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.
MCOMMERCE: Larger companies like WayFair and RetailMeNot are already seeing the upward revenue trajectory of mobile-ready consumers, and are preparing for a smartphone future. “Over the past year we’ve seen consumers’ willingness to purchase on mobile increase a lot, to the point where the share of transactions taking place on the smartphone has doubled since late 2014,” Bob Sherwin, senior director of acquisition at ecommerce furniture company Wayfair, told eMarketer. Tablets currently make up little more than half of all mobile commerce sales, but that is expected to change by 2017, when smartphones capture the majority of the market.
MEDIA: Facebook has been successfully introducing richer features that have led to double-digit growth of user engagement to 50 minutes a day across its mobile software. The app’s content-hosting system Instant Articles loads more quickly than mobile web pages. It introduced shopping capabilities on Facebook Pages for business, and piloted a program with Ticketmaster to enable concertgoers to buy tickets without leaving Facebook. Said Mary Ku, a Facebook product management director, at the company’s developer conference F8 this year.
INNOVATION: When myself and my co-host interviewed Travis Kalanick on our podcast, he had recently co-founded a little snowball called UberCab. It was so early in Uber’s existence he didn’t even mention it. I notice Uber falls into a category of companies I call little snowballs. There are some fundamental features these companies have in common. I thoguht it might be helpful to list a few little snowballs and then talk about how you can go about starting your own.Travis and Garrett Camp commissioned the creation of a simple app that enabled users to hail a black car on demand.
I mentioned I would talk about the Watch another day, but I did want to call out the new Edition, which is a relatively inexpensive (at least compared to Gold!) ceramic. It looks amazing; it’s also quite practical. It is extremely scratch-resistant and, unlike aluminum, it doesn’t block radio waves.
To that end, this Quora post by Brian Roemmele examining the ceramic Apple Watch and Apple’s recent patent filings makes a very compelling case that next year’s iPhone 8 will be ceramic; the process just wasn’t ready for this year (and, Roemmele notes, the GT Advanced sapphire debacle may have been a big part of the delay). We’ll see if he’s right — that’s something that would have made the headphone jack the afterthought Apple needed it to be.