This is issue no. 140 of 180. The last issue had a 38.93% open rate with 8.3% of you going to this article on Nordstrom's efforts to reign in their eCommerce efforts. An out of scope but fascinating read on the quasi-military tactics used by both sides of the Uber v Didi race to ride-sharing monopoly. Snapchat prepares for IPO.
MEDIA: That’s a bevy of changes for a company that was once famously deliberate — perhaps even slow — at evolving its product. But they’ve all had a healthy effect on Instagram. It is now sitting on 500 million daily active users, 100 million of whom view its new Stories feature daily. According to the company’s leadership, people are spending far more time in the app both viewing and posting images. And because of that, Instagram now boasts more than half a million advertisers on its platform every month.
ECOMMERCE: Instead, the home goods retailer is testing a membership model that for $29 a year offers a 20% discount on all purchases and free shipping. The paid subscription aims to generate other streams of revenue, increase customer loyalty, improve margins and better compete with Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime membership program. “The coupon is clearly and has been strongly associated with us,” Chief Executive Steven Temares said on the retailer’s recent earnings call.
ECOMMERCE: Web leader Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 1000, accounted for more than 80% of that increase with another blockbuster quarter in which sales of its own products and commissions and fees it receives from products sold by marketplace sellers increased 28.8% to $27.52 billion from $21.36 billion in Q2 2015. This figure does not include revenue from its cloud storage service, Amazon Web Services, which totaled $2.89 billion in Q2, the company reported in July.
MEDIA: Amazon’s introduction of Prime Reading will certainly increase competition, but it’s unclear how many users are actually interested in reading digitized versions of print magazines on their phones, tablets, or e-readers — particularly with access to a limited number of issues, sometimes a few weeks old. (Think of it as the stack of magazines at your doctor’s office: a random assortment of #content, sometime a little out of date, that can help you kill time when necessary, but not something likely to become a regular part of your daily routine.)
BRAND: It turned out he was wrong. After decades of battling rivals Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle, brands that sought to reposition themselves after realizing normal didn’t sell anymore, Aéropostale doubled down and ended up the ultimate loser in the teen fashion wars. More broadly, the bankruptcy of this giant of the American mall is a cautionary tale for other retailers, like Gap Inc. and its Banana Republic unit: Not only are teenagers happy to stand out these days—so are their parents.
BRAND: Johnson joined Beats in 2010 as vice-president of marketing and was named CMO in 2012. Since then, working with agency R/GA, he oversaw the brand's transition from a curiosity to a constant presence in pop culture, whether through epic, adrenalin rush advertising, endorsements of both up and coming, and hit musicians, or seemingly every pro athlete in every major sport wearing its familiar headphones with a passionate loyalty.
ECOMMERCE: Shyp compares this service to travel price engines such as Kayak. The company built it by creating a public-facing version of the pricing tool it uses to select delivery services in its four full-service areas. Using it could save a substantial amount of money: On average, the company says, people who use Shyp pay 30% less than what they would have paid if they'd not done any price research. (After a customer's first 90 days, Shyp will add a per-label fee of 50¢ to the shipping cost, with volume discounts.)
ECOMMERCE: After working with a couple of our portfolio companies on cohort analyses, I eventually put together a cohort analysis template. In the spirit of open sourcing and (hopefully) helping out some founders, I’m posting it here with an explanation and a how-to guide for better understanding the fundamentals of a cohort analysis. Before we begin, I want to preface this by saying that it’s a basic template, but should cover most bases initially. At a minimum, it should provide a helpful template to build on top of.
MEDIA: But Snap isn’t throwing wide the doors anytime soon, as it endeavors to control the kind of ads that appear on its app as well as the kind of software that can integrate with its servers. It’s a tricky balancing act for the company, which is trying to boost ad revenue sharply ahead of an expected IPO filing in coming months. Snap’s early tests with allowing outside ad tech firms to serve ads is restricted to a few types of ads and partners. The company is balancing trying to avoid the experience of apps like Instagram but also ramp up its revenue in advance of an IPO.
ARCHIVES: This summer, The Ringer will post its first longform article. Fanfare and retweets will rule the day. All over the world, women and men will login to Medium for the first time. Within hours, the internet will be flooded by the power of Medium’s recommendation engine. 110,000 views and 70,000 reads of the first feature article, all within the first business day. Ev will nod with approval as Bill Simmons and he does whatever wealthy guys do to congratulate one another.
ECOMMERCE: While we were thrilled to get some awesome press coverage, a part of the story that many got wrong was that Shopify had built a bot. We didn’t. In the experience you see above, there’s no natural language processing, AI, or even character in the responses. Hardly a bot. We did something subtly different, but powerful: we simply enabled a merchant’s product catalogue to exist richly inside of Messenger, and then we got out of the way.
ECOMMERCE: Total worldwide sales of fast-moving consumer goods—called FMCGs, which include processed foods, soft drinks and toiletries that sell quickly and at relatively low cost—grew just 1.6% in the 12 months ended in June 2016, according to the report from Kantar Worldpanel. However, online sales of such goods grew by 15% during the yearlong period and now account for 4.4% of the market—or $48 billion.