PrimeTime: Amazon holds 49% of ecommerce market share, Target debuts one-day sale to compete with Prime Day, Walmart will use Microsoft’s cloud computing technology, Sonos is going public and highlighting partnership with Alexa

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon now holds 49% of the ecommerce market, miles away from eBay’s 6.6% and Walmart’s 3.7%. The company exercised this muscle on July 16-17 for Prime Day, which saw 54% more sales in the first four…


Does Amazon understand customer experience more than most brands?

More than 50% of product searches now begin on Amazon. This week we wrote about how the company has won over consumers' wallets by prioritizing convenience and functionality over design—and what other brands should do about it.


Less is more: How companies are controlling supply while maximizing demand in a digital and physical world

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Location, location, location: How brands built on geographic scarcity irreproducibility are defensible in a digital world

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Do DNVBs exist anymore? Revisiting the buzzword

Andy Dunn coined the term DNVB—digitally-native vertical brand—in 2016. The clearest possible reading of the addition of the word “vertical” is that it means “control,” akin to the idea of vertical integration, in which a company controls various…


The Grinds: Goop answers pseudoscience criticism, UPS looks to automation, #MeToo jeans reprise the accessible feminism debate, Disney launches attraction previews

Goop answers pseudoscience criticism by coming clean about its product benefits. What happened After growing a business by amassing a devoted following of customers who believed in product benefits not necessarily backed by science—and receiving…


Dear Hollar: One Thing I Would Do

When shoppers surf the Hollar site or app today, they can choose from thousands of products, filling up their carts with items from beauty to snacks, party supplies to toiletries, at an average of $2 to $5 dollars per SKU. Maybe while scrolling…


How to promote and indoctrinate inclusivity into your brand

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


PrimeTime: Amazon Channels reigns over television subscriptions; Amazon upgrades its beauty shopping experience, will launch the Marketplace Appstore for sellers, is closing customer accounts because of returns; Whole Foods tests a store-in-a-store housewares concept, Acer’s new laptops are integrated with Alexa

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon Channels continues to take more of the television subscriptions pie from TV networks. The service, which allows Prime customers to purchase streaming subscriptions to television channels is now…


The Grinds: Bulletin opens its third New York store, Aesop expands its retail footprint, Shopify moves offline, Walmart will sell Harry’s razors

Bulletin is opening its third New York store, continuing its quest to champion women in business. Bulletin, which began as an online magazine in 2014 featuring digitally-native women-led brands, will open its third flagship store in the historic…


Dear Ulta Beauty: One Thing I Would Do

Ulta continues to expand its brand selection, often testing new brands online or at a small number of brick-and-mortar locations first, before scaling the offering. This worked wonders for MAC Cosmetics—Ulta’s most successful ecommerce launch…


Agency — with Tony King of King and Partners

#71. King & Partners is a creative and technology agency that works with leading brands. We talk with founder Tony King about his long career in helping brands embrace ecommerce and what it’s like working with a new crop of brands while maintaining…


The Grinds: Instagram launches in-app payments, Sephora opens its second Studio, Online returns are hurting landlords, Birchbox sells a majority stake to one of its investors

Instagram launches in-app payments for select brands, which could substantially increase its share of commerce. What happened For the in-app payments, an extension of Facebook Payments, Instagram allows users to create a profile that includes their…


PrimeTime: Amazon is using 3D body scanning to collect data to grow its apparel business, halted its expansion in Seattle, added a children’s book subscription to Prime, launched a new private-label pet brand called Wag

The latest news on everything Amazon   As its apparel retail business grows, Amazon’s 3D body scanning department will collect data on how body size and shape changes over time. The company acquired a startup called Body Labs in 2017 that…


PrimeTime: Amazon Key delivers to cars; Walmart’s online grocery program improvements are paying off; Amazon gives Best Buy exclusive rights to sell Fire TVs, inked live video game deal with the NBA, may surpass Walmart as top U.S. apparel retailer; Home Depot amps up tech team to compete with Amazon

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon Key now delivers packages to customers’ cars—an additional service to the Key program, which also drops off packages inside of Prime Members’ homes with the help of an internet-connected door…


PrimeTime: Amazon expands Prime Wardrobe, braces itself for new state taxes, outpaces Best Buy as top electronics retailer; Amazon Echo partners with home builders; Amazon Fuse will expand the company’s media ecosystem; Walmart may buy stake in Flipkart

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon will allow more Prime members to access the Prime Wardrobe program, which lets shoppers try on clothes before paying for them. Prime Wardrobe—which has yet to officially launch and serves…


