Stunt Pop Ups: the Most Extreme Trend in Retail

Stunt Pop Ups: the Most Extreme Trend in Retail

 

37.5 Technology’s one-day pop up, 6000ft above the ground on the side of a cliff, was the most innovative retail stunt yet.

  • Located on Colorado’s Bastille Wall, it helped raise money for the Access Fund and American Alpine Club. $100 was donated for every climber that visited the shop or signed up for a membership to either organization.
  • One shop assistant spent the day handing out extra layers of 37.5 Technology gear to climbers as they made their way to the top.
  •  37.5 Technology is a high-performance clothing brand for climbers.

This Saturday (9/23) I’ll be checking out another new pop up – this one in Soho, ground level, no climbing required.

  • The Next Big Thing Concept Pop Up is being launched by Marie Claire Magazine in partnership with Mastercard.
  • The Pop-Up will feature smart mirrors and digital payment methods. You’ll be able to buy items via an app that works by tapping an item on display in an exterior window or on the mirror in the dressing room.
  • The store will be organized to reflect sections of the magazine e.g. careers, play and wellness.
  • It’s being tied to the October issue of Marie Claire.
  • UPDATE: Checked it out on opening day – meh! Don’t waste your time, same old, same old

It’ll be up thru Oct. 12 at 120 Wooster in Soho. For photos, follow me on Instagram (Irma Zandl)

See below for several advance images I found online.

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Influencer Marketing: Is It Fake? How Do You Know If It’s Worthwhile?

Influencer Marketing: Is It Fake? How Do You Know If It’s Worthwhile?

 

Lots of “fakery” in the news these days and most recently, much being made of fake influencers who have, you guessed it, fake followers.

Per TNW:

CNN estimates that approximately 83 million Facebook accounts are fake accounts. Twitter is estimated to have more than 20 million fake accounts. Business Insider states 8% of Instagram accounts are fake.

From what I can tell, companies are happy to throw ridiculous amounts of money at influencers as long as they have gazillions of followers (real or not).

  • The influencer phenomenon reminds me of the insanity of Super Bowl advertising i.e. millions spent to get “likes.” As with influencers, the measurement of Super Bowl success is popularity/likes, not sales. Budweiser, Pepsi, Coke always sweep the top spots for most-liked commercials even as sales for all 3 brands continue to decline.

That said, based on my personal experience, I know influencers can be highly effective. But as with everything, it has to be highly targeted to succeed. And it’s most effective when it’s authentic i.e. when you know the influencer is buying/wearing/using the product of their own volition.

What nobody has figured out is how to turn “influencer marketing” into a scalable, trusted, measurable business.

The influencers I look to for recommendations are all highly specific to my interests with proven expertise in those areas.

  • The biggest challenge is finding influencers who reflect your tastes and preferences.
  • It takes time and effort, it can be hit and miss, but once you establish a network of trusted sources, you’ll find your life is both simplified and enriched.
  • Influencer marketing is much more nuanced than traditional advertising.

Let me explain how it works for me.

I have 6 major areas of interest and have developed 6 different groups of influencers – all of whom I consider stellar. Read on below for more.

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What LinkedIn Reveals About How Work Is Changing

What LinkedIn Reveals About How Work Is Changing

 

I’ve been intermittently annoyed, nonplussed and confused by LinkedIn and how it’s being used these days. And I know I am as guilty as the next person for overusing, or misusing it, since all my blog posts end up there.

But then I had an AHA moment:

Our use of LinkedIn has changed and I don’t always like it but the site now much more closely reflects how work has changed as well.

  • The line between business and personal is increasingly blurred.
  • Work is not so rigidly “professional”
  • For millennials, LinkedIn is just another social media platform. They are as likely to use Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat professionally
  • Social media has created business opportunities that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
  • Posts that initially seemed inappropriate for a business site (e.g. too personal, too risque, too facebooky) reflect many of today’s most successful businesses.

Bottom Line:

Some people are looking for inspiration to cope with a changed workplace, others are inspired to “keep it real.” Whichever applies to you, the line between work and personal life is disappearing (even as more people talk about work/life balance).

Read on below for more on how disruption in the workplace is impacting LinkedIn as well as specific examples of how LinkedIn usage has changed over the last decade as it becomes more interchangeable with Facebook.

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Malls Give Way to Massive E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers

Malls Give Way to Massive E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers

 

My namesake hurricane (Irma) may have put a bit of a dent in the industrial development that is taking place around Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor – but undoubtedly not for long.

