🛍 Shopify's Rebel Alliance vs. Amazon

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

A New Hope Against the Amazon Empire

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Hey Snackers,

You may not be able to have a party, but you can always have a dart-y: the world of competitive darts is carrying on swimmingly during the lockdown — dartspeople are thriving.

Markets dipped following sharp drops from major tech stocks like Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. Today the Fed is set to make its latest monetary policy announcement, and we'll get a look at America's 1st quarter GDP report. Hope for the best, prepare for the WOAT.

1. Shopify threatens the Amazon Empire with a game-changing app (and yawn-inducing name)

Darth Bezos feels a disturbance... over Shopify's newly-launched, 100% anti-Amazon shopping app. You've probably used Shopify without even knowing it — it powers the ecommerce sales of over 1M businesses, from small mom-and-pop shops to big names like Kylie Cosmetics, Lindt, and Chubbies.

  • Out-of-the-box online store: Shopify's main biz. Need to move your soy wax candle sales online? A Shopify subscription gives you access to its cloud-based shopping cart solution, so you can sell, ship, and manage your candle sales minus extra grunt work.
  • Timely biz model: Shopify's ready-made online store offering is especially important during lockdown — stores that have been forced to close are quickly moving online.

So simple it's brilliant?... Shopify's new consumer-facing shopping app, anticlimactically called: "Shop." Shopify has a bunch of juicy data on products you've bought from its customers (aka other online shops) — with this app, it can aggregate all your fave stores in one place and make spot-on recs:

  • Scroll: Like a hybrid of Amazon and Instagram, Shop lets you scroll through a feed of products it recommends based on your previous buy (try the Shady Matte Lip Kit, Jenny).
  • Follow: Literally "follow" companies on the app like you would influencers.
  • Buy: Once you've seen the pink alligator Chubbies trunks of your dreams, you can make a one-click purchase through Shop Pay.
  • Track: Track all your packages in Shop — Shopify's old package-tracking app was already being used by 16M peeps. Now Shop wants even more.

Shop is the Rebel Alliance... to Amazon's empire. It's a hope for small retailers to gain leverage against the monolithic behemoth that controls around 50% of US online shopping. Before, Shopify was only empowering businesses to go online independently — now, it's urging them to unite under the Shop umbrella. Shop's biggest challenge: The friction of convincing you to download a new app.


If you thought trolls only thrived on Twitter and Reddit... Think again. Last month, when execs at Comcast's Universal Pictures heard that all US movie theaters would be shutting down, they were bummed — it was just weeks away from the April 10th release of the crucial Trolls movie sequel, "Trolls World Tour."

  • Universal decided not to postpone the release — instead, it sent the movie straight to digital rental ($19.99 on Apple TV, Amazon, or YouTube). It was a decision that would not be regretted.
  • The Trolls sequel has already made more money for Universal during 3 weeks of digital release than the original Trolls movie did after 5 months in theaters. Trolls #1 just got trolled.

The movie math is changing... Studio execs looked at this surprise digital release success and saw $$$ signs — not just for Trolls, but for the industry as a whole.

  • 50%: How much studios reportedly get to keep from box office sales of their movies (theaters mostly get the rest). Trolls #1 made $154M at the US box office — Universal got to keep only $77M.
  • 80%: How much studios get to keep from digital rentals/purchases. Trolls #2 has racked up over $95M from 5M households since its digital release and has already made almost $80M.

Less disruption, more hybrid-ization... Sure, paying $19.99 to have your kid sit quietly in front of the TV watching Trolls for 1.5 hours is priceless. That doesn't spell the end of movie theaters, though. Direct-to-streaming isn't one-size-fits all and isn't as perfect in a post-lockdown world. Universal's CEO said yesterday they'd see a hybrid model in the future, where some releases happen in theaters (blockbusters) and others stream ASAP (smaller, on-the-fence titles). Oh and in late-breaking news, AMC Theaters is banning all Universal movies because it feels miffed by Universal's comments.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Shop: America's biggest mall owner, Simon Property, plans to reopen 49 of its malls and outlets starting Friday (free masks and temperature tests as you shop).
  • Zoomed: Oracle wins Zoom's cloud deal, beating out Amazon, Microsoft, and Google's cloud divisions.
  • Ride: Harley-Davidson's sales plunged 21% globally, so it's slashing dividends.
  • South: Southwest posts its first loss in 11 years — and it expects May sales to fall 95% from last year.
  • Postpone: US wireless companies including AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast won't cancel service or charge late fees to virus-affected customers until June 30.
  • Treat: UnitedHealth may acquire remote mental health service AbleTo for $470M.
Snacks Daily Podcast

The NY Times of Weed sells weed now... High Times is the company behind the counterculture weed mag High Times (founded waaaay back in 1974) — it affectionately reefers to itself as "the most trusted and recognizable global brand in the cannabis industry."

And High Times has big public ambitions — it managed to raise over $20M in crowd-sourced investments through a Reg A (not reggae) stock offering, and already has a ticker symbol ahead of its IPO.

Tune into our 15-minute pod to learn how High Times just dropped $80M to snatch up 13 dispensaries in California.


Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own shares of Shopify and Amazon

ID: 1169786

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