Snapchat teamed up with Amazon this week to enable shopping through its app. Users simply point their Snap camera at a product or its bar code, and the app’s visual search engine identifies it for purchase in the Amazon store. The feature is particularly useful for items that can lack an identifying brand marker, such as shoes or clothing. The deal is a huge boost for Snapchat’s efforts to monetize its young user base - a demographic considered more likely to make impulse purchases. The company has struggled with competition from Instagram, and teaming up with Amazon is just the latest addition to its increasingly diverse business model.
The electric scooter market isn’t just limited to flashy, urban on-demand rental apps. Scooters have been a vital form of transportation the world over since their invention, and people are still excited about owning them. Chinese company Niu has made its name selling electric scooters, and its innovative tactics have helped it secure 26% of the country’s market share. Owners can connect with their rides via an app that provides usage and maintenance statistics, as well as firmware updates. Since its foundation in 2014, Niu has expanded worldwide, becoming a market leader in Europe as well. The company expects its rapid growth to continue, and this week filed for an initial public offering of $150 million on NASDAQ.
Luxury fashion brand Michael Kors has long relied on shopping malls and department stores to sell its products but changing consumer habits and a decline in brick and mortar retailers prompted it’s acquisition of Italian brand Versace this week for a whopping $2.1 billion. Amid the industry changes, Michael Kors wants to better appeal to big-spending shoppers, particularly in Asia, and no brand can delivery on those two fronts better than Versace. Michael Kors CEO John Idol called the deal “an important milestone” and said Versace represented the “epitome of Italian fashion luxury.” Along with the takeover, Michael Kors announced it was rebranding as Capri Holdings, a move reflective of a general trend towards consolidation in high-end fashion.
German auto giant Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, made history this week by appointing its first ever non-German chief executive. The company announced 49-year-old Swede Ola Kaellenius will replace Dieter Zetsche, 65, next year. Daimler is seeking to head into a younger, more forward-thinking direction and reshape its diesel-focused image, as well as fend off competition from the emerging electric car industry. Kaellenius, who does not have an engineering background, often wears jeans and sneakers and is known for his Silicon Valley-style of management. The 132-year-old Daimler is rooted in tradition, but a new approach to leadership could be just what the firm needs to stay competitive in a rapidly changing car industry.
Online photo marketplace PicFair is giving photographers a creative outlet with a new feature unveiled this week. The company on Tuesday announced it was launching PicFair Stores, which will give the 35,000 photographers that use its services the opportunity to create their own independent online shops. In the face of competition from Getty and Shutterstock, PicFair is offering photographers an established platform to share their work for a percentage of the profits, while leaving them the ability to completely customize their individual marketplace. Their success could serve as a model for empowering content creators across the entire e-commerce industry.