In today’s top retail news, both Snapchat and Twitter reported strong quarterly earnings as the social media companies try to insert themselves more into the world of commerce, while Harley-Davidson takes a major step in its own digital aspirations. Also, Taboola is acquiring eCommerce platform Connexity, and Skechers executives say they are “cautiously optimistic” about the back-to-school shopping season.
Both Twitter and Snapchat reported their strongest growth in years, narrowing losses, major advances to their active user counts and ambitions to do more with their social media platforms to insert them into the world of commerce this week. Snapchat has definitively set its sights on social commerce, releasing TrueSize technology and expanding Snap Scan into food and fashion. And Twitter, coming off its biggest growth spurt in seven years after its latest earnings update, is also eyeing plans to expand its offering more directly into the world of commerce with a Tip Jar and Super Follows, among other features.
With the pandemic starting to appear in the rearview mirror, Harley-Davidson is taking a bold step toward meeting customers where they are by selling nearly 18,000 used motorcycles directly to consumers in a bid to greatly expand its digital capabilities. CEO Jochen Zeitz said the long-term goal is to make Harley-Davidson’s website the go-to place for anything from the brand, including general merchandise, parts and accessories.
Taboola has agreed to acquire Connexity, one of the world’s biggest independent platforms for eCommerce, from Symphony Technology Group for about $800 million. Connexity works with more than 1,600 merchants and 6,000 publishers, including Walmart, Wayfair, Skechers, Macy’s, eBay and Otto. The deal, which is Taboola’s fifth acquisition, fits with the company’s “Recommend Anything” approach, which pushes for Taboola to enter new areas and leverage its global recommendations platform.
Despite huge growth in wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales in the second quarter, Skechers is emphasizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and that the situation remains fluid, even while projecting continued demand through the rest of the year. Chief Operating Officer David Weinberg told investors and analysts that the pandemic continues to be a global challenge for the company, with lockdown restrictions impacting sales and supply chain issues slowing the import of products.