Here’s what you should know today.

1. Nike confirms it’s opening up an Amazon shop

CEO Mark Parker has confirmed the companies are currently testing out a partnership.

 “We’re in the early stages but we really look forward to evaluating the results of the pilot,” Parker said.

Nike’s products can already be found on Amazon via unlicensed and licensed third-party vendors.

But with a direct partnership, Nike will be able to “elevate the way the brand is presented” by gaining more control over how its products are marketed on the site, Parker said.

Parker added that Nike plans to make “big shifts in the year ahead to our business,” indicating Nike’s partnership with Amazon is part of an effort to revamp its sales tactics as brick-and-mortar retail continues to suffer.

The partnership could mean bad news for sporting good retail stores, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports. An Amazon strategy could also mean that Nike has to accommodate the online retailer’s price cuts.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Delivery Hero’s valuation surpasses $5B following successful IPO

Delivery Hero’s valuation topped $5 billion after the food delivery firm went public in a listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Delivery Hero earned around €465 million ($530 million) from the IPO, which it plans to use to repay loans and invest in growth. That’s in contrast to US food delivery outfit Blue Apron, which endured a rocky start to life on the NSYE less than 24 hours earlier.

 Despite a successful public debut, Delivery Hero is not profitable.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: The retail apocalypse might just mean the reinvention of the shopping experience

While the giants are falling, smaller players are figuring out how to reinvent the store experience for the 21st century, focusing on authenticity and community while, in many ways, thinking about sales second.

“I’m not seeing the retail apocalypse in the world of creative, small entrepreneurs,” says Sarah Filley, a co-founder of Popuphood, a residency program for retail helping small businesses in the Bay Area. “There’s such an incredible spirit here. People are looking at suburban malls and calling it the end of an era. If you look at the startup scene in retail, there’s so much energy.”

What unites these three concepts is their focus on the human factor. While many big retailers are cutting staff, smaller-scale startups believe that in the race to “out-Amazon” the online giant, focusing only on digital forfeits their competitive advantage.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Amazon introduces Prime Day to Chinese shoppers

Originally begun three years ago to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, Prime Day, which is on July 11 this year, is an annual one-day shopping event that offers Prime members special deals on purchases.

While Chinese customers could have accessed Prime Day in the past, this will be the first time that they can participate in the festival by directly ordering from Amazon’s Chinese language site.

Amazon is offering consumers a discounted annual rate of $28 if they sign up by November 2017. Chinese subscribers will get free shipping from Amazon stores both domestically and anywhere else in the world.

For Amazon, it’s a big step towards localizing their offerings in China and strengthening its market presence in a region dominated by domestic giants Alibaba and JD.com. In 2015, it even launched a flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall in order to remain relevant and reach out to more Chinese consumers.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Alibaba has an Echo-style smart speaker in the works

Alibaba could reveal a voice-activated “smart speaker” to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home as early as next week.

The device could allow Chinese consumers to buy goods from Alibaba’s shopping sites using a voice-activated virtual assistant, just as Americans can use the Alexa virtual assistant on the Echo to order things on Amazon.

What makes Alibaba competitive—and potentially controversial—is the sheer amount and breadth of data it is capable of gathering.

The product, which understands voice commands in Chinese, is targeted solely at domestic consumers who are already familiar with Alibaba’s online services.

The new device is the latest step in Alibaba’s efforts to deepen its understanding of the behaviors of hundreds of millions of Chinese who already use its online services.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Walmart seeks new products amid battle with Amazon

The 500 businesses selected to take part in Walmart’s fourth annual “Open Call” Wednesday have already been offered spots on the company’s online portals, as it battles Amazon for billions of dollars in revenue.

“It’s a high-stakes game,” Scott Hilton, Walmart’s executive chief revenue officer for ecommerce, said as the meeting opened.

“You may not receive a deal, but you have a chance to spend 30 minutes with a Fortune 1 buyer,” Walmart spokesman Scott Markley said ahead of the daylong meeting intended to increase jobs at American companies. “They know more about the market for the product than you do.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab is adding Myanmar’s Wave Money to its mobile wallet

Ride-hailing and mobile payments startup Grab is partnering with Wave Money in Myanmar.

Drivers will be able to sign up for e-money accounts that let them cash out their daily earnings at one of Wave’s 9,000 shops across Myanmar, Grab said in a statement.

Grab also plans to integrate Wave Money’s digital wallet with its own wallet, GrabPay, so that passengers in Myanmar can use Wave Money’s ecash to pay for Grab rides.

Grab’s strategy of choosing to pair up with local payment options, such as Kudo in Indonesia and now Wave Money in Myanmar shows how importance catering to local tastes are.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. TenX raises roughly $80 million for cryptocurrency payment system for everyday life

the company is proud to report following a 1 million USD seed round at the beginning of 2017 with famous lead investor Fenbushi.