The Grinds: Walmart plans to redesign site, Click-to-buy morphs into click-to-buy-and-make, b8ta expands “retail as a service,” Domino’s delivers to customers en route

Walmart is making its website more sleek, but where does that leave Jet? What happened Walmart, which continues to devote more resources to its ecommerce operation, plans to debut a resigned website that spotlights its higher-end brands and…


How to capitalize on the intersection of commerce and culture in an on-demand world

Despite the prowess of the experience economy, even the brands, retailers and real estate professionals involved in the music, entertainment and sports industries are up against vast changes affecting their foot traffic and sales. Paradoxically,…


The Grinds: Nordstrom opens first standalone men’s store, LVMH launches luxury startup accelerator, Warby Parker must meet investors’ expectations, USV invests in livestream marketplace ShopShops

Nordstrom opens its first standalone men’s store, relying on data to cultivate its foray into New York City. What happened Nordstrom’s first standalone men’s store—and first store in New York—will open this Thursday in Manhattan. The store enters…


PrimeTime: Amazon grows its private-label presence; U.S. warehouses unfit for ecommerce fulfillment; Amazon wants Alexa to compete with Venmo; Walmart continues to compete with Amazon via price matching, pickup kiosks and healthcare; Amazon’s R&D expenses surpass those of all other U.S. companies

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon now has over 70 active private-label brands on its platform. The majority of these brands emerged in 2017, though the company began testing its private-label products in 2009. These brands and…


PrimeTime: Whole Foods may offer discount to Prime members; Amazon Video falls behind Netflix, YouTube and Hulu; Amazon launches Home Assistants; Trump may seek to regulate Amazon; Amazon Spark is failing, Amazon is collecting state sales tax, but leaving out cities

The latest news on everything Amazon   Whole Foods may offer Prime members a 10% discount, based on signs advertising the offer were seen in the grocery chain’s flagship Austin store. Since the Amazon acquisition, benefits to Whole Foods…


The Grinds: Build-A-Bear thrives—Toys R Us dies, Adore Me to open stores near Victoria’s Secret, New York City devises retail vacancy tax for landlords, Goop raises $50 million

Build-A-Bear thrives —Toys R Us dies. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Build-A-Bear has posted four consecutive years of profitability and remains debt free in an era when…


Squad Goals — with Brian Watkins of Rep the Squad

On the 65th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the rapidly changing consumer economy, we talk with Brian Watkins, the co-founder and CEO of Rep the Squad, which lets passionate sports fans rent any jersey they want, giving them…


The Grinds: Ulta Beauty will begin selling Chanel Beauté, Nordstrom family ends buyout effort, ThredUp wants to create a consignment ecosystem, Google launches new advertising program online with its AI assistant

Ulta Beauty will begin selling Chanel Beauté—a coveted and surprising addition to the beauty retailer that mixes high and low. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Ulta Beauty,…


Glossy: The forces working against contemporary fashion

Press commentary on the consolidation of the luxury industry and what this means for mid-tier brands.


PrimeTime: Amazon.com lockers at Whole Foods lead to more short-term grocery visits; Amazon may have its sights set on Toys R Us real estate; Executives leave Whole Foods; Whole Foods lays off regional marketing staff; Majority of Amazon shoppers don’t notice ads

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon.com lockers, which are installed at over 75 Whole Foods locations, allow Amazon customers to pick up their packages in a secure location. This leading to more short-term visits and impulse…


Blazers of Glory — with Jack Carlson of Rowing Blazers

#63. Rowing Blazers brings all the quirks of a blazer to life, quickly growing into a Supreme-meets-Brooks Brothers lifestyle brand. We talk with Founder Jack Carlson, about how the company sprung out of his rowing career and his years-long quest to…


PrimeTime: Amazon goes after lower-income customers; strikes multi-year contract with Whole Foods, but leaves small grocery vendors worried; makes Prime Pantry a monthly subscription; discusses partnership with banks to create Amazon checking account product

The latest news on everything Amazon   Amazon continues to go after lower-income customers, infiltrating Walmart territory with a discounted Prime membership for Medicaid recipients. The membership costs 54% of a regular Prime membership…


Trending and Timeless — with Alex Fogelson of Taste Beauty

#62. Taste Beauty is a manufacturing company working at the forefront of the quickly evolving beauty industry. We talk with Co-Founder Alex Fogelson about how his company is bringing trend-driven products to more than 50,000 beauty retailers…


Manufacturing the Moment — with Ben Kaufman of BuzzFeed

#61. BuzzFeed Commerce, the media company’s commerce and product arm, has proved in only a short span of time that it might be the most agile and prolific team in consumer products. We talk with its director, Ben Kaufman, who joined the company with…


Modernizing the Hidden World of Ecommerce Imaging — with James Ingram of Splashlight

James Ingram is not in the restaurant business. But as the CEO of Splashlight, an innovative photography and video provider, Ingram talked about the importance of “setting the table” on 34th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. “When you think of…


What’s happening with retail and fulfillment job growth?

