Archive for June, 2018

Apparel Made in USA Webinar

June 22, 2018 Leave a comment





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Fake-out in Compton? Brown, smelly water sparks concerns and allegations of a political ruse  

June 20, 2018 Leave a comment


 Essential California: First, brown water. Then, a dirty trick in Compton?
Essential California: First, brown water. Then, a dirty trick in Compton?
Compton residents pick up donated bottled water. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, June 20, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Residents of Compton have complained about brown, smelly water coming out of their taps for more than a year. The situation got so bad that officials began talking about dissolving the troubled local water district. A congresswoman set up a town hall so community members could weigh in. That’s when a curious ad appeared on Craigslist offering “political advocacy” work to African Americans and Latinos, with pay up to $40 and the possibility of a bonus. Los Angeles Times

World Cup mania!


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This Pasadena dry cleaner never has a TV in his shop, except every four years when the World Cup happens. He is not a big sports fan, but loves this soccer extravaganza and sharing the experience with the neighborhood. Los Angeles Times

— Mexico’s coach Juan Carlos Osorio has proved his worth — and proved the critics wrong, writes columnist Kevin Baxter. Los Angeles Times

— Another perspective: “Here’s a reason not to root for Mexico in the World Cup soccer tournament: fans of El Tri chanting anti-gay slurs at players on the field.” Los Angeles Times


Democrat Gavin Newsom has a dominant lead over Republican John Cox in California’s race for governor, a contest in which a significant number of voters appear to have cast ballots strategically to sway the outcome of the state’s top-two primary, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Forty-five percent of registered voters who said they planned to vote in the November race intend to support Newsom, while Cox won the support of 28% of those who plan to cast ballots, according to the poll. Twenty-seven percent of those voters were undecided. Los Angeles Times

— Nearly half of registered California voters are still undecided in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Dianne Feinstein and state Sen. Kevin de León, according to the poll. Los Angeles Times

National Park Service researchers recently discovered a litter of four mountain lion kittens in the Simi Hills, a small area of habitat wedged between the larger Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountain ranges.
National Park Service researchers recently discovered a litter of four mountain lion kittens in the Simi Hills, a small area of habitat wedged between the larger Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountain ranges. (National Park Service)



Cute! Park rangers have found four furry cougar kittens living with their mother in the Simi Hills — the first den authorities have found in a small patch of terrain between the Santa Susana and Santa Monica mountain ranges, officials said. Los Angeles Times

Changing tunes: As Uber tries to build its reputation as a good citizen, it’s unveiling a new plan: Get its drivers to adopt electric vehicles instead of driving cars that burn gasoline. Los Angeles Times

Great news: The Los Angeles Times is not the only Southland news outlet that was graced with good news this week. LAist is back and Long Beach is getting a new publication called the Long Beach Post. Check them out! LAist Long Beach Post


Mexico weighs in: The Mexican government on Tuesday condemned as “cruel and inhuman” the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant families detained on U.S. soil. Los Angeles Times

A wow stat: The Trump administration has probably lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied migrant children, thousands more than lawmakers were alerted to last month. McClatchy

Some help: “Facebook fundraiser is set to raise $5 million in under five days in response to the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy on immigration and the separation of thousands of children from their families at the border.” The Verge

The reality: “The former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told NBC News that migrant parents separated from their children at the border are sometimes unable to relocate their child and remain permanently separated.” NBC News


LAUSD update: Los Angeles school district officials on Tuesday approved, as expected, a $13.7-billion spending plan for next year but also pledged to take on a comparatively tiny amount of new spending that could pay off big for students: free college admissions tests and a college savings account. Los Angeles Times

Luck doesn’t just happen: “How California lawmakers goosed jackpots to create record-setting lottery sales.” LAist

90210: It was a Trump favorite. Now lawyers want the famously discreet Beverly Hills Hotel to share its secrets. Washington Post


A different way in: The discovery of a panga-style boat that may have been used to smuggle immigrants onto an Orange County beach triggered the temporary lockdown of an elementary school as authorities searched the area for the vessel’s occupants Tuesday morning. Los Angeles Times

In the air: Members of a California-based drug ring have been using commercial flights to New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport to run marijuana and other drugs into Jefferson Parish, according to an indictment. New Orleans Advocate

Amazing photos: Caring for California’s aging prisonersReuters


Standing tall: As the Trump administration moves to roll back ambitious vehicle-emissions targets, California and several other states that rely on those standards to achieve their clean air goals have enlisted an influential new partner in the fight to keep the rules intact. Los Angeles Times


Hollywood responds: Producer Judd Apatow is rallying people in positions of power at Fox to protest Fox News’ coverage of the Trump administration, particularly its stance on the “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has been separating children from their parents at the southern border. Los Angeles Times

In Moscow: Mexico’s World Cup captain Rafa Marquez made history on several fronts when he came on as a substitute in the team’s upset of Germany. But he also is tiptoeing around American law as the result of being blacklisted for allegedly helping launder drug cartel money. New York Times

Exciting! After some of the worst landslides in the state’s history, the last section of California Highway 1 will reopen in July, sooner than expected. Washington Post

A plot!? Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk told employees via email that an employee who committed “extensive and damaging sabotage” by breaking into software systems at Tesla’s auto plant could be part of a larger plot by enemies bent on the company’s destruction. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: Sunny, 80, Wednesday. Sunny, 81, Thursday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 72, Wednesday and Thursday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 64, Wednesday. Partly cloudy, 66, Thursday. Sacramento: Sunny, 91, Wednesday. Sunny, 96, Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Dr. Greg Maguire:

“I arrived in Berkeley in the 1980s, having crossed the country by car in a five-day journey from Cambridge, Mass. Setting foot the next day on the beautiful UC Berkeley campus made me realize that the long journey in a small car was well worth the effort. I knew coming here that Berkeley had ushered in the atomic age by Dr. Lawrence first smashing the atom on campus, Oppenheimer leading the development of the atom bomb, Mario Savio leading the free speech movement, that the oncogene and covalent bonding had been discovered here, along with 16 elements on the periodic table, and the very reason I had become a neuroscientist, because Dr. Marian Diamond had discovered neuroplasticity here. Standing amidst Classical Revival architecture and underneath the Campanile that day, I was inspired to do my small part in helping to change the world for the better. I’ve lived in many parts of the U.S., and indeed a number of places in the world, but no other place affords opportunity and inspires like California.”

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The most perfect union: Unlocking the next wave of growth by unifying creativity and analytics

June 18, 2018 Leave a comment


Companies that harness creativity and data in tandem have growth rates twice as high as companies that don’t. Here’s how they do it.

“Ideas and numbers” have always had an uneasy alliance in marketing. To creative directors, designers, and copywriters, creativity is an instinctual process of building emotional bonds with consumers. Bring in too much quantitative analysis and the magic dies.

“[As marketers] we have to understand and connect with customers,” the CMO of a hospitality company recently told McKinsey. “I’m afraid the data people will win, and it will all become a commodity if brand and creativity don’t matter anymore. I’m afraid the creative process will lose its soul.”

Despite such understandable concerns, the notion that creativity and data are adversaries is simply outdated. Combining the power of human ingenuity and the insights gleaned from data analytics is a good start. But the best marketers are going a step further and integrating this power combo into all functions across the marketing value chain—from brand strategy and consumer insights, to customer experience, product, and pricing to content and creative development, media—even measurement. Far from robbing a brand of its soul, this fusion of skills and mind-sets is an essential part of the modernization of marketing to drive growth.

As part of an ongoing series of studies in conjunction with the Cannes Lions Festival and the Association of National Advertisers, McKinsey recently surveyed more than 200 CMOs and senior marketing executives (including interviews with 25+ of the CMOs) and tracked the performance of their companies. We found that marketers who are what we call “integrators”—those who have united data and creativity—grow their revenues at twice the average rate of S&P 500 companies: at least 10 percent annually versus 5 percent (Exhibit 1). This is a welcome development for CMOs, who no longer see themselves primarily as stewards of the company’s brand, but as drivers of company growth. One CMO told McKinsey that he has shifted the entire C-suite’s view of marketing spend from a P&L expense to an investment the company is making in its future.