TenX completed a successful token raise over this past weekend on June 24, 2017, 1 pm UTC. It exchanged an equivalent of 245,832 Ether (valued at roughly 80 million USD at the time of the swap) to the company’s PAY tokens at a rate of 350 PAY tokens per 1 Ether (with a 20% bonus during the first 24 hours).

The PAY tokens will provide access to part of TenX’s revenue of their already live payment service and also serves as a loyalty program to its own users.

During the token swap, TenX accepted one of the most diverse ranges of tokens any company has ever provided. In addition to Ethereum, also ERC20 tokens, Bitcoin, Dash, and Litecoin were accepted.

3. Bangkok based Digio gets series A investment

Among the participants in the round was InVent, a VC arm of telecoms-focused holding company InTouch.

Bangkok-based Digio – which aims to turn your smartphone into a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system – counts payments giants Mastercard and Visa among its partners, as well as big tech corporates including Epson and Samsung.

It develops a range of products, including a device that allows vendors to take card payments on their smartphones, an ewallet, and a secure solution for receiving customers’ signatures electronically.

Digio’s founder and CEO Nopphorn Danchainam said that Digio’s system can now accept payments from third-party ewallets, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Read the rest of the story here.

Vietnam’s economic development has been the cause of a widening income gap between those working in developed, urban centers and others in rural locations. The country’s income distribution is predicted to be among the most unequal in Asia Pacific by 2030.

The highly polarized nature of Vietnam’s current market means a few things:

  1. Companies can either target one particular social class and specialize or
  2. Mid-range brands have the opportunity to consolidate both a premium and more affordable product line under one umbrella

An example of a company that does this successfully is Viet Tien Garment, an apparel and footwear maker that has different brands to serve different age and income levels. For example, it launched Vee Sendy for younger shoppers and TT-up for its mature customers.

The company is valued at $50.2 million and claimed 2.3% market share in 2016, which is considered positive in Vietnam’s fragmented market.

Serving individual social classes

Source: Euromonitor

Social class E, the lowest income class is expected to remain the most prevalent in the country until 2030, which is good news for FMCG companies as they represent a large market for basic necessities.

According to Nielsen, FMCG items are experiencing a growth surge in Vietnam, especially beyond Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

In 2016, nearly 6% of Vietnamese urban households shopped for FMCG items online at least once and found themselves spending 3-4X more than they would on an average shopping trip offline.

Social class A, the highest income class is expected to be the second fastest growing segment until 2030.

Luxury automaker Mercedes Benz already counts Vietnam as one of its fastest growing markets in Asia and Chanel recently opened its first flagship store in Ho Chi Minh earlier this year – demonstrating a positive step in the direction of Vietnam’s growth.

As Vietnam and US trade grows 20% annually, analysts believe that increase in income will stimulate consumption of luxury labels, especially if they are portrayed as a status symbol.

“Why would I spend $300 on something that doesn’t relate to me, and has no voice?” says Ha Nguyen Thu An, Head of Social at Ogilvy. “Everyone gets Louis Vuitton because of their brand story.”

Apart from multi-brand marketplaces such as Lotte.vn and Robins.vn (previously Zalora), consumers do not have direct access to luxury items and instead, are only exposed to fast fashion pieces or mid-tier brands such as Nike and MANGO.

The future of Vietnam’s consumer landscape

Whether these companies choose an offline, online approach, or both, the country’s classes are both showing signs of economic growth and an appetite for goods they can show off.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Naver eyes online financial services with Mirae deal

Naver, the owner of LINE app is laying the grounds for becoming an online financial services provider by swapping its treasury shares with Mirae Asset Daewoo, the nation’s No. 1 brokerage house.

“Naver will cooperate with Mirae Asset Daewoo closely in the future, introducing new global businesses integrating artificial intelligence technology and financial content,” said Naver Chief Financial Officer Park Sang-jin in a statement.

Park Hye-jin, an analyst at Kyobo Securities, said that it was a good deal for Mirae Asset Daewoo too. “It is positive that [Mirae Asset Daewoo] takes a platform for overseas market through Line’s overwhelming market share in the Southeast Asia.”

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2.Amazon hosts merchants in New York as marketplace competition heats up

Amazon is hosting a meet-and-greet with merchants in New York on Wednesday, offering 1,5000 attendees a chance to network with each other. The event is seen as a move to court merchants and stand up to competition from rivals Walmart, Alibaba and eBay.

As its marketplace has grown, however, many Amazon sellers have complained that its policies are too Draconian and that its communications with them impersonal

This could be a move to woo back sellers.

Sellers on Amazon enjoy several advantages. The ecommerce giant’s Fulfillment by Amazon program allows marketplace sellers to store and ship goods from Amazon warehouses, while its fledgling Seller Fulfilled Prime program enables larger retailers and manufacturers to ship from their own centers.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3.Desperate landlords turn to Airbnb-like sites to make up for abandoned retail spaces

All across the US, physical stores have been struggling to compete with online commerce. Retail is in a state of upheaval, with record vacancy rates even on shopping streets like Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

This gap between supply and demand presents a ripe economic opportunity for several sharing companies. Storefront, for instance, is a platform that connects those who have shops or empty real estate in areas with high foot traffic and visibility with merchants seeking to peddle their wares. It’s essentially an Airbnb for merchants.

