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The inaugural dispatch

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INDUSTRY

Stitch Fix continues to steamroll toward personal-stylist-in-a-box world domination with the rollout of their much anticipated kidswear category. Just in time to get fitted for back to school!

Nike, in a push to merge digital and physical retail, has opened an ambitious concept store on the famed Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Falling in line with their Consumer Offense Direct Initiative announced in 2017, Nike has created a test-lab in an attempt to blend the two channels. Inventory decisions will be informed by local online purchase data, and NikePlus members (free) will be able to reserve products for in-store pickup. Closing the acquisition-loop, Nike is offering members other perks like exclusive events and free items with a membership scan.

“We don’t want to force it on people (membership), but we strongly believe people will want it when we can show what it can do for them.”

TECH

Tech-enabled product packaging is the new frontier for user-behavior data collection. Beauty and lifestyle brands like Yunni and Sephora are using the allure of product tutorials and purchase discounts by way NFC, QR,and RFID codes to illuminate customer behavior post-purchase. One could easily envision future innovation on this front. Does this make you nervous, or is it just us?

AMAZON

Bad news for traditional pharmacy retailers. Amazon announced its official entry into the pharmaceutical delivery space last Thursday with the acquisition of online pharmacy startup PillPack. Share prices from Walgreens and CVS dropped accordingly (8.1% and 10.5%) in their first day of trading following the announcement. This could be good news for consumers as Amazon traditionally runs at an operating margin of about 2.6%, half the industry standard.

Amazon is taking another stab at the last-mile-delivery problem. This version lands a bit more in the mold of the FedEx model, empowering entrepreneurs to establish their own delivery business as something of franchise. Amazon is still heavily dependent on suppliers like UPS and FedEx (and vice versa), but it continues to noodle with all components of its supply chain. It will be interesting to see how this space develops.

Lastly, no round-up of Amazon would be complete without a mention of Prime-Day. Despite its issues, Prime Day appears to be a success. On the retail side, sales are up from previous years, predicted at $3.4 billion. Perhaps more impressive, however, were the numbers reported by their ad platform; a growing, but somewhat under the radar revenue generating arm for the platform. Well, as under the radar as a billion-dollar category can be.

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