There's a lot of commotion right now about the loss of retail jobs and the impending death of retail. While retail isn't dying—channels as foundational as physical stores don't "die"—legacy retailers are struggling. Retailers are going bankrupt and…


Nasty Gal: the dangers of ephemeral growth and focus

Nasty Gal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, which allows the company to reorganize its finances but continue operating. The company, started by Sophia Amoruso as an eBay store selling vintage clothing in 2006, quickly grew over…


Buzzfeed Product Labs and the intersection of everything

The most interesting piece of news last week was that Buzzfeed is formally launching a commerce lab. Named Buzzfeed Product Lab, and led by Ben Kaufman, the former founder of Quirky, the goal is to bring the Buzzfeed mentality—and its massive…


Building the Future of Clothing and Unlocking Social Mobility — with Abe Burmeister of Outlier

On the seventh episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, I talk with Abe Burmeister, one of the founders of Outlier, a New York label that set out to build the future of clothing. What started as a brand aimed as casual urbanists who used bicycles as…


When replicating your previous success isn’t enough

The biggest head-scratcher (that probably should not have been a head-scratcher) last week was that Totokaelo, the well-known Seattle boutique that opened a flagship almost a year ago in New York, had sold to Herschel Supply Co, the company that…


Amazon’s success phasing out list pricing is exactly where JCPenney failed

There's an article in the New York Times entitled Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices. List prices, or manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP), serve two main purposes. First, it's illegal for a company that sells goods to a distributor or…


Vetements follow up: Kanye, staying in stores longer and selling online

The response to my piece on Vetements and the exaggerated death of wholesale has been really exciting. The piece's contrarian view clearly resonated. Even so, there are a few points I want to expand on. Adam Wray, from Fashion REDEF, sent me a nice…


Macy’s, newspapers and Amazon eating the middle of the retail market

The middle of the retail market continues to evaporate. Two articles recently summed up this transformation: Big-Box Retailers Have Two Options If They Want to Survive, in the Harvard Business Review, and The Macy's factor in Politico. Big-box…


Chat bots and interfaces in the fashion industry: a hybrid approach

Chat bots, the automated and sometimes smart contextual messaging systems, are all the rage, fresh off the heels of Facebook's annual developer conference and the release of Kik's bot platform. Think piece after think piece is trumpeting chat bots…


A roundup of fashion tech startups from Y Combinator’s Winter 2016 batch

Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley startup incubator, hosted a solid amount of fashion tech startups in its most recent batch. Below is a roundup the eight companies, ranked in terms of their impact on the industry. Plenty to think about here.


Pins, Patches and the Post Office with Charlie Ambler of StrikeGently.co

The complexity of the fashion industry creates a ripe opportunity for dialogue. While writing on Loose Threads covers plenty of issues, a discussion with incredibly knowledgeable people in the industry simply allows us to dive deeper into the…


Push vs pull: helping customers discover the right products

I used to find a lot of my reading material on Twitter. I followed a bunch of media sites and writers, and as articles popped into my feed, I would read them or save them for later. I liked that this process was both immediate and direct; I felt…


Friction and the future of shopping: brand-specific apps

There are no shortage of ideas about the future of shopping and retail. The industry is spending an immense amount of energy deciding which technologies will power what comes next, from beacons to apps to self checkout to virtual reality. The media…


Selling wholesale for the right reasons: gross margin vs net cash

A recent article in Business of Fashion called Can Young Luxury Brands Bypass Wholesale? looked into the relevance of wholesale given the rise of direct to consumer labels. The piece had some interesting insights, drawing on points from Warby…


Ignoring effective frequency: why buy buttons failed

Many considered buy buttons—little additions to social networks that allow users to buy what they were seeing—a major step forward for social commerce. Instead, they faltered. Conversions were dismal. Buy buttons failed for two reasons: 1)…


Augmenting commerce with social, not the other way around

Companies across fashion and ecommerce have tried to bridge the divide between social and commerce by throwing boatloads capital at the problem. These efforts have been largely unsuccessful. Buy buttons and its ilk don't convert as expected,…