This is issue no. 218. The last issue had a ⚡️ 52.19% open rate with a 7.96% of you reading up on how Lululemon is using Vice's in-house media agency. Their in-house agency is a smart monetization of their media brand, if you ask me. The Lululemon x Vice Media ad here.

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On May 24, I will be discussing a few Capstone 2PM topics with a wonderful panel at the Chelsea Arts Tower (NYC). 👇🏾
Today's Top Intelligence (14 Reads)
Snapchat Patent Means New Possibilities for e-Commerce
As we’ve covered before, AR allows you to take e-Commerce to the next level. Shoppers, using revolutionary AR apps, can try on clothes from afar and see what different paint colors will look like on their living-room walls. With IKEA‘s AR app, you can even drop virtual couches into your parlor to see how they fit.

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The Takeaway: Can a man with deep experience in razors, fragrance, deodorant and shampoo help turn around the glossy narrative of Ralph Lauren, the brand, which has been troubled lately by store closings, less-than-stellar results and a chief executive’s departure? Ralph Lauren, the man, seems to believe so, and on Wednesday he named Patrice Louvet, a former president of the global beauty division at Procter & Gamble and onetime leader of Gillette, as president and chief executive of the Ralph Lauren Corporation.
The Takeaway: Despite all this, Walmart's shares are up 25 percent in the past year. Unlike its food, Walmart's stock is no longer cheap, trading at 17.1 times forward earnings. That's well beyond the valuations of Target, The Kroger Co. and Dollar General Corp. And this has happened even as Walmart has stopped delivering the stellar earnings growth its investors once enjoyed.
The Takeaway: I rarely post videos like this but it is a worthwhile listen / watch. Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures partner, discusses the state of the venture capital market and his views on Twitter, Snap and Uber with Bloomberg's Emily Chang on "Bloomberg Technology."

The Takeaway: There's a reason for all this extra privacy control: Twitter has updated its privacy policies, and it's not all for the better. The company has updated how it shares anonymized and device-level data, some of it through "select partnership agreements." It's also expanding how it uses and holds on to data from third-party websites that integrate Twitter material. It's all in the name of further personalizing services, Twitter says.

The Takeaway: The differences between a digitally native vertical brand and an ecommerce brand are profound. In addition to differentiation in the economics of the businesses and their growth trajectories, there are subtleties in the ways that v-commerce brands shape their identities to inspire consumers.

The Takeaway: Time Out is one of a number of publishers that are developing some form of e-commerce strategy that plays to their strengths. For instance, Dennis, publisher of auto magazines like Auto Express and Land Rover Monthly, is selling cars online. BuzzFeed, after acquiring Product Labs, has expanded its product line to ship scented candles and cosmetics, taking inspiration from Facebook comments. Time Out’s reputation as a city guide puts it in a good position to convert readers into buyers.

The Takeaway: Oliver said that with their visual search technology they can apply different search filters related to pricing, similarity, availability, and geolocation to increase relevance for users. He added, “We augment intelligence in data stack to be sharper and more relevant instead of just accurate. We help retailers optimise keywords and also augment the catalogue for best results.”

The Takeaway: CNBC reported late Tuesday that Jeff Bezos's multifaceted company has been taking on pharmaceutical talent. That includes both the hiring of a general manager to lead a potential unit and other prospects from the pharmacy sector, according to sources. Fortune has reached out to Amazon and will update this post if we receive a response, although the company has declined to comment to other outlets.

The Takeaway: The partnership between Waymo and Lyft puts Lyft streets ahead of Uber when it comes to developing autonomous cars but is likely to cost it heavily in the coinage of data. Uber has described autonomous autos as “existential” to its long-term future and in that regard this partnership represents a huge threat.
The Takeaway: A rash of bankruptcies and store closures, along with Amazon's relentless rise, have led to widespread fears about the death of traditional retail. The U.S. has lost more than 50,000 retail jobs in the past three months. And the industry is certainly struggling to keep up with rapid change, as consumers cut back on spending while shifting more of what they do spend online. 
The Takeaway: These “Around the Web” widgets both haunt and tantalize us because they’re designed to stoke our most primal browsing habits. Clicking these links feels like taking a tour through the internet’s id — each grotesque screenshot and gender stereotype that manages to override our thinking brains and reduce us to pure click monsters. Below, a taxonomy of the basest impulses on display.
The Takeaway: The e-commerce business saw gross merchandise volume -- a measure of all the goods it sells online -- soar 69 percent in the first quarter, Wal-Mart said on Thursday. Total revenue climbed 1.4 percent to $117.5 billion. The results signal that Wal-Mart is getting a payoff from an ambitious online expansion, which included last year’s $3.3 billion acquisition of Inc. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company now boasts 50 million items on its website, up from 35 million the previous quarter.
The Takeaway: While Nike still holds about half the market, big retailers such as Foot Locker Inc. and Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. are devoting more rack space to Adidas, and investors have started to sour on Nike. After rising more than fivefold in the prior decade, the company’s share price fell 19 percent last year, making it the worst performer of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average.
Graphic of the week: An interesting look into big box tech innovation thanks to data collected by CB Insights. In one of my many conversations with LeanLuxe's do-it-all capitan M. Paul Munford, I opined that while focusing on brands is most fun - the platforms that aid their survival are equally important to cover. These sudden shifts in distribution can affect brands in more ways than one. Ask Kevin Plank how he feels about Sports Authority, these days. 

Target's recent attraction to DNVB's like Harry's, Bevel, and now Casper has become an industry-wide trend. These marquee, web-first brands are flocking to retailers like Target but how much longer can Tar-jay fend off up-market threats from Wal-Mart? Don't be surprised to see these modern luxury brands veer that way in the coming quarters.

Read: Is Target back on target? 
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