Here are some highlights from the I-4 Commercial Corridor Conference sponsored by Lakeland-based Coldwell Banker, just one month ago:

  • E-commerce will soon represent $500 billion in sales in the U.S.
  • Every $1 billion of e-commerce sales needs 1.25 million square feet of fulfillment space
  • “Last mile” channels are also increasingly essential and require more distribution facilities
  • E-commerce biggies understand they are only as good as their supply chain; they want to be as close to the customer as possible
  • Amazon’s Whole Foods purchase will create a need for additional distribution nationwide
  • Today, only 2% of all food purchases are made online – this is expected to change dramatically
  • Some estimate online food shopping alone will prompt the need for 1 billion square feet of additional distribution space – especially freezer space

Read on below for info/statistics specifically related to Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor.

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SupChina: Excellent News Platform for the China-Curious

SupChina: Excellent News Platform for the China-Curious

 

I came across SupChina while researching Chinese pop up retail trends recently. It’s a news platform and website founded in June 2016. Based in New York City, all of its founders and contributors have deep roots in China.

  • I immediately subscribed to their free newsletter. From what I’ve seen so far, I would describe them as the BusinessInsider of all things China-related.
  • What I am especially drawn to is their coverage of China from a younger person’s perspective (whether that’s actually true or not, I am not sure but it certainly reads that way).
  • Their focus is tech, business, culture, lifestyle – and it’s all delivered in a really fresh voice.

As they note on their website:

  • We’ll be clear, but not cold. We’ll be pointed, but not partisan. We are serious with a twist – a voice that pulls in readers new to the country while engaging those already in the know.

Whether you do business in China or not, it is such an important country and economic force that understanding the culture and understanding young people’s priorities is important to us as global citizens.

  • For my business friends, SupChina will also be hosting conferences. Their inaugural one last May was on Women in China.
  • The site also features the popular Sinica podcast, a weekly discussion of current affairs, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn (haven’t checked it out but sounds very Charlie Rose-like).

So, once again, highly recommend you subscribe and spend 2 minutes a day getting caught up on the relevant issue of the day in China.

Their voice is unique vs. what I am used to reading about China. My usual sources are dry and academic. SupChina, on the other hand, feels authentic and conversational. And, perhaps most importantly, brings the subject matter to life in such an intriguing and compelling way that it makes you want to learn more about the culture.

Read below for more on SupChina, their mission, who’s involved, what they’re offering.

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Amazon, What are You Doing?: From Best-In-Class to Total Bust

Amazon, What are You Doing?: From Best-In-Class to Total Bust

 

Anybody else noticing how convoluted it has become to place an order on Amazon? Basically, they want us to get so confused by the myriad of options that we say “screw the price, let’s just get this thing ordered!

On my most recent foray on Amazon (Sept  1) my goal was to spend 5 minutes ordering:

  • Keurig Coffee Pods
  • Clear Kitchen Recycle Bags
  • Alka Seltzer Cough and Cold – Night Time

What I noticed this time around was they’ve actually made the site reflect all the worst aspects of brick and mortar. Why would they do that?

And note, I order from Amazon several times a month so the problems I encountered yesterday were definitely new for me.

HERE’S WHAT’S WRONG: Way Too Many Options – and presented in a manner to obfuscate

  • A gigantic list of vendors that I am supposed to choose from – all with different prices.
  • It could take me all day to weed through which one has the best price per number of coffee pods
  • I’m also supposed to know if I want to order from Prime or Prime Pantry (I can choose either)
  • However, some things are apparently only available through pantry e.g. the recycle bags.
  • Although my total order was good for free Prime shipping, the garbage bags were in pantry and NOT available in regular prime. I needed a certain amount to get free shipping in pantry – presumably I could cancel the coffee order and re-order through pantry but why put me thru this hassle (especially when I thought all shipping was free with prime)

Another new quirk: putting things on a list vs. ordering

  • Items I thought I had ordered were not in my checkout – because they were somewhere else on the site waiting for me to revisit them on a list.
  • I have been shopping on Amazon for years and I have never had such a messed up experience.

Is anyone else noticing a change to how hassle-free (or NOT) Amazon has become – or am I less tech-savvy than I give myself credit for?

And while we’re at it: I also placed a huge order ($160) on walmart.com and they’ve gotten incredibly sneaky about prices e.g. on September 1st when I placed my order, it kept suggesting items I’ve purchased before (and how many times) but without proper pricing. Other brands were shown but I was asked to “click here for price.” Again, takes forever to figure out what the best deal is.

