We now share an additional midweek Fix, going deeper on core topics. Today Merchant and we alternate with newTV. We will get this onto a separate database - but if you want to unsubscribe but not lose Fix / Friday let me know. And I would love your thoughts on how we make this better - hit reply.
So the big news for Merchants is that Facebook now does Shops. Partnering with Shopify, anyone can quickly and easily set up their Shopfront within Facebook and get access to all the Facebook tools - Messenger and WhatsApp to answer customer questions, Ads to drive traffic and Checkout for sales. It pulls together so many initiatives from Facebook and strengthens their position in social commerce - and takes the battle to Amazon.
This is a major play by Facebook and they should see significant benefits; a new surface for advertisers as people browse, better understanding of people's interests and purchases and a new revenue stream as they take a cut in Checkout. It's a significant step towards their ambition of being the first Super App in the west.
Fashion is a fascinating space with some big players and a lot of revenue. One often overlooked is Zalando - and in their recent earnings call they described a really smart initiative. They have been supporting lockdown stores by helping them upload their store inventory onto Zalando - sometimes visiting the store to help list products - and then promoting it on their site. They take no commission and fast track payments - giving them a boost in sales and in new partnerships. I suspect it’s easier for these category specialists to move more upmarket than it is for Amazon to get Fashion.
So part of that Merchant Strategy is who else could you partner with? Partnerships can bring benefits but also bring problems. In the food delivery sector the big brands can and do ‘exploit’ their restaurants - as this bill shows
Their competitor Target reports later today but we can expect similar results - helped by their focus on home delivery and buy online pickup in store ( or BOPIS as the analysts term it). They have also been doing well with private label.
Lots of commentary on how things are changing and what happens next. It's probably too early to call precisely but we can see trends that are likely to stick.
“The most basic thing people will be looking for is health and well-being: Am I going to be safe?” said Mary Portas, a retail consultant and broadcaster. “That said, the fact people want to come to that space means they are going to buy. They have made the effort. They have intention.”
This plays to things like BOPIS and curbside pick up - minimising the time instore. And does it also signal the demise of browsing?
The head of Consumer and Marketplace at Nike makes some similar points and describes how their experience in China has given them a Playbook for reopening stores. The data from their push into online will shape their business;
Web of 2PM with some smart thinking on DTC ideas taking shape. I am convinced there is a real opportunity with premium publishers to add real value to their audience through an enhanced commerce offer. Keen to develop this thinking so shout if this resonates with you.
Action? Are you learning enough from this fast moving world? How do you plan to action this learning? What could you be testing now?
There are some interesting events happening at the moment and we will point out some of the best
Brent Hoberman and his team know how to put on an event and have curated some of their illustrious network for a series of Zoom talks. I joined the one with Martin Sorrell and it was fascinating. Future guests include the founders of PayPal, Klarna, Rent the Runway, Eventbrite, Calm and Yammer. Sign up here
Amongst the Fix community we have more than our fair share of smart strategic planners and a few of them are involved in the second Group Think - great guests and well worth the modest fee - details here.