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Commerce chronicles: Apr 22, 2024

Apr 22, 2024 - Alyssa Wolfe
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Apr 22 Commerce Chronicles | YouTube, Target, Prince, eBay & more

YouTube releases new shopping tools, Sippingly takes tea commerce to the next level, eBay launches “Shop the Look,” Prince and Target pickleball collaboration and brands are focusing on loyalty.

In this week’s news, Prince and Target release new pickleball product line, Sippingly boosts the ecommerce tea experience and eBay harnesses the power of AI. Plus, MIT talks last-mile logistics and YouTube adds new shopping tools. Visit our blog every Monday for a roundup of the latest commerce news.

YouTube releases new shopping tools to boost in-stream commerce

In 2023, viewers watched over 30 billion hours of shopping-related videos on YouTube, with a notable 25% increase in watch time for videos aiding in shopping.1 In response, the platform introduced features over the past year that simplified tagging for creators and expanded its affiliate program.

YouTube has now unveiled Shopping Collections, allowing creators to curate themed product selections from their favorite brands or their own lines. These collections will be showcased in creators' product lists, Store tabs and video descriptions and will initially be accessible through the Studio app on mobile devices. YouTube also introduced a new Affiliate Hub within its app, enabling creators to access exclusive promos, competitive commission rates and request samples from top brands to enhance their shoppable content.

In addition to these changes, the platform expanded the ability to tag products across multiple videos at once to all Shopping creators, maximizing revenue potential from older content. And it introduced a Fourthwall integration, empowering creators to efficiently manage their stories directly in YouTube Studio, aiming to enhance the viewing and shopping experience for creators and viewers alike.

Sippingly elevates wellness tea ecommerce

Sippingly, a leading online marketplace for wellness teas, unveiled its new website, designed to enhance the customer journey to wellness through tea.2 With a mission to offer the finest selection of wellness teas globally, the company’s refresh provides personalized insights and rituals, fostering a sense of community among tea enthusiasts. The website features a diverse range of teas for various wellness goals, personalized wellness insights through a quiz and a vibrant community space for sharing recipes and stories.

homepage screen of Sippingly tea brands new website

The website, designed based on feedback from the Sippingly community, integrates advanced search filters, detailed product descriptions and wellness-focused content to ensure a seamless and informative shopping experience. "We are beyond excited to introduce our new website to the world," said Phoebe Lin, Founder of Sippingly. "Our vision was to create a space that not only simplifies the search for the perfect wellness tea but also inspires our customers to explore new rituals and embrace their wellness journey. We believe our website does just that, and we can't wait for everyone to experience it."

Prince and Target collaboration launch a new pickleball collection

man and woman wearing prince brand retro sports clothing, pickleballs, target and prince logosTarget unveiled its limited-time pickleball collection in collaboration with Prince, a renowned tennis and lifestyle brand, catering to the surge of interest in the fastest-growing sport in the country.3 The Prince for Target collection comprises nearly 80 apparel, accessories and sporting goods items, starting at $9.99, with the majority under $50, available in most Target stores.

The partnership with Prince aligns with Target's ethos of offering exclusive, on-trend products at a great value, catering to pickleball enthusiasts of all levels with quality apparel and sporting goods. The collection, a result of close collaboration between Target and Prince's design teams, showcases vibrant colors, patterns and fashion-forward athleisure pieces, including retro-inspired track suits, pleated skirts and pickleball paddles adorned with colorful artwork matching the apparel.

Pickleball originated in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, when three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum – created the game to entertain their families.4 They combined badminton, tennis and ping-pong elements, using improvised equipment and a modified court. The game's popularity grew spreading across the United States and eventually worldwide.


eBay launches “Shop the Look” on its iOS app

mobile view of new shop the look generative ai for curated clothing on on ebayeBay introduced "shop the look," a generative AI-powered feature aimed at enhancing the shopping experience by providing personalized outfit inspirations tailored to each customer's preferences.5 The immersive carousel showcases curated looks, including new and pre-owned apparel and luxury items, with interactive hotspots revealing similar items and outfit ideas. Leveraging decades of data and customer insights, eBay ensures a tailored fashion experience that evolves with each shopper's tastes over time. "Shop the look" not only keeps customers connected to the latest trends but also helps build confidence in their purchases by visualizing how items will complement their existing wardrobes.

With a commitment to innovation and responsible AI use, eBay plans to continuously enhance the feature with new personalization elements and explore potential expansions into other categories, providing shoppers with a unique and immersive browsing experience. Shop the look is available in iOS for US and UK customers, with Android coming later this year.

MIT talks machine learning and last-mile logistics

A recent article on MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) website addressed the ongoing pressure affecting the supply chain with the enormous number of packages delivered each day, often within fast delivery times. The focus of researchers has been the last-mile – often the costliest due to inefficiencies such as increased ecommerce demand, weather delays, traffic and partially full trucks.6 The article discussed these complexities and potential solutions with Matthias Winkenbach, MIT principal research scientist, director of research for the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) and a researcher with the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab.

The vehicle routing problem (VRP) is a challenge faced by logistics companies daily. It involves finding efficient routes to connect customers for delivery or pickup. Traditional operations research methods address VRP by formulating optimization models with objectives like minimizing cost or time. However, due to limited data availability, these methods often rely on blanket assumptions, leading to suboptimal solutions.

Machine learning offers a promising alternative, leveraging large datasets of routing solutions to train models capable of generating efficient routes tailored to specific constraints and objectives. By incorporating machine learning into route planning, companies can adapt to dynamic environments more effectively, continuously improve routing policies and address complex, high-dimensional objectives such as cost, emissions, safety and consistency. This approach has the potential to revolutionize the logistics industry, paving the way for a better-optimized end-to-end supply chain.

Customer loyalty take center stage as multiple brands revamp programs

This year, several brands have focused on revamping their loyalty programs. In March, Target announced a refresh of Target Circle, and how customers could save in three new ways.7 In the past week, JC Penney launched their new Rewards and Credit program, aiming to create a compelling experience that put money back into the pockets of consumers.8 Katie Mullen, chief customer officer, JCPenney, said. “Enhancing our Rewards Program is an important piece of how we bring value to our customers, but not the only piece. We’re already known for offering the widest range of accessible fashion across beauty, home, apparel, fine jewelry, salon and more, and we want to continue to earn the loyalty of America’s diverse working families.” Other brands have revamped or deployed loyalty programs recently as well, including Kith and Hanna Andersson.9 These program help enhance customer engagement, increase retention rates and set the foundation for growth.

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