Spark Network -  Thank you so much for the feedback from our last issue. 

The results were not only informative but, brought the following observations...
  • A conglomerate of links, sent in an optimized way would be nice but, not vital.
  • Most respondents felt they are alreading getting this in their inbox in some format.
  • Not a ton of love for SMS / text messaging the news.
  • As can be assumed based on the above, a paid service that accomplishes this is not greatly desired.
If you have anything you would like to add, please send it over.

Thank you, as always, for your feedback and for being a bi-weekly reader.

Have a great week!

- Carter

Publications from Carter

[OmniTalk Podcast]

Fast Five: Amazon Starts Shipping the Cheap Stuff Next Day

In this week's Fast Five, sponsored by Trigo, Chris, Anne, and Emma the Intern discuss the latest in this week's retail headlines, including Amazon shipping items under $5 next day, UNIQLO's app promotion, thredUP and Madewell, Levi's new store growth plans, and, of course, a signature rant about Walmart's launch of its grocery delivery to the fridge program.

Listen and Subscribe - iTunes | Spotify | Google | SoundCloud

[Minneapolis Events]

Cue4 is Thursday!

The CUE4 'unconference' is this Thursday at Third Haus. Myself, Chris and Anne will all be taking to the stage to take on some of today's biggest trends in retail and consumer experiences. Videos/assets to come following. 

Learn more / secure last-minute tickets.

Retail

[Retail Spotlight]

Store concept b8ta expands into fashion, lifestyle

There are various retail concepts being tried these days to figure out how to best leverage physical locations, as it dawns on retailers that stores can continue to provide an advantage as long as they entice customers.

B8ta leverages good store design and data to showcase goods, many from little-known makers, in its own stores and in other retailers' shop-in-shop spaces, notably at Macy's, which invested in the company last year. About then, the company unveiled "Built by b8ta," a store-as-a-service platform that allows brands that traditionally haven't operated stores to quickly set up new physical operations.


Via RetailDive

[Retail Spotlight]

Five Below Is Transforming Some Of Its Stores Into Esports Hubs

Five Below is about to get even more kid-friendly. Following an investment in esports infrastructure company Nerd Street Gamers, the discount retailer has announced plans to build gaming venues that are attached to its stores, changing the way that shoppers interact with the brand.

Nerd Street will build 3,000-foot venues with top-tier equipment at an undisclosed number of stores with pilot program. Inside, live esports events with competitive internet connections will likely be the main draw for young viewers and gamers, who watch esports like they would any other competition.

With the success of games like Fortnite and Overwatch, esports has exploded in popularity, especially among younger audiences. It's estimated that there are 250 million esports viewers around the world, with 84 million in the U.S. alone.

Via PSFK

Consumer Experience [CX]

[Consumer Experience]

Barbie® Opens the Doors to Her Iconic Malibu Dreamhouse on Airbnb

Global icon Barbie just added Host on Airbnb to her extensive list of careers and accomplishments! Later this month, Barbie will hand over the keys to her Malibu Dreamhouse for the ultimate fan stay. Located in the heart of Malibu and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the fabulous life-size Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse will be available to book on October 23 at 11a.m. PDT by one guest and up to three friends for a two-night stay. The one-time reservation will take place from Sunday, October 27 to Tuesday, October 29.

Via AirBnB

Tech & Social

[Social + Tech]

Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure has the perfect party games for when you’re slightly drunk

Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure, the spiritual successor to the Wii Fit that launches today for the Switch, is a genuinely fun way to work up a sweat. After playing it regularly for two weeks, my colleague Andrew Webster noted in his review that Ring Fit Adventure is an easy way to fit physical activity into your life. But it’s got another perk, one that Nintendo developers probably didn’t intend for (and don’t condone): the mini-games are perfect party games, best played when everyone’s a little tipsy. In my experience, it might even be more fun to play with a crowd than Super Mario Party.

Via The Verge

[Social + Tech]

Walmart relaunches online toy 'lab'

Walmart is reviving its online venue that lets kids take a closer look at popular toys ahead of the 2019 holiday season.

The retailer partnered with interactive entertainment company Eko to launch the site, dubbed Walmart Toys Lab. The two companies formed a joint venture last year to create interactive programming, and originally launched the toy lab last holiday season. 

Kids can use the site to look at, test or play with toys via a virtual controller. About 20 toys are available through the site at the moment, including Frozen 2, Barbie and Star Wars licensed products. Another 20 are set to be added by November, the companies said. 

Via RetailDive

[Social + Tech]

Wendy's sponsors mobile games in Giphy's new digital arcade

Wendy's debuted three branded video games in a new digital arcade launched by Giphy, the platform of shareable GIF clips, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. Giphy Arcade lets users customize micro-games with their own graphics and music and share them with a hyperlink to its website.

Wendy's branded games appear in a section called "Wendy's World." The games are reminiscent of arcade favorites like "Breakout," "Space Invaders" and various side-scrolling titles. Like the other games in Giphy Arcade, the Wendy's interactive content can be "remixed" with a selection of graphics and music.

All Giphy Arcade games can be played on any recently made device with a web connection and browser, including smartphones and desktop computers. Like Giphy's GIF clips, the video games are designed to be easily shareable in messages and social media posts, per the company.


Via MobileMarketer

The Next Step
Customized research, presentations, training and formal reports are available upon request. Please reply to this email or send me a note to get in touch.


Thank you for giving the first few rounds of "Spark" a shot.
Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.
What is Spark all about?
Consumer Connections - Beyond stereotypical social and e-commerce platforms, we look to focus in on new and emerging ways consumers are connecting with each other and brands. These stories are then summarized and paired with actionable next steps for marketers, brand leaders and really, all who are curious.​

We write these pretty fast so please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. We're trying.
Topics this week were quoted or directly sources from a variety of sources.

Copyright © 2019 CJC, LLC.

The information listed within has been sourced from the noted publisher.


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