Helping retailers lead through knowledge and collaboration.

Join our community of the most creative, inspired retail minds in the world and help shape the future of global commerce.

Learn best practices to sell into Brazil, China, Canada, Australia or beyond...

Get connected with our members and contribute to the community. The GRIN is made up of in-country experts that share a passion for expanding and improving the global commerce space.

Visit The GRIN Labs in San Francisco and strengthen your global position.

Critical to the success of any global team is developing a model of open innovation.
Come collaborate with our team on your company’s global ambitions.

Join our global community of curious, passionate souls

Retailers

Learn, share, and collaborate with the best global commerce pros out there.

Vendors

Showcase your expertise and connect with the GRIN community.

Global Perspective - News Worth Sharing

  • Modist fashion is getting more attention, with niche sites like Modanisa, East Essence and ModLi, but none have garnered the name recognition or luxury appeal of sites like Shopbop and Net-a-Porter. The Modist, which launched on International Women’s Day last month, hopes to change that by rebranding modesty as a style with cross-cultural and designer appeal — and not tied to religious strictures.

    Founded by Ghizlan Guenez, a Dubai resident who previously spent 14 years in private equity, the platform features over 75 of the world’s leading brands — including Marni, Alberta Ferretti and Christopher Kane — with a “DNA and aesthetic in line with the modest dresser,” said a rep for the team. In looking at the site, you will find mostly long skirts, pants and dresses, along with long-sleeved and often high-necked tops.

    GhizlanThe Modist founder Ghizlan Guenez

    Sourcing from this high-fashion contingent is a first for modest retail, and it’s intended to break down preconceived notions that modest dressing is dowdy or un-chic.

    “When a modest consumer is looking for the right outfit, they’re not necessarily checking if the designer purposely had them in mind or not,” said Hassanah El-Yacoubi, a modest-fashion blogger who has written for the Huffington Post. “What matters most is that they find something that doesn’t compromise their modest metric, so the more options, the better.”

    As the company sees it, modesty is not simply a religious mandate, but often a personal choice bent on “the desire to be elegant and carefully dressed.” Their target customer is everywhere, they add, from New York to Shanghai to Melbourne, and one who falls anywhere along an age spectrum of 20 to 60.

    Katie Smith, a senior retail analyst at Edited, agrees that the interest in modest fashion is growing outside of religious spheres. “This spring, new arrivals of long-sleeved tops and long-length dresses across all markets have grown by 16 percent, compared to a year ago,” she said. “A combination of global political and social movements — compounded by the prevalence of the digital landscape — presents a whole new world for retailers like The Modist [to] play a successful role.”

    Avoiding the topic of faith is an unusual angle for a modest fashion site to adopt, but one the market may welcome, anyway. According to Thomson Reuters’ latest report on the State of the Global Islamic Economy, Muslim consumers, who gravitate toward modest styles, spent $266 billion on clothing in 2013 and are on track to spend around $484 billion by 2019. By comparison, U.S. consumers spent $395 billion on clothes in 2013.

    These are striking numbers, though less so when viewed alongside a recent Pew Research Center report that predicts the Muslim population will grow from 1.6 billion to nearly 3 billion by 2050, faster than any other religious group.

    MODIST JPEG
    Shoppable content on The Modist

    Guenez has gathered a particularly impressive team to help bring this vision to life. Two members come from Net-a-Porter, including the company’s former global sales and marketing director, Lisa Bridgett, who is The Modist’s chief operating officer, and its former global buying director, Sasha Sarokin, who serves as buying and fashion director. Creative director Sally Matthews comes from Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, where she worked as fashion and beauty director.

    The site itself reflects their combined expertise, with its clean, elevated layout and trend-driven shoppable content, including interviews and editorial spreads shot in-house on the level of any top fashion magazine or website. These features live on their digital magazine, The Mod, a monthly endeavor reminiscent of Net-a-Porter’s The Edit.

    “The Mod is the voice of our woman [and] will carry stories of women who inspire through substance and beauty,” said the rep. “It’s always uplifting and acknowledging the power and intrinsic beauty of [being] a woman.” That focus is in step with the larger trend of fashion brands embracing and relying on feminism to endear themselves to consumers, a facet that may be key to The Modist’s ability to court a wide range of consumers.

    The post The Modist aims to be the Net-a-Porter of modest fashion appeared first on Digiday.

  • Logistics startup BlackBuck, which looks to give India a digital logistics and freight upgrade, just recently closed a $70 million Series C round of venture funding.

    BlackBuck’s latest funding round was led by Sands Capital, with additional participation from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Accel and India’s local eCommerce giant Flipkart. To date, the logistics startup has raised $130 million in four funding rounds.

    BlackBuck’s play to upgrade India’s logistics space is to connect organizations looking to move goods with truck drivers looking to maximize their hauls via on-demand digital marketplace — think of it as an Uber for logistics, similar in use case to the the systems that Uber (naturally) and retail giant Amazon are working to create stateside.

    It’s easy to see Flipkart’s interest in the logistics revolution BlackBuck is working toward — not only to optimize its own delivery operations but also to compete against challenger Amazon on India’s growing eCommerce playing field.

    BlackBuck estimates that road-based options account for 63 percent of all freight in India, said TechCrunch, with a current spend of around $140 billion per year. But while trucking is big business in the nation of over 1.2 billion, these operations remain largely fragmented. But the problem also exists outside the nation’s borders.

