Topics Covered:

    1. Target yet to see negative impact from Omicron on store shopping
    2. Lowe’s forecasts slowing home category in 2022 citing tough comps
    3. From Stratably: How brands are leveraging TikTok to drive sales
    4. Chart of the week: Multi-channel shopping across categories
    5. Amazon Highlights: Metrics Cheat Sheet, Video ROI, ads contested at FTC
    6. Brand example: e.l.f. experimenting with longform content on TikTok
    7. Walmart wins new customer for GoLocal
    8. Google Commerce underperformance explained
    9. Arm the Rebels: Instacart’s CEO joins Shopify’s Board
    10. Nike out front in metaverse investment
    11. Case study in technology disruption: PIM




Omicron: Limited Impact on Store Shopping

Target’s CEO Brian Cornell hasn’t seen any change in shoppers visiting stores as the Omicron variant spreads: “I’m seeing guest shopping at our stores, shopping all of our categories. So I haven’t seen any changes in the shopping patterns that we were expecting.” (link)



Home Category Growth Slowing

At its 2022 investor outlook meeting, Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison provided guidance of comp store sales flat to down 3% in 2022. The slow down is a function of difficult comps, as homeowners have tackled so many projects over the last two years. It remains to be seen how continued work-from-home may permanently change historical spending patterns to the upside. (link)


Chart of the Week

The multi-mode nature of today’s modern shopper:





Amazon Highlights

Amazon Metric Cheat Sheet: Managing Amazon involves understanding a variety of metrics. The linked PDF has a collection of how these metrics are calculated, including things like Pre-fulfillment cancellation rates, order defect rates, and so on. (link)

Video ROI on Amazon: Brands get an average sales lift of 36% when adding videos to PDPs on Amazon (thanks @JannieCahill )

Amazon Ads Unlawful: A labor union has filed a complaint with the FTC that Amazon is misleading consumers by not clearly indicating what are advertisements on the site. The complaint analyzed 130,000 search results, estimating that over a quarter were advertisements. Specifically, the complaint indicates Amazon delays labeling listings as an ad until several seconds after a page loads and confusingly uses shading in both paid and organic listings, making the two not easily distinguishable. (link)




Brand Example on Leveraging TikTok: e.l.f.

e.l.f. is experimenting with longer-form content on TikTok, via a series of three, three minute long TikTok’s. The attempt is a notable experiment away from branded hashtag events and paid advertisements, throwing multiple memes from 2021 into the mix along with giving fans cameos in the series. The three-part series demonstrates just how different the content is on the platform compared to a traditional TV spot or what you might find from influencers on YouTube. (link)


For the Nerds

Walmart Wins New Customer for GoLocal: Chico’s announced it is the latest big retail partner for Walmart’s omni-enablement solution called GoLocal.  The service is launching in Chicago and Fort Myers, FL, with expansion plans in 2022. Chico’s follows Home Depot into leveraging Walmart’s capabilities on last mile delivery. (link)


Underperformance from Google Commerce: Google Shopping has never lived up to its potential, turning over its executive team, consistently starting and stopping new strategies, and ceding ground to Amazon (and now social). There’s no clear path forward either. (thanks Faisal Masud)


Fidji Simo Joins Shopify’s Board: One of the ways to craft a good story is to pit good against evil. Shopify has talked about its mission to “arm the rebels” against Amazon, and lately, Instacart’s CEO Fidji Simo is positioning itself as grocers’ counterweight to the colossal Amazon. Now, Ms. Simo is joining Shopify’s board. This certainly means greater influence will flow between the two companies and perhaps a tighter relationship between Shopify and Ms. Simo’s former employer Meta. (link)


Investing Ahead of the Metaverse: Nike acquired RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”), a maker of digital apparel and footwear. Nike indicated the acquisition is at the center of “sport, creativity, gaming and culture”, positioning it for a future in which consumers will acquire digital goods for the metaverse. The applicability to mass consumer packaged goods is less clear, but it is indicative of how important the most digital-forward companies think the metaverse will become. (link)


PIM Disruption: For those interested in technology markets and disruption, Rob Gonzalez had a great write up about Salsify’s experience.  It was classic disruption theory ten years ago, with PIM start-ups objectively inferior on every metric that mattered to incumbents, in addition to serving a perceived small market.  Looking forward, Salsify sees AI rule-based bots automating workflows and enabling connections across companies as important areas it is investing behind. (link)