Marketers who integrate creativity and data drive more growth.

The study also revealed that while marketers rarely consider their creative output “world class” or “iconic,” those integrators with the 10+ percent growth see their efforts as “engaging,” “unique,” and a core contributor to the creation of brand equity. Some go so far as to call their creative output a key part of what sets them apart from competitors.

Here are three distinct ways in which these integrators are modernizing marketing:

1. They treat creativity and data as equal partners.

In companies that are integrators, creative functions are becoming more data driven, and data-driven functions are growing more creative. Two areas where we see this happening most clearly are customer experience and consumer insights.

First, customer experience: Historically, this is a function overseen by people who think creatively and strategically about how to meet and exceed customer expectations. But today, data analytics can uncover customer intentions, triggers, and interests that reveal subtle pain points and unmet needs. We found that the integrators in our study continuously and rigorously mine for such insights as part of the day-to-day process of improving customer experience instead of using analytics in a separate, adjacent process (Exhibit 2). On average, they use four or more types of insights and analytic techniques, both traditional (focus groups, primary research, third-party research) and data driven (customer-journey analytics, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence), whereas their non-integrator peers use three or fewer. A majority (70 percent) of integrators employ advanced analytics for consumer insights, compared with only 40 percent of companies with average growth. And 65 percent of integrators use customer-journey analytics, versus 50 percent of average growers. We call this latter category of companies “isolators” because, while they are using both data-driven and creative processes, they are doing so in isolation without integrating them across their marketing functions. The final category in our survey is “idlers”: companies that are growing 3 percent a year or less and have made insignificant progress in utilizing data-driven marketing practices.

Integrators make better use of creativity and data than peers.

At the same time, all this information about customers, traditionally the domain of data scientists and other left-brained talent, is now being utilized in collaboration with people in creative roles, such as content producers and experience designers. Moving advanced consumer insights out of the background and onto the dynamic front lines of customer engagement gives analysts a new voice within the creative process. They participate in the process of making their work come to life—a new campaign created, an email test sent to a new customer segment, a new on-site or in-store experience deployed. This fosters a sense of empowerment among analysts and helps uncover ideas that would otherwise never see the light of day.

2. They make integration a way of life through an agile marketing operating model.

Integrators have set up structures that allow them to innovate more effectively. At a higher rate than their peers, they have embraced agile marketing and have created small, nimble, cross-functional, colocated, and relatively autonomous teams that execute on single, laser-focused business objectives. Staffed with talent from throughout the marketing department and other areas of the organization, such as IT and operations, these agile teams (or “squads”) enable people with different skills sets and backgrounds to sit side-by-side and collaborate with each other on a daily basis. This model brings several marketing functions into a single high-performing team that provides the IT and operations resources needed to bring new ideas to market. In addition, there are typically resources from legal and finance on call to support quick decision making.

This daily and tangible integration bears fruit in three important ways. First, data experts are part of the front-line marketing team. Second, integrated agile teams are able to do more faster. The absence of bottlenecks such as inter-departmental approvals enables frequent and rapid testing of new ideas, content, messages, and value propositions. As a result, the process of creating new campaigns or marketing initiatives often shrinks from months to weeks or even days. Over the last 12 months, integrators in our study were twice as successful as isolators at significantly increasing their speed to market for campaigns or marketing experiments and four times more successful than the idlers.

Finally, there is a quicker and more seamless implementation of technology solutions, thanks to a closer collaboration between marketing and IT (Exhibit 3). Half of the integrators in our study say that marketing and IT work together on a shared vision, versus 22 percent of isolators and 4 percent of idlers. Integrators also use A/B testing 68 percent more often than their peers and are 83 percent more likely to have adopted dynamic creative optimization, a technology that enables modular and dynamic personalized ads and content based on data about the individual consumer. At the other end of the spectrum, 52 percent of companies with the lowest rates of growth admit that their CMO and CTO rarely interact. This lack of coordination takes a toll on the entire marketing organization’s ability to deliver omnichannel customer experiences and to track and measure performance in proliferating channels.

Integrators are 254% more likely to have Marketing / IT collaboration.

3. They seek “whole-brain” talent.

Hiring an award-winning creative director or a top-flight data scientist used to be enough to up the ante in a marketing department’s ability to improve performance. Integrators are now looking for something different. They want talented people who have both left- and right-brain skills, even though their primary function will utilize one more than the other. “There’s a misconception that our engineers are not creative and are just ‘numbers guys’,” the CMO of a leading tech company said. “Actually, they keep us on our toes because they’re so creative. They have extraordinary imagination and turn code into extraordinary products.” Additionally, integrators are focused on finding and nurturing people nimble enough to work with colleagues who have different skills and mind-sets than they do.

To ensure that this valuable talent pool has full control over its work product, integrators are increasingly bringing certain marketing functions in-house, particularly those closest to the customer experience, such as consumer insights and data analytics. And because rapid experimentation and testing and learning with new campaigns and designs is so critical, they are insourcing more digital media and content-creation roles. Integrators are the least likely of the three groups we’ve defined to have one large, full-service ad agency, preferring to use one or more boutique firms that specialize in emerging channels such as augmented and virtual reality, or such innovative capabilities as voice-activated commerce (Exhibit 4).

Integrators are 50% more likely to use a variety of agencies for different types of work than their peers.

Even these leading marketing organizations don’t often achieve their ideals for the recruitment and nurturing of top talent—most say that their talent is somewhere between “on par with our competitors” and “better than competitors but not best in class.” Yet they have a clear understanding of the types of people they want, and they aim high to get them (Exhibit 5).

Integrators have better talent across the board though very few best-in-class.

Room for improvement

Although the integrators in our study excel in data-driven customer experiences, creative use of consumer insights, implementation of agile working models, and collaboration between marketing and technology staff, virtually no companies in our survey stood out across all of the capabilities needed to maximize creativity. There are several for which most companies have much room for improvement, particularly in the area of talent acquisition (Exhibit 6):

Data driven creativity scores


Most companies can track the impact of specific marketing components in direct-response channels such as email and search-engine marketing but struggle to holistically measure channels (both online and offline) and attribute the success of a campaign to individual creative, content, and messages. Addressing this challenge requires a “mash-up” of existing technologies and approaches like media-mix modeling, which tracks both online and offline marketing channels; multitouch attribution, which allows companies to track the addressable touchpoints across a customer’s journey; and advanced machine learning, which helps combine the two and use adaptive modeling to forecast the impact of shifts in marketing spending. At the moment, very few companies are doing any of this. Even among integrators, only 33 percent say they have the ability to track the ROI of their creative content for all campaigns and in all channels (versus 15 percent of their peers).

AI-driven consumer insights

Artificial intelligence (when thoughtfully applied to protect consumer privacy) can help marketers learn things even the most creative humans can’t. By using natural-language processing, for instance, companies can figure out that a consumer is interested in sports cars without the person ever having said so. Computer vision can analyze the videos and images people engage with and infer relevant themes and interests. This deeper understanding of consumer interests, motivations, and attitudes can help develop new value propositions, campaigns and experiences and can drive a pipeline for new products, product extensions, and ecosystem plays that wouldn’t be obvious otherwise. Yet despite this potential, only 25 percent of integrators are employing it, versus 10 percent of isolators (Exhibit 7).

Integrators use AI 58% more, but only 25% of Integrators are using AI.

New and creative use of media

All the marketers we surveyed and interviewed, integrators included, felt they were not being creative enough in using media channels, whether dynamic video ads based on content a viewer has watched, mobile video, addressable TV advertising, digital billboards, or custom content integrations with big traditional media players. Aware of the need to engage with their audiences in new ways, traditional media companies have created new ad formats and invested in branded content studios that use their storytelling capabilities to help marketers create more immersive brand experiences.

And despite years of lip service to the need for digital-first content, a majority of companies are still repurposing content and campaigns from traditional channels. This represents a missed opportunity for mobile-tailored ad experiences, heightened consumer engagement with the content, and personalized experiences across all addressable channels.

