- Express Checkout
- Express Checkout #59 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm
Express Checkout #59 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm
Commerce and CPG news from the week of 1/30/24
Hello hello from sunny Key West, FL 🌴!
My family and I flew in yesterday for my first vacation in a minute. We’re here for the week so if anyone has suggestions of restaurants, excursion, things to see let me know!
I’ll be in LA the next two weeks 10-25th, so hit me up!
(If you’re reading this email in gmail it might get clipped! You can always view full issues here.)
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🍪 🤑 Also, my friend Nicholas has launched his Wefunder campaign for his brand MMMLY! Delicious! Go check it out 🙂
🔥 Big News - 10 items or less 🔥
Shopify's Winter '24 Edition - Shopify has introduced well over 100 updates to their services, let’s see what they got cooking:
Subscription - a new free Subscriptions app that allows users to set up and manage subscriptions directly from their Shopify admin.
POS Ship from Store - Soon, users will be able to select a retail store as the fulfillment location for an order, enabling staff to pick, pack, and ship orders directly from the shop.
Markets Pro - Product bundles which simplifies selling internationally by handling global taxes, duties, restrictions, shipping labels, customs, fraud, and foreign exchange.
Shopify Audiences - Users can now pull custom targeting lists for ad platforms like Meta, Google, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok.
Shop Campaigns - A customer acquisition program that offers estimates and analytics to maximize the impact of marketing dollars.
Media Editor - Allows users to use generative AI to instantly create and edit product images for free.
Sidekick - AI-enabled assistant that helps increase productivity, improve workflows, make smarter decisions, and reduce time spent on operational tasks.
Shopify Capital's Line of Credit - Users can now access funding they need directly from their admin and only pay interest on the amount withdrawn. The credit limit replenishes as they repay.
Shopify Capital's Term Loans - Shopify now offers Term Loans, allowing users to tailor loan amounts, rates, and repayments to align with their specific business needs.
More thoughts from Patrick can be found here!
Layoffs at major carrier - UPS announced 12,000 job cuts and reported a drop in package volume in its Q4 earnings report. The company's revenue fell short of Wall Street estimates, leading to a dip in shares. UPS plans to save $1 billion in costs through the layoffs and is considering selling its Coyote truck brokerage business. (source)
Loyalty program gets a big update - Apparel brand Kith has launched its Kith Loyalty program, offering exclusive custom items, early access to products, VIP invitations to events, and more to its members. The program includes a 3-tiered structure and allows members to earn loyalty points through various activities. (source)
I liked Alexa Killroy’s breakdown on Twitter - see here
Marvel star and CPG legend launch coffee brand - Robert Downey Jr.has launched a new happy coffee company with Craig Dubitsky (founder of Hello Products and Eos). The company offers a range of coffee products, including whole beans, ground coffee, instant coffee, and K-cup-compatible pods. Check out my TikTok video on the launch here! (source)
🗞️ News from the week (1/30/24 - 2/4/24)
WHSmith, a UK-based travel retailer, plans to open over 110 stores in 2024, with more than half of them in the US. (source)
Walmart plans to add 150+ large-format stores across the U.S. over the next five years. Some locations will be expanded from smaller stores into Supercenters, while others will be new stores. The new stores will feature a more modern look, sustainability features, and technology like scannable QR codes. (source)
I guess 4,600 stores across the US is not enough….
