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🛒 The D2C shakeout

The Hustle

Apple Store employees in at least 8 stores are exploring unionization. They’re avoiding detection by discussing the matter in one of the sneakiest, most cunning, and stealthiest ways possible: by communicating via Android phones.

In today’s email:

  • State of D2C: 8 trends to watch in ecomm.
  • Chart: Tesla has a water problem.
  • Geographical indications: A nifty little label doing big business.
  • Around the web: A novel game, ASL tips, why Ikea owns so much of Romania, and more interesting internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about “pig-butchering” scams, why the USPS won’t go electric, and Amazon’s fake review woes.

The big idea

Eight ecommerce trends to keep an eye on

You’ve prob heard this stat: the pandemic accelerated the shift to ecommerce by 5 years.

While the transition is happening, the shakeout has been anything but clean.

To wit: Shopify — the face of the ecommerce shift — has seen its stock fall 60% from recent highs due to technological (Facebook’s faltering ad business) and macro (reopening) changes.

What’s next?

One of the leading resources on the industry is 2PM, which — together with Deloitte — released a report highlighting 8 ecommerce trends:

  • Brands to drop 3rd-party retailers: To better control inventory and customer experience, brands will focus on their own channels of distribution (“Nike will be 70% direct by 2027”).
  • Digitally native brands will open more stores: Why? Physical locations “heighten the brand’s online halo.”
  • Apple’s privacy changes will have a long-lasting effect. The iPhone maker has already stymied Facebook’s ad tracking and is on track to build its own ad empire.
  • Rising customer acquisition costs force companies to invest in their own content to reach future customers (*cough* like HubSpot buying The Hustle *cough*).
  • Payments is a battleground: The US is only 8th in mobile payments adoption. Increasing adoption is a huge biz opportunity.
  • Big retailers like Amazon and Walmart will continue to buy up planes and ships to avoid future supply chain disruptions.
  • The future of malls could be as logistic hubs for ecommerce, especially as product return sites.
  • Web3 more than a fad: Brands will have to figure out their metaverse and blockchain strategies.

You can read the whole report here. As for us, there’s only one ironclad prediction: By 2027, we’ll still be ordering toilet paper from Amazon.

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This fall, Target will pilot a curbside pickup option at select stores that includes returns and Starbucks orders. #ecommerce-retail

Astro is Amazon’s helpful little home robot. However, a product tester recently said he thinks $1.4k+ is too much to pay, even if Astro will carry your beer around. #emerging-tech

Update: The IRS has an alternative for taxpayers who aren’t into facial recognition. They can verify their identity via video chat with a human. #privacy

A woman lost $390k — much of it inheritance money — in a crypto dating scam. In 2021 alone, victims lost $7.7B+ to crypto scams. #fintech-crypto

A new Siri: Apple’s Siri has a new gender-neutral voice, nicknamed “Quinn,” found in iOS 15.4 beta. #big-tech

car manufacturing water usage by brand

Visual: Selina Lee

Tesla’s water problem

When it comes to problems with producing cars, much of the conversation has centered around chip shortages, or even flaming boats.

But another problem is water, and Tesla is dealing with it right now.

The company’s $5.7B Berlin factory — which will produce 500k cars annually — is facing legal hurdles as authorities warn the plant could reduce the local groundwater supply to dangerous levels.

Elon has laughed off the problem, but experts say the factory would double the local region’s water needs.

(Check out this article to learn more about how water is used in auto manufacturing.)

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Free Resource

Research findings from 1m Instagram users

Stellar social media growth requires more than your natural quippiness.

But the rest we can help with. HubSpot teamed up with Mention to package data from 110m+ Instagram posts and deliver the must-knows for digital marketers.

Insights in this report will help you better understand the nuances of today’s Instagram and approach the platform like a seasoned pro.

Included in the 2022 Instagram engagement report

  • Engagement trends for posts and stories
  • Best practices for tagging, hashtags, and location tags
  • Global- and regional-specific insights from 1m+ users
  • How to leverage influencers and micro-influencers
  • Examples from brands like NASA and National Geographic

These takeaways were assembled with social media marketers in mind.

For the ‘gram →
Lucrative Labels

What the heck is a geographical indication?

Florida oranges, Idaho potatoes, Washington apples — what do they all have in common?

A nifty little label called a geographical indication (GI).

A GI is essentially a legal label marking that a product comes from a particular region. Per The Economist, GIs carry benefits for both consumers and producers.

So how does it work?

GIs can be domestic or international. Domestic GIs are protected by local governments, while international GIs are protected by the TRIPS agreement, which falls under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Once approved for GI status, the labels function similarly to trademarks.

  • For consumers, GIs act as a quality guarantee and can signify that a product meets certain production standards
  • For producers, GIs can help allow local communities to invest in their unique production process, while also allowing them to boost distribution and raise prices

Case in point: The average premium for foods with a GI label is 43%. For wine, it’s 300%.

Higher prices…

… can have an outsize impact in regions that depend on farming.

In Benin, a West African country that just secured its first GI label for the coveted sugarloaf pineapple, 38% of the population works on farms, and 45% live on less than $1.90 per day.

How lucrative can GIs be? Just look at the EU, which reportedly logged ~$84B in sales from goods marked with GIs in 2017.

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⚖️ On this day: In 1868, President Andrew Johnson became the 1st president to be impeached for allegedly violating the Tenure of Office Act. He was not convicted.

📚 Cure boredom: Can you judge a book by its cover? In this game, the goal is to guess a book’s rating using just the cover.

🤟 Useful: Learn the ABCs in American Sign Language with this AI-powered website.

🌲 That’s interesting: Ikea is Romania’s largest private landowner, buying up forestland for wood. Meanwhile, environmentalists trying to save the nation’s forests face brutal resistance.

🐶 Aww: And now, a dog that knows how to get what it wants.

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

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