RETAIL: Matthew Millward isn’t exactly turning his back on the athleisure movement. But he’s not exactly embracing it either. The current vice-president of menswear design at Club Monaco has boasted a long history in the sportswear and Americana space, working for brands such as Nike and Ralph Lauren, but if you were to ask the buttoned-up Brit about his take on current men’s fashion, he’d say it’s high time men sharpen up.
BRAND: To fanboys like me, when a whale ingests a minnow, that’s not a cause for celebration. It’s a sign that the minnow’s glory days are numbered. Today, the latest victim in this long-running tragicomedy is Dollar Shave Club, which earlier this year was purchased by Unilever. If you’re like me, you first heard of Dollar Shave Club when you saw its brilliantly self-effacing video in 2012.
BRAND: The campaign, by agency Droga5, cleverly uses that blank search bar to illustrate all the ways it impacts our lives, then slowly it morphs into a different type of rectangle, one distinctly smartphone-shaped, draw a direct connection between the two products. Droga5 executive creative director Kevin Brady says the world has been dominated by just a few phone brands, and it's no small challenge to try to break into that tight market. But for the Pixel phone, they had one unique quality to work with that those other brands didn't—Google itself.
ECOMMERCE: The reality is that although many e-commerce platforms come with SEO-related functionalities built in, these won’t be optimized by default. These functionalities will help ease the optimization process, but they will need to be manually configured based on your site architecture, product characteristics and content needs to effectively target your users’ search behavior. Here are three of the most fundamental SEO aspects to configure in your e-commerce platform:
ECOMMERCE: RevCascade exists to help brands curate better, find more relevant brands and on the whole use the platform as the necessary tool to launch, operate and scale their own marketplaces. Doing that means solving the three big challenges that every retailer runs into when trying to do that via a marketplace strategy: organizing and integrating product data, inventory data and order data into their commerce platforms. The integration and systems challenges are daunting. So, job number one Wexler told Webster, is to take that off the merchant’s plate.
ECOMMERCE: The reason why people continue to prefer shopping at a physical retailer’s is because by observing the commodity firsthand, they receive the opportunity to evaluate it using all five senses, as opposed to a few two-dimensional images and a crafty sales pitch sticking out on a web page. Walking into a store of your preference, browsing through the huge collection of products from such a close perspective, picking them up and trying them out before purchase and having the salesman brief you on each and every item for sale, make for a much more fulfilling experience than scrolling down page after page of text and media.
MEDIA: App Annie also predicts a 40% increase in the number of times a consumer opens a retail app during Thanksgiving week, to 10.5 opens this year compared with 7.5 opens last year during the same period. And these numbers are only amplified when looking at web giant, Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide. Last year, Amazon.com Inc. experienced a 70% increase in time consumers spent in its app during the week of Thanksgiving compared to the week before, says Amir Ghodrati, director of market insight at App Annie.
ECOMMERCE: A similar situation is paying out in Thailand where 51% of online purchases this week will be made over social media, and in Myanmar, a nation that up until this year was sanctioned by the U.S State Dept. It may sound unusual to people in North America who according to Jeff Bezos are increasingly turning to Amazon as their first stop when looking for a product online. These customers are part of a growing number of people in Southeast Asia participating in Social Commerce.
ECOMMERCE: For a brief time after that, e-commerce startups ruled. But a few big e-commerce blow-ups, including Fab.com, drove investors back to media startups like BuzzFeed, Vox Media, and others. That streak has continued till today. But looking at the exits of Dollar Shave Club and Jet.com, plus BuzzFeed’s e-commerce initiative and Instagram’s e-commerce hiring, I’m wondering if e-commerce is back on the upswing.
ECOMMERCE: The home furnishings retail chain, No. 67 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, bought customized gifts e-retailer PersonalizationMall.com (No. 189) for $190 million in cash. The deal creates a retailer that generated a combined $794.5 million in online sales last year, according to Internet Retailer estimates.
Moreover, sports rights make sense for Amazon in a way they do not for many other tech companies; one thing that is unique about Amazon is that their e-commerce business in particular is relatively geographically constrained, thanks to the massive fixed costs that make the whole thing work. This, though, means that investing in geographically relevant sports may make more sense for Amazon than for, say, Apple: the latter would spend a lot of money for rights that are only relevant to a slice of its customer base, whereas for Amazon the applicability and long-term payoff would be much higher.
That said, I wouldn’t get too excited yet; as the article notes nearly all significant sports rights deals are locked up well into the next decade, leaving Amazon scrounging around for long tail content like unaired games by other networks (including Univision, ESPN, and ONE World Sports), smaller college conferences, and niche sports like lacrosse. That, though, is its own revolution; I wrote last year in Beyond Disruption:
The Internet has completely transformed business by making both distribution and transaction costs effectively free. In turn, this has completely changed the calculus when it comes to adding new customers: specifically, it is now possible to build businesses where every incremental customer has both zero marginal costs and zero opportunity costs. This has profound implications: instead of some companies serving the high end of a market with a superior experience while others serve the low-end with a “good-enough” offering, one company can serve everyone. And, given the choice between a superior experience and one that is “good-enough,” of course the superior experience will win.