This is issue no. 233. The last issue had a 🔥 45.26% open rate with a 7.69% of you reading up on how Jeni's turned a logistical nightmare into a stellar brand experience.

Brief: Cotton Bureau launches their new custom site. Bold Commerce teams with Marshawn Lynch and Shopify to help teens start eCommerce businesses. Alibaba forces Amazon to pivot away from China.

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Today's Top Intelligence (14 Reads)
He Applied Data To An Age Old Problem and Revolutionized Shaving
eCommerce feature: Walker & Co. lifted sales by 200 percent annually in its first few years and expects to triple revenue this year (Walker declined to provide revenue figures) as offline distribution partnerships with Target and Sephora mature and Walker’s latest brand, Form—which specializes in hair products for women of color—gets off the ground. By utilizing personalization and remarketing systems, Bevel has retained 95 percent of its subscribers in recent months, with consumers spending an impressive $49 in ecommerce purchases on average, per retail researcher Slice Intelligence.
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Content Commerce: BuzzFeed, a digital media company, is making appliances. Maybe it’s not as crazy as it sounds. After all, as Buzzfeed’s video-based food publication, Tasty has an almost unfathomable scale, with 107 million active users who see its videos across sites and social media channels each month. The One Top is designed to tap into that ready-made market. 

eCommerce: As was the case with those early dot-com companies, digital technology has proven to be a potent influence on the look of e-commerce startups today. Brands don’t exist as individual (or physical) spaces anymore, and are instead tethered to the social platforms that popularize them and the devices that contain them. Phone screens are small, so web design can’t be too crowded.

Capstone: You can see his hushed reaction in the 10-minute video he filmed that day and posted to YouTube. Owings Mills turned out to be the pilot episode for what Mr. Bell, a 40-year-old filmmaker, has called the “Dead Mall Series” — a visual journey through the Mid-Atlantic States focused on the dying pleasure palaces of his youth.

vCommerce: Amazon is becoming a force in apparel: 46% of consumers surveyed by Morgan Stanley earlier this year said they'd purchased clothes on Amazon over the last 12 months, falling behind only Walmart at 60%. Adding to that, 47% of "likely" Amazon shoppers say they expect to buy more apparel on Amazon and fewer clothes at other retailers over the next 12 months.

Retail Real Estate: Westfield’s svp of retail experience, Steve Dumas, said that while technology is currently causing malls to struggle, it’s opening up opportunities. He pitched an idea to help malls drive traffic while getting stores to work together to improve the space: a universal mobile experience would let shoppers browse across-mall inventory for items, and results would pull from all stores in the mall.

Retail Real Estate: When the news dropped, we got the “what” and the “why”. What was missing was the “how”. What were the actual details of the closures that day, and how exactly was this process carried out? Furthermore, how big of a shock was this to Kit and Ace employees — and landlords — both of whom were totally unprepared to deal with the decision?

eCommerce: You could say that Rent the Runway is trying to compete with Net-a-Porter and Barneys, both of which offer same-day delivery in parts of New York, or that it’s trying to get a slice (a sliver, really) of Amazon’s Prime Now action. But Hyman says that it’s mainly looking to cut into fast fashion’s stranglehold on day-of purchases. For women who work and live within subway distance of a Zara, it’s all too easy to put off buying something for a nice event until the very last minute, because you know that when you walk through those doors you’ll be able to find something that’s on-point and inexpensive, fast.

Media: Lessin is launching "The Information Accelerator," an incubator that will advise up-and-coming subscription news startups and offer expertise, distribution and capital. Startups from anywhere around the globe will get $25,000 + to build a subscription-based news publication (on any topic) that features original reporting. Lessin's hope is that the incubator will receive email applications from those looking to transform local news.

Brand: Although both companies are publicly traded, LVMH is known for taking a long-term view on brand building, working hard to maintain the perception of exclusivity that surrounds its houses and thinking on a time horizon that can span generations. This stands in sharp contrast to the approach taken by Michael Kors, which has been much more focused on quarterly results and suffers from what some call “short-termism.”

eCommerce: The cash flow from the Amazon transaction will do little to mitigate Sears operating losses and downward trajectory. In fact, it seems to be mostly the best way, under desperate circumstances, to extract the remaining value of the Kenmore brand given that no high dollar suitors emerged and Sears continues its march toward oblivion. Amazon, however, is able to take advantage of fire-sale pricing and create the valuable option to have Kenmore as a potentially powerful future private brand to build its presence in the home category. 
Advantage Bezos.

Media: The Atlantic has over the past decade been trying to reform itself for the digital age. The 160-year-old publisher launched The Atlantic Wire, which posted short items and commentary online, in 2009, but was folded back into the side a few years later. (The parent company Atlantic Media separately started the business site Quartz in 2012.)
Retail: REI sent an email to its six million members urging them to respond to the Department of the Interior’s call for comments on its review and linked to the submission page. In June Mr. Stritzke posted an open letter to Secretary Zinke on the political website the Hill. North Face similarly used social media to urge consumers to send comments to the department and facilitate action. Patagonia created a digital platform so individuals could send their thoughts directly to Washington.

Retail: The border tax, originally devised and backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, had since divided Republicans in Congress, and some of America's biggest retailers were looking to tear it apart. The proposal would have hiked prices of imported goods to the United States.
Visual: top eCommerce pet peeves
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