Food52 has announced 45 layoffs across the flagship site and its owned brands. This amounts to 22 percent of Food52's total headcount. (source)
Aldi has partnered with Grabango to introduce its first fully automated checkout system in the U.S. at a store in suburban Chicago. The system uses computer vision-based cameras and sensors to monitor shoppers and record their selected items. The concept is similar to Amazon's Just Walk Out service. Aldi operates over 2,300 stores in the U.S. (source)
🛒 CPG & Consumer Goods
Vacation Inc, known for it's 80s-inspired sunscreen and suncare products, have dropped their second eau de toilette, AFTER SUN by Vacation. It has notes of aloe, green tea, and other scents. (source)
Ganni is partnering with Lenzing and Recyc Leather to introduce Pélinova, a hybrid material made from Tencel lyocell fibers and recycled leather fibers. This eco-conscious alternative will be used in Ganni's Slouchy Boots. The Pélinova material is created through a process that reduces water usage by 70%. (source)
Kim Kardashian has relaunched her makeup line, SKKN by Kim, with a new collection featuring lip liners, lipsticks, and an eyeshadow palette in various shades of nude. This relaunch consolidates all future beauty launches under the SKKN by Kim brand name, after the closure of KKW Beauty and KKW Fragrance. (source)
Millie Bobby Brown has launched a new fashion line called Florence by Mills Fashion in collaboration with Delta Galil USA. The brand, targeted towards Gen Z, will release its first collection online in the U.S. and U.K (Source)
Target is introducing Clevr Blends in 500 stores. They’ll offer smaller 8-serving bags of Clevr Blends' popular SuperLattes, which are dairy and refined sugar-free.
Lululemon is expanding into men's sneakers. The Cityverse is a casual sneaker while the Beyondfeel is a performance-focused running shoe. Lululemon has had women’s focused sneakers since March 2022, but I haven’t personally seen a lot of discussion about them. Curious to see how they’ll perform! (source)
Treasury Wine Estates, the company behind 19 Crimes wine, has introduced "The Vanished" Spiced Rum, marking its entry into the spirits market. The rum is currently available in Tesco Stores in the UK, with no information on its availability in the US. (source)
Elmhurst 1925, a plant-based beverage maker, has launched a sour cream alternative in a squeezable pouch. The dairy-free product is made with oatmilk, hemp protein, and other ingredients without any added gums or fillers. (source)
Pretty Tasty has launched its RTD collagen tea line, formulated with collagen peptides to support skin, hair, joint, and nail care. The tea is available in Peach and Raspberry flavors, with additional flavors and retail availability coming soon. Pretty Tasty will also release single-serving stick packs in March. (source)
The peach was delicious!!
The Vita Coco Company, known for it’s coconut water company, has discontinued their plant-based energy drink brand Runa. (source)
The FDA is updating the definition of the nutrient content claim "healthy" on food labels to align with current nutrition science and federal dietary guidance. The proposed changes set specific limits for added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Raw whole fruits and vegetables automatically qualify for the "healthy" claim. The FDA is also researching a voluntary symbol to label "healthy" food products. (source)
TikTok is testing a new feature that will automatically idenitfy products in videos and offer links to similar items on TikTok Shop. This feature has the potential to expand product links to all videos. (source)
Vision Pro eCommerce capabilities (I know Future Commerce will have a deep dive soon 👀)
Lowe's has introduced Lowe's Style Studio, a new experience for the home improvement industry designed for Apple Vision Pro. This breakthrough technology allows customers to visualize and design their dream kitchen in 3D using spatial computing. (source)
J.Crew has partnered with Obsess to launch the "J.Crew Virtual Closet" app on Apple Vision Pro. Users can shop J.Crew products in a 3D environment, interact with J.Crew stylists via FaceTime, and explore a curated selection of products with high magnification. (source)
Klarna has entered the subscription market with the launch of Klarna Plus in the US. This new offering expands beyond BNPL and offers exclusive shopping and financing features to loyal Klarna shoppers for a monthly fee of $7.99. (source)
Amazon has announced Rufus, a new generative AI-powered conversational shopping experience. Rufus is an “expert” shopping assistant trained on Amazon's product catalog and information from across the web to answer customer questions, make recommendations, and facilitate product discovery. (source)
