In this week's show, learn how Instagram added a shopping button function for advertisers to add to their stories. There are around 300 million users on Stories DAILY. A recent survey reported that Instagrammers said they often watch stories to stay in the-know with brands they’re interested in, get an insider view of products they like, and find out about new products ones. Now, they can buy directly from those videos and images.
The Tokyo based, Rakuten, has failed to capture the e-commerce market in the US. They are taking a new angle with their recent acquisition of Curbside, a Palo Alto-based tech company. Curbside has an app that works with stores to provide access to their inventory online, customers can purchase it and then the store employees hand it to the customer as they pull up. This will be a fantastic data gathering tool to see which products are in demand locally.
Alexa does not just turn your lights on and off now, but with the new Echo Look, serves as a second opinion on wardrobe choices. It has a hands-free depth-sensing camera, built-in LED lighting, and computer vision-based background blur so that it can take a photo of your look to post online amongst other things. It creates your personal Lookbook, keeps your closet organized, helps you buy new wardrobe pieces and much more. Style Check, one of the most popular features on Echo Look, gives you a second opinion on which of two outfits looks best on you—simply submit two photos and, in about a minute, Style Check will return a recommendation based on fit, color, styling, and current trends, plus an explanation of why one is better.
Curiscope, a British startup, launched on Amazon Launchpad. They have a fusion of a tech, a teaching, and t-shirt company. They use specially designed shirts as their canvas so that the tech and science learning is accessible to as many people as possible. Once the shirt is on, viewers or wearers scan it and then can actually go on a 3D tour of their own body. This is a great tool for teaching and engaging kids.
Facebook continues to dominate the business world with their amazing ad targeting platform, also know as a social media site. They are actively working to train and certify professionals to use their platform. Online learning is available for free through Facebook Blueprint as well as many local colleges. They are basically training us to buy ads from them but since we are going to do it anyway, we might as well make it effective. Before you pay for a fancy consultant or guru, take some Blueprint classes!
Paypal’s, Xoom platform increased send limits for international payments from $10,000 to $25,000 USD per transaction to over 50 countries. Money is deposited directly into the recipient's bank account for a small fee. Xoom have historically been used to pay VAs and other service providers. More reliable and trustworthy ways to pay makes international commerce safer, easier and more accessible.
Macy’s is a mall store that is still growing. They are innovating in several areas including several acquisitions to enhance the in-store customer experience. They acquired a stake in B8ta, a software platform that will allow product makers to go from solely selling online to launching their products with Macy’s in a few clicks. It also has a Shopify-like solution for retail stores. They also added NYC experiential store, STORY to their portfolio, making the founder, Rachel Shechtman, Macy's "brand experience officer" whose primary role is to partner with brands to creating better in-store experiences. They get that getting customers in the door is a fusion of interesting product and positive shopping experience.
UPS announced a major expansion to its ocean Less-Than-Container Load or LCL service. The origin and destination countries now cover most of the globe. Customers who do not have enough cargo to fill an entire ocean freight container can still access cost-effective transportation using UPS’s network. There has not been a large enough volume of smaller orders historically to engage large companies, but recently with the fusion of easy access Private Label, and major brands doing smaller but more relevant product runs, this type of shipping is attractive to many and lowering the cost benefits everyone.
Flexport has been growing in the LCL space by leaps and bounds. They have now added Carbon-Neutral Freight Service. They have a non profit wing, Flexport.org that begun offsetting the carbon emissions so that all Flexport LCL shipments will be carbon neutral.