Issue No. 174: Reshaping eCommerce

10 Startups That Are Reshaping eCommerce in 2017


Company: Affirm
Funding: $520M
Why? A widely trusted financing partner, I use them for our own eComm ops.

Company: OpenDoor
Funding: $320M
Why? Real estate as eCommerce removes bias and promotes intelligent transaction.

Company: Yeti
Funding: $67M
Why? Yeti is reportedly targeting an IPO at around $5B in 2017.

Company: Hollar
Funding: $47.5M
Why? America needs a reimagining of the dollar store.

Company: Gametime
Funding: $33M
Why? They did $50M+ in gross sales in 2016.

Company: Dia & Co
Funding: $25M
Why? Plus size clothing for the women who deserve to look their very best.

Company: TheSkimm
Funding: $16.4M
Why? They are the future of women’s eCommerce and most don’t know that yet.

Company: Away
Funding: $11M
Why? Us travelers all need smart suitcases.

Company: Mizzen+Main
Funding: $7M
Why? The company is set up to become a household name by next Christmas.

Company: Rogue
Funding: $0
Why? Quite possible the biggest eCommerce company that the industry “knowers” do not know.

Want to reach me? Email me at or ping me at @web.

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Issue No. 172B: The Boost

Graphic of The Week: Adidas v Nike v Under Armour


The first link of the day points to a recent article by Daniel Roberts, of Yahoo Finance, who does a wonderful job of explaining the influence and execution behind Adidas’ resurgence. Matt Powell of the NPD Group, who is fervently against the Kanye theory is cited several times in the article but he provides a meaning full perspective – as always.

As it relates to the macroeconomy of shoe wear and athleisure, here is another insightful bit from Matt:

E-commerce, which is already a force in the industry, will continue to rise. According to NPD research, one-in-four athletic shoes were sold online last year. Over time I expect that contribution to rise to two-in-five. The physical limitations of brick-and-mortar stores will continue to drive this growth.

Retailers will quickly figure out that ‘buy online, pick up in store’ will be another way to leverage e-commerce to help save physical stores. Retailers will use this additional store visit to create add-on sales. (Read more at this link)

Additionally, since today’s email was so late, it allowed me to include a link to commentary on Nike’s earnings call which led to a 3+ % stock jump today. Despite Yahoo’s praise of Adidas, the German brand is nowhere near out of the woods. Just today, I visited a specialty running store and saw, for the first time, the Nike International collection. This is Nike’s attempt at high fashion athleisure – a space that Adidas was primed to rule within. There are several forces at play here: changes in eCommerce behavior, shifts in athleisure appeal, the shift from the athletic shoe to the lifestyle shoes, and frankly, the commoditization / normalization of synthetic fibers in clothing. Every athletic brand wants to be a fashion label and every fashion label wants an athleisure arm. 

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Issue No. 144: Authenticity Prevents the Rebrand

Archive: Why A&F Will Continue To Rebrand and Rebrand and Rebrand?


From Today’s Columbus Dispatch:

The rebranding will be launched during the holiday season with the company’s largest advertising campaign. At the same time, Abercrombie will introduce a redesigned website, new digital advertising across video streaming websites, music platforms and social media and marketing in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.

After the relaunch, Abercrombie will begin revamping its stores next year.

“This new brand position is the product of an 18-month effort to create a brand identity that communicates our focus on our customers’ needs and aspirations,” said Fran Horowitz, president and chief merchandising officer, in a statement.

An excerpt from an earlier blog of mine (January 2015):

The brand’s most capable play is their very first one. The majority of America doesn’t know that the brand is over 115 years old. And that’s important because the next evolution of the brand will be a reversion to its glorious past.  On a 37 foot wall of a New York City gathering place, there is an elephant head. Legend would have it that Teddy shot it and donated it to his alma mater and yes, his favorite social spot – New York’s Harvard Club. Roosevelt killed the elephant wearing Abercrombie & Fitch. Earhart flew her planes in Abercrombie & Fitch. Being a retail / branding geek, I ponder what I would do if I were in-charge of rebranding Abercrombie. It’s simple, I wouldn’t aim to evolve; I’d aim to remember.

Abercrombie’s history is so rich, it’s nauseating. So many pivotal historical moments happened with that logo on a pioneer’s apparel. The Abercrombie & Fitch brand is too entrenched in history to ignore it. The rebranding efforts will shutter a lot of today’s status quo but if they can get it right, it will be here for another 100 years. And their marketing executives do what they’re supposed to, the old outdoors brand will be heralded for what it was when Teddy was king.

This new strategy is unlikely to achieve the objectives that the company needs. [ANF]

See more of the issue here.