One CMO in our survey said, “You don’t create exciting things for people by figuring out things from data.” Actually, we believe that’s exactly what data can do. At the end of the day, analytics are what companies have learned about people’s behavior. Such insights can guide and inform where imagination needs to go. In the best cases, they can even inspire. Marketers that are leading the pack in driving growth understand that data and human ingenuity are two sides of the same coin.

About the author(s)

Brian Gregg is a senior partner in McKinsey’s San Francisco office; Jason Heller is a partner in the New York office, where Jenny Tsai is a consultant; and Jesko Perrey is a senior partner in the Düsseldorf office.

The authors wish to thank Ze’ev Haffner and Katie Gordon Motwani for their contributions to this article and to the study.


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June 15, 2018 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

China to Levy Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Goods

June 15, 2018 Leave a comment


Monday, June 18, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

China’s Ministry of Finance announced June 15 that it will respond in kind to the U.S. Section 301 tariffs announced the same day (see related article this issue).

First, beginning July 6 China will impose an additional 25 percent tariff on 545 U.S. goods with an import value of approximately $US 34 billion. Affected products (click here for the full list in Chinese) include agricultural goods and automobiles.

Next, on a date to be determined, China will levy an additional 25 percent tariff on 114 other U.S. goods (click here for the full list in Chinese), including chemical products, medical equipment, and energy products such as coal, crude oil, and gas.

President Trump said if China goes forward with these or other retaliatory measures (e.g., non-tariff barriers or punitive actions against U.S. exporters or U.S. companies operating in China) the U.S. will pursue further tariffs against China.

To get news like this in your inbox daily, subscribe to the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report.

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What is Snapchat, how does it work and what is it used for?

June 12, 2018 Leave a comment



Snapchat is confusing. Right?

We’ll agree it seems that way. It basically updates every couple weeks, at the very least, adding new features or changing core functions. And, at the end of the day, the whole concept behind Snapchat is, well, odd. After all, it was initially about sending photos or videos, which only played once, to friends, for a few seconds, and then they’d disappeared for good. What’s the point of that? What if you want to send a photo or video to someone for them to keep forever, just like you always could with every social network or messenger before Snapchat?

Stop right there. Forget all that. Snapchat isn’t your typical social network. Plus, thanks to those constant updates over the past few years, Snapchat is way different these days. For instance, it now lets you replay snaps, aka those photos or videos that you received from friends, an unlimited number of times, and you can always screenshot those moments if you want to save them. As for your own snaps, which you send to friends in a chat or broadcast to followers via the Snapchat Stories feature, you can always save them to the Memories section within your Snapchat account, or to your device’s camera roll, solidifying their place in history for all of time.

Toss out everything you thought you knew, and let’s start from the beginning, and then fast forward to where we are now, so that you can finally start using Snapchat like a pro.

Snapchat is an Android and iOS app. It’s headed by co-founder Evan Spiegel. One of the core concepts of the app is that any pictures or videos or messages you send are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible. The temporary, or ephemeral, nature of the app is thought to encourage a more natural flow of interaction.

One last thing: Snapchat’s developer is a public company, called Snap. It claims to be a camera company. As such, it creates other products, including hardware, like Snapchat Spectacles, which you can read all about from here. Also, Snapchat is colloquially referred to as Snap.

Although Snapchat was originally focused on private, person-to-person photo sharing, you can now use it for a range of different tasks, including sending short videos, live video chatting, messaging, creating caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and sharing photos and videos via a chronological “story” that’s broadcasted to all your followers. There’s even a designated “Discovery” area within the app that is designed to showcase short-form content from major publishers like Buzzfeed and Dailymail. Snapchat has also recently added a “Memories” feature, allowing you to save snaps (aka photos and videos) and stories to a private storage area. Other features include the ability to send money through an integration with Square Cash, create city-specific stickers that can be placed on snaps and messages, add filters and AR-based lenses to snaps, and show your live location on a world map.

The key thing to realise is that Snapchat is about instant communication, through photos and videos, which are sent or received on your mobile phone. Prior to Snapchat, social media was very desktop-based, and it was all about accumulating data, like statuses or tweets or photos and videos, and you’d post all those things online so that all your friends could comment on them and you’d keep them forever. In other words, Snapchat has changed the way we communicate online. With it, you can quickly send a photo of yourself at work to a friend, maybe with a rainbow-puking AR lens applied or a doodle scribbled on top, and then they can open it, screenshot it if they want, and reply back with their own photo or video response, which they can also broadcast to their story for friends and followers to see.

There are so many uses for this app. It’s hard not to see the value.

As of May 2017, Snapchat had about 166 million daily active users. And many reports and studies have claimed that the bulk of those users are millennials. As a result of those younger users, the app has yielded a number of different unique terms and names for its features, from “snaps” to “story”. If you’re confused by all this lingo, you should really read through the Glossary section of this Snapchat guide before you move on to how the app actually works.

  1. Snapchatter: It’s not as common anymore, but it means a user of Snapchat.
  2. Snap: When you take a photo or video, or receive a photo or video, it is known as a “snap”. So, when someone asks you to snap them, they are asking you to send them a photo or video through Snapchat, or even a message through the app’s chat function. The Snapchat app itself is also colloquially referred to as “Snap”, as is the app’s developer/public company.
  3. Snapback: This term was more popular when Snapchat launched, but it’s faded since. Nevertheless, if you’ve heard it, just know that it simply means a reply to a snap. So, if you Snapback, you’re just replying to a private one-on-one snap that you’ve received.
  4. Story: You can link snaps together and broadcast them as you capture them. They’ll appear to your followers as a “story” reel. They can tap through your story and watch every snap to experience your entire day. A reel can only be played back for 24 hours, after which, it disappears for good, though you can always save your entire story, or an individual snap from your story, to the Memory section – aka private storage – of your Snapchat to keep forever.
  5. Snapcode: A Snapcode is a scannable code that makes adding new friends even easier. For instance, a friend can simply flash their Snapchat camera at your Snapcode, which will immediately add you, without you having to manually look up their handle and tap the “add” button. Your Snapcode, which is similar to a QR code, can be located on the Profile screen. You can access it by tapping the ghost icon or your Bitmoji in the corner of the Camera screen.
  6. Score: Ever notice that number next to a friend’s handle in Snapchat? It’s a score – an equation combining the number of snaps they’’ve sent and received, stories they’ve posted, and other factors. You can find a friend’s score when you hold down on a friend’s name in your contact list, story feed, or chat area. And you can find yours under your Snapcode located in the center of your Profile screen. The higher your score, the more you likely use Snapchat.
  7. Snapstreak: Some of your friends or the people you follow might have different emoji next to their Snapchat names in the Chat section of your Snapchat. That means they’re on a streak, or Snapstreak, with you. In other words, you and that friend or friends have snapped each other (not including chat messaging) within 24 hours for more than one consecutive day. For a comprehensive list of what each friend emoji means, go to Settings > Manage > Friend Emojis.
  8. Trophy case: Snapchat might notify you of a new trophy you’ve earned, and tapping that notification will take you to your trophy case, which holds all the trophies for milestones you’ve achieved as a Snapchat user. From sending a snap with a filter to sending 50 snaps with five or more pen colours, trophies encourage user interaction and content creation.
  9. Lenses: You can make snaps even more fun by adding augmented reality-based special effects and sounds, with a feature called Lenses. To activate lenses, go to the Camera screen in Snapchat, then long-press on your face in the camera view, and lenses should appear in a row next to the capture button. Swipe around to select the lens you want, and then tap the capture button to take a snap with it. Popular lenses include the ‘rainbow puke’ and ‘dog with tongue’.
  10. 3D World Lenses: Unlike Lenses, which are primarily applied to your face – or a selfie shot – in real-time, World Lenses affect the environment around you. They appear in the same row as Lenses, but only when your camera is facing outward. You might see one that features your Bitmoji avatar, even. For instance, a current one shows our Bitmoji avatar mixing potions and chemicals while sitting at a desk. This animation is overlaid on the world around us and can be captured and then shared with our friends in a chat or followers via our story. Both Lenses and World Lenses are frequently changed by Snapchat, though popular ones are recurring.
  11. Filter: You can jazz up your snap by adding a fun overlay with a filter. After you take a snap, swipe right or left on the preview screen to add coloured filters, the current time, local weather, speed overlays, or geofilters to your photo or video. After taking your snap and applying your first filter, you can press and hold and then swipe to add yet another filter, too.
  12. Geofilter: Like filters, you can use a geofilter to decorate snaps. Unlike filters, however, geofilters are specific to your location or an event you’re attending. They encourage other users to share their experiences with friends and followers. On-Demand geofilters may also be designed and purchased by individuals or smaller companies and only become available when a user enters a specified location, such as a wedding or graduation venue.
  13. Chat: This is a messaging feature within Snapchat that lets you directly chat with other users. You can access the Chat section by swiping from left to right on the Camera screen. From here, you can also send Bitmoji stickers, start a live video call, send money, share snaps, and more
  14. Snapcash: Ever use the Square Cash app? Well, Snapchat allows you to transfer money to friends, thanks to a built-in integration with Square Cash. You can access it from the Chat section of Snapchat. But first, you must enter your debit card information under Settings. Then, in a chat, text “$” + the amount you want to send (e.g. “$5” for 5 dollars), and if your friend has also set up the feature under Settings, they will receive the funds in their bank account. At launch, they’d receive the funds instantly, though, recently, it can take up to one business day.
  15. Memories: Since launch, Snapchat has added several features that allow you to screenshot or save snaps. The latest example is Memories. It not only gives you another way to store snaps in Snapchat’s cloud but also introduces a section for accessing media locally stored on your device. When you take a snap, you’ll see an option to save it to your Memories (it’s like a private storage locker), where you can organise, edit, search, lock, and share the snap after the fact.
  16. Discover: This is a section, right of the Camera screen, meant for brands and publishers, which can broadcast stories for all to see. On Discover, you can find branded content made by Vice, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Tastemade, CNN, Buzzfeed, and more.
  17. Snap Map: With this feature, you can share your location with your friends or followers. It also allows you to scroll around an actual map to see where your friends are located. You can choose whether to share your location, of course. To access Snap Map, go to your Camera screen, then pinch your fingers on the screen like you’re zooming out from a photo, and the Snap Map should then appear. You and friends will be represented by Bitmoji.
  18. Bitmoji: If you have downloaded the Bitmoji app, created an avatar, and linked your account to Snapchat, you’ll see AR-based lenses featuring your avatar as well as stickers in chat with your avatar. You might also see “friendmoji” stickers in chat, which feature both you and a friend. Like other features, Bitmoji are designed to encourage user interaction on Snapchat. Keep in mind that Bitmoji was its own, separate platform until Snapchat acquired it a couple years ago.

