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Issue No. 274. The last issue had a 36.1% open rate with 7% of industry insiders reading this story on how brands spend their marketing dollars. An absolutely brilliant ad for Wimbledon was released just in time for Cannes. 

Member Brief No. 17: The Conde Nast Report 

Tell one trusted colleague to subscribe to the Monday letter here.

What Is Luxury is Anymore?

Brand / Retail Feature. Luxury ain't what it used to be. Blame the internet, the rise of on-demand services, and the shift in consumer values as younger generations become more important buyers of high-end goods-all are challenging traditional notions of what luxury is. The classic symbols-the Hermès Birkin bag, a couture dress by Dior, a watch by Rolex-aren't in any danger of losing status.

Here is a great excerpt: 

So instead of spending money on consumer products, Currid-Halkett finds that the rich increasingly focus their spending on “nonvisible, highly expensive goods and services” that allow them to have time to gain that social capital and foster it in their children. Such goods and services include child care, gardeners, and, most importantly, education.

Read more: Can DNVBs Achieve Modern Luxury?

Opinion: 'Amazon Doesn't Need a Brand Story'

eCommerce. During her time running the @DKNYPRGirl Twitter account, Aliza Licht was only asked to delete one tweet. "A director rolled in late once, hungover, and so I tweeted something about it and legal freaked out a little. They said we might have underage Twitter followers and might be setting a bad example," said Licht.

Google to invest $550M in Chinese eCommerce Giant JD.com

Anti-Amazon Coalition. Google will invest $550 million in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, part of the U.S. internet giant's efforts to expand its presence in fast-growing Asian markets and battle rivals including Amazon.com. The two companies described the investment as one piece of a broader partnership that will include the promotion of JD.com products on Google's shopping service.

Editor's Note: one of Google's limitations is an inability to carry inventory and this partnership moves them towards addressing that shortcoming.

Is Co-Working the Next Hot Retail Concept?

Retail Real Estate. Co-working is a rapidly expanding industry and it's not just changing workspaces, it's changing adjacent industries, including retail. In October 2017, 8-year-old co-working company WeWork made a deal to buy Hudson's Bay Fifth Avenue property Lord & Taylor flagship store for $850 million, raising not just eyebrows but red flags as to the future of both retail and office facilities.

Mobile Apps Are Musts for Most Brands

eCommerce. “If you’re a brand and you don’t have an app strategy or you aren’t investing in your app development, then its going to be really hard for you to engage and monetize the fastest growing population, which are mobile shoppers,” said Jon Hudson, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Criteo, a digital marketing and technology firm.

But as more companies bombard shoppers with emails, fliers and in-store ads that push them to download their brand apps, people are getting savvier — and less forgiving if they feel an app’s performance is subpar.

On Boxed CEO Chieh Huang and Frugal Leadership

eCommerce. Chieh Huang is frugal and I believe frugality is one of the keys behind his success in growing Boxed from only $40,000 in sales in his parent's garage in 2013 to over $100 million in revenue today, with state of the art warehouses in multiple states.

Audio Captures Whole Foods CEO's Clash with Amazon

eCommerce. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said Tuesday that same-store sales were growing again under Amazon but that the two companies have had "many, many" clashes where he has had to "speak truth to power" and Amazon has "backed off." Amazon purchased Whole Foods 10 months ago in a $13.7 billion deal.

Li Ning Spars With Nike and Adidas

Brand. The cool factor is notoriously hard to gain - and even harder to maintain. This couldn't be more true than in today's China. For global brands like Nike and Adidas, who have carved out an impressive market share here, China's fashionable youth have a few words of advice.

Administration 'Spares' Made-in-USA Apparel

Retail. While much of the U.S. apparel manufacturing industry has moved abroad to chase lower labor costs, the country still remains home to a multibillion-dollar textile industry. Many fashion labels and shoemakers, including L.L. Bean Inc., Allen Edmonds and American Giant still make products domestically. The exclusion of most apparel equipment from tariffs has allayed fears that manufacturers would push higher costs on to consumers.

H&M Introduces Recycled Line To Clean Up its Image

Brand. In the wake of ongoing criticism against H&M for environmentally harmful practices, the company is extending its circular fashion efforts beyond its namesake brand. In its latest endeavor, the Swedish retailer tapped London-based COS for a collection that drops today, using 100 percent repurposed cotton.

Inside Amazon's Competition to Make Alexa Chat Like a Human

Data. Amazon's Alexa Prize is a multimillion-dollar competition to build AI that can chat like a human. On the face of it, Amazon isn't asking much: just create a chatbot using Alexa that can talk to a human for 20 minutes without messing up, and you get a $1.5 million prize.

A 'Stranger Things' Win for Schwinn

Brand. What happens when you combine a critically acclaimed TV series, a children's bicycle and a heavy dose of nostalgia? Apparently, the dollars pedal in faster than a Demogorgon can snatch you. Earlier this month, Schwinn, the bike brand owned by Madison, Wisconsin-based Pacific Cycle, released an '80s-style limited-edition Stranger Things bike to build brand awareness and capitalize on the Netflix show's popularity.

Marketers Struggle to Track Audiences, Post GDPR

Data. Google's and Facebook's preparations for the General Data Protection Regulation have caused a headache for marketers that relied on the platforms for ad targeting. Marketers said they now struggle to comprehensively measure their targeting across the platforms within their own data management platforms, forcing some to turn to third-party measurement partners and others to be complacent with piecing together the data they do have strictly within Google and Facebook.

UNTUCKit, Cuyana, ThredUp Drive Retail's Digi Transformation

DNVB. As many of the big retailers struggle to digitally transform their businesses, small and midsize (SMB) retailers are finding their moxie by leveraging emerging technologies like AI, Big Data and voice of the customer analytics.

Here is the SAP partner report, downloaded for your review. 

The Surprising Power Broker Backing eCommerce Startups

The eCommerce Agency. When Abigail Stone decided to start an online candle company, she had neither investors nor a product. But she found an early ally in the branding agency Red Antler, which agreed to help her get her business off the ground in exchange for a cut of her company. 

Issue No. 274: The Big Business


 

Breaking down BoF's latest on the blank t-shirt movement. The word merch is synonymous with throwaway. Or at least, it used to be. In 2PM's leading story, Quartzy discusses the changing demographics that have influenced the types of products that luxury brands sell. Gone are the days when famed fashion houses like Gucci focus solely on traditional luxury fashion. Today, their products reflect an affinity for sweat pants, tennis shoes, and modern t-shirt patterns.

This has trickled on down to the merchandise industry. Younger millennials and Gen Z'ers  wear merch as a fashion statement and luxury has adopted this burgeoning trend. For merch providers, this means that the American Apparel / LA Apparel aesthetic has given way to something new patterns, styles, and definitions of inclusivity. 

Read more here

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