Hi, everyone! Check out this week's range of stories to get your pre-holiday Monday off to a quick start.

From new hardware by Spotify to a Quip DTC competitor, it is clear that new forms and applications of technology are greatly impacting the way we shop and interact with brands in the world today.

As always, I would love to chat more about what is included below. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or feedback.

Thanks again for being a reader. Have a great week!

- Carter

@Shop Account Launches as Instagram's Commerce Reach Expands

  • Instagram launched a new account, @shop that brings together posts from online merchants that sell products through the platform.
  • The curated account aims to showcase top shopping categories including fashion, beauty and home decor.
  • Feel jeans, Glossier Play Colorslide and Mented Cosmetics are among the "emerging brands" that Instagram seeks to highlight with the new account.
  • Every product shown in the @shop account will have shopping tags that let Instagram users make a direct purchase without leaving the app.
  • The @shop account had around 49,000 followers as of Sunday.

New Features Highlight New Brands
As Instagram continues to ramp-up commerce on its platform, the @Shop account is not only a great place to showcase new features but to also catapult visually stunning brands, no matter what their size, to IG stardom. 

As Checkout with Instagram and other like-features continue to rollout, look for the platform to become a major competitor to some of the existing online giants as the Facebook empire looks to cash in on the 3+ hours a day we already spend aimlessly scrolling.

📱Visit the account. | See the press release.
Text and excerpts sourced directly from the MarketingDive

Spotify Begins Testing In-Car Hardware

  • Car Thing, is a first of its kind, voice-controlled smart assistant for cars specifically designed with music in mind.
  • The system plugs into a vehicle’s 12-volt outlet (aka a cigarette lighter) for power and connects to both a person’s car and phone over Bluetooth.
  • The device can be activated by saying, “Hey, Spotify,” followed by a request for whatever the person wants to hear.
  • As a part of the test rollout, some Premium users will receive the device for free as the company begins to learn how its platform is used in-vehicle.
Where voice is badly needed...
Though marketed by the company as a 'data-play', one cannot ignore the need and lack of innovation coming to the vehicle space, a place that many of us spend way too much time.

From podcasts to your favorite tracks, any UI placed on the screen itself is coming under scrutiny. In my opinion, this is one of the key locations in your daily life where voice control must take center-stage.

🎺 Learn More
Text and excerpts sourced directly from the VERGE.

Heads Up, Quip! A new DTC dental brand is on its way.

  • The newest DTC brand to the oral care game is Shyn, a direct-to-consumer electric toothbrush and subscription replenishment service.
  • With multiple brush head options and an assortment of accessories including flossers and toothpaste, the brand’s subscriptions brag to be customizable to each individual’s needs.
  • Shyn has adopted an interesting customer acquisition model in making its brush heads compatible with existing Sonicare toothbrushes.
  • New customers can simply sign up for recurring brush head delivery, which beats many existing electric toothbrush heads in both price and delivery convenience.
  • Brick and mortar isn’t out of the question: “In the future,” CEO Bob Holden says, “I imagine leveraging an offline retail presence to further expand the reach of our brand.”
Another DTC Brand?!
Shyn comes in as the premium alternative in the already busy space of DTC healthcare brands. The question: can their differentiation through premium products or the ability to interchange/enhance already existing electric setups set them apart? For an average user, maybe not but as younger consumers continue to have a greater focus on their health, you may begin to see upper tiers of Gen Z and maybe even a few millennials with disposable income make the $$ plunge to ensure the perfect hygiene.

🦷 Start Your Order | Learn more.
Text and excerpts sourced directly from the PSFK.

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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