1) Nike’s kids’ subscription box offers parents convenience but has questionable longevity.

WHAT HAPPENED: The Nike Adventure Club is a quarterly, bi-monthly or monthly subscription box geared toward kids ages 2-10. Members pay $20-$50 per month—little if any discount—and can choose from 50 Nike or Converse sneaker styles (boys’ and girls’ shoes combined).

WHY IT MATTERS

  • The Adventure Club allows Nike to cash in on kids’ constant growth while saving parents from regular trips to the store. Nike is promoting its new service with unique perks like a sneaker recycling program, but also through now expected benefits like free shipping and customized boxes. Knowing the emotional impact of in-store shopping between parents and their kids, the company might have been better off allocating funds toward an enhanced in-store experience.
  • The frequency and cost of the Adventure Club may not foster long-term commitment, especially given the instability of a subscription model. Nike is the first of the athleticwear giants to launch a box service, giving it a leg up over its competition, but based on the status of subscription boxes like Birchbox, Blue Apron and Trunk Club whose initial novelty and element of surprise quickly wore off, subscription has skeptical staying power. While parents have the spending power, the new service forges a direct relationship with kids in order to turn them into lifelong Nike customers, but the outcome won’t be known for a while. The constant shipment of Nike shoes may also result in brand fatigue—a major obstacle to building a long-term relationship between Nike and Adventure Club subscribers in the first place.

2) Tory Burch’s attempt to expand its beauty offering could widen its audience, but the fashion designer-led makeup line may be too antiquated to work in a saturated market.

WHAT HAPPENED: Tory Burch announced a partnership with Shiseido to broaden the lifestyle brand’s beauty offering beyond perfume. The new line will feature Tory Burch-branded cosmetic and skincare products, available in 2020.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Fashion designer-led beauty brands no longer mesmerize consumers as they once did. Inundated with choice, today’s consumers are self-educating at higher rates, increasingly drawn to beauty brands built by industry experts such as Dr. Barbara Strum’s molecular skincare line, celebrity brands like Fenty Beauty and influencer-driven brands like Kylie Cosmetics. The brand codes, aesthetic and name recognition of a fashion label are no longer enough to convince consumers to make a purchase—in fact, the fashion designer scent market is at an all-time low.
  • Tory Burch will have to find a way to vocalize its line and speak to shoppers in a crowded market. While Shiseido brings expertise to Tory Burch’s line, Tory Burch is just one brand in a long line of companies that have recently turned to cosmetics as the beauty industry continues to grow. As the industry evolves—L’Oréal and Estée Lauder’s cosmetics sales are falling, while skincare sales continue to rise—its best chance in beauty will depend on its ability to respond to these changes.

3) Kroger is the first retailer to feature shoppable content on TikTok, but the jury is out on whether the social media platform can convert its Gen Z users into customers.

WHAT HAPPENED: Kroger partnered with social media app TikTok and four sponsored influencers to market back-to-school products for the college-age demographic. Users can browse Kroger’s website and purchase products directly within the app.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Despite being Gen Z’s social media platform of choice, TikTok has not yet proven that it can convert engagement into sales. Gen Zers may be the most digitally-savvy consumer group but when it comes to ecommerce spending, they rank in the bottom tier—only 7.4% of their spending is done online. Gen Z’s lack of focus on ecommerce may be linked to its use of social media as a tool for research and discovery rather than as a purchasing platform.
  • Is Kroger too early to jump on the TikTok train? Because TikTok is a relatively new social media platform, Kroger could have watched other retailers, especially those with wider social media audiences, to learn if the platform can be an effective source for product marketing. At the same time, a marketing strategy that includes, or at least experiments with a variety of channels is more likely to gain speed in the long term.

4) Jet.com and Blue Apron part ways—a break-up that could help the meal preparation company rebrand itself to compete in the crowded meal-kit space.

WHAT HAPPENED: After launching a partnership in 2018 that offered Jet customers discounted meal kits, Jet, the Walmart-owned ecommerce site, and Blue Apron announced they will end their contract.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Blue Apron’s partnership with Jet was more of a promotion than a collaboration. While Jet offered Blue Apron increased visibility, specifically online, the partnership did not create any unique products or services than could win over customers organically. On the other hand, the meal company confirmed it would continue its collab with WW (formerly Weight Watchers)—a partnership that has gained traction because of its alternative meals, geared toward weight loss, rather than simply using WW for increased exposure or relying on promotions.
  • With its Jet partnership terminated, Blue Apron now has an opportunity to use these learnings and approach collaborations in a more purposeful manner. Blue Apron confirmed that partnerships will remain a vital part of its business, especially for customer acquisition, but will need creative meal options and other curated services to amplify their impact. This is all the more important as consumers experience subscription-box fatigue and meal kit brands face increased competition from major grocery players like Amazon and Whole Foods.