October 2020 Monthly News Roundup

We are pleased to share with you our roundup for October 2020. This month we highlight brands focusing on actionable sustainability initiatives and the increased urge to build creative digital capabilities. 


This month, we explore the actionable changes businesses are implementing based on their consumers' current mindset and new purchase preferences that have emerged.


The public and private markets were stable in October with industry heavy weights filing IPOs. In the fashion industry, apparel resale site, ThredUp confidentially filed to go public, which reflects the endurance of apparel resale even as clothing sales falter during the pandemic. Luxury fashion and goods giant, LVMH, acquired Tiffany for $15.8B, shaving $400M off the initial price that was stated last year. The French luxury house Chanel also announced a change with its merger with one of its suppliers, Italian shoemaker Ballin. In the health and fitness industry, golf equipment giant Callaway seized the opportunity to build upon the demand for connected sports applications by acquiring Topgolf for $2B, which would help Callaway create a global golf and entertainment business with the potential to become the 'Peleton of golf'. Web and mobile payment platform, Stripe, expanded into the African continent this month by acquiring Paystack ($200M+), a startup out of Lagos, Nigeria. Notable investments this month included: delivery startup goPuff ($380M), cloud-based customer service software provider MessageBird ($200M), grocery delivery company Instacart ( ($200M), energy efficient technology company Redaptive ($150M), telemedicine platform Avail Medsystems ($100M), robot-assisted dental implant surgery Neocis ($72M), small business payments and marketing startup Fivestars ($52.5M), hearing aids innovator Whisper ($35M), e-commerce experience platform Shogun ($35M), product discovery platform Syte ($30M), Stripe-backed platform to help startup founders and employees figure out their equity Pulley ($10M), and shift-based work platform Zira ($3.1M). 


The Focus on Actionable Sustainability Initiatives 


Over the span on the pandemic, consumer interest in corporate social responsibility and sustainability has never been higher and the pandemic has reinforced the importance of this across industries. In order to withstand the next unforeseen crisis, supply chains have to be more resilient and companies are realizing that they need to rethink the way they operate in order to become more sustainable, resilient, and resource-efficient. This month in the apparel industry, US denim label Levi's opened a new circular-focused concept store in London, which features new product solutions made from entirely repaired and recycled products from the brand, bespoke denim service, and vintage clothing. This new store acts as a new blueprint for Levi's new in-store consumer experience. Similarly, H&M launched the first in-store recycling machine called Loop, which uses a technique to dissemble, shred, spin, and knit old garments into new ones. Furniture giant, IKEA, also furthered its sustainability plans by announcing the opening of its secondhand store in Sweden's ReTuna mall, a retail building made up of solely resale stores. The new concept will only sell previously owned and refurbished home goods. Building on more than 15 years of sustainability leadership, Walmart joined the ranks of regenerative companies by announcing its goal to target zero emissions across the company's global operations by 2040. The company's main focus is to reduce emissions from the consumer supply chains via its Project Gigaton initiative, which allows its suppliers to buy renewable energy via its Gigaton PPA Program. 


The Urge to Build Creative Digital Capabilities 


While E-Commerce orders have skyrocketed throughout the pandemic, uncertainty remains around whether purchase behaviors will change. Pushed by the circumstances, many businesses have turned to new digital methodologies and tools in order to regain or retain consumer interest. Amazon rolled out Amazon Explore,  an interactive and customizable virtual vacation tour that allows consumers to take classes virtually, tour exotic places by booking one-on-one live-streamed sessions with local tour guides, and shop with personal shoppers. Meal delivery service, Postmates, also introduced a new retail delivery feature this month which allows consumers to shop local stores and merchants to build a virtual on-demand storefront in the app. Estée Lauder incorporated new digital capabilities by launching a creative audio experience which allows consumers who listen to Spotify on a Google Home device to verbally request a sample of the Advanced Night Repair serum and listen to a customized playlist to accompany their nighttime skincare routines. Estée Lauder's creative approach of merging beauty with digital shows the promise of how the beauty industry can incorporate digital capabilities in order to create a more interactive purchasing experience that can be equally as impactful online and in-store. 


If you don't already, follow us on Instagram @theretailsafari as we highlight some of our favorite brands and concepts and take you with us on our retail safaris in NYC and beyond. We wish everyone health and safety during these trying times.