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The Weekly Closeout: Pacsun gets into resale, and is Instagram really not for photos anymore?

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It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week, and what we’re still thinking about.

From Walmart’s recent effort to tackle climate change to Lululemon’s mushroom-made yoga mats, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed

Pacsun enters resale business

In an attempt to be one of the cool kids, Pacsun is joining the rest of retail and launching resale. The company this week introduced PS Reserve — a place for trendy apparel, sneakers and accessories. Items featured have gone through a pre-screening and authentication process. Brands currently available include Yeezy, Jordan Brand and Supreme. Products for sale are part of Pacsun’s own inventory, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive. Also, if you Google “PS Reserve” the first thing you are going to hit is The Private Suite at LAX — a private luxury terminal out of Los Angeles — which is a different thing entirely. 

This week Pacsun also announced A$AP Rocky as its first guest artistic director. The rapper will oversee designer collaborations, in-store activations and brand campaigns related to launches in the retailer’s Los Angeles and SoHo stores. Rocky’s first capsule collection will be with Vans.

Walmart and other retailers band together to address climate change

Walmart, H&M, Ingka Group (Ikea) and Kingfisher plc announced a joint initiative Wednesday that aims to limit the rise of global temperatures to within 1.5 degrees Celsius called the Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign. By joining the pledge, the retailers will support climate action within the retail industry and encourage fellow retailers to map out a plan to achieve their climate targets. The initiative is done in partnership with the COP26 High Level Climate Action Champions and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

David’s Bridal loyalty program surpasses 500K

David’s Bridal reached over 500,000 members in its Diamond loyalty program since it first launched seven months ago. The bridal retailer has partnered with companies like Blue Nile, Shutterfly, The Ritz-Carlton Spa and The Spa at the St. Regis for its rewards program. David’s Bridal also discovered that the loyalty program cut the return rate in half when compared to non-members. 

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Retail Therapy

Lululemon to sell yoga mats and bags made from mushrooms

Lululemon this week unveiled the first products using Mylo, a leather-like material made from mycelium, which is the branching underground structure of mushrooms. The brand will sell yoga mats and bags made from the material in early 2022, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Lululemon first indicated it would make products from the mushroom material in October when it joined Bolt Threads’ Mylo consortium alongside Adidas, Kering and Stella McCartney.

“At lululemon, we are committed to making products and operating our business in an innovative, sustainable way for our guests,” Sun Choe, Lululemon’s chief product officer, said in October. “We firmly believe that innovation and sustainability are key to the future of retail.”

What we’re still thinking about

$650 billion

That’s the market opportunity Authentic Brands sees for itself. The brand holding company filed for an IPO this week as it looks toward further expansion. Authentic Brands has grown its revenue from $1 million since its founding in 2010 to $489 million this past year.

$80 million

That’s the amount DTC beauty brand Glossier raised in its most recent round of funding. The company, which backed off of physical retail last year during the height of the pandemic, is planning “dozens of new stores” in the U.S. and abroad, and has its sights set on entering new markets with an “e-commerce-first approach.”

What we’re watching

Instagram declares it’s no longer a photo-sharing app

Video killed the radio star, and now it’s coming for Instagram. The site’s head, Adam Mosseri, last week rattled users with his declaration that Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app.” The platform itself appears to have been rattled by the success of TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing app embraced by those who miss Vine, among many others, and which has a knack for going viral.

“[L]et’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger and there’s lots of other upstarts as well,” Mosseri said. “And so people are looking to Instagram to be entertained. There’s stiff competition and there’s more to do that we have to embrace that. And that means change.”

Instagram, which Mosseri said is also shaking up its recommendation algorithm, is not just thinking about its users, however; it’s also thinking about shopping. “The pandemic shifted or accelerated the shift of commerce from offline to online by a number of years, and we’re trying to lean into that trend,” Mosseri said.

Changes are coming to video on Instagram ????

At Instagram we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging. pic.twitter.com/ezFp4hfDpf

— Adam Mosseri ???? (@mosseri) June 30, 2021

Once upon a time, Instagram was the upstart making competitors nervous. In its early days, users were sharing its characteristic square, Polaroid-esque images on Facebook. To counter the competition, Facebook bought it, a fact that came up during last year’s Congressional hearings on potential antitrust concerns in tech.

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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