1. Madison Reed & Ulta partnership gets deeper
DTC hair color company Madison Reed announced on Tuesday its expansion into over 1,200 Ulta Beauty stores, which is now the brand’s exclusive wholesale partner both online and offline. The partnership will also include a chatbot powered by computer vision technology that gives customers hair color recommendations.
2. H&M brings product transparency online
Starting this week, fashion retailer H&M has brought its transparency layer for all its garments on hm.com. H&M will now share details such as production country, supplier names, factory names and addresses as well as the number of workers in the factories. In addition, customers can also find out more about the materials used to make a specific garment.
3. Lululemon plans foray into footwear
At its annual analyst day on Wednesday, Lululemon’s CEO Calvin McDonald said that the company will start making its own in-house footwear. The effort builds on a successful collaboration between Lululemon and sneaker brand APL – Athletic Propulsion Labs – which launched in August 2017.
4. Walmart and Amazon join USDA’s online grocery pilot
The US Department of Agriculture announced the launch of a pilot program that will open up online grocery shopping to those receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. The beneficiaries will be able to shop for groceries from online retailers like Walmart, Amazon and, with time, ShopRite and others. The pilot is currently live in New York state.
5. DTC company Ro reaches a $500M valuation
With a fresh round of $85M funding, DTC company Ro has been valued by Venture Capitalists at $500M reported Techcrunch. After its flagship brand ‘Roman’ and treatment plan Zero, the latest round of capital is expected to be channeled towards a third brand ‘Rory’, aimed at women.
6. Google gets FAA clearance for drone delivery
Alphabet Inc.’s Wing Aviation unit has reportedly received the first FAA authorization to operate a fleet of unmanned aircraft for consumer-goods deliveries, a move that may jump-start various companies’ commercial drone services nationwide. This approval, however, is restricted currently to a rural area around Blacksburg, Virginia.