Interestingly, as I’m writing this, all items are back with prices listed. I’m wondering if they reset prices on the first of the month, hence the lack of pricing on September 1?

Amazon and Walmart are clearly playing a game with each other at our expense. And I don’t like being forced to waste my time figuring out which items and assortment of options are the best deal.

They each get minimally $100 a month from me so I want them to stop the shenanigans.

See below for pics of my coffee ordering experience. These are the selection options I had to consider:

  • Flavor options -even though I clicked specifically on Dark Magic
  • Count options
  • Subscription pricing vs. one-time purchase
  • Add to Dash button or add to a list
  • Other sellers and their pricing
  • Things that are frequently bought together and their combined pricing
  • Sponsored products and their pricing

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Oliver Isaacs: Top UK Influencer, Tech Investor, This Guy is the Real Deal

Oliver Isaacs: Top UK Influencer, Tech Investor, This Guy is the Real Deal

 

I want to meet Oliver Isaacs. He’s a young British serial tech entrepreneur, investor and top U.K. influencer who founded among other things, Amirite.com (with over 1 billion unique visitors). Amirite is the premier opinion-based social network. Seems only fitting that the Opinionator should get to meet the opinion network founder!

  • But that aside, Oliver is impressive. The way he thinks about – and approaches – social is outstanding. In reading how he strategizes about growth, it’s clear this is serious business. And it’s also clear to me why I am stuck at 600 Instagram followers while he has 277,000.
  • Tony Robbins, Mark Cuban, and Tim Ferriss have reached out to him for business advice and motivational thoughts for their Instagram and Snapchat Stories.

I recently discovered him through an Inc. interview.  Link here, def worth a read for tips on how to grow your followers on social. I’m especially intrigued since many of his recommendations run counter to what I’ve been advised previously.

IBM has also recently featured him with excellent advice on how to do a startup.

  • As opposed to many influencers/wunderkinds, Oliver seems very grounded.
  • He talks about how to avoid almost every problem I encountered when I started my company (some of which took me years to figure out).
  • And one thing I especially admire about him his how frugal he is. He doesn’t appear to be throwing his investors’ money around willy-nilly.
  • Only downside: he has to work on his video persona, he’s very unnatural and stilted on video. He could take some lessons from any number of social media video public figures e.g. Sam Sheffer, Mark Suster, Tai Lopez, YesJulz, Brian Park and many more.

His tips and insights on what content works best (and why) on different social media platforms is worth checking out. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Surprising content: more people are likely to share something unexpected.
  • Inspirational/feel-good videos: anything that engages positive emotions is likely to reach the masses.
  • Content relating to current affairs has the best chance of being picked up by news outlets, which will attract cross-network traffic across multiple platforms.
  • The Most Popular Universal Niches: travel, fitness, pets, luxury, motivation, food
  • The niches that do best on instagram: travel, fitness, comedy, motivation, luxury, quotes, fashion.
  • Best on Facebook: comedy videos
  • Music-type videos do well on YouTube

Read on below for Oliver’s 5 top strategies and tactics to grow a social media following. Note especially, his comments about hashtags, geo-tagging and attracting high-engaging followers.

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Walmart Surging as it Brings E-Commerce to the Masses

Walmart Surging as it Brings E-Commerce to the Masses

 

First time I’ve seen this: brick and mortar retailers who have prioritized e-commerce are outpacing pure play online retailers like Amazon in certain categories e.g. vitamins and baby care.

Walmart online sales, for example, rose 63% in the first fiscal quarter. They are killing it since they acquired Jet.com and brought in Marc Lore to run e-commerce.

One other thing I’ve noticed as a longtime walmart.com shopper: they are now routinely more expensive than Amazon!!

Here’s more from a recent study by TABS Analytics:

  • Breakout year for Walmart’s online sales of VMS (vitamins/minerals/supplements) which have helped propel the online sales for the VMS category to a ten-year high of 17% of all sales
  • Last three studies by TABS in baby care, personal care and vitamins show clearly that brick and mortar retailers, particularly Walmart, are bringing ecommerce to the masses
  • Previous TABS studies have shown a limited market for consumer packaged goods online, primarily focused on upscale consumers.
  • Brick and mortar retailers are now gaining share in ecommerce by expanding the demographic base and offering a broader assortment of mainstream brands to online shoppers

Read on below for more key findings on the VMS category specifically as well as baby and personal care products online.

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