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LeBron James’ brand is looking to go mobile.
The news: Uninterrupted, the athlete empowerment brand within the SpringHill Company founded by NBA star LeBron James and sports-marketing mogul Maverick Carter, is building a new mobile app in partnership with no-code platform Tapcart.
How it works:
Through the app, fans can shop for merchandise, as well as engage with a community of fans.
The launch will coincide with the debut of the Uninterrupted spring line, called “The 300 Collection.” Inspired by baseball star Mookie Betts’ passion for bowling in the offseason, it features items with vintage bowling vibes.
Uninterrupted’s goals for the mobile app include: New user acquisition, higher sell-through rates and increased customer retention.
Key quote: "Product, content and community" are the three pillars of Uninterrupted's mobile strategy, said SpringHill Company VP of Commerce Steve Friend. "It is extremely important for us to stay up to date on the most current tech trends and methods in connecting with our consumers, both on their turf and in intuitive ways that matter to our business. Leveraging Tapcart allows us to reach our audiences and communities on a more personal level by meeting them on mobile, which gets us one step closer to our goal of 1-to-1 engagement within our community."
Mobile growth: Uninterrupted is moving to where shoppers are going. The return to brick-and-mortar stores hasn’t brought a slowdown in the growth of mobile shopping. According to Adobe Analytics, the 2022 holiday shopping season was a “turning point” in adoption, as a majority (51%) of Cyber Week sales were made using smartphones for the first time. Increasingly, shoppers are using mobile devices to toggle between in-person and online shopping. Apps can help to meet them along the way.
Going DTC: Along with the move to smartphones, brands and retailers are seeking to host more sales on direct channels rather than social media. NewStore found that 60% of consumers prefer in-app shopping experiences over the mobile web. For brands, the shift is also in part a response to privacy-oriented changes in digital advertising and the opportunity presented by the ability to access first-party data directly from sales and loyalty programs. Uninterrupted said the app will enable it to offer customers a more tailored experience that feels unique to them, as well. It plans personalized clothing recommendations and targeted content.
A winning record: In the era of celebrity brands, this isn’t the first collaboration between an athlete’s brand and Tapcart, which serves Shopify-powered brands. Previously, the platform’s app helped international soccer icon Lionel Messi’s apparel brand to triple sales in a month. Now the platform will be seeking to repeat, and help another legend grow their DTC business.
Trending in Shopper Experience
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”