FDA Approval

This October, DNA testing company 23andMe was granted FDA approval for offering health reports to consumers that lets them see how their bodies process medication.

According to Business Insider, the new tests identify which genes are involved in breaking down heart medication and antidepressants, for example. These types of tests normally require psychiatrists and doctors to get involved, though they can be purchased via genetics-testing kits and pharmacies like Albertsons. These tests can run from $250 to upwards of $750 normally, but with 23andMe results are cheaper and don’t require a doctor to obtain.

A health and ancestry report for 23andMe currently costs $199.

This fall, DNA testing company Ancestry unveiled a new reporting system that provides a deeper, more detailed look at customers’ ethnic origins.

The new reports provide a more precise breakdown of a person’s ethnic makeup. The company developed a new algorithm that analyzes longer segments of genetic information, and in combination with its growing database of customers, Ancestry has a more comprehensive reference panel that allows them a better understanding of genetic diversity.

For example, “Scandinavia” will now be more clearly broken down as Norway and Sweden. Asia East will be broken down into smaller regions: Japan, Korea, Northern China, China, Southeast Asia – Dai (Tai), Southeast Asia – Vietnam, and Philippines).

Seventy-seven percent of holiday shoppers will be making at least some of their gift purchases online according to a new study.

While online sales continue to increase year after year, it seems the biggest trend is for consumers to do a mix of both online and in-store purchases. The NPD Group reported that six out of ten shoppers plan to do such cross-channel purchasing, according to website Retail Dive.

The good news for retailers? Shoppers are more likely to spend more money if they shop online rather than just in stores, so it benefits them to have a good online presence. According to NPD Group, online shoppers anticipate spending an average of $748 this year, almost 50% more than the $492 of those planning to go only to physical stores.

ModCloth and Anna Sui

ModCloth unveiled its latest fashion line from a collaboration with iconic designer Anna Sui. Sizes for the Anna Sui line will be offered from 0-24, making it the first time Sui’s clothes will be available for a wide range of body types, including plus-sized women.

The new line features eight dresses, based on patterns and styles from Sui’s previous collections. “It’s always fun to revisit my archives, and reimagine how certain archetypal looks from my past could speak to a new audience,” she said in a press release. She worked with Modcloth over a period of nine months to develop the designs.

Sui is known for being colorful and eclectic with her fashion, and the vintage-inspired styles will include lace, eyelet and bow detailing. This isn’t the first time ModCloth has sold Sui pieces, which have been top sellers, but it is the first time she’s collaborated with the ModCloth brand. The line will be offered at prices ranging from $150 to $225. Sui pieces have usually sold at a higher price point – starting at $499 for a blouse and $755 for s shift dress, making the new collaboration more affordable for a wider range of customers.

WhatsApp Privacy

WhatsApp founder Brian Acton sold his company to Facebook four years ago, and according to a recent exclusive interview with Forbes Magazine, he acknowledges that he sold user’s privacy along with it.

Acton and his partner sold WhatsApp to Facebook in 2014 for a stunning $22 billion, which was unheard of for an app at that time – especially one that had yet to make money off of its platform. Acton stayed on with the company until last year - when he left $850 million on the table from his stock options before they vested - to take a stand against the direction Facebook wanted to go with his popular messaging platform.

Acton claims that he pushed back as Facebook execs wanted to add commercial messaging and targeted ads, which he’s been against from the app’s conception. As the world’s biggest messaging service, WhatsApp provides ad-free, encrypted messaging, which made it appealing to its users. In fact, the encrypted technology had been part of the app’s structure from the start, because the founders were privacy advocates. Facebook didn’t feel the same way, according to Acton.

Weight Watchers Now WW

Weight Watchers announced it will be changing its company name to WW in an effort to rebrand itself as a wellness company, as consumers today are focused on overall health rather than dieting. The new tagline is “Wellness that Works.”

According to CNBC, the weight loss giant plans to launch a new app that partners with Headspace, a popular meditation app, as well as launching a new program called “Wellness Wins” that rewards members for adopting healthier habits. They have also decided to remove all artificial ingredients from WW foods, including artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

WW will also be adding FitPoints to personalize the activity tracking system for each member, rewarding "high intensity and strength training" more than before in an acknowledgment that "100 calories burned walking is not the same as 100 calories burned lifting weights or running," WW told USA Today.