As a younger consumer, this is very appealing to me. It looks like a place I would like to eat. However (as some have already stated), they would probably be better off focusing on cleanliness and revising their menu offerings to suit changing consumer tastes.
Chipotle recently debuted their "Lifestyle Bowls" which cater to different consumers based on their diets (Keto Bowl, Vegan Bowl, Whole30 Bowl, Paleo Bowl, etc). Yes, people could do the research and make their own bowl, but I thought it was a clever way to market the same/existing ingredients in a new way.
It isn't the best, and definitely not the only way to draw people into malls. People are already consuming alcohol at malls. This just allows them the freedom to take one to go, or finish the one they had already started.
Americans spent around $40 billion last year on "drunk purchases," most of which were online (with Amazon being the most popular). If anything, this law would allow brick & mortar to share a piece of that pie.
I agree with you, but will also add that there are numerous studies (US and internationally), and published journals on the benefits of CBD for treating different ailments (epilepsy, anxiety, etc). The FDA (government) is notoriously slow, and as you've stated still behind the times on the classification in this case, so it's probably going to be quite some time before we see US government funded research, unfortunately.
The thing I dislike most about retailers adding it to their products is that most don't list the potency of the CBD (or the potency is not as claimed), and there aren't any regulations regarding growing/sourcing or processing practices. Many CBD products available have been privately tested, and found to contain heavy metals and pesticides.
I don't personally put much stock in most influencers, but they're no more or less qualified than a "traditional" celebrity. In fact, quite often the opposite is true. They are fully engaged in their area of interest. They live and breathe those products/brands while actors and athletes will back almost anything (telecommunications, insurance, food/drinks, etc.) whether or not they're interested in it at all.
It's a good idea in theory, but executed poorly. They should've incorporated this concept into their main site instead of building a separate/disconnected one. The standalone site is also very clunky, and difficult to navigate.
For example, they could've updated their categories tab to include "socially-conscious" or whatever they want to call it, and also update their search filters to include terms like "charity/donation," "recycled," etc. to help people find these products more easily.
One-thousand isn't enough to guarantee validity. I've run across products on Amazon that have 20,000 reviews, but when I checked on sites like ReviewMeta or FakeSpot, only about 60 percent of them were real (bringing the nearly five star rating down to three stars). Most sites do nothing at all and leave it up to the consumer. If a site could boast 90 percent accuracy of reviews then they would definitely have an advantage over everyone else.
Aside from the fact that the article states all items are recyclable, I think you're missing the bigger picture. Amazon doesn't care so much about the Whole Foods brand image. This was just a way for them to immediately get their "foot in the door" of physical grocery/retail. Everyone already knows that the Whole Foods model was not sustainable ... that's why it sold out. Expect Amazon to acquire another chain in the near future (2-3 years) to solidify its foothold in this sector.
Sephora and Ulta are definitely huge players in the beauty category, but the new Riley Rose concept specializes in introducing customers to online only, foreign and up and coming brands, the majority of which are not sold at Sephora or Ulta. In addition, the store is only about 50% beauty. The rest of the store is comprised of home decor, stationery, lifestyle and snacks.
As others have said, it would have been a safer play to introduce their existing customer base to the new brand. It's going to be a longer and potentially more expensive route, but H&M (one of Forever 21's competitors) has launched several successful new brands in recent years including Other Stories, COS, and most recently ARKET.