This is issue no. 239. The last issue had a 44.58% open rate with 5.04% of you reading up on Stitch Fix introducing over 100 contemporary brands. Vaynermedia develops an Alexa skill to promote "The Tick." Lululemon'somnichannel approach to retail begins to pay off.

The United States of Amazon. Acquisitions continue to accelerate across the retail landscape. It's clear that whether the acquisition is made by Amazon or by a competitor, the business decision is driven by a new competitive landscape that is heavily-influenced by the Seattle behemoth.

Amazon isn't just thriving along a new frontier, it has become the frontier and with so many "theaters of war" that it would take a 17 page white paper to explain each strategy. The closest comparison has far exceeded the Microsoft example. It's now closer to Standard Oil, whose monopoly was broken up over 100 years ago. In a digital era that is still relatively unregulated, it will be harder for the federal government to stymie Bezos progress. And most consumers would protest, as Amazon has elevated lower costs and ease of purchase as retail necessities.

In issue no. 239, consider how each of the areas highlighted have been or will be affected by Amazon, Inc. The company is a power player in: warehousing, aviation, publishing, eCommerce, film, shoes, grocery, cloud storage, logistics, fashion, manufacturing, and now advertising.
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Today's Top Intelligence (17 Reads)
Foursquare Uses Data To Predict Next Acquisitions
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart might want a company like Nordstrom in its portfolio to capture more millennial shoppers; Nordstrom shoppers are, on average, 55 percent less likely to shop at Wal-Mart than other American consumers, Foursquare found.

Following a similar trend of Wal-Mart acquiring more millennial-friendly apparel brands ModCloth and Bonobos, "A Nordstrom purchase would help Walmart further develop the expertise to combat Amazon," Glueck said.

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eCommerce: Basically, Amazon's reputation is taking hits from all sides, and that means Whole Foods' reputation is also under the microscope. This isn't a situation like when a beer giant purchases a craft beer brand and promises not to mess with the recipe. Amazon is already making its presence known in Whole Foods stores, from its new signage to the Echo devices on sale. 

Retail Real Estate: While more brick-and-mortar stores are projected to close this year than during the 2008 recession, Apple remains the world’s most profitable retailer; according to market research, it generates $5,546 per square foot of retail space. Apple’s stores are so effective at bringing in foot traffic that they can lift an entire mall’s sales by 10% percent.

Retail: The company benefits from an 18-year-old state law that was originally intended to stamp out sweatshops but has come up short. The law allowed workers to recoup back wages from their factory boss, and any garment manufacturing company that does business with that person. Forever 21 says it is a retailer, not a manufacturer, and thus is always at least one step removed from Los Angeles factories.

eCommerce: The NPD analyst suggest that Nike was already a best-seller on the Seattle-based retailer’s platform given that third-party merchants already sold its products there. Further, as the deal is being considered a “pilot program,” Nike is expected to hold back on its “premium" products and only provide Amazon with a limited assortment of styles, as it now does with Amazon-owned shoe specialist Zappos.

DNVB: Casper mattress, an internet commerce darling, is following in the footsteps of other once pure-play startups with a growth strategy that increasingly relies on brick and mortar. The new Casper pop-ups will showcase its new "Casper Wave" mattress, along with other sleep products like the Casper pillow, sheets, and the original mattress. All items will be available for purchase at each retail location, the company said.

Data: Many retailers have been shuttering stores, but much of that is a correction from over-development of malls since the 1970s and, more recently, cheap interest rates that led many specialty retailers to open too many stores, according to new research from global research and advisory firm IHL.

eCommerce: During Macy’s second quarter earnings call, CEO Jeff Gennette acknowledged that omnichannel efforts, especially buy online/pickup in-store (BOPIS), is a key part of the company’s turnaround plan through the fall season. The retailer's omnichannel strategy includes ramping up in-store inventory to reflect what Macy’s offers for sale online, broader availability of a mobile app feature that lets customers see the inventory available in their local store called "Shop Your Store" and moving the location for pick up to a main store entrance.

Media: More importantly, it's a status symbol. The blue emblem can help people gain legitimacy in the business of influencer marketing and bestows some credibility within Instagram's community of 700 million monthly active users. It cannot be requested online or purchased, according to Instagram's policies. It is Instagram's velvet rope.

Media: TV still matters at ESPN, and in every way DC-2 is wired for the future of TV. It’s capable of broadcasting in 4K and 8K, and if by some miracle 3D actually takes off, ESPN will be ready for that, too. TV is still where the network makes most of its money, and it will be for the foreseeable future. But when – not if, but when — that changes, ESPN says it will be ready. It has moved staff, built buildings, and overhauled how the company operates to make sure of that.

Media: As Facebook has grown, its users’ reliance on it has also grown. The increase in numbers is not, as one might expect, accompanied by a lower level of engagement. More does not mean worse – or worse, at least, from Facebook’s point of view. On the contrary. In the far distant days of October 2012, when Facebook hit one billion users, 55 per cent of them were using it every day. At two billion, 66 per cent are. Its user base is growing at 18 per cent a year – which you’d have thought impossible for a business already so enormous. 

Brand: But Nike is forgoing the traditional route this year, instead offering sneaker sales in pop-up locations around Manhattan and Queens, including one for a Federer-themed shoe sold through its SNKRS app. Users can sign up to receive push notifications that certain products are available in a given location.

Brand: The announcement on the company’s website comes after the startup said in July that it was undergoing a “strategic shift” to more quickly lower the cost of its $399 juicers and $5-7 juice packs filled with raw fruits and vegetables. As part of the shift, the company said then that it would lay off about a quarter of its staff.

Data: Researchers at the e-commerce juggernaut are currently working on several machine-learning systems that could help provide an edge when it comes to spotting, reacting to, and perhaps even shaping the latest fashion trends. The effort points to ways in which Amazon and other companies could try to improve the tracking of trends in other areas of retail—making recommendations based on products popping up in social-media posts, for instance. And it could help the company expand its clothing business or even dominate the area.

Retail: For today’s consumer especially, merch is not just about associating oneself with a certain artist or tribe; it’s about associating oneself with the height of fashion. Consider Justin Bieber’s merchandising strategy during his 2016 tour. First, he offered the merch at his own concerts. Next, it was available at Barneys New York and then, finally, for the masses at Forever 21. (It should be noted that Bieber’s line was made in collaboration with designer Jerry Lorenzo of the well-regarded label Fear of God, giving it an extra whiff of street cred.)

Retail: Sewbot was developed at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center in a process that began a decade ago. In 2012, researchers got a grant from the Defense Department’s tech innovation wing DARPA to develop the concept and formed a company to commercialize the technology. By 2015, the company was selling a more basic version of the robot that could make bath mats and towels. The newest version, to be deployed in the Little Rock factory, can make T-shirts and partially sew jeans.

Media: And no matter how you feel about teens and Facebook today, the company is still dominating the U.S. app scene. Facebook was the most popular app in the country among those 18 and older, and is used by 81 percent of mobile app users. Of the top ten most popular apps based on penetration, Facebook owns three (Facebook, Messenger and Instagram), and Google owns five (YouTube, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play and Gmail).

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