Here’s where this app guide gets really tricky. Snapchat updates so often that it’s a waste of time to write a lengthy step-by-step instruction manual on how to operate the app, as Snapchat might look and work completely differently in just a few days time, so we’ll instead focus on popular, key features and how they work on a general basis, but more importantly, the main screens you’ll see when navigating Snapchat. If you need more details about how to get around the app or do specific things, we encourage you to visit Snapchat’s support hub.

  • Tap the capture button to take a snap, or press-and-hold it to record a video snap up to 10 seconds long. If you keep holding it, it’ll record a multi-snap.
  • After you take a snap, you can use all kinds of creative tools. For instance, tap the pencil tool to draw all over, tap the text tool to add a caption, tap the sticker tool to add a sticker or Bitmoji, etc.

From the moment you open Snapchat, you will see a view of whatever your device’s camera can see. This is the Camera screen. Now, how it looks and what options it shows may change over time, but generally, you will see a capture button at the bottom, with buttons to access your Memories screen, Chat screen, and Stories screen. At the top, you might also see options to access your Profile screen, Search screen, and maybe even turn on the flash or switch your camera view to front-facing. Anyway, primarily, from this screen you can capture snaps. To do so, tap or hold down the capture button, for a photo or video, respectively, and then you’ll see options to save it to Memories/your camera roll, add it to your story, or send it to a friend or a group of friends. But before you share it with anyone, be sure to decorate the snap with text, a doodle, a sticker, a link, etc. You can even adjust the time it can be viewed from a few seconds to unlimited. Also, remember, when taking a snap, if you tap the Camera view, you will see Lenses and World Lenses appear. Swipe through them and tap one to apply it. From there, you can decorate the snap and share it with others.

  • Only the people you choose can see your location, or you can even turn on ghost mode when you want to go off the grid.
  • Your location on the Snap Map only updates when you have Snapchat open.

When you open Snapchat and are confronted by the Camera screen, pinch inward, as if to zoom in, to see Snap Map. You will then see your Bitmoji avatar, if your Bitmoji account is linked, on a live map. Tap the Settings button if you want to enter “ghost mode” and become invisible. Either way, any user you follow who has not enabled ghost mode will appear on the map, so that you can see their exact location in real time. Snapchat may also serve up stories of users from around the globe so that you can quickly tap and see what’s happening elsewhere, like a Father John Misty concert in LA.

  • On the Memories screen, you can create new Stories, edit, and send snaps you’ve saved to Memories, and use smart search to find old snaps.
  • To open Memories, just swipe up from the Camera screen or tap the circle/cards underneath the Capture button.

Near the capture button, you should see an icon that looks like cards or a circle. Tap it to access your Memories, an area in Snapchat where you can not only store snaps to Snapchat but also access media locally stored on your device. You can search memories, share memories, mark up memories, and more. On the Memories screen, you can also access your profile, capture a snap, and go to the Chat and Stories screens.

  • When you’re chatting one-on-one with someone, a blue dot will appear at the bottom of your Chat screen, which means they’re present in the chat. If they’ve set up Bitmoji, their Bitmoji will pop up instead.
  • When you’re chatting in a group chat, a Snapchatter’s name will light up inside a bubble above your keyboard. This lets you know they’re present. Just tap on a name bubble to chat with that Snapchatter one-on-one. Or, to see who has read a chat, just tap on it.
  • Chats are deleted by default once you’ve both left the Chat.

When you open Snapchat and are confronted by the Camera screen, tap the Chat button in the corner or swipe from left to right to access the Chat screen. From there, you can start a new chat, search chats, see all your active chats, and even go to your Profile screen, capture a snap, quickly switch to stories, and more. Again, these options may change over time. So, the point of this section is to share one-on-one or in a group with friends. You can start a conversation or tap on an existing thread to message, send a snap, send cash, start a live video chat, send a Bitmoji sticker, and more. You can also long-press on friends’ names to see their Snapcode, Snapstreak, and other options for interacting with them on Snapchat. To edit a friend’s name, or even block or remove them, tap on their conversation thread, then tap the hamburger (menu) icon, and you’ll see the additional options for managing that friendship.

  • To post a snap to your Story, take a snap, then tap the arrow on the bottom of the screen to add your snap to your Story (and if it is your first time creating a Story tap ‘Add’ to confirm you want to post to your Story).
  • You can also tap My Story from the Stories screen to post to your story.

When you open Snapchat and are confronted by the Camera screen, tap the Stories button in the corner or swipe from right to left to access the Stories screen. From there, you can view all your friends’ broadcasted snaps in a reel that plays for up to 24 hours. Recent updates are at the top, followed by viewed stories at the bottom. Just tap a friend’s name to begin viewing their story, and then tap on individual snaps within the reel itself to skip forward, if you want. You can also swipe up from a snap in a story to send a chat to that person. Anyway, from the Stories screen, you might see options to add to your story, search stories, find friends, quickly add suggested contacts, access your profile and audience settings, capture a snap, and return to chat. Snapchat also highlights content from Discover on the Stories screen.

  • Keep up-to-date on breaking news with Discover! Watch Publishers’ stories and shows. To use Discover: Swipe right on the Stories screen to open Discover. Tap on a Story that sparks your interest
  • Tap the right side of the screen to go to the next Snap in this story, or tap the left side of the screen to go back and rewatch the last snap. You can also swipe down to exit a story.