The platform is attractive for new brands in particular, and thousands of merchants have used the platform to open up shops in places like New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Milan.

The platform isn’t the only company to seize on this opportunity. Appear Here, which recently raised more than US$12 million in series B funding, is another marketplace for short-term retail space.

Read the rest of the story here.

THE HISTORY

The company synonymous with denim goes back far in time. Levi Strauss & Co essentially crafted the first pair of blue jeans in 1873 and marked Levi’s as a heritage brand, and its creator, Levi Strauss as the inventor of the quintessential American garment.

The first pair was made from denim, the traditional fabric for men’s workwear and they became a fast success, originally known as ‘overalls’ until the 1960s until baby boomers coined the garment, ‘jeans’ instead.

Fast forward over a hundred years with the rise of various designer denim brands like Seven For All Mankind and True Religion and fast fashion, the company needs to re-introduce itself to the next wave of shoppers.

Now, in 2017, the household name employs a salesforce of 22,000, 50 plants and offices across 35 countries. Levi’s is making a comeback by leveraging the rise athleisure, the return of the classic, worn-out denim jacket and today’s digital tools.

The first Levi’s location in 19th century

THE INNOVATION

Levi’s first innovation was the creation of the 501 denim jeans itself, back in the 1870s, for working men.

In 2002, Robert Hanson, former Levi’s President, began focusing on women after Levi’s overall sales has plummeted 40%, from $7.1 billion in 1996 to $4 billion at the end of 2002.

He also reached out to 14,000 individuals and got them to try on Levi’s in order to design the perfect fit for different body types, including ‘sexier’ styles for men. Hanson also deployed two brands, Red Line and Pure Blue, with a price range of $35-95.

“We’ve been accused of trying to be everything to everybody in the past,” admits Hanson. “This time, we have to be one thing to everybody.”

The company’s makeover also included the layout of its offline stores. Walk into any Levi’s and notice its jeans are stored the way you would display fine wines or valuable relics. But was this enough against the newer, flashier denim brands?

“Levi’s is going to have to prove to people that the product is competitive from a style and quality standpoint, and that has to be based on something more than the heritage of Levi’s, which seems to be their endless fallback position,” said Hamilton South, partner at luxury consulting firm HL Group.

THE STRATEGY

The digital age has allowed the company to experiment.

Earlier this year, Levi’s partnered with Google to launch Project Jacquard, a tech ‘wearable’ collab between the two. Wearers can control certain actions on their smartphone by tapping and swiping a nearly invisible fabric touch interface woven into the left wrist of the classic Levi’s denim jacket.

Project Jacquard from Levi’s x Google

The Jacquard jacket will sell for $350 this fall.

“Expect digital assistants, cellular connectivity, and connections to larger systems, both at home and at work. At the same time, expect to see a proliferation in the diversity of devices brought to market, and a decline in prices that will make these more affordable to a larger crowd,” says IDC Wearable’s team research manager Ramon T. Llamas.

More recently, Levi’s has become a part of Amazon Prime Wardrobe, the new initiative for Prime customers to order items to their home to try on without buying.

President and CEO Chip Bergh said in a statement. “Our direct-to-consumer business continues to drive our results with both brick and mortar and ecommerce growing double digits.”

In Q3 2016, Levi’s reported that net income rose 69%, partly due to cost cutting efforts and rising revenues. Revenue growth was mainly due to direct to consumer sales, which grew 14% for both offline store sales and ecommerce.

IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Levi’s has recently emphasized ecommerce in the region, through a shop-in-shop on Lazada Thailand, and a brand.com earlier this year with ecommerce enabler, aCommerce.

Levi’s pop-shop, implemented by aCommerce

aCommerce shares that the brand tested the market with a popshop first – a simple branded landing page where customers can choose to buy from a few items. The positive feedback reinforced the brand’s decision to commit to ecommerce as another distribution channel alongside its 77 offline stores in Thailand.

Levi’s also has shop-in-shops on Lazada’s platforms in Indonesia and Malaysia.

In Malaysia, Levi’s partnered with music streaming service, Deezer, to introduce its 2015 fall women’s denim collection. A custom built Levi’s in-app page was created via the Deezer platform, including a nationwide contest to encourage consumers to submit empowering songs to a collective playlist called #LadiesinLevisMY, which went viral on social media.

Levi’s x Deezer campaign, Malaysia 2015

THE FUTURE

Levi’s is conditioning its relevancy in the fashion world through a digital strategy to boost its classic products i.e. the 501 jeans and remain relevant. At the same time, while rightfully refusing to discard its heritage.

It might want to rethink the Google jacket though.