    “The problem is universal — it’s global in nature,” said cofounder and CEO Rajesh Yabaji in an interview. “But we need to completely crack this business model in our country first. The timing has to be right.”

    As of now, BlackBuck reportedly works with over 100,000 individual trucks in 300 locations in India. On the client end, BlackBuck reportedly enables enterprises such as Asian Paints, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Britannia.

    With the haul from the recent Series C, BlackBuck reportedly looks to improve its technology on its home turf while setting its sights on one day growing its services in another major emerging eCommerce market: Southeast Asia.

  • After more than 16 years, the luxury jeweller has ended a joint venture to run its retail stores with LVMH.
  • Chinese online marketplace Alibaba continues its push to grow outside of its core retail businesses. Recently, the company fully acquired Chinese online ticketing platform Damai for an undisclosed sum, said Reuters. Alibaba first invested in Damai back in 2014.

    “Ali announces its acquisition of Damai, part of our big entertainment strategy,” the firm said on its Sina Weibo platform. “This continues an earnest three-year romance.”

    Damai’s ticketing platform will reportedly form a strategic part of the value chain in Alibaba’s push to grow its media and entertainment business.

    “Damai.cn will be a powerful platform to distribute our media content as well as expand our user reach and engagement,” Alibaba told Reuters, noting there would be synergies with the company’s entertainment units Alibaba Music, Alibaba Pictures and Youku, the “YouTube of China” that Alibaba acquired for $3.7 billion back in 2015.

    The Damai acquisition is just the latest in a string of entertainment industry investments. In October of last year, said Bloomberg, Alibaba devoted a fund of over than 10 billion yuan ($1.48 billion) for new projects in media and entertainment.

    And the investments look to be paying off. In its latest earnings figures released back in January, Alibaba reported that its digital media and entertainment sector saw 273 percent growth year over year upon the consolidation of Youku Tudou.

  • As part of the plan, the retail and supermarket chain will also remodel over 50 stores, add more than 5,000 jobs, and further develop a large distribution centre near the capital city of Santiago.
  • Major bank tips tough two years for Australia's retailers because wages aren't growing and international retailers keep setting up shop.
  • Given the impending takeover of speedy delivery from Amazon’s Prime membership program, it’s tough for a lot of other retailers to compete.

    Amazon is a beast that most of the eCommerce world has yet to take on and conquer — until today. EBay announced a new program that just might be up to snuff. The online auctioning giant is now offering its shoppers a three-day delivery guarantee on 20 million products, some of which may include a free price tag. Dubbed the Guaranteed Delivery, this program, along with a new home page focused on consumer personalization, will begin rolling out to U.S. consumers this summer.

    EBay’s Senior Vice President of North America, Hal Lawton, talked about this offering with TechCrunch: “While the majority of items on eBay already ship within three days or less, as well as for free, Guaranteed Delivery will give shoppers even faster delivery options and the confidence that their items will arrive on time.”

    What does this mean for the ever-growing world of competing eCommerce sites?

    While eBay has moved the ball for itself to help chip away at Amazon, it’s likely that we may see other retailers following suit with similar programs. Given the nature of today’s society, which craves instant gratification via an online order’s delivery, this is a real possibility of disruption in the eCommerce market. Being able to guarantee a swift delivery for products has moved from a nice-to-have, higher priced service to a must-have for retailers.

    Gone are the days where consumers ordered items online and waited more than a few days to receive them. It seems that eCommerce loyalty may rest on retailers’ ability to offer instant delivery and tracking for their merchandise.

  • The GRIN is our global task rabbit. The community and coaching helped provide clarity as to which countries to target, how to evaluate our global partners and provides ongoing perspective to our most challenging questions.
  • The GRIN connected us with the right solution partners in Brazil. These connections will help us improve the service to our customers and enable us to better compete with the top ecommerce companies.
  • The GRIN workshop provided real world insight to the problems that all retailers face when going global. The GRIN community provides meaningful connections.
  • As a Chinese retailer, we made several connections in the United States that are helpful while learning the importance of brand to my growing business.
  • Best full day workshop I have attended on going global - a real eye opener.
  • I love the GRIN community. I walked away with an understanding of how to develop a business case for my C-level team to help fund my global initiatives.

What we have an opinion about

Thought Leadership

A bit of an overused term. At the GRIN, we focus on reputational leadership – the new measure of true vendor leadership. The GRIN community provides feedback as to the unique strengths and knowledge of the global vendor community.

Conferences

Are great. The GRIN is focused on making them a whole lot better. Join us at GRIN recommended conferences to meet global leaders, have a bit of fun and expand your core knowledge.

RFPs

They just don’t focus on the right things. Global RFPs are successful when they shine a bright light on the strategic vision and local knowledge of the vendor. The GRIN will help you perfect your RFP process.

Business Plans

Throw them out right now. Develop an iterative business model when first going global. It’s the only way to stay in the game. At the GRIN we create programs to make your business part of a useful, living plan – not a dead and irrelevant piece of paper.

Vendors

The best vendor knowledge is often locked in a vault. The GRIN lets vendors showcase their unique strengths and expertise. Retailers have the opportunity to engage directly with those experts which accelerates the path towards true partnership.

Collaboration

All successful cross-border retailers have a culture of open collaboration and innovation. The GRIN will help you grow the massive global engine of creativity at your company.

Retailers

Top retailers we have met with identify localization as their greatest global challenge. The GRIN has an easy fix - learn from others how they tackle this issue and then develop your own process around localization.