Photo: Reuters / Joshua Roberts

This wild year polarized businesses in the retail sector

On January 1 of this year I published my first article, arguing why Facebook was the company of the 2010s and explaining how they’ve created much of the framework for today’s digitally-native brands. I originally planned on using this outlet to report on the newest consumer brands, the venture capitalists backing them, and the industry incumbents looking to beat or buy them. …

Photo: Travis Scott / YouTube

The rapper caps off a prolific year with a new product launch

The last 12 months have been big for Jacques Berman Webster II, the musical artist professionally known as Travis Scott. In April, he capitalized on stay-at-home orders with a virtual Fortnite which reportedly grossed $20 million. In September, he became the first celebrity since Michael Jordan to get their own McDonald’s promotion. And last week, he launched CACTI hard seltzer with Anheuser-Busch.

Fame to fortune

The 2020s are quickly turning into the decade of following-first brands. New companies are coming from actors, actresses, influences, and singers rather than from industrious average Joes. …

Photo: Rebecca Cook / Reuters

Vaccines get added to the already-bursting fulfillment network

Perhaps the busiest time of the year for e-commerce shopping (and shipping) just got another shipment added to the backlog. Vaccines being shipped out starting this week add more complexity to an already stressed distribution network.

Shopping from home

This is a historic week. The first COVID-19 vaccinations were administered on Monday and have since been shipped out across the country. The potential product of the decade is causing headaches to the national supply chain. A September survey conducted by Pharma.Aero …

Photo: The Verge

These products may be the perfect stocking stuffers

If you’re starting to think about the obligatory gifts you have to give to your nephew or mother-in-law, 2020 may be the perfect year to switch it up (because it’s 2020 and why not?). Cleaner laundry detergent, a portable gaming system, and PEZ-like chewing gum are some of the most interesting concepts recently launched.

Photo: Bloomberg

Online sites had a record Black Friday

This past weekend, the leading e-commerce platform Shopify (SHOP) announced that its merchants achieved $2.4 billion in sales on Black Friday. This was a 75 percent increase from last year.

Our fast-changing world

The real story of this year’s Black Friday and current holiday shopping season isn’t what Shopify’s stores did or will do (although it’ll be an incredible milestone), but rather the overall shift from one special day of shopping in big-box retailers to a slew of online sales stretched out over several weeks.

Of the many lasting impacts that COVID-19 will have on the modern world, the accelerated change in shopping…

Photo: CherryBerryMinis Kerry Alexander / Pinterest

Yet another tradition looks different this year

Thanksgiving isn’t looking the same this year, as I’m sure you’ve found out: the biggest drinking day of the year — colloquially known as Blackout Wednesday — is ending at 10 P.M. for much of the country, as states like Ohio, New York, and California implement curfews; the airports are emptier with fewer people traveling to see family (less than 50 percent traveler throughput this week compared to the same time last year); and the beloved turkey is getting downsized.

Suppliers struggle to shift

The rising number of COVID-19 cases throughout the past few weeks have made life difficult for people in the turkey…

Photo: Airbnb

This week’s announcement is a good sign for other companies

On Monday, Airbnb — the home-sharing, hotel-destroying startup founded in 2008 — submitted paperwork to the Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering. This news alone doesn’t indicate a rebound, but a profitable third quarter sends an encouraging signal to businesses who cater to globetrotters.

The sun will rise again

Despite being a brutal year for the travel and tourism industry, this week brought some good news: Airbnb is looking to go public in mid-December and turned a profit of $219 million for the three months ended September 30. …

Photo: Target

The retailer is bringing a big-name brand into its stores

In an unexpected improvement, Target announced yesterday that it would be welcoming new Ulta Beauty installments in locations starting in 2021. This partnership furthers Target’s success both before and during the coronavirus pandemic.

Red hot

Target (TGT) is on fire. Just since the end of March its stock is up over 50 percent. And from the time Brian Cornell was named CEO in July 2014, its share price has almost tripled. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though: 2016 gave slowed foot traffic and lower sales in many stores and the company had to pay $18.5 …

Photo: Courtney Cook / Unsplash

Etsy, Faire, and Amazon Handmade bring local crafts to the world

2020 has been a difficult year for local shops, with forced shutdowns and a drastically-declined tourism and travel industry. But the past few weeks have brought some encouraging news for the industry.

Technology and policy

A series of both technological advancements and changing foreign relations has impacted both how and from where American consumers purchase everyday goods. In the past 50 years, the phrase “made in China” has become an evidence of the shift from domestic to foreign production.

In 1979, the United States and China signed a bilateral-trade pact that allowed a rapid increase in the amount of goods transferred between the…

Photo: Jeenah Moon / The New York Times

Retailers direct customers to e-commerce

America’s biggest shopping day is going to look a little different this year. As many states still grapple with rising cases of COVID-19, businesses are trying to reimagine the shopping experience. The challenge of balancing reopening and safety is facing its biggest challenge yet.

Spreading out the deals

Rather than have a weekend-long event with long lines and amazing deals, stores are taking a much more methodical approach.

Best Buy

The tech retailer kicked off its holiday season this week by offering sales online and in person now through November 1. …

Joe Niehaus

Perspectives on the consumer & retail industries, and the brands trying to upend them

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