Swipe from right to left on the Stories screen to access Discover, a section that showcases branded stories from publishers like Daily Mail and MTV. You can’t control what type of content is served up to you, but you can subscribe to certain publishers by long pressing on a thumbnail for a publisher’s story and then pressing the subscribe button. To view a story from a publisher, tap the thumbnail for their story. Like other stories, you can skip through, and when watching, you can long press on any snap to mark it up and then send it to a friend or group of friends. You can do this to both photos and videos.

  • Search is the fastest way to find a friend, a group you’re in, and more. Just tap the magnifying glass at the top of the screen to start searching.
  • Type in something you’re trying to find, or browse through suggested friends and topics.

When you open Snapchat and are confronted by the Camera screen, tap the Search button at the top. From there, you can search for other users by their Snapchat name. Verified users will have an emoji appear next to their name. The Search screen that pops up will also recommend related users, show you top stories, and allow you to view other users and their stories by criteria like music, sports, fashion, and animals.

  • There are a few different ways to add other Snapchatters. Here’s the easiest way: fom the Camera screen, swipe down or tap the Bitmoji in the upper left hand corner of the screen. This will take you to your Profile screen, where you will see options to find and add friends.
  • Also, from your Profile screen, you can create a Snapcode. With a Snapcode, friends and followers can visit a link by simply scanning it in Snapchat.

From most screens in Snapchat, you will see a ghost button or your Bitmoji avatar in the corner. Tap it to access your Profile screen, where you will find your Snapcode, Snapstreak, and options to view your Trophy Case, who has added you, your friends, and a way to add more friends. You can also capture a new snap from here, access Chat and Stories, and even find additional Settings or search Snapchat, though these options may change over time.

  • Change your privacy settings, Snap Map location settings, birthday settings, Memories settings, Snapcash settings, and more from Settings.
  • Just tap the Gear icon in the corner of your Profile screen.

When you see the gear icon on your Profile screen, tap it to access your Snapchat account settings, where you can link your Bitmoji account, manage on-demand geofilters, create or scan a Snapcode, add two factor, adjust your Memories, Spectacles, and Shazam preferences, change your password and phone number, and so much more.

When you look at your Chat screen, you might see different an arrow or icon next to each conversation thread. These mean different things:

SNAPCHATWhat S The Point Of Snapchat And How Does It Work image 4

Check out our other Snapchat-related guides:

Categories: Uncategorized

Ther’s Gotta be a Pony in Here Somewhere

June 12, 2018 Leave a comment


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Categories: Uncategorized

California from a New York Perspective

June 12, 2018 Leave a comment


The New York Times
The New York Times

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

 California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
Koreatown’s Wary Response to the Trump-Kim Meeting
A mural of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.
A mural of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles. Eugene Garcia/EPA, via Shutterstock
Good morning.
The moment was historic, its significance marked by breathless news coverage across the globe. President Trump and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un met in Singapore, the first such encounter between leaders of the United States and North Korea, and the opening step in a delicate dance meant to de-escalate tensions between the two countries.
But you may not have known it from an evening out in Los Angeles’s Koreatown neighborhood on Monday, where residents and visitors carried on as usual while the two men shook hands a world away.
Mr. Kim certainly inspires passionate disavowals among Korean-Americans and immigrants living here, but his meeting with Mr. Trump drew muted interest across Korean bars, restaurants and entertainment spaces.
At a billiards hall in Koreatown, Yoon Hong Jung, 69, said that he was waiting to see what comes out of the meeting before he decides whether it was a good or bad idea. Mr. Yoon, who moved to the United States from South Korea 18 years ago, added that he has little faith that Mr. Kim has good intentions when it comes to nuclear disarmament.
“He’s a terrorist,” said Mr. Yoon, who still has family in South Korea. “ I don’t believe Kim Jong-un.”
Asked if he had been watching the news coverage, he pointed at the pool hall’s television with a slight shrug; the program on display was a Korean talk show. “Kim Jong-un is evil,” he added, and he did not need to watch the news to make up his mind about that. He soon returned to his game.
Lee Inho, 20, who moved to the United States when he was 5, said he was not even aware there was a meeting happening. “That’s something Americans care about,” he said with a smile, before walking back to a pool table to take his turn.
Down the street, at a cafe blasting Korean pop music, Oh Sooh-Ah, 21, said that she had followed the coverage of the meeting in Korean newspapers. But Ms. Oh, who left Korea nearly 11 years ago, said she and her family have scarcely discussed the meeting. She added that Korean families are often reluctant to discuss politics.
She also said her life here in the United States felt a long way away from the problems facing the Korean Peninsula.
“Of course we’re worried, our friends and families are there,” she said. “I’m not saying people don’t care. But people here aren’t feeling the reality of it.”
[Follow live updates of the summit meeting here.]
California Online
The federal government will investigate the University of Southern California’s handling of complaints against a gynecologist at the university.
The federal government will investigate the University of Southern California’s handling of complaints against a gynecologist at the university.
Jenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• The federal government is investigating the University of Southern California’s handling of sexual misconductcomplaints against the gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall. [The Los Angeles Times]
• Creditors have seized control of a dairy owned by Representative David Valadao and his family over $8 million in unpaid loans. [The Fresno Bee]
• The California Labor Commissioner said that Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Southern California had cheated nearly 600 janitors out of $4.57 million in wages and overtime. [The Orange County Register]
• Tensions have erupted on the campus of Chapman University in Orange County over a $5 million gift by the Charles Koch Foundation. [The Orange County Register]
• The state has seen a stark decline in refugee admissions under the Trump administration: California brought in just over 800 refugees between October and May, down from 4,500 in the same period a year before and 3,700 two years before. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
• California Republicans are using liberal calls for single-payer health care in their attack ads against Democrats. It could hurt those running in competitive districts. [The Hill]
• George Skelton on the state’s top-two primary system: “Shady game-playing was not what open primary reformers intended.” [Los Angeles Times]
• Laurene Powell Jobs, the sixth-richest woman in the world, has largely sought to remain out of the spotlight. But as she expands her philanthropy, what is her vision? [The Washington Post]
• A sharp increase in voter turnout in Sacramento Countyfollowed its first all-mail election. What could that mean for voting in other counties? [The Sacramento Bee]
• Facing a unionization push, Tesla said that it is being punished for doing business in California. [The Sacramento Bee]
And Finally …
Fiona Trias, left, and Whitnee Turner, both of Orange County, dine at Saved by the Max, a Saved by the Bell-themed pop-up restaurant in West Hollywood.
Fiona Trias, left, and Whitnee Turner, both of Orange County, dine at Saved by the Max, a Saved by the Bell-themed pop-up restaurant in West Hollywood.
Emily Berl for The New York Times
If you were a fan of the TV show “Saved by the Bell” in the early 1990s, a new pop-up restaurant in West Hollywood has emerged to refill your nostalgia reserves. The restaurant, Saved by the Max, meticulously recreates the neon-lit cafe where the kids from Bayside High School in the fictional Los Angeles suburb of Palisades liked to hang out after class, Frank DeCaro says in his review for The Times.
“When I walked into that place, my knees buckled because it was just perfect,” said Dennis Haskins, the actor who played Principal Richard “The Big Bopper” Belding on the show. “I was looking around for the crew. It was that good.”
Keen-eyed visitors to the restaurant will notice, in an array of school lockers, replicas of props like the brick-size cellphone favored by the preppy bad boy Zack Morris and bottles of the caffeine pills like those abused by Jessie Spano in the series’ most infamous episode. There is even a recreation of Mr. Belding’s office: paneling, pennants and all. Read our full piece here.
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see:
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
Categories: Uncategorized

More About Alibaba And Its New Retail

June 12, 2018 Leave a comment


 By Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner



Last week, I published a piece about Alibaba’s foray into grocery stores. At the time, I thought it was their first entry into the world of what they call “New Retail” and what we would call “Omnichannel” or “converged” commerce.

Well, I was wrong. It turns out the mammoth Chinese retailer is going into store-based retailing across multiple segments. On May 29, the company announced a co-branded megastore in Beijing, forged by a partnership between Tmall (Alibaba’s retail marketplace) and Intersport, a leading retailer of sporting goods and outdoor equipment. The store name, “Tmall x Intersport” makes it clear that this is a partnership and includes a variety of interactive features to make shopping more engaging and fun.

