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👚 What is Amazon Style?

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Today’s rundown:

  • Prime style: Why is Amazon opening a fashion store?
  • Metaverse moves: Retailers are flocking to NFTs.
  • 5G: Airlines are concerned it will affect landings.
  • Around the web: Spying on hippos, marketing inspo, fake Viking helmets, and more cool internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Amazon Style

Amazon to launch its 1st physical fashion store. It’s called Amazon Style

A photo of Jeff Bezos went viral earlier this month.

In it, the Amazon founder is celebrating New Year’s Eve while wearing a disco-print silk shirt and sunglasses with heart-frames.

The photo op makes a bit more sense now on news that Amazon is…

… launching its 1st physical fashion store

It will be called 2 words that have never been used together before: Amazon Style. And the 1st location will open in LA later this year.

Here are some more details, per CNBC:

  • Size: Around 30k square feet, which is “around the size of a typical T.J. Maxx location, but smaller than the average department store”
  • Inventory: It will stock Amazon products as well as emerging brands catering to every price point

A new shopping experience

Amazon Style will only have “display items” in the store, with the rest of the merchandise held in the backroom. Customers scan a QR code for sizes, colors, reviews, and other product recommendations.

The fitting-room experience has also been remade: There is a touch screen in each room, and shoppers can have items sent to them.

Finally, checkout is facilitated by Amazon’s palm-scanning technology.

The latest in Amazon’s physical retail experimentation:

  • 2015: It opened its 1st physical bookstore (Amazon Books) in Seattle
  • 2017: It acquired Whole Foods for $13.7B
  • 2018: It rolled out a number of no-cashier, self-checkout stores called Amazon Go
  • 2020: It launched a chain of fresh grocery stores (you guessed it, Amazon Fresh)

Will Amazon Style work? In physical retail, many shoppers do enjoy the experience of looking through inventory and trying to find a hidden gem. The phenomenon — called “treasure hunting” — is virtually nonexistent in Amazon Style’s QR code model.

Whether or not the experiment works, Amazon is already America’s largest retailer with $41B+ in sales (passing Walmart). That’s a lot of disco shirts.

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SNIPPETS

No-beef jerky: PepsiCo and Beyond Meat are partnering on vegan jerky made from plant-based protein. #ecommerce-retail

Solar stores: A new report says that superstores — think Walmart or Target — could get half their electricity from rooftop solar panels. #clean-energy

Robot rental: Companies are now renting robots. It’s cheaper than buying one or hiring a human employee, but their impact on human jobs remains unclear. #emerging-tech

Selfie tax: The IRS is requiring online users to create an ID.me account, which uses selfies for facial recognition, by summer 2022. #privacy

Russia’s central bank wants to outlaw crypto mining and trading. Currently, Russia is the 3rd-largest crypto miner in the world. #fintech-crypto

Lawsuit: The parents of an Amazon warehouse employee killed during a tornado have filed a wrongful death suit against the retailer. #big-tech

Metaverse Moves
NFT cartoon

Retailers are flocking to NFTs. Why?

As you’ve likely heard, the NFT hype cycle has gone nuclear in the last year.

While early use cases for brands seemed fuzzy, the retail sector seems to be figuring it out. Depending on the brand, different players are chasing different use cases for the emergent technology.

For instance:

  • Gucci partnered with Superplastic, a global collectibles brand that creates animated celebrities, to release a limited series of digital and physical collectibles
  • Nike acquired RTFKT, a virtual sneaker company that makes NFTs in a push to outfit the footwear of the metaverse
  • Walmart filed patents to sell virtual goods in categories you might find on its shelves (e.g., electronics, appliances, and sporting equipment)

The takeaway?

Retail’s NFT gold rush is largely rooted in self-preservation.

Each brand wants to make sure if the metaverse does manifest, no one steals its existing value prop.

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Frequency Fight
plane

Airlines vs. 5G, explained

5G is under fire this week, but not from conspiracy theory message boards this time.

The core issue this week is safety in the skies.

The backstory

Back in February 2021, the FCC auctioned off a spectrum in the C band to telecom carriers including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile for $81B+.

C band frequencies are between 4-8 GHz, per PC Mag. AT&T and Verizon’s 5G networks use frequencies between 3.7 and 3.98 GHz.

And that’s not far from 4.2 to 4.4 GHz…

… which aircraft radar altimeters use. Altimeters tell pilots how high their plane is from the ground — crucial when landing in low visibility.

Concern that 5G antennas near airports could cause interference — and thus delays and cancellations — has led to weeks of discussion among transportation regulators, wireless companies, and airlines, per CNN.

On Wednesday, AT&T and Verizon turned on their 5G networks

However, they agreed to hold off near airports. That compromise, plus good weather, led to a fairly smooth rollout.

By Thursday morning, the FAA had cleared 62% of the nation’s aircraft to land in low visibility, with more expected soon, per CNBC.

Meanwhile, PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien says compromises are likely to continue until all altimeters can be upgraded to those unlikely “to be fooled by 5G.”

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TRENDS

Edtech lessons used by Google and Dropbox

By edtech — we’re talking growth mentality.

Our copywriter (hi) knows it can be more elusive these days. That’s OK.

Maybe this is the boost you need. Likely not, but it’s still damn interesting.

Trends member Tommy (and his co-founder James) educate tech big dogs like Google, Dropbox, and Randstad on extreme growth thinking.

After getting trapped in a hurricane during a trans-Atlantic row, they launched The Tempest Two, a pro expedition team that teaches mental keys to success.

Here are the 4 core “soft skills” you need to weather every storm.

You’ll have to pay $1 for access. That buck is your ticket to peruse our content archive and unrivaled community of 17k+.

Otherwise, we’ll still send you occasional heat. ❤️

Try Trends for $1 →
AROUND THE WEB

💉 On this day: In 2020, the 1st covid case in the US was confirmed in a patient in Washington state.

👩‍💻 How to: The Verge has 5 tips for looking good and sounding crisp during video meetings.

🤯 That’s interesting: Vikings wore horned helmets, right? Nope, they didn’t. Horned helmets actually came from the Bronze Age, 2k years earlier.

😡 Haha: This site simulates what it’s like to be on the internet today in all its frustrating, hilarious glory.

💡 Useful: When you need marketing inspiration, check out this site for a massive archive of ad copy.

🦛 Wow: Hippos are dangerous, which is why this undercover robot spy is a great way to get an up-close glimpse of their daily lives.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🐕 What it’s like to make $100k+ walking dogs.

🥸 The con artist who sold rich investors a fake country.

🖼️ Is Tumblr on the road back to relevance?

📱 The App Store is almost 14 years old. It’s big.

👔 Our wild survey about bosses that made you quit.

Shower Thoughts
  1. “You don’t really hear about people spontaneously combusting much anymore.”  SOURCE
  2. “People who live where it doesn’t snow will never understand how quiet the morning after a big snow is.”  SOURCE
  3. “Vegans use plants and make them taste like animals, but no one uses animals to make them taste like plants.”  SOURCE
  4. “People enjoy shows about societal collapse because there’s more purpose in dealing with zombies and scavenging for food and shelter than there is living to work for the weekend.”  SOURCE
  5. “A lot of us might have been hacked and never realized it. The hacker realized that their victim had less money than them, so the hackers moved to bigger fish.”  SOURCE
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