BRAND: Scotch & Soda has been making clothes this way since 1985, when it was founded as a wholesale company (in 2001, the company was re-branded). The-then owners, fashion-forward thinkers Harry Schofield, Leonard Feinblatt, and Leonard Buzz, were so sure of their method that they didn’t do any marketing, relying solely on word-of-mouth recommendations. “There wasn’t a lot of pomp and circumstance."
BRAND: On its November 17th quarterly earnings call, L Brands (formerly Limited Brands) EVP and CFO Stuart Stuart Burgdoerfer downplayed analyst concerns that its Victoria’s Secret unit was still struggling. He said it did not see the Victoria’s Secret core bra business “getting worse” and asserted that the company was satisfied with its sales in its newer sport and bralette categories.
ECOMMERCE: Legacies are increasingly at risk of losing out on holiday sales as the retail market moves online. Traditional retailers, like Macy’s, Walmart, etc., still rely on their physical store locations for much of their revenue, but store performance is struggling as consumers shift online. Looking ahead to next year, omnichannel fulfillment options like click and collect or ship-from-store can help these retailers maximize the use of their brick-and-mortar locations over the holidays, as consumers increasingly rely on digital devices to shop.
ECOMMERCE: Bed Bath & Beyond is looking to omnichannel tools for future growth. The company launched multiple digital tools that blend the physical and digital aspects of its retail business, including a digital product advisory tool that helps customers find what they are looking for either online or in-store based on survey questions, CEO Steven Temares noted on the Q2 2016 earnings call. This tool closely replicates the in-store experience that a shopper might have with a sales associate.
RETAIL: The most extreme example here is "textile, apparel and leather products," in which domestic production in 2015 met only 36.6% of domestic demand. That is down sharply from 1997, when the percentage was more than 60%. There is a similar story in the "computer and electronics" industry, though US production there is much higher, meeting 60.5% of domestic demand.
DATA: Numbers provide us a certain certainty. With their precision, they offer a sense of black and white, in or out. But, metrics alone aren't enough. All the quantitative analysis in the world won't lead me to the next great idea for startup. Those figures can't create empathy, develop the right culture, or hire the right people.
AD TECH: Particularly between Thanksgiving and the middle of December, it’s best to keep your promotions simple. While a “12 Days of Christmas” type of promo can be tempting, it ultimately requires unique images and ad copy that start and stop each day and doesn’t give the Facebook algorithm much time to optimize delivery. In general, when creating Facebook and Instagram campaigns, it’s almost always better to err on the side of simplicity.
ECOMMERCE: Putting a larger variety of products into Prime attracts more Prime members and vice versa, resulting in ever-increasing sales, which Amazon dutifully converts into even more fulfillment centers, faster shipping and lower prices. This is the flywheel of doom for rival merchants. As it grows, Amazon is getting better and better at doing its job. The retail juggernauts of the past tended to get more chaotic and unwieldy when they hit these high altitudes.
BRAND: While Gap originally built its empire on affordable button-up shirts, khakis, and other polished basics, companies such as H&M and Zara have since undercut Gap on price while also delivering more fashion-forward offerings. They’ve done it without one single creative vision, but as Isla indicated, that doesn’t mean they have no design vision at all. Instead, they act more like curators, often knocking off fashion’s most popular creative directors of the moment.
MEDIA: With a significantly larger investment, and a significantly lower return on investment, native apps just don’t make a lot of sense unless your app absolutely requires native capabilities that are not yet supported on the mobile web. Building an app is expensive. You’re looking at a minimum $100k commitment to build a proper app (usually a lot more). If you want to cover the gamut with native apps, you can multiply that number almost by 3. And then you may have to battle to get your app in the app store and keep it there.
TECH: And while new players are small, or still start-ups in many cases, it means now is a good time to examine how they are trying to attack the traditional business model with new ideas. So how do you map the landscape of innovation? The best way is to state the obvious, clearly define the roles and actors within the current business model and highlight the various change vectors that can deliver new opportunities.
ECOMMERCE: It took some time to perfect this formula, with the team trialing ideas under the first incarnation of the brand, Erin Dana. Abe and Erin Lichy were on their honeymoon in 2012 when they first discussed Erin’s dream to launch a line of handbags. While it didn’t take long to make it a reality, things didn’t run so smoothly at the start. “We ended up in China, where you’re doing the six-months-out thing and selling it to boutiques at wholesale,” Lichy told us.