2PM - No. 792: FRENEMIES, PART 2

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Welcome to No. 792: The most clicked links from last week's only letter are from 2PM and Insider: Omicron and Resilient Retail and 20 booming DTC Companies to bet your career on. If you'd like to join the membership for full access, start here.

This is a solid issue ahead, it begins with Shopify's impact on the largest companies on the planet. First Facebook, now Amazon. 


Shopify Outfoxed Amazon? / Bloomberg: First it was a Meta executive proclaiming "Shopify is our frenemy" and now it's Amazon who feels angst towards Tobi's tactics, "Shopify made us look like fools." One thing is for certain, the savvy team in Ottawa has staked its reputation on helping to arm the rebels. The world's largest companies seem to be taking note. A few years ago, Lütke sensed there was an advantage in contrasting Shopify with its widely feared competitor, remarking, “Amazon is trying to build an empire, and Shopify is trying to arm the rebels.” But it’s difficult to argue you’re still an insurgent force when you have a Death Star-size market cap. To keep the rebel alliance intact, Lütke has to make Shopify more useful to the world’s largest retailers, while helping smaller ones caught in the grip of supply chain shortages and inflation.

2PM Data: 10% of Amazon sellers also use Shopify to market their products:


2PM Memo (986 words): In a new feature detailing the trajectory of Shopify, Bloomberg unpacked CEO Tobi Lütke’s distinct management style, the company’s history, and its pointed differences from Amazon. While Amazon’s obsession with its customer and “everything store” tag define it, Shopify is merchant-obsessed and now striving to be the “everywhere store”, underscored by its early-pandemic move to completely virtual work. After years spent building the backbones of small businesses’ online stores, Shopify went public in 2015 and has catapulted to greater heights since the pandemic’s onset as traditional retailers moved online. (Read More)

Tiffany's new French owner brings a culture clash

HENRY / Wall Street Journal: We wrote on the impending culture clash in August: "...the goal is not just to reach young people. It’s to reach “up and comers” with the means to become customers, if not now then very soon." "In April, a group of Tiffany staffers circulated an unsanctioned memo offering tips on “Franco-American cultural nuances and etiquette. [...]Tiffany’s new chief executive, Anthony Ledru, denounced it after it circulated, disputing the notion that people had to assimilate to succeed at their jobs."

Nike ekes out growth on North American demand

eCommerce / Business of Fashion: Nike proved effective the combination of its DTC investments and the buzz generated by its strong move into Web3 (Part I, Part III). "Sales at the world's largest sports brand inched up to $11.4 billion in the quarter, driven by 12 percent growth in North America, Nike's largest market. [...] Its digital business in North America was up 40 percent over last year. Nike has invested heavily in its own e-commerce channels and continues to draw more shoppers to its suite of apps, which it said were responsible for 40 percent of the digital demand it saw in the quarter."


DTC Power List: No major brand updates this week but we are in the process of adding 100 new brands, topping 700 in total across North America, Great Britain, Australia, Mexico, South America, and Asia.

Returns are the new growth strategy

Returns Logistics / Retail Dive: Here's a statistic that we have covered in depth: Between 15 and 40% of online retail ends up being returned by the customer, representing a 10.6% return rate. These returns often cost upwards of 30% of the price of the product and in total were were estimated to cost $550 billion. "The dangerous news for retailers is that around 20% to 30% of products ordered online are returned, as compared to only 9% in brick-and-mortar stores. [...] On the other hand, if optimally managed, returns can actually become part of a retailer's growth strategy — easy return policies can grow sales, and smart preventative tactics can reduce overall returns, helping retailers to both grow and retain sales."

Holiday sales soared, with eCommerce notching huge gains

eCommerce / New York Times: Some good news in retail, we found a way to bolster our supply chain enough to delivery a solid holiday season. "Retail sales in the United States jumped nearly 11 percent this season compared with the holiday period in 2019, the year before the pandemic upended the global economy, according to a report Mastercard published on Sunday."

Have price and value in the art market parted ways for good?

WEB3 / The Art Newspaper: This is an article that we have long wanted to publish here at 2PM. Would you rather have a da Vinci painting the size of a Post It or an NFT valued at $12 million? Give me Leo. Unpopular opinion: the cost of the project and the value to the culture have drastically diverged. "Distinctions between price and value have been an age-old preoccupation of the West’s collecting culture, but right now they could hardly be more relevant. The latest digital collectibles are selling for staggering amounts of virtual money, paintings by young artists are being “flipped” at auction for up to 100 times what they were bought for from galleries two or three years ago. Meanwhile, Old Masters, which dominated the top end of the art trade when Wilde was writing, continue to fall out of collecting fashion, apart from a few heavily guaranteed trophies by famous names."

Dieline loves the 90s

2022 Trends / The Dieline: This one needs no introduction, it's a comprehensive rundown of what you will need to know about trends going into 2022. "What you have here is a collection of ten ideas and themes that we’ll be seeing more of in 2022. You’ll see how designers are looking to other decades for inspiration, new industries and markets, ethical consumption, and packaging trends that are a much-needed about-face from the dumpster fire that was 2020. Plus, we’ve talked to a handful of some of our favorite designers, and they’ve offered their invaluable insight into some of the creative trends you’ll be seeing in the very near future."

Retail’s battle with Covid actually saved its stores

Retail / Bloomberg: This is spot on, in July we wrote: "What we are seeing here is a steady rise in online retail adoption beyond the walls of Amazon. Online retail behaviors are more established today than they were four, six, or 12 months prior." From in-store modifications to omnichannel development, retailers may be better prepared than ever. "For all the human misery the coronavirus has brought, it’s not hard to make the case that the pandemic will ultimately strengthen the global retailers who made it through. It’s a startling turnaround from the doom-and-gloom predictions for the industry in mid-2020. “The idea that stores are dead has been proven to be a fallacy,” said Michael Baker, an analyst for D.A. Davidson who has covered U.S. retailers for more than two decades."


Oculus was the gift of the season (Barron's). Y2K fashion defined 2021 (Refinery 29). College athletes are rushing to monetize their brands (Seattle Times). Tom Brady now has his own color of blue (NFL). 


2pm_email_heading.jpg Trending Report. An insurance company, a service provider, a media brand, and an exclusive driving club: Hagerty wants to be all-in-one. The brand has taken the best of modern brand development and applied it to a car insurance business that is 37 years old. Of the nearly 11 million pre-classic vehicles in the United States, nearly 12% are insured by Hagerty.

For most, car insurance is not an emotional purchase. Insurance companies, despite their savvy marketing teams ten to lack brand affinity; this is by nature. Hagerty, a classic car insurer backed by Progress Insurance, wants to change that. Now publicly-traded as of last week, it’s bringing brand, media and culture to the forefront. When you think of classic car insurance, Hagerty wants you to think of their service but also the emotional attachment and status of association with the insurance provider. Can it pull it off? It certainly has the pedigree with the backing of Progressive Corporation. In 2015, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies expanded the definition of a classic car and partnered with Hagerty to offer its service.  

Re-Read This Memo


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