Apparently, according to this release, Tmall has already provided technology to over 400 brands, including Burberry and Zara, and is only just beginning. The goal for the next twelve months is…wait for it…collaboration with 1,000 brands and “digitizing” 200,000 storefronts nationwide.

This makes Amazon’s purchase of 430+ Whole Foods Market stores seem pretty puny, doesn’t it?

Take a look at this quote I found on the site where you can find all things Alibaba-related,

“‘New Retail’ is not just supermarkets and convenience stores. It’s much bigger and more-sweeping than this,” wrote Jeffrey Towson, a Peking University professor and private equity investor who closely follows the development of China’s retail sector, in his blog earlier this year. “‘New Retail’ is a bold extension of Alibaba’s strategy of pure digital competition into the physical world. And it hinges on the strange ‘economics of participation’…’New Retail’ means a massive expansion in their brands and merchants and in the participation and activities of their consumers.”

While we, as a country, are busily threatening China and others with trade tariffs, and Jeff Bezos continues to get acres of free press every time he tosses a new fantasy into the ether, Jack Ma is making this “New Retail” a reality. We talk about Amazon’s “trillion dollar valuation” with awe and wonder, and analysts have started muttering about breaking the company up. In the meanwhile, Alibaba continues to grow in its own growing market. A lot.

Like many people, I assumed after Alibaba’s poor entrée into the US that we’d never hear from them much again…but it turns out the company is doing everything Amazon is doing…only more, better and faster.

According to Alibaba Group’s annual report, the company grew its revenue 58% in FYE 2018, its profits over 40% and generated free cash flow of USD $15.8 billion. The revenue base is “only” USD $39 billion, but at its current growth rates, it will be catching up to Amazon’s $200 billion quickly. They’ve gone from 454 million annual shoppers in March 2017 to 552 million annual shoppers in 2018…that’s 22% YoY growth. And they’ve only just begun their “New Retail” enterprises. Just wow.

I suspect sooner or later, Alibaba will get it right and have offerings for US consumers that are more attractive than its original website, 11Main.

A long time ago (over a decade), I coined a term that never quite caught on. It was TECC….technology-enabled customer centricity. It’s too many words to be catchy, but that’s really where we’ve gone, and it’s really the essence of the New Retail. The combination of people, product and technology is powerful and leads to a superior customer experience. Perhaps we can finally recognize that the possibility does exist, and that retailers (besides Amazon) have made some real progress in the US as well.

I truly believe Amazon, with its 3rd party Prime sellers (I remain completely unsatisfied with many of those experiences), has opened a crease for other retailers who can be reasonably fast and on-point with their pricing and products. Fun fact: if you buy something from a 3rd party Prime seller, you cannot get a replacement product. The only thing that Amazon can/will do is give you your money back. That means you have to be willing, as a consumer, to start the whole process over again. I’m not, and now my never-Amazon purchases have extended from big screen TVs to cases of cat food, to cases of baby food, to Indian spices.

It’s time to shake off the forces of negativity. US retailers really can succeed in an Amazon world…because as it turns out, Amazon has to make money too. And when you have to make money, you cut corners here and there.

It’s also time to shake off the forces of denial. While we remain, for now, the world’s richest market, other countries are rapidly coming up behind us, and will likely take the lead. And the retailers who service those markets are rising to meet them. Let’s not forget, China has been around for thousands of years. The country is recovering from years of Communist control, and becoming a market to be reckoned with.

Alibaba really surprised me this week, and you can be sure I’m going to be watching the company far more closely in the future.

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The Candid Voice in Retail Technology:Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

June 12, 2018 Leave a comment


Musings On eCom, The Store, And The Retail Renaissance

2017 was the year of the so-called “Retail Apocalypse.” If the common wisdom was to be believed, stores were closing at a record pace, brands were dying or being subsumed by other, stronger players, and every retailer was terrified that consumers’ digital shopping habits would leave them in the dust.

But in 2018, retailers are getting over their panic that giant eComm players like Amazon will disintermediate their brands into oblivion. RSR can see this in a year-over-year comparison of how retailers rate the importance of the selling channels. While one-half of retailers in our surveys have consistently have told us that they believe that “stores PLUS digital” is the key to the future, in 2017 the other half favored digital over stores (34% compared to only 11%) as “more important”. This year that has flipped to stores over digital (29% vs. 20%).

Nonetheless, most in the industry think that even conservative retailers must inevitably move to a “stores + digital” strategy if they want to continue to connect to consumers and how they shop. There’s just no stopping that train. The inevitability of that is why we at RSR don’t believe in the so-called “retail apocalypse”. In fact, what’s happening now should be called “Retail’s Renaissance”.

That is what Deloitte Consulting’s Preeti Pincha called the current state of Retail in a presentation she made at the Pitney Bowes’ (R)evolution conference in May. In her talk, she made these points:

  • In the USA, unemployment is near an all-time low,
  • Customer confidence is high,
  • The stock market is higher,
  • And consumer debt is low!
  • All of these point to a healthy consumer economy, and sure enough, last year the Retail industry grew faster than the GDP, 3.5% vs. 2.3%.
  • So what’s the problem? There’s a quote that I’ve been using in my speeches lately, from science fiction author William Gibson, that “the future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” According to Deloitte’s Pincha, the retail market is bifurcating, with most new discretionary income going to the upper 20% of wage earners. And for the lower 40%? Well, for them items that used to be discretionary – for example, smart mobile phones and expensive mobile network access contracts – are now perceived as non-discretionary, adding to their already burdened budgets. Retailers that have a “balanced” value offering (a little something for everyone) are the most constrained in this environment (and yes, those retailers are closing stores). But “price based” retailers are seeing good growth and are opening stores, and “premier” retailers are seeing better growth and are also opening stores. (Editor’s Note: check out the Deloitte Insights report, The Great Retail Bifurcation, for more details).
  • But the Deloitte Insights report also points out that higher-end consumers shop more in the digital domain, while lower-end consumers tend to favor the stores. In the Retail Renaissance, “digital” is to society what the printing press was to the European 14th Century Cultural Renaissance. Consumers who don’t use digital to enrich their lives will be like people who couldn’t read in the 1500’s.
  • From our point of view, retailers can’t take any solace in the fact that today a preference towards digital shopping happens mostly in the upper echelons of our consumer culture. No retailer can afford to take its time any more when it comes to interlacing the digital and the physical together in the store. That became clear when Amazon bought Whole Foods, and other grocers – never anyone’s pick to be first on the block with the latest and greatest in technology – surely took notice.
  • In this week’s Retail Paradox Weekly, my RSR partner Paula discusses how the giant Chinese eCommerce retailer Alibaba is making its move into physical stores, an action similar – but even more aggressive – than Amazon’s foray into grocery stores. The point in both cases is this: both Amazon and Alibaba come into the market with a digital-first strategy, not a store-first one, and they already have a full suite of capabilities to weave into the store experience. How different that is than what we have seen from store-based retailers in the last ten years!

For traditional retailers, investments in digital are made very cautiously and in serial fashion. Experimentation is rare, and retailers hate to “waste” money – so if they start something, they have an expectation that it will work, and that means that they are probably not breaking any new ground. And then there’s “the past”, which now feels more like a boat anchor than a legacy. In our forthcoming study on the state of eCommerce in Retail, we learn that the top inhibitors that retailers identify standing in the way of taking advantage of the digital domain are all too familiar: the existing technology infrastructure, lack of capital, and organizational resistance (in that order). Amazon and Alibaba don’t have those problems to contend with.

So… the future is indeed already here – but it is not evenly distributed. Consumers are already living in the digital/physical world, irrespective of national borders, supply chains, or physical store walls. This renaissance is (as Pitney Bowes aptly named its conference) truly a (R)evolution. It even affects us at RSR; our eCommerce studies are starting to have an element of “the store” in them, and our “store” studies are starting to bleed into eCommerce. It’s a reflection of reality.


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Amazon Doesn’t Dominate Private-Label Sales (Yet)

June 10, 2018 Leave a comment


Batteries and tools are big sellers, but fashion is a work in progress

Author: Krista Garcia

June 4, 2018

If it seems like Amazon dominates most online retail categories, that’s because it does.

