The Skift Wellness newsletter is our weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.
What do wellness brands want? Usually, the goal is to create an almost cult-like following, with fans so passionate, they see the brand not just as another company, but rather, a lifestyle. Then again (to state the obvious) they want to make money, too.
Adidas is grappling over this very issue — customer connection versus profit — amid its wider debate over whether to expand its relationship with Amazon. The fact that its CEO Kasper Rorsted is even considering the expansion is an indication that business on the Everything Store is thriving.
Still, he makes it clear that getting in too deep with Amazon could mean a loss of brand identity — something athleisure companies want to avoid as much as possible. If people are interacting more and more with the digital retailer, Adidas could lose some of its voice — and that’s not optimal.
What’s more, Amazon is synonymous with bargain deals, and price cuts could bring down brand value if Adidas isn’t careful (especially as it hypes up pricey sneaker launches, like the new $240 Pharrell Williams x Adidas NMB “BBC”). It’s a delicate dance Adidas and other brands that sell on Amazon are trying to master, and companies are smart to pay attention to the risks.
Smart oven company June is also getting in with Amazon through its partnership with Whole Foods. The integration will make it easier for at-home cooks to prepare the grocer’s 365 Everyday Value products, many of which will be pre-programmed into the menu. This team-up with Whole Foods was relatively straightforward, though, as Amazon invested in the June earlier this year.
As for Adidas, the relationship is, well, a little more complicated.
— Leslie Barrie, Skift Wellness Editor
Inside Adidas’ Love-Hate Relationship With Amazon: A brand’s direct link to its customers is everything — and Adidas knows this. Thus, Adidas’ CEO Kasper Rorsted thinks Adidas.com should be the company’s most important e-commerce site — no matter if its partnership with Amazon comes with serious payoffs. Now the big question for the athletic brand: to grow or not to grow its offerings on the Everything Store?
Tech Takes Over Sleep and Finds There’s Lots of Money to Be Made: You might think you’re getting a good night’s rest, but a new wave of brands think you can do better. Savvy startups like Casper, Leesa, and Tuft & Needle make it easier to upgrade your mattress, while sleepwear brands like Lunya and Lusomé use techy fabric to help wick moisture and keep your body cool throughout the night. The sleep economy is real — and thriving.
AllTrails Receives a $75 Million Investment: Hiking the Great Outdoors Is About to Get Easier: Spectrum Equity took a gamble funding this wilderness-promoting app that allows users to find hiking routes, track their path, and send routes to friends. Some of those offerings are free, but the app also offers paid subscriptions for more serious hikers, which is what drew investors to the brand. Will it pay off? The company also invested in Headspace, so our guess is they’re hoping AllTrails will follow suit to be the next big thing in wellness.
Whole Foods Makes a ‘Smart’ Partnership With June Oven: We have to admit, the June smart oven is pretty cool. Pop in whatever you want cooked, whether it’s salmon or brussels sprouts, and the oven will recognize the food and ask how you want it done (and its accompanying app will notify you when it’s ready). It makes sense that Whole Foods would want to integrate — especially as Amazon is a recent June investor — by making it simpler to cook foods sold at its stores.
Wellness Tourism Expected to Boom Among China’s White Collar Travelers: An industry once reserved primarily for China’s elderly set has a new appeal among the country’s millennials looking to escape their hectic jobs and late hours. China’s Tongling Mountain region alone expects to receive 70 million tourists annually by 2020. That’s a lot of wellness-seekers.
Food & Drink
Blackberry Farms’ New Resort Trades Gluttony for Wellness: When it comes to resort food, “wellness” is usually a tip off that you will not eat well. We look forward to this next wave of good, healthy food that’s informed by a kitchen that knows what a sinful meal tastes like.
Mind & Body
Inscape Is on a Quest to Become the Spotify of Mindfulness: Meditation App 101: If a brand makes it easier for customers to find their zen, then the company and the consumer win. And that’s exactly what Inscape is aiming for with its meditation app relaunch, mimicking the format of Spotify with playlists based on what consumers actually need, like “Tinder Troubles” and “Snap Out of It.” A smart move to stand out in a crowded app space.
Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.