Spark Readers - I hope everyone had a great few days off and is ready to take on the week ahead.

There has been a lot going on in the world but, if you have not kept up with the Bezos + National Enquirer drama... I highly encourage you to do so as the implications go far beyond a few, lewd photos.

Scott Galloway gives a great download of the entire issue, from various angles, in a string of Tweets late last week. See them here.

That's it for now. On to the update!


Tech, Like Shopify, Enables DTC Brands to Make Moves into Physical Stores

Recently, brands like Dollar Shave ClubCasper and Quip have rapidly achieved ‘household name’ status, often disrupting traditional brands from powerhouses companies like P&G. Their strategy of success, known as DTC (direct to consumer), focuses on new retail technologies allowing unthrottled growth and the elimination of the middle-man retailers that often placed barriers and speed bumps in the way of growth and direct consumer communication.

But the day’s of these brands living exclusively online are soon to be over as these new DTC companies are set to open 850+ doors in the next five years, paralleling emerging consumer demand while introducing more immersive experiences that are unattainable via current day online platforms.

Amazon solved buying but killed shopping in the process.
Emily Weiss, CEO Glossier

Shopify, a technology company that already powers the majority of DTC companies’ ecommerce systems, is rapidly expanding its offerings to include a long list of new features to assist in the trend of physical-retail. From in-store point of sale (POS) to online-pickup, each new feature is being developed to make this transition a bit easier both for the brands and the customers who have high expectations of a seamless purchase.

Shopify is so invested that they recently opened a retail services store in Los Angeles where DTC brands of all sizes can not only purchase new hardware but alos test the gear through a dedicated retail space built for pop-up experiences.

The Shopify expansion story is just the beginning as new tech is being introduced every day not only to make this retail experience possible but to further merge the online and offline worlds in a mission to make shopping in a physical store as seamless and straightforward as the online world we, as consumers have come to expect.

DTC charting the way for the retail industry (Digiday).
DTC infiltrating big box stores like Target.
My personal favorite DTC story.

Original research sourced from Digiday.

Leasing Furniture from Ikea

  • Late last week, The Guardian reported that Ikea has plans to test a leasing model in Switzerland, starting with business customers who are keen to pay less for rentable parts.
  • This is not the first hint of something new from the furniture giant as Ikea began experimenting with a buy-back program in Japan, which allows customers to return used, recyclable Ikea furniture for a portion of the original price.
  • Details are scant on how exactly this will work, but in theory, it probably functions a little like emerging millennial-friendly startups that allow customers to rent and return furniture.

Though the first hints of this program may be in line with Ikea's great sustainability efforts, it is hard to ignore the parallels the company is acknowledging as new consumers today look for greater flexibility with nearly everything they buy.

As new, rental options come into focus, Ikea will be forced to change and adapt as this rental/leasing program is just one of many other steps that company is taking to future proof its success. 

🛋 Learn More 
Text and research sourced from The Guardian & Curbed..

Hy-Vee's New App Promotes Discounts, Reduces Waste via App

  • Hy-Vee, now with over 245 locations throughout the Midwest, is trying out a mobile app that promotes soon-to-expire products.
  • The new "Flashfood" platform allows in-store shoppers to browse and purchase items (meat, dairy, bread and an assortment of snacks) that are close to their “best before” date at a reduced cost.
  • Once the purchase is made, customers can pick their groceries up at any time in the Flashfood zone in store.
  • Currently, the app is available at two of Hy-Vee’s stores in Madison and Fitchburg, Wisconsin. 

Hy-Vee is hoping to not only bring steep discounts to their shoppers but also reduce the incredible amount of food waste that supermarkets, today, are forced to deal with. The question; how will the use of a third party app have an effect on the overall digital brand of Hy-Vee who already boasts its own digital app ecosystem? Will this bring frustration and confusion to the customer?  

Overall, bringing speed and ultimately, improved experience to their customer is clearly top of mind and the brand did not allow a new feature, especially in its infancy, to weigh down or delay the rollout. This is a great testament to what modern brands of today must continue to focus on... Speed to market of overall improvements on the holistic customer experience, over lengthy development processes that bog down the system in the highly-competitive and fast-moving market.

 “At Hy-Vee, we know it’s important that we do our part as grocers to reduce food waste,” says Jessica Ringena, Hy-Vee VP of innovation and business development. “This partnership with Flashfood is just one more way we can further increase our sustainability efforts.”

🍇 Learn More | Download the Flashfood app. | See a video.
Text and research sourced directly from PSFK.

The Leftovers - Random & Interesting 

Foot Locker invests $100 million in online sneaker seller GOAT.
Spotify is upping its stake in content with the acquisition of podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor.
The original piece, posted to Medium, by Jeff Bezos.
How Nextdoor is quietly build a big ads business.
After rocketing to popularity, CBD products are facing new regulations in New York City

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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