According to a new Q1 2018 study by marketing analytics platform Jumpshot, Amazon has more than 80% market share across categories on average. It has higher shares for commodity products like batteries (97%), tools (93%) and cleaning supplies (88%), for which many consumers care less about brand than price.

That said, Amazon doesn’t take the lion’s share of private-label conversions—at least for the time being. Amazon’s biggest private-label category, ranked by conversions, is electronics (45%), making up nearly half of its total. Home (16%), office (14%) and pets (5%) take smaller pieces of the pie. When looking at Amazon’s private labels compared with Macy’s, Target and Walmart, Amazon takes a 61% share, vs. 39% for those other three retailers combined. However, when you remove electronics, Amazon’s share shrinks to 26%.

There is no official record or count of Amazon’s private labels, but in March 2018, L2 reported that Amazon had 80 private labels, 86% of which were in the apparel, shoes and jewelry category. Health and household (5%) and home and kitchen (4%) were a distant second and third. This signals Amazon’s continued intent to become a go-to source for online fashion, yet at least in Q1 2018, the sales weren’t there yet.

According to a February 2018 Coresight Research assessment of Amazon Fashion, products from Amazon’s private apparel labels only made up 0.1% of the clothing sold on the site. This reflects the long tail of brands on Amazon—the 30 that are most listed only account for 30% of the total—and also shows that there is room for private-label growth on the site. The most listed private label was Lark & Ro, making up more than half (54%) of Amazon’s private-label listings. Women’s dresses and blazers/suiting were the top two items listed under the Lark & Ro umbrella.


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The top apparel and footwear brands bought in the past year, though, were Nike (16.8%), Under Armour (13.8%) and Hanes (12.9%), according to a separate survey by Coresight Research, conducted in January 2018. Athletic gear, underwear, socks and t-shirts were more commonly bought than items like dresses and work clothing, though clearly Amazon is making a greater fashion push, given that there are more than six times the number of Lark & Ro items listed than Amazon Essentials, which include staples like activewear, sleepwear and jackets.

Roughly 11% of US internet users had bought private-label apparel on Amazon, and 18.8% were interested in trying it. Those ages 18 to 29 had greater interest in trying these labels (25.2%), which would also bode well for growth despite the fact Amazon is still viewed as an online source of staples, not style.

On Monday, SunTrust released an analyst note that estimated Amazon’s private labels would bring in $7.5 billion in revenues this year, soaring to $25 billion by 2022. “Private label is one of the highly under appreciated trends within Amazon, in our view, which over time should give the company a strong ‘unfair’ competitive advantage. ‘Unfair’ because it’ll be very difficult to dislodge the company once it attains it; fair because it’s earned, not bestowed,” wrote SunTrust analyst Youssef Squali.

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Right ERP Can Help Simplify the Ever-Changing Business of Manufacturing

June 8, 2018 Leave a comment

Right ERP Can Help Simplify the Ever-Changing Business of Manufacturing
As the manufacturing sector is poised to enter a new era—with additive manufacturing,
cluster manufacturing, and near-shoring—and as digitization of the shop floor is creating new
connections and new data streams, the need for responsiveness is more critical than ever.
Organizations must turn the explosion of data they have into intelligence and insights to support

extended supply chain. But over time, the ERP system—originally intended to automate and
integrate business activities for improved productivity—starts becoming a real drag, literally,
dragging down operational performance.
Complexity Creep
Legacy systems built a decade ago met the needs of a very different generation of users. Many
manufacturers followed a path of adding on new technology to meet new requirements with
the end result of “complexity creep.” This complexity exacts a high toll on the organization.
Invisible to the eye, it’s akin to a virus that penetrates the DNA of the organization, impeding
responsiveness and agility. It’s pervasive and it becomes more evident as companies grow and
attempt to address new and emerging requirements. To use another analogy, complexity is like a
“governor”—a limiting device that prevents organizations from reaching top speed and
optimal performance.
Complexity is particularly detrimental in the area of decision making. “It takes too long and
it’s too difficult to get the information that’s needed!” is the lament from many an employee.
shows the biggest request on the ERP wish list is to be “simpler to use” for everyone
in the organization.
Looking ahead, the need for responsiveness will only become more pronounced. As more new
and emerging digital technologies become part of the manufacturing landscape, we build more
connections. And as we become more connected, building the Internet of Things, we generate
more data. And as data grows, we need new and faster ways to drive insight and actions, and
easier ways to access information to support decision making. This need for responsiveness is
placing new and different demands on ERP systems.
Manufacturers must have the right ERP systems in place to move confidently forward in the new
manufacturing era, and simplicity is paramount—key to increasing the reach of ERP to every part
of an organization, making it as useful and usable on the shop floor as it is in the boardroom.
1cite RedShift 2014 survey research,
How the Right ERP Can Help Simplify the Ever-Changing Business of Manufacturing
Simplifying ERP
It’s a misconception that in order to gain simplicity, ERP must be “dumbed down.” To the
contrary, simplicity doesn’t mean scaling back on functionality; it means finding new ways to
make ERP easy and intuitive to use, deploy, and manage. It’s not just about ditching clunky
interfaces, it’s about redefining the relationship people have with ERP. It means removing the
barriers to accessing information and minimizing steps in the flow. And it means leveraging new
means of visualizing, interacting, and consuming information to provide actionable insights to the
whole organization.
X Strategically it’s about supporting a management team’s ability to access information
and respond to changes in the business and the market that allows them to be in greater
control. Doing so requires getting the right information, in the context of the decisions
that need to be made in a form that can be quickly digested and with the ability to take
immediate action.
X Operationally it means being able to react to day to day requirements and changes,
dynamically managing business activity, automating and optimizing processes, and
dealing with exceptions as they happen, where they happen. This is the backbone of any
business and it demands comprehensive, workflow–enabled, industry-specific, globallycompliant,
integrated ERP.
X Externally it’s about supporting an ongoing collaborative exchange with customers and
partners. It’s about providing differentiated service levels through every touch point with
the organization, being able to identify problems and opportunities, then empowering
the business to act quickly and decisively.
X Personally it’s about valuing peoples’ time, leveraging their knowledge and experience,
empowering them to manage exceptions in the moment while embedding and
automating best practice processes wherever possible. It’s about supporting productivity,
ease, and simplicity of use.
Personal Operational
How the Right ERP Can Help Simplify the Ever-Changing Business of Manufacturing
Simplifying Deployment
Simplification is also about new and improved ways of deploying ERP. Many manufacturers
are moving to a cloud-based model as more and more companies see the benefits of a single,
global deployment in providing greater visibility and control, plus the advantages of moving
specific workloads to the cloud. The cloud removes the onus of system upkeep and maintenance,
removing a heavy IT burden, and freeing up resources to focus on other areas of innovation
within the company.
Cloud ERP supports today’s most pressing technology imperatives—the desire to accelerate speed
to value through cloud delivery models; the need to reduce IT complexity and simplify integration;
the responsibility to address data security and compliance mandates; and the need to improve
collaboration across the enterprise.
Epicor ERP: Simplifying the Business
of Manufacturing
Epicor has eliminated complexity to make ERP easier to use, more collaborative, and more
responsive. With Epicor ERP, companies gain a technology platform that can support them
as they conduct business today and in the future—on any device, anytime, anywhere in the
world. Optimized for the new world of work—encompassing mobile and social business—
Epicor ERP gives manufacturers a powerful platform to adapt and thrive in the era of digital
disruption. Through the incorporation of technologies such as mobile and social into Epicor ERP,
manufacturers have the opportunity to amp up responsiveness and agility, and to close time lags
and gaps between the boardroom and the shop floor, and between the company and
its customers.
Epicor ERP: User Interaction Tools
Responsiveness demands simplicity with tools designed to meet the specific needs of specific
users. Epicor ERP makes user interaction fast, easy, and painless.
X Mobile: The Epicor ERP touch-enabled, intuitive Microsoft Windows® user interface (UI)
is designed to work with touch screen devices—empowering users to work the way
they want.
X Social: Epicor Social Enterprise allows users to collaborate in real time around orders,
customers, suppliers, configurations, and service issues, and mitigate “information
overload” through activity stream management, so they can follow application data or
people alerts on an ad-hoc basis.
How the Right ERP Can Help Simplify the Ever-Changing Business of Manufacturing
Imagine interacting with your ERP in a completely new way. No more menus, no more transaction
screens, no more complexity—straight to the point, 24/7, from anywhere. Every user can choose
what they stream into their feed, identifying trigger events relating to the subjects that are
important to them—customers, orders, products, machines, assets, cash, inventory, etc.
Underlying this is the ERP system engine—hidden from view, but still there. Employees interact
with it direct from their stream, acting on information they are receiving in real time, collaborating
with colleagues and sharing their insight, requesting and receiving advice, resolving issues, and
leveraging opportunities. They can be processing transactions or redesigning processes; in this
way they become more responsive and more agile.
X Dashboards: Epicor ERP dashboards provide real actionable insight without the
complexity of the source transactional systems. The “right click open with” feature allows
users to access other related forms and drill down to find necessary information from
any dashboard. Having accurate information at hand via reports and dashboards enables
organizations to answer important day-to-day operational questions and keep a finger on
the pulse of the business.
X Search: Consumer-grade search anywhere capabilities allows employees to find the
information they are looking for quickly and easily. “Partial search” enables them to
locate information by typing in only the first few letters or words in the search box.
How the Right ERP Can Help Simplify the Ever-Changing Business of Manufacturing
Epicor ERP: Simplifying Deployment
and Maintenance
Epicor ERP enables manufacturers to spend less time deploying and maintaining their ERP so they
can focus on the business of manufacturing.
Cloud: ERP deployment flexibility is key to building agile organizations. Epicor enables
organizations to deploy in the cloud today and on premises down the road—or vice versa. The
Epicor cloud software strategy is virtually unique in that it offers complete choice and flexibility in
deployment in the cloud or on your premises.
Solution Workbench: ERP customizations and configurations have long been the bane of
existence for IT. While necessary to make the software responsive and tailored to specific
company needs and demands, in the past they have been a source of frustration because they
would not carry over when moving to a new software release. The Epicor Solution Workbench
tool makes it very easy for organizations to package up these customizations and configurations
and transport them between versions.
By simplifying ERP, organizations can attain greater responsiveness. With greater responsiveness,
organizations can adapt more quickly to new requirements and in response to new disruptive
forces, opportunities, and threats.
Through a focus on simplicity, Epicor ERP enables bringing information to those who need it, at
the moment they need it, in a form that they can use, and in a way that is actionable—in real
time and anywhere.

