On Thursday, Google announced a slew of new features aimed at making Google Shopping easier for brands to use and break away from the crowd. Google is adding integrations with WooCommerce, GoDaddy and Square, allowing the products of brands using these platforms to automatically show up among Google's results.
On May 17, Shein surpassed Amazon as the most downloaded iPhone shopping app in the US, something it had already done in Google Play downloads the week prior, according to analytics firm App Annie. The online-only retailer was formed in Nanjung, China, but ships its products, primarily inexpensive women’s apparel, to more than 220 countries worldwide. Researchers and consumers site innovative digital strategies and low-priced, trendy products that appeal to a Gen-Z mindset as key to the retailer’s success.
While Amazon's Dash Replenishment might be the largest program in what remains a niche industry, a growing number of startups are pitching auto-replenishment systems to brands -- and to stand out, they’re making their case not on just the economic benefits of convincing customers to set auto reorders, but also on the potential consumer usage data that they can source.
Snap isn't the only social platform making an aggressive e-commerce push. But Snap is looking to differentiate itself from rivals like Instagram by blending AR and e-commerce, making the purchasing process more experiential -- and potentially involving fewer returns -- than on other social platforms.
Facebook is working with brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics to make shopping on its platform more mainstream.
Last week, Walmart announced it would acquire Zeekit, a startup that has worked with ASOS, Adidas and other brands on building technology that lets customers virtually try on clothes before they buy them. The acquisition represents the highest-profile endorsement of virtual try-on technology yet from a major brick-and-mortar retailer -- suggesting that even while virtual try-on remains a niche phenomenon, it is fast becoming the next battleground in retail.
As the pandemic winds down, more CPG food and beverage brands are looking to expand their customer base. One example is Bulletproof, which is trying to go beyond its niche biohacking coffee brand. According to the company, its strategy for this includes new products that bridge the gap between on-the-go and the new at-home lifestyle.
Denim retailers are gearing up for the return of “hard pants” as pandemic restrictions loosen. In the pandemic, denim brands pushed loungewear and comfort and saw a majority of sales come from e-commerce, partially off-setting brick-and-mortar loses. As restrictions loosen, denim brands are betting on new silhouettes, as well as collections with a sustainability focus to win shoppers over. They also are hoping that customers will be eager to return to stores to refresh their wardrobes after a year of not having many occasions to go out for.
With the coronavirus slowing down and summer around the corner, pandemic winner Blue Apron is taking a stab at customer retention. This week, the meal kit company announced meal add-ons, butcher bundles and burgers as a way to cater to the outdoor cooking season. It's Blue Apron's latest attempt at keeping subscribers ordering and increasing weekly customer spending.
The land grab in same-day delivery continues, with delivery-only convenience store GoPuff ramping up acquisitions and partnerships. Last week, GoPuff announced an acquisition of the UK-based Fancy. This comes after another partnership announcement with Uber’s grocery delivery business earlier in the week as well as an acquisition of adult-beverage-retailer and California-start-up BevMo in November.
Going into 2021, the bigger crafting retailers are focusing on social media strategies, and building out their ad targeting strategies to appeal to the casual crafter. Meanwhile, some startups like LoveCrafts are looking to expand their presence geographically after seeing huge sales increases. But, the jury's still out on just how permanent these pandemic gains will be.
An arbitrator recently ruled that Macy's wasn't giving salespeople commissions because of its app. The decision is relatively limited in scope, but it is drawing attention to an under-the-radar issue in the retail world: as more and more retailers launch their own “scan and pay” apps, there’s a risk that sales floor workers will be locked out of commissions.
Historically, 70% of furniture brand Industry West's sales have come from business-to-business transactions, namely from restaurant or hotel owners opening new spaces. But in 2020, Industry West's revenue makeup flipped. Last year, 70% of its sales came from individual consumers, as more people were driven to refurnish their new or existing houses during stay-at-home orders. Now, spurred by the increase in DTC sales, Industry West is aiming for more aggressive growth, projecting this year that it will do just under $40 million in sales.
Two proposed new Instagram features are especially significant for the retail world: Instagram’s planned branded content marketplace and its new affiliate program. Both tools, depending on their ultimate scope and rollout, could potentially shift how brands recruit and interact with influencers, and they could also precipitate changes in where -- and how -- customers discover products.
When office lunches were put on pause at the beginning of the pandemic, delivery services that cater to the rush had to pivot quickly. This included New York City-based Stadium, which aggregated orders from different restaurants for corporate teams. When orders dried up, the founders repurposed the existing tech to build SnackMagic, a CPG-focused gifting service.
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