Amazon Acquires Ring.com and Is It Over For Toys R Us?
AMAZON AT YOUR DOORSTEP
Think back to Amazon's introduction of Key, a delivery option that allows packages to be dropped off inside a customer's home. Now, an acquisition of video doorbell manufacturer Ring.com could be integrated with the in-home service.
The purchase gives insight into the e-commerce giant's efforts to dominate devices that power smart homes. Already, various Ring doorbells and cameras connect with Alexa, giving users the ability to monitor their doorsteps. As package theft rises, the initiative solidifies Amazon's efforts in providing a seamless buying experience.
From establishing its own courier service to outfitting homes with security systems, ordering from Amazon will soon be all-encompassing.
JUST BOOHOO IT
The future of online shopping just got 10x better. Online retailer Boohoo is pushing out visual search for its shoppers, feeding into its audience's desire for inspiration-based purchasing.
Originally the visual assistance was meant to aid in finding alternative items when select styles were sold out. Since Boohoo's vast inventory can take a large amount of time to sort through, visual search expedites the overall shopping experience. The feature enables customers to upload any image and find similar styles on the site.
The retailer’s adoption of visual technology plays into Millenial and Gen Z mobile habits, which oftentimes exclude texted-based searching. A report by Accenture in 2017 showed 69 percent of young consumers are interested in making purchases based on visually oriented searches alone.
A GLOOMY TOY STORY
Toys R Us needed a major win in its last quarter. Despite a small surge in sales during the holidays which accounted for nearly half its revenue, the company's bankruptcy calls for a desperate turnaround.
America's national toy seller previously announced the shuttering of 180 stores and could be closing another 200, almost 45 percent of the company's domestic footprint. And after "operational missteps" leading to a dismal holiday season, Toys R Us is on the verge of breaching a covenant on one of its bankruptcy loans. Likewise, 26 out of105 locations will be closing in the U.K., as the stores go into administration. Whether the remaining will be salvaged is a mystery, but the potential shutterings could cost up to 3,000 jobs.
Could this be the end?
MACY'S GROWTH INITIATIVE
Just when we thought the world's largest department store was falling from grace, Macy's had its first quarterly sales gain in three years.
Much attributed to its "Growth50" plan, the department store giant began to implement new initiatives including employee bonuses for stores that met quotas and introducing an area for Backstage, its off-price concept. Chief Executive Jeff Gennette wants its locations to have the discretion to increase the size of categories doing well and to shift away from those that aren't. Digital sales may have increased, but the overall health is Gennette's concern.“That has to be coupled with a healthy brick-and-mortar business,” he said.
Looks like Macy's is starting to adopt a start-up way of thinking - in other words, it's embracing uncertainty, empowering its people, and celebrating momentum.
THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT
Most affordable boutiques from Instagram can be perceived as questionable, since there's little credibility behind the emerging brands.
Still, that hasn't stopped California-based online retailer Fashion Nova from taking over the internet, one Instagram account at a time. Richard Saghian, the company's founder, likes to refer to the boutique as a 'viral brand.'
It's now one of the most searched fashion brands, along with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Supreme and Chanel. The trendy and affordable clothing is a favorite among curvier women, because Saghian just gets it - not all women fit within standard sizing. This selling point alone has attracted buzzing celebrities like Cardi B, a major coup for Fashion Nova.
With genuine celebrity endorsements and a growing network of more than 3,000 influencers, the viral brand grew 600 percent in 2017. That's something to brag about, especially for an Instagram underdog.