January’s Top Reads

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Each month, Matter Of Form’s founder and CEO, Anant, curates his favourite reads. This January has a bit of a direct-to-consumer focus. Well, a retail focus at the least. Spanning Shopify’s aggressive play to take on aspects of Amazon’s core business, through to Away.

Shopify is coming for Amazon

Wow. Would never have foreseen quite how big Shopify would go. A pertinent theme at the moment to a lot of our eCommerce clients. Many are ‘downgrading’ to Shopify as a simple all in one hosted solution, whilst others are going enterprise, leaving a hole in the middle. But things will go off the charts if they start delivering managed fulfilment. It’s the best of Amazon and the best of Yoox without any of the bad bits in the middle. More from Vox here. 

More on comms. An appraisal of Instagram’s ‘Checkout’ feature.

In these confessions from a direct-to-consumer brand, we hear the tales of the pros and woes of the Instagram checkout feature (currently in closed beta).

Who needs a sitcom?

First WeWork, then Away. Some odd flip-flopping of a departing CEO followed by a quick return. I have personally always struggled to understand the value behind certain ‘unicorn’ brands. Yes, ‘lifestyle’. Sure. Yes (marginally) better design (is it?). 

There is nothing technology-enabled or community-driven; nothing with enough differentiation (other than brand) to promote some of the value multiples mentioned. Though I guess its backstory does make a good case for the power of brand.

On this note, we sadly saw bed company, Warren Evans go bankrupt halfway through our project with them. And while we have high-end clients like Vispring in the space (we have some weird niche specialisms), powerful direct-to-consumer brands (Simba/Casper/Emma etc) disrupt the mid-market. 

Though, much like Away, not all is dandy on the inside for Casper.

An interview with IKEA’s CEO

A sort of Scandinavian Patagonia story starting in hotdogs and furniture, a must-read interview with the brilliant Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ikea on a brand trying to solve a much bigger purpose that one might glean from its flatpack roots.

 Just to off-set all that eComms, materialistic reading…

The Guardian takes a sincere PoV on our collective need to end the age of the individual. Starting with a bit of peace of mind, a bit of meditation, a bit of being in the moment, etc.

Lastly, a brilliant roundup of the 2010s

Nothing beats a bit of Jan reading like a good solid roundup. And sometimes, a bit of a retrospective does one better than the prolepsis that runs abound as the year kicks off.

That said, here are some predictions for the 2020s. One that I totally buy into.

 

About Matter Of Form Group

Established in 2018, the Matter Of Form Group is a collection of four award-winning agencies united and bound together by a common set of ideas and values centred around the mantra ‘Make Change Effective’.

The group consists of Matter Of Form, FORM Commerce, Diffusion Digital and Experience Haus with clients spanning the property and real estate, retail, travel and hospitality, wellness, lifestyle, third sector, B2B sectors and beyond. Some of these brands include Aman Resorts, Belmond, Cadogan Estates, Corbin and King, Landmark Properties, Mary Katrantzou, Monique Lhuillier, Shanghai Tang, Shangri-La, The Rug Company, UNICEF, World Economic Forum, Karen Millen, Breitling, Savitri Foundation, Joel Robuchon, Lindblad Expeditions, The Collective, The School of Life & Thanos Hotel Group.

If you’d like to discuss how the Matter Of Form Group partner to provide strategic design and tech services, please get in touch via [email protected] to arrange a time to speak with our team of consultants or visit www.matterofform.com.For Press and Media enquiries, please contact Emma Blackmore, Group Marketing Director: [email protected].