September 20, 2021
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Amazon cracks down on Chinese brands for review abuse
(David Ryder/Getty Images)
Amazon has permanently barred more than 600 China-based brands after investigating reports of repeated violations of company policies designed to ensure the authenticity of customer reviews. Amazon said it will keep improving its efforts to weed out review abuse and policy violations.
Full Story: The Verge (9/17) 
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Social Commerce 101: Evolve with consumers
Join industry experts from Square and SmartBrief as they discuss how to take advantage of consumers' shifting shopping habits and tap into social media, especially as Generation Alpha, which views social media as a way of life, increases its influence in retail. Register now.
NRF spotlight
MNTN's Brittany Haskins will help retail marketers figure out whether Connected TV is right for their brands in an NRF NXT webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at noon. Learn more and register.
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Company watch
Customer advisory team coming to Bed Bath & Beyond
Brent (Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)
Bed Bath & Beyond has put together a "Home, Happier" team of advisors to answer customer questions via social media, including cookbook author and "The Kitchen" TV host Katie Lee Biegel and "Home Made Simple" host Jeremiah Brent. The advisory team will debut at an open house in New York City during one day of the chain's Sept. 27 through Oct. 3 open house, which is designed to give shoppers a look at new store layouts and services.
Full Story: Chain Store Age (9/15),  HFN (9/16) 
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Sponsored ads sitting atop Amazon search results accounted for approximately 73% of retailers' ad budgets spent on the platform in the second quarter, according to Merkle, after Amazon expanded listings from two to up to six slots. Canopy Management estimates the move also has driven cost per clicks from $0.86 in August 2020 to $1.27 last month, with Marketplace Pulse's Juozas Kaziukenas saying that Amazon's advertising changes "have replaced most of the functionality on the site."
Full Story: CNBC (9/19) 
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Customer engagement
Twitter's new Community feature was inspired by Lily Njoroge, Topicals' head of education, and allows beauty influencers to set up communities where they share advice and weed out misinformation. Influencers can charge a $2.99 monthly subscription fee for exclusive content using Twitter's recently released Super Follows feature, which has already been adopted by beauty influencer Tiara Willis.
Full Story: Glossy (tiered subscription model) (9/16) 
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App researcher Alessandro Paluzzi spotted a Twitter visual editor trial that enables marketers to enhance tweets using tools from the platform's retired Fleets feature, such as adding stickers and cropping. Twitter has not made any official announcement regarding the experiment.
Full Story: Social Media Today (9/17) 
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Hot Topics
Macy's, Neighborhood Goods and Vera Bradley are among the retailers and brands planning to participate in Coresight Research's 10.10 Shopping Festival, a shoppable livestream event that will run between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 10. Livestream shopping has soared in popularity in China and US activity is on track to grow more than threefold by 2023, Coresight CEO Deborah Weinswig noted.
Full Story: Women's Wear Daily (9/20) 
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Digital disruptors
Google is reportedly continuing to explore the foldable market via a second Pixel smartphone, codenamed Jumbojack, in addition to its Passport device. There has been no formal announcement about the device, which could sport internal and external screens and "hamburger-style" folding, sources say.
Full Story: The Verge (9/20) 
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