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US Denim Imports Jump In 1st Qtr 2018

June 4, 2018 Leave a comment


Link to Sandeep Agarwal

US Denim Imports Jump In 1st Qtr 2018

Posted: 03 Jun 2018 11:32 PM PDT

After a long time, US market has shown signs of recovery. We see a growth in imports of denim apparel of over 3% in the first quarter and more is expected in the coming quarters. Whereas some countries like Vietnam have had tremendous growth in figures, others like  Mexico and Jordan lost their shares. China has surprisingly increased its overall share though it lost a lot of market in men’s jeans , but it still had a better growth than Bangladesh. The detailed report below gives an interesting insight into the mechanics of exports of denim apparel into US.

Table Of Contents




Table showing the imports of all denim apparels along with % growth  into USA from various countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Graph showing the imports of all denim apparels into USA from top five countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Graph showing the % growth of all denim apparels into USA from top five countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Table showing the imports of men’s jeans along with % growth into USA from various countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Graph showing the imports of men’s jeans into USA from top five countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Graph showing the % growth of men’s jeans into USA from top five countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Table showing the imports of women’s jeans along with % growth into USA from various countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Graph showing the imports of women’s jeans into USA from top five countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018


Graph showing the % growth of women’s jeans into USA from top five countries for the period from first quarter of 2017 to the same period in 2018

Rest of the report is visible to our paid subscribers. In case you wish to contact us for more info at , send email at . To see all protected reports titles,visit this page

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China’s fast climb up the value chain

June 2, 2018 Leave a comment

From high-tech unicorns to specialty chemicals, the country’s economy is moving swiftly beyond its lower-margin roots.

The Chinese are now the world’s most avid online purchasers of goods and services, which they are likely to pay for with a mobile device. The deepening digital ethos reflects a broader consumerization of the Chinese economy. These trends are creating fertile grounds for digital start-ups while also transforming traditional industries such as specialty chemicals as they supply materials for advanced industries and higher-margin consumer goods. Global companies in China should ensure that they’re not competing for yesterday’s markets.

China’s breakneck pace of digitization

By Jeongmin Seong, Kevin Wei Wang, and Jonathan Woetzel

The consumer economy is now among the world’s most digitized, and business transformation is accelerating with an explosion of start-ups and new business models.

Everything speeds up in the digital economy, and nowhere is that more evident than in China. In little more than a decade, China has come from almost nowhere to become the largest e-commerce market in the world, accounting for more than 40 percent of global e-commerce transactions (exhibit). China’s mobile payments are 11 times the value of those in the United States thanks to consumers’ early embrace of the technology. This flourishing digital culture is paying innovation dividends, as China is home to one in three of the world’s start-up “unicorns,” those with more than $1 billion in market cap. And China now places in the top ranks of global venture-capital investment in virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence.

China’s digital economy has jumped from almost nowhere to lead in e-commerce and seed many successful start-ups.

That innovation base is leading to a host of new business models based on emerging technologies that might soon revitalize other, previously lagging sectors of China’s economy. According to a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute, these new approaches include directly linking business buyers and suppliers in disintermediation plays, disaggregating incumbent value chains as digital attackers move in, and creating a raft of new digitally “dematerialized” products and services. Creative destruction on a grand scale, which would boost productivity and the international competitiveness of China’s economy, might be next. Between 10 and 45 percent of revenue in China’s industries could shift from old business models to new ones enabled by digital by 2030. The transformation is picking up steam: in 2013, industries in the United States were 4.9 times more digitized than ones in China; in 2016, that figure had fallen to 3.7 times.1

About the authors

Jeongmin Seong is a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and is based in McKinsey’s Shanghai office, where MGI director Jonathan Woetzel is a senior partner; Kevin Wei Wang is a senior partner in the Hong Kong office.

How China’s shift to consumer-led growth is changing industry dynamics

By Elisabeth Hirschbichler, Nathan Liu, and Ulrich Weihe

The experience of the specialty-chemical sector shows the ground-level impact.

China’s move from an investment-led to a consumption-led economy is a familiar theme. But the momentous shift is changing the fortunes of manufacturing industries in less visible ways as demand for higher-value products expands. The specialty-chemical industry is a case in point (exhibit). In line with wider economic trends, the fastest growers (and those with higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) include the specialty chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer goods such as personal-care ingredients and fragrances. Similarly, growth in advanced industries such as autos, aerospace, and electronics is supporting higher demand for the likes of electronic chemicals and high-performance plastics. On the flip side, products used in traditional industries are growing more slowly, their margins squeezed as these markets become more commoditized.

Many of the specialty-chemical industry’s advantaged segments are related to the manufacture of consumer goods.

There may be lessons for other industries in the way the changes are reshaping the specialty-chemical sector. Chinese players will benefit, to be sure, but the new playing field should also allow international players—which have been losing share on their earlier, older-line investments—scope to reposition themselves to their advantage. The demand for more sophisticated products, after all, plays to the strengths of foreign companies in specialty chemicals and elsewhere.

With China’s economic turn likely to affect the prospects for individual specialty chemicals in different ways, executives will need to carefully adapt product strategies to fit these evolving patterns of demand.

About the authors

Elisabeth Hirschbichler is an associate partner in McKinsey’s Vienna office, Nathan Liu is a partner in the Shanghai office, and Ulrich Weihe is a partner in the Frankfurt office.

For a more complete set of findings, see “A game plan for international specialty-chemical companies in China.”

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Guaranteed to Shrink, Wrinkle, and Fade

June 1, 2018 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized
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