ECOMMERCE / VR: Thread Studio is a new and interactive way of testing out t-shirt designs. It transports you into a virtual photo studio where you can upload designs and lay them out on mannequins wearing American Apparel shirts. When you’re happy with how your shirts look, the app can save print-ready files that can be sent to the print-on-demand provider, Printful.
ECOMMERCE / VR: When I talk to people about VR and commerce, the first idea that usually pops into their heads is about all the possibilities of walking around a virtual shopping mall. While that could be an enjoyable experience for some, I find it’s a very limiting view of how virtual reality can actually improve retail. If VR gave you the superpowers to do anything, create anything, and go anywhere you want, would you really want to go shopping in a regular mall?
BRAND: Mizzen + Main is a company committed to making dress shirts comfortable and functional by taking performance fabrics you might be more used to finding in your workout gear and incorporating them into shirts meant for professionals. In a story from the New York Times, founder and CEO Kevin Lavelle said the idea came to him while working as an intern in Washington, when he saw a congressional staff member sweating through his shirt walking into a meeting. DISCLAIMER: Shareholder
MEDIA: There's no question that Snapchat (now known as Snap Inc) is an experimental company. Some of those experiments fail wildly and insult its users at the same time, but the company has been extremely successful at introducing new ways of thinking about mobile messaging. Despite a tradition of pushing the envelope, it was still surprising to see Snapchat introduce Spectacles, its first hardware product. The $130 dollar glasses are designed to let you record 10 seconds of video at a time and sync it to your phone to post on Snapchat.
MEDIA: Potential bidders for Twitter who are betting that its livestreaming product will take off need to consider why the service faces a tough road. His argument was that many great executives, like the Disney chief, oversaw empires so vast that they were essentially running multiple companies. Ergo, running Square and Twitter would work. Well, it’s turned out to be tough. So tough, in fact, that in a not-so-surprising twist, Disney is among several companies considering buying the struggling social media company.
MEDIA: While Snapchat puts Stories in a side menu, Instagram Stories are featured front and center. Users can find them at the top of their main feeds. They can also pause, rewind and view anyone’s story–even if they’re not following them. The feature is about more than flexibility, though. It’s a chance to tap into the medium people seem to be using to comment on the world around them: images. It’s not about archiving the best moments in life, but discussing them–a fact not lost on marketers.
DATA: Google revealed key details of this plan during a closed-door meeting with industry insiders about a month after publicly unveiling Google Home. The meeting was attended by around 50 participants, and held in Google’s Mountain View offices. It brought some of the biggest names of home audio together in one room. Some of the companies in attendance have already been working with Google by selling Wifi-enabled speakers powered by Google Cast, the same technology that’s behind Google’s popular Chromecast streaming adapter.
ECOMMERCE: According to data from The NPD Group, a leading market research company, only about a fifth of shoppers who shop online on Jet also shopped on Walmart.com in the past six months. Plus, according to NPD, Jet shoppers tend to be wealthier than Walmart shoppers, or even Amazon shoppers, and are most likely to have incomes greater than $150,000 annually. The Jet deal also brought the company’s founder and CEO, Marc Lore, into Walmart’s executive team.
ECOMMERCE: For starters, the market for affiliate marketing is booming. Consumers are warming up to the idea of discount coupons and cashback when they shop online. Ankita Tandon, chief operating officer at CouponDunia, says the biggest reason for the growth of affiliate marketing is that Indians are culturally inclined towards savings. While the Internet is the cheapest medium for goods, coupons and cashbacks make the deal even sweeter.
BRAND: On Friday, the automaker's Buick division announced that it has created a new sub-brand, "Avenir." That's the French world for "future," and it takes it cue from a concept car that Buick unveiled in 2015. “Through the first half of 2016, Buick has been the industry’s fastest-growing major international brand, and Avenir is key to future growth and delivering on the high expectations of new customers coming to our showrooms,” Duncan Aldred, Buick's boss, said in a statement.
Last Word: On the Apple v Spotify Rivalry
I've long discussed the exclusives strategy that Apple is using to attract hip hop talent to the platform. I've mentioned it as an incentive for the Cupertino corporation to buy Tidal - though that now seems implausible. Here, Ben Thompson makes a similar point for Spotify's interest in Soundcloud.
That, though, is the second reason why the Soundcloud purchase makes sense: instead of buying exclusives from established artists, Spotify is in effect buying the platform where emerging artists post their new music of their own volition — and said music is by definition exclusive. No, none of those artists on Soundcloud can match the reach of a Taylor Swift, but it’s at least a start in making it up in volume. And who knows: if Spotify is big enough to squish Katy Perry perhaps they are big enough to grow their own stars without giving a dime to the labels along the way.