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Commerce chronicles: Apr 15, 2024

Apr 15, 2024 - Alyssa Wolfe
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Apr 15 Commerce Chronicles | Puma, Dove, Happy Returns, TikTok & more

Dove sets Real Beauty guidelines, the supply chain embraces sustainability and Puma adjusts its marketing strategy. Plus, Stitch Fix looks to grow after restructuring, and TikTok bolsters 2023 SMB sales.

In this week’s news, a Happy Returns and Two Boxes partnership aims to improve the returns process, Stitch Fix looks toward the future and Puma positions marketing around sports performance and features top athletes. Plus, Dove pledges not to use AI models and new Oxford Business report highlights TikTok’s influence on SMB revenue in 2023. Visit our blog every Monday for a roundup of the latest commerce news.

How the retail supply chain is charting a more sustainable path

Visit the top retail ecommerce and supply chain blogs and you’ll likely find an article dedicated to sustainability in the supply chain. It’s become a trending topic that thought leaders are exploring. In a recent article on Supply Chain Dive,1 Ralph Lauren’s Chief Product Officer, Halide Alagöz, talked about how knowing their supply chain well was the key to the company’s sustainability efforts. He believes that traceability – looking closely at your supply chain and what’s happening within it – is critical for sustainability compliance.

Ralph Lauren is among a growing number of retailers that want to improve sustainability within their operations, for both compliance and in response to consumers. To this point, in December 2023, the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced the launching of The NRF Center for Retail Sustainability.2 The hub responds to the expanding consumer demand for sustainable brands and retailers increased interest in sustainability efforts. The Center will initially focus on three aspects of retail sustainability: Facilitating the growth of the circular economy, leveraging customer insights to better understand what consumers want to see for sustainability efforts and improving supply chains and supply chain traceability. The NRF stated that “More than 90% of a retailer’s sustainability footprint occurs deep within supply chains,” making the supply chain the key for retailers looking to chart a more sustainable path.

Dove sets Real Beauty guidelines, pledges not to use AI models

Artificial intelligence has exploded onto the retail scene. It has helped and enhanced operations in many ways. But there has been increasing conversations about potential drawbacks to AI. One area of concern is images. The arguments vary, from AI-generated images lack creativity to the set unrealistic expectations for standards of beauty.

Dove, a brand on a mission to ensure girls are empowered and have high self-esteem, has addressed the issue directly. The company has committed to ‘real’ and pledge never to use AI to represent real women it its advertising.3 The brand also reaffirmed its commitment to challenging harmful beauty standards. In addition to its pledge, the brand introduced the Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines to encourage more authentic representation in AI-generated content. "At Dove, we seek a future in which women get to decide and declare what real beauty looks like – not algorithms. As we navigate the opportunities and challenges that come with new and emerging technology, we remain committed to protect, celebrate, and champion Real Beauty. Pledging to never use AI in our communications is just one step. We will not stop until beauty is a source of happiness, not anxiety, for every woman and girl," explains Alessandro Manfredi, Chief Marketing Officer, Dove. The latest Dove campaign, "The Code," underscores the significance of women seeing genuine beauty reflected in media, highlighting the impact of AI on beauty perceptions.

Happy Returns and Two Boxes partner to improve the returns process

In 2023, returns were a $744 billion dollar problem. That problem is not a new one: Retailers, fulfillment partners, carriers and more have been trying to solve it as ecommerce continues to grow. To help combat returns process challenges, UPS’s Happy Returns has partnered with Two Boxes.4

Happy Return's collaboration with Two Boxes allows retailers to utilize the Return Bar® network, enhance in-warehouse returns efficiency and implement intelligent return processing for faster inventory turnover. This partnership provides seamless access to 3PL options and enables single scan operations, offering improved item visibility and actionable returns data for better resource allocation. While returns management will always be a part of retail, more companies are offering innovative solutions to improve the experience for both merchants and consumers.


Puma to position marketing strategy around sport performance

PUMA, a notable sports company, launched its first global brand campaign in a decade, titled “FOREVER. FASTER. - See The Game Like We Do,” looking to reinforce its position as the Fastest Sports Brand worldwide.5 The campaign highlights PUMA's historical association with speed and invites both professional and amateur athletes to perceive sports through the lens of speed synonymous with the brand. Through a globally featured Brand Campaign, PUMA showcases its longstanding commitment to speed, emphasizing its integral role in the brand's identity and the universal appeal of the desire for speed in sports culture.

The campaign, supported by PUMA's largest marketing investment ever, features top athletes across various sports categories and will be communicated through diverse media channels, including social media, TV, PR and Out Of Home Media, to resonate with target consumers around the world. “Everyone dreams of having a superpower and speed is PUMA’s,” said Arne Freundt, CEO of PUMA. “Speed is the superpower the greats use to change the game. Just like our world icons Mondo Duplantis, Karsten Warholm, Neymar Jr or Breanna Stewart, we know that speed unlocks athletic performance and victory in everyone. Through our ability to bring speed to life, PUMA invites all people to break through their own limits, unlock their personal best and become a better version of themselves, allowing them to see the game like we do: FOREVER. FASTER.”

Stitch Fix continues to aim for growth after restructuring

Stitch Fix reported its financial results for Q2 of fiscal 2024, reiterating its commitment to its original vision of simplifying clothing shopping and transforming its client experience.6 Despite decreases in net revenue and active clients, Stitch Fix maintains its focus on enhancing inventory health and cost management, as reflected in improved gross margin and adjusted EBITDA. The company anticipates further challenges in the third quarter of fiscal 2024 but remains optimistic about its long-term prospects. “The original Stitch Fix vision, to create an easier and more enjoyable way for people to shop for clothing and accessories, remains both relevant and compelling,” said Matt Baer, Chief Executive Officer. “Our transformation efforts are grounded in fully realizing that vision and include both strengthening the foundation of our company and reimagining our client experience. I am encouraged by the progress we continue to make and am confident we have the right strategic priorities in place to set us up to drive sustainable, profitable growth.”

TikTok drove nearly $24.2 billion in revenue in the US in 2023

TikTok proved to be a significant contributor to the US economy in 2023, helping to support over $24 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 224,000 jobs, with small and midsized businesses (SMBs) benefiting greatly from its platform.7 Oxford Economics released a report highlighting TikTok's economic impact, revealing that SMBs' investments in paid advertising and marketing on TikTok drove nearly $15 billion in revenue in 2023 alone. The platform's free services also played a crucial role in organic growth, contributing to the overall GDP. SMBs across various sectors, from food and beverage to health and wellness, have thrived on TikTok, with businesses attributing their success to the platform. Owners like Felicia Jackson of CPR Wrap and Desiree Hill, known as the "She Mechanic," credit TikTok for transforming their businesses and enabling substantial growth. The study underscores TikTok's unique ability to empower entrepreneurs, reach new customers and drive economic activity, making it a vital tool for businesses across diverse industries.

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