Over the past few years, sustainability in retail has become a hot topic – and for a good reason.

There is no doubt the retail industry generates a lot of waste. While we enjoy unwrapping new products, we all know in the back of our minds that all that excessive packaging is an issue.

This week’s blog post is going to provide you with a sneak-peak into a cool initiative looking to reduce (and reuse) waste in retail, in addition to some hot topics like data-driven fashion and Amazon’s latest growth.

Shall we?

A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform

There’s a lot of talk about sustainability in retail.

Now, Loop, a new zero-waste platform from a coalition of major consumer product companies, is actually doing something about it.

The process is designed to be as seamless as possible: Loop will send name-brand products, like Tide detergent, or Häagen Dazs ice cream. Once customers are done, they can ship the empty container back, where it gets cleaned and reused for the next person.

Companies are acknowledging packaging has to change- and that this also a major opportunity for them.

How?

Instead of making the cheapest packaging possible, packaging can be designed to look nicer on shelves. Not only that- It can also perform better; the Haagen-Dazs ice cream tub, for example, can keep ice cream frozen for multiple hours.

The fact that major brands like Tide and Gillette are taking part in this initiative, rather than niche “green” brands, is significant, and hopefully, soon enough more brands will join.

Image Source: fastcompany

Rent the Runway launches a data-driven clothing line

Rent the Runway, the rental service offering apparel and accessories of over 600 brands, is stepping up its game.

In its latest project, named the “Designer Collective”, Rent the Runway will partner up with leading fashion designers to create unique pieces for its customers.

Fashion designers Jason Wu, Derek Lam and Prabal Gurung will each contribute 10-15 styles for the debut collection, with more pieces to be added throughout the year.

This move signals a smart, data-driven expansion of the company that has disrupted the fashion rental service in the US since its establishment in 2009.

Over the past few years, Rent The Runway has collected millions of data points from its customers- from rating, to location, styles and sizes.

Now, by funneling this data to its designers, the company is expected to grow beyond its existing 10 million subscribers- bringing together its unique database and market understanding to further disrupt the industry.

Image Source: recode.net

Feelunique wants to be an international launch pad for beauty brands

U.K.-based beauty e-commerce site Feelunique is moving forward with its global domination plans, announcing new partnerships with regional search engines and marketplaces.

In attempt to enter the Russian beauty market, Feelunique will partner with Russia search giant Yandex this February. The retailer will also launch a partnership with China’s luxury retailer Secoo, Indian e-commerce giant Myntra.com and Sweden’s media company Custos Group, in an effort to bring the Feelunique’s array of brands to new markets.

Its latest Russia, India and Sweden-focused strategy followes its 2018 partnerships with China’s Little Red Book, Kaloa and JD.com, as well as France’s La Redoute.

Feelunique, which carries over 35,000 products from 500 beauty brands, hit nearly $120 million in retail sales in 2018 in addition to 25% year-by-year growth.

What’s its secret?

Rather than working with different retailers in various regions, like Sephora or Ulta in the U.S, Feelunique is looking to establish the company as a leader in international beauty by working with local marketplaces.

The way things stand, their plans are definitely working.

Image Source: Yukova

Amazon sales profit top estimates, driven by AWS and retail

Amazon’s sales and earnings in last holiday quarter beat analysts’ estimates, showing the world’s biggest online retailer can maintain major growth while improving profitability, as overall revenue rose 20%.

What’s the story behind this rapid growth?

Over the last year, CEO Jeff Bezos has been pushing beyond the low-margin business of selling goods into more profitable categories like AWS and advertising.

And it’s been working:

1. Advertising served a key moneymaker this season, as the company’s revenue from advertising grew by 95 percent to $3.39 billion in the quarter.

2. Sales at Amazon Web Services, the top seller of cloud-computing services, climbed 45 percent to $7.43 billion.

3. Those profits also helped fuel Amazon’s growing devices business, such as smart-home and connected-car gadgets that operate on Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa platform.

Amazon has historically delivered relatively little profit, as it fulfills Bezos’s strategy of investing to stay ahead of the curve. Amazon has been spending its money on building warehouses and data centers worldwide, inventing new devices and automating human tasks.

But thanks to the categories mentioned above, it looks like Amazon will continue to take significant wallet share; According to Emarketer, Shoppers will spend $484 billion globally on Amazon this year, up 26% from 2018.

Image Source: TheVerge

Summary

The retail industry is moving forward.

While we continue to see the decline of some retailers, other innovative brands are keeping things fresh.

Take for example Rent the Runway’s partnership with fashion designers, that beyond its intelligent use of customer data –  is truly challenging the essence of department stores and other multi-brand retailers with its innovative approach.

According to CEO Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway is”trying to build a game-changing consumer behavior that is bigger than Amazon”.

While Rent the Runway isn’t about to become the next Amazon, we should definitely watch out for players like Hyman who understand trends, speak to their costumes and now- even create data-driven fashion that predicts which trends their customers want in advance. 

 

 


 

 

Inbal Perlman

Inbal is the community and hub manager of the Re:Tech hub, a co-workingspace for retail and e-commerce startups based in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Hub offers its members industry focused events, access to global partners and various opportunities in the global and local retail tech ecosystem.

If you are in retail and would like to learn what new technologies can help push your business forward, get in touch.