Today, we are looking at the power struggles between online vendors and their platform hosts, the new head of Europe at Belgian fashion retailer C&A, and how humans might outsmart AI after all. Enjoy the read and feel free to share! Cheers, Ulrike


Trouble in online land... Current disputes between retailers and online giants are revealing deep-seated tensions between vendors and their platforms hosts. Chinese fashion label Liebo, for example, claims that JD.com blocked it from editing product information, then including it in an aggressive price promotion without authorization. As a result, the label claims to have received far more orders than it could process, forcing it to temporarily shut down. JD.com counters (in Chinese) that Liebo voluntarily participated in the event, later withdrawing without explanation.

...as platforms assert their power. Over in the US, Amazon is accused of supplanting an open market with a privately controlled data-driven marketplace. It's weapon: the Prime Membership program, which just expanded to include a free try-on service for apparel. As more consumers sign up, more brands feel forced to become third party sellers. On its platform Amazon can dictate terms to maximize its dominance. But forced conditions could endanger vendors’ business models and ability to innovate.


Cleaning up. French luxury brand Louis Vuitton won a preliminary injunction (paywall) in a $60 million lawsuit against numerous store operators on Amazon, which will block the alleged counterfeiters from doing business during the remainder of the litigation. Louis Vuitton filed the suit in May, alleging that the defendants provided misleading information to remain anonymous for the sole purpose of engaging in illegal counterfeiting.

Paris comes to Panorama. French B2B online marketplace Paris Fashion Shops is going to present (in German) a selection of the portal’s 250 labels at the upcoming Panorama fashion fair in Berlin (July 4-6). Via the platform, European retail buyers can view merchandise, contact suppliers, purchase products and combine orders from different brands for more affordable delivery rates.


China calling. Back in January, the founder and Executive Chairman of Chinese Alibaba Group promised US President Donald Trump to help create 1 million new US jobs by giving as many small American companies access to the Chinese market. At Alibaba’s sold-out Gateway17 summit currently running in Detroit (June 20-21) Jack Ma aims to teach American mom-and-pop-shops how to sell to Alibaba’s 450 million customers.

From food to fashion. The long-term boss of German food chain Rewe, Algeria-born Alain Caparros, will join (in German) Belgian fashion retailer C&A as head of Europe. Caparros takes over from Philippe Brennikmeyer who announced his withdrawal in May. Having sat (in German) on the boards (in German) of both Swiss retailer Charles Vögele and German department store chain Karstadt , the manager does have some fashion expertise. C&A, which plans to triple its online sales within the next four years, has not yet confirmed the appointment.


Outsmarting the machine. Since smart machines are faster and often more accurate than humans, mere mortals have to come up with a new definition for their own intelligence, requiring them to overcome the two biggest inhibitors of critical thinking and team collaboration: ego and fear. To remain relevant in an age of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, humans have to evolve from confirmation-seeking thinkers and defensive, ego-affirmation-seeking reasoners to attentive, intuitive, creative collaborators.


Selfie students. Online stardom has become a $7.7 billion dollar industry in China, likely to double by 2018. So universities have begun offering classes for the professional Wanghong - like appyling make-up, modeling, etiquette and how to correctly hold a selfie stick. For those who do not need a degree, there are many selfie tutorials both online and in print…even for the ever popular nude selfie as recently published by the New York Post.


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