This is issue no. 173 of 180. The last issue had a 43.72% open rate with 5.28% of you visiting this article on how Birchbox is beating holiday estimates. I've always been a fan of Bold Commerce, check out their silent but deadly growth as a Shopify agency. Pricing and logistics prowess are paramount [slideshare here]. Here is a great study on why product content drives conversion [more here].
There is a great article by LeanLuxe (below) on luxury brands and the effectiveness of native advertising over traditional ad placement. Here is a great example: A Technical Look Presented by Mizzen+Main.*
BRAND: His office in Adidas Village is Spartan, naturally lit, and modestly decorated — some sports posters, pennants, and mood boards — with the exception of a four-foot decal that says “Paul’s Boutique” in graffiti script on a large, interior-facing window. A bronze figurine of Adi Dassler, samples of Adidas’s patented “boost” midsoles, and other proprietary ephemera are scattered across two tables.
BRAND: Australian luxury skincare brand Aesop’s plain brown bottles are famous worldwide for their quality. Perhaps more famous are the Aesop stores, which are known for their unique aesthetic and customer service. Melbournian Dennis Paphitis founded Aesop in 1987, with the business starting out initially as a hairdressing salon that sold products.
DATA: But even when we apply rigor to analysis, can data be interpreted in more than one way? As part of a recent “The Upshot” column, the New York Times gave four pollsters the same raw polling data related to the U.S. presidential election. Each came up with a different conclusion regarding the predicted winner. Reporter Nate Cohn explains: “Because pollsters make a series of decisions when designing their survey, from determining likely voters to adjusting their respondents to match the demographics of the electorate.
MEDIA: Luxury requires finesse that other brands don’t have to worry about in terms of retargeting and chasing people around the web. Programmatic lacks brand safety (making sure you don’t end up retargeting someone as they peruse the Drudge Report). Luxury brands need exclusive, rarified environments, even in digital. When we realize these points, the conservatism mentioned above seems somewhat warranted. But as today’s young professionals begin to account for an increasing amount of spend on luxury goods, the playbook needs to change as well.
LOGISTICS: This wasn’t Flirtey and 7-Eleven’s first drone delivery — the pair made history in July when one 7-Eleven customer’s order of a chicken sandwich, donuts, candy, Slurpees and hot coffee was completed via drone. The companies claim it was the first time a drone delivered a package to a U.S. resident who placed an order with a retailer.
MEDIA: As more and more publishers elected to distribute directly to social in 2016, spurred on in many cases by the platform themselves, they found that there is a cost to publishing in an environment they don’t fully control. If a platform decides to roll out a new product and make it a priority, or decides to tweak an existing product, there is very little that publishers can do except adapt.
BRAND: Bankruptcy is the most common reason for brands to vanish, and many of the companies on this list will disappear next year for this reason. Retailer Sports Authority declared bankruptcy this year and liquidated its assets. Another retailer, The Limited, has been driven to the brink by the growth of e-commerce and declining shopping mall traffic, and appears likely to go bankrupt in the next year as well. Outright failure of brand or company is not always the reason for a major name to vanish.
BRAND: To say Airbnb can be idealistic is an understatement. The media were skeptical, to put it mildly. TechCrunch called “Belong anywhere” a “hippy-dippy concept,” while others wondered whether it was really warm and fuzzy “belonging” that drove people to Airbnb or whether they just wanted a cheap and cool place to stay. Media outlets lampooned the Bélo, not for its idealism so much as its shape, which they said looked alternately like breasts, buttocks, and both male and female genitalia all at once.
ECOMMERCE: Ecommerce sales are expected to touch the $100 billion mark by the end of the year, an improvement from $97.3 billion in online sales recorded at the end of Q2. Though the annual growth rate of the ecommerce sector has slowed down from the 20 percent per year recorded a decade ago (to about 15 percent annually), pundits project that ecommerce revenues will hit the $4 trillion mark by 2020, which will be equivalent to about 15 percent of total retail sales.
BRAND: The retailer’s discounting strategy may have been working at the store we visited on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. The red down parka and the black faux fur hat we have been following were already sold out there. Both are still available online—the parka at 26% off and the hat at full price. The scarf, which had already been marked down to $54.99 from the original $78, was $34.49. Perhaps most significant, the leather pants, which had been selling for full price at $998 since our experiment began.
Graphic of The Week: Willpower Lost
As a follow up to this series of tweets, here is a look at the next problems that major retailers face - drastic drops in brand equity forced by what seems to be market-driven peer pressure. There's coming back from these types of discounts but you're talking 5-7 years of readjustment.
*Disclaimer: shareholder; Also, use 2PML10 at the Gear Patrol Store before December 31.