This is issue no. 208. The last issue had a 🔥 49.78% open rate with 7.72% of you going to this article on Buzzfeed's eCommerce strategy. And here's a quick one on how a Shopify Plus retailer boosted conversions by 26%. But back to the macro:

The rapid descent of so many retailers has left shopping malls with hundreds of slots to fill, and the pain could be just beginning. More than 10 percent of US retail space, or nearly 1 billion square feet, may need to be closed, converted to other uses or renegotiated for lower rent in coming years, according to data provided to Bloomberg by CoStar Group.

Business of Fashion

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Today's Top Intelligence (10 Reads)
Pepsi — Not The Taste of The Protest Generation
BRAND: This past week, Pepsi committed the grave error of speaking to an audience that they don't understand. In this new era of brand activism, the best bet is to say nothing at all. There is an exception, however (discussed most recently in Issue 203). For the brands that have gotten activism right (see: Nike Equality + Behind The Scenes), it's usually a result of the consideration of those most affected by the issue at hand. Yes, it helps to have a few employees named Lebron and Serena to influence creative direction.
Learn From Pepsi
DATA: eCommerce is obviously about selling products, but it’s not all about selling products. That’s why it’s not as simple as turning on an e-commerce shopping cart, popping up a list of products and waiting for the money to roll in. There’s an entire experience you must create now that involves the right content, the right products, all channels in the purchase journey and understanding the shopper intimately.

RETAIL BLOODBATH: The rapid decline in retail employment comes as a wave of store closures has spread across the industry. Roughly 3,500 stores are expected to close over the next few months with retail giants like Macy's and JCPenney shuttering locations.
ECOMMERCE: I’ve called ASOS a UK e-commerce champion before now and I see no reason to change that opinion just yet. It will be interesting to see how the firm rides out the ups-and-downs of the next couple of years of Brexit negotiations. But investment is clearly going on the right things and Beighton’s boast of having an adaptible enought business model is one that may well stand the test of time.

AGENCY: Blue Acorn, an ecommerce firm focused on data, design and optimization, has been acquired by Beringer Capital for an undisclosed sum. The agency’s leadership will continue to operate independently, and Blue Acorn founder Kevin Eichelberger will stay on as CEO.
BRAND: Soccer isn't just shedding its second-tier sports status in Cincinnati, where the club drew an average 17,296 attendees per game in its inaugural season, it is breaking into the mainstream across the U.S., propelled by a new generation of young, multicultural sports fans who are giving brands a reason to take a fresh look at pouring ad and sponsorship money into the game. "This is the sport of the youth—it's fast-paced, it's energetic," said Heidi Pellerano, exec VP for brands at Wasserman, a sports and entertainment marketing and talent representation agency.

ECOMMERCE: Some of this love-hate relationship with Amazon's collaborators and customers is a natural consequence of a powerful company with its fingers in many pies. More tech titans are going to confront suspicion as they consolidate power and as more industries depend on them for their livelihood.

DATA: In the past year, search volume for non-branded terms such as “polo shirt” grew twice as fast as branded keywords like “Ralph Lauren,” according to L2’s study. In addition to brushing up on its more superficial digital assets, Ralph Lauren will need to confront this new reality.

MEDIA: Amazon’s advertising business is selling its ability to target people with a higher chance of shopping online. The growth in Amazon’s estimated ad revenue shows that strategy may be working—and is helping expand Amazon’s profitability as well.

ECOMMERCE: In a world of automated Amazon shipments and algorithmically inclined apps, clothing and accessories retailer ModCloth and intimates maker True & Co. attracted loyal followings by listening to their customers and making the ecommerce experience feel “personal” even while expanding their assortment and customer base. This approach, and appeal, stood out to two major legacy companies. In late March, 15-year-old ModCloth was sold to (which is owned by Walmart), and 5-year-old True & Co. was sold to PVH, the corporation behind Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, for undisclosed sums.

Last Word: "Voice First eCommerce"
Amazon's Alexa has 10,000+ skills. If you're in marketing or commerce, this graphic should resonate. While tech media focuses on gimmicky use cases for voice like planning a movie night or hearing a bad joke, users seem to be gravitating towards commerce. And earlier than many experts have anticipated.
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