The e-commerce platform of Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) generated $800 million in 2023, reaching $1.7 billion in lifetime sales. Monthly active customers grew by 32% YoY, and RNDC has invested in the platform to meet industry demands. RNDC previously invested in Thirstie and acquired Young Won Trading Distribution. (source)
🏭 Supply Chain
The Garrard County Distilling Co. in Kentucky, owned by Staghorn, is a massive new distillery that has the potential to make a big impact in the whiskey world. With the capacity to produce 8.5 million gallons or 150,000 barrels of whiskey per year, the facility aims to support Staghorn's brands and provide liquid for other startup and established brands. (source)
The USPS has introduced its first EV charging stations at the South Atlanta Sorting and Delivery Center, marking the start of the electrification and modernization of its delivery fleet. The initiative is part of USPS's 10-year plan to upgrade its processing, transportation, and delivery networks, with a goal of adding over 66,000 EVs to its fleet by 2028. (source)
The Feed, a sports nutrition and eComm company, is deploying 48 Brightpick Autopicker mobile robots in its new warehouse. The system will go live in March 2024 and is expected to fulfill 5,000 orders per day, reducing reliance on manual labor. The Autopickers will handle high-density storage totes, while human associates will handle small items and larger SKUs. (source)
💸 Funding news
Yeti has acquired backpack brand Mystery Ranch, a fast-growing brand known for its reputation among backcountry experts and wildland firefighters. I think this is a great acquisition from Yeti, my friend Oren made a breakdown on TikTok that I really agree with. (source)
Utz Brands has announced the sale for $150 million of its Good Health and R.W. Garcia brands, as well as the Lincolnton, NC and Lititz, PA manufacturing facilities to Our Home, an operating company of Better-for-You brands that includes Real Food From the Ground Up, Popchips, and Food Should Taste Good. The transactions are expected to provide approximately in after-tax net proceeds, which will be used to pay down long-term debt. (source)
Amazon aggregator Forum Brands has acquired organic period care brand Lola. Lola expanded into retail in 2020 and launched new product categories. (source)
Perelel Health, a prenatal and postnatal vitamin company, has raised $6 million in series A funding from Unilever Ventures, Willow Growth, and Selva Ventures. (source)
Next Century Spirits has acquired a minority stake in canned cocktail producer Vide. (source)
Manufactured raised nearly $20 million in equity & debt for their Series A round. The investors in this round include Positive Sum, co-founded by Patrick O’Shaughnessy and Sam Cates, MS&AD Ventures led by Jon Soberg, and Triplepoint Capital represented by Nathan Vellayan. (source)
MYAVANA, the beauty-tech company founded by Candace Mitchell Harris, announces a new experiential partnership with Ulta Beauty, along with strategic investments from Prisma Ventures and the BrainTrust Fund. (source)
Kirkland's has secured a $12 million term loan from Gordon Brothers, a global asset management firm, to support its strategic repositioning efforts. (source)
Amazon has decided to back out of its deal to buy iRobot due to regulatory issues. (source)
Private investment firm Bansk Group has acquired meat snacks company No Man's Land Foods LLC. No Man's Land, known for its beef jerky and meat sticks. This acquisition marks Bansk's second investment in the food and beverage sector. (source)
The Zero Proof, a leading online retailer and supplier of adult non-alcoholic beverages, has closed its Series A funding round led by Asahi Group Beverages & Innovation. (source)
InvestBev, the largest private equity firm focused on the adult beverage sector, has made a seven-figure investment in JuneShine, a leader in hard kombucha and RTD spirits. (source)
🧐 Interesting reads
What is brand marketing anyway? (Medium - Michelle Wiles)
Tom Brady Merges TB12 With NOBULL | Can NOBULL Become a "Complete Wellness Lifestyle" Brand & IPO? - YouTube - Joshua Schall
Inside Dude Wipe's $120 Million Success Story | Entrepreneur
He Buys $5,000,000+ Brands, HOW? - YouTube - The Consumer VC
💡 Data, reports, and trends
😋 Brands and things I’ve tried this week
I’m getting Smooshed 🧼 I’ve been waiting for this one for a minute. Started by the folks at Leaf Shave, the sustainable razor company, this take the disgusting old plasticy loofah into something better. (not sponsored, just a fan!)
Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions, feedback, or stories I missed, let me know!
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