Week in Review: It’s April, Fools!

april-fools-mr-t-600Trader Joe’s is closing all its stores, and the sky is falling. April Fools’ Day came one day early for fans (like me) of the specialty grocer. But the joke was on Yahoo News, which posted the faux Trader Joe’s press release (and has since pulled it from the web).

Trader Joe’s was far from the only April Fools’ Day prankster. For example, there was Google Express, which didn’t really launch Google Parachute (they work best when they’re open). iRobot and Zumba Fitness didn’t really create the Zumba Roomba. Man Crates didn’t really announce a joint venture focused on genetically resurrecting once-existing species for cured, mass consumptionFusion Beads didn’t change its name to “Fusion Bees,” with the promise of free bees in every order (actually, 20% off all bee charms, so there’s a win!). Wayfair also announced the launch of its Sofa (and Mattress, and Toilet…) of the Month Club.

And then there’s ThinkGeek with multiple April Fools’ Day items, Hammacher Schlemmer with The Smartphone Etiquette Biofeedback Trainer (see video), and DamnGeeky with a Lunar Watch made from moon rock brought back by Soviet Lunar Probe.

H&M may have the big win though, with the launch of the Mark Zuckerberg fashion line of jeans and gray t-shirts. Note, there’s no hoodie available.

Well played, Internet, well played… Many more pranks to come…

Intro by Multichannel Merchant Managing Editor Tim Parry.

Here’s a look at this weeks’ news, commentary and events that shaped the direct-to-customer world… and more.

Marketing

share-this-icon-75X75Instagram is planning to expand its length of videos from 15 seconds to 60 seconds, the social media platform recently made another change to its algorithm of its photo stream, pushing more retailers to create quality content in order to reach the top of the feeds…

Restoration Hardware announced it would begin charging customers for its loyalty program for $100 a year…

Olapic expanded its visual content marketing platform with the acquisition of Piqora, which comes alongside rapid growth of major global brands turning to user-generated content…

The use of emojis in marketing messages sent by brands via email and mobile increased 777% since the start of 2015…

Vibes released its 2016 Transactional Messaging Consumer Report, which examines consumer perceptions and preferences in service-based messaging

HookLogic announced the expansion of its native ad units on the mobile sites and apps of major ecommerce players including Macy’s, Target, Peapod, Sears, Staples, Walmart, and Toys ‘R Us

Ecommerce

Add-To-Cart-Icon-75X75FlipKart was the preferred ecommerce website of online consumers buying smartphones in 2015, Snapdeal and Amazon followed with market shares of 22.3% and 21.5% with FlipKart had 47.5% a share…

Are you engaging with your omnichannel customer? This blog post by HitSearchLimited, offers three great tips on how you can start…

Pitney Bowes has launched a single customer view software solution to enhance customer intelligence…

SHOP.CA has launched a B2B offering, complete with concierge service…

Solange Knowles has relaunched Saint Heron’s online store in partnership with BigCommerce

Luxury watch retailer Tourneau will now sell Longines products on its ecommerce site…

Sixtea has launched the first-ever Chinese cross-border tea business platform…

Consumer electronics account for 40% of DHgate’s B2B ecommerce marketplace sales…

Operations

shipping-delivery-75X75Postmates is launching a new subscription service that promises same-day delivery for a monthly fee of $9.99, on orders of $30 or more.

Rental rates for industrial real estate surged in the U.S. in 2015, boosted by the economic recovery and historically low vacancies in major logistics markets, according to a study from Prologis.

UPS will open a new facility in Parsippany, NJ in 2017, that will house 900 developers, designers and other technology professionals and be a hub for logistics and delivery system development.

FedEx issued $2 billion in debt, with another issue coming, for working capital as well as to help fund its $4.8 billion acquisition of Europe’s TNT Express.

Amazon plans to open a new 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Edgerton, KS, designed to handle larger bulky items.

… And more

newsWanda Gierhard, Neiman Marcus’ new chief marketing officer will soon resign from her post to focus on other interests…

Nordstrom furthers technology focus by hiring Kumar Srinivasan as its new chief technology officer

Amazon filed a lawsuit against former supply chain executive Arthur Valdez, claiming that his move to Target violates the terms of a non-competition agreement he signed 16 years ago when he began with the company…

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