The last month of Q1 2019 brought news focused on retail innovations as it relates to technology and customer service. KWI client NARS Cosmetics announced it will be rolling out virtual try-ons via a partnership with Perfect Corp. where clients can use the virtual reality technology via iPads. In addition, two DTC retail brands have been named unicorns with Glossier raising $100m and Rent the Runway announced a $125m investment, making both brands worth more than $1 billion. And KWI client Quay Australia made headlines for launching a sunglass line with Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.
Here’s a look at some of the other stories that caught our eye over the last few weeks.
1. Digiday looks at the growth of ship-from-store capabilities as Kohl’s and Target look to compete more against Amazon. Kohl’s announced that it’s equipping 135 stores with “enhanced ship-from-store capabilities” this year and also working to encourage more shoppers to buy from home and pick up in store.
2. Amazon reported it will be shutting down its 87 pop-up kiosk locations throughout the US, which have been placed in malls, Whole Foods and Kohls. However, it seems Amazon may be re-thinking its entire physical location strategy. They plan to open a new chain of grocery stores later this year, as well as new bookstores and 4-star stores, which sell only four-star rated Amazon items.
3. Instagram announced it would be rolling out shoppable ads to more than 20 of their retail customers, including Nike, Zara, NARS, Outdoor Voice and Warby Parker. Recode takes a look at this news and how it puts Amazon in a surprising position of weakness - as the platform is known as a shopping destination for when you know the exact product you want, versus discovery shopping.
4. Estee Lauder revamped it's IT and merged Beauty with Innovation, announcing it will be looking into the use of AI, 3D printing and data analytics. The company also announced its first IT innovation lab in Long Island City, Queens.
5. Lastly, Digiday reported on a new Marketplace Pulse report that looked at the state of Amazon-owned private label brands. It analyzed 23,000 products under 400 brands. Findings include:
- The top 10 most successful private label brands contributed 81 percent of total sales
- Amazon added more than 100 brands in 2018
- Amazon’s private label business generated $7.5 billion in 2018
- By 2022, that is estimated to hit $25 billion