How Shopify became the new retail empire

For a decade, Shopify has been slowly growing, describing itself as a quiet no-nonsense back-end tool to help merchants grow their businesses. And over the last year it's become an empire. Now, as Shopify has create more programs to bring in new merchants, the company has become a new e-commerce default -- and it has big plans to expand beyond mere DTC brands.

Top Stories Jan 19
linktree

How Linktree and Linkin.bio became the new digital storefront

Increasingly, when consumers stumble across a pair of a pants or a two-sided cereal bowl that catch their eye on Instagram or TikTok, they’ll have to go to a Linktree or a Linkin.bio page to buy it -- and that has turned those startups into a new kind of storefront for the social media era. According to Linktree, e-commerce-related traffic has been consistently doubling month over month.

With Marc Lore, Walmart went from a nascent to aggressive e-commerce player

Walmart is starting off 2021 by losing one of its key e-commerce executives. Marc Lore, who has led Walmart's e-commerce strategy since the big-box retailer acquired his startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion, announced he was leaving Walmart after nearly five years. It leaves Walmart without the person who has previously been deemed the architect of its e-commerce strategy. All this during a year in which e-commerce is likely to once again experience tremendous growth — and as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Why Walmart is testing porch coolers for grocery delivery

Walmart is testing ways to keep consumers ordering groceries online long after the pandemic. As grocery sales slow down, the retailer is partnering with tech startup HomeValet to install smart coolers on customers' porches.

Other news to know

  • Iconic footwear brand Birkenstock is reportedly in talks with PE firm CVC Capital Partners about a potential takeover, according to Bloomberg, in a deal that could value the company at more than $4.8 billion. CVC’s portfolio includes watchmaker Breitling SA and beauty retailer Douglas GmbH.
  • If you live in Israel, you may be able to have a drone deliver your pizza. According to the Wall Street Journal, Pizza Hut Israel is working with the tech company Dragontail Systems on a drone pilot program.
  • The melatonin industry is booming thanks to pandemic-induced stress. But with more people taking the sleep aid, there may be some unforeseen health risks, reports Business Insider.
$826 million
How much Americans spent on melatonin products in 2020

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How the fortunes of DTC startups and buy now pay later apps are intertwined

How the fortunes of DTC startups and buy now pay later apps are intertwined

The direct-to-consumer startup boom has also fueled the rise of a number of secondary industries — for example, buy now pay later services. Affirm just went public this week and if its Wall Street debut is any indication, it’s got some staying power. Affirm disclosed in its S-1 that it generates nearly 30% of its revenue from just one company: Peloton, one of the darlings in the DTC space. But the relationship between buy now pay later services and DTC startups runs deeper than that.

How Anheuser-Busch and Drizly teamed up on a targeted ad partnership

The ongoing alcohol delivery boom has prompted brands like Anheuser-Busch to move ad spend to platforms like Drizly and Minibar. In turn, Facebook is courting both platforms and brands to advertise their beverages to local 21-plus customers.

How brands and retailers are fighting e-commerce fraud
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How brands and retailers are fighting e-commerce fraud

New research finds that e-commerce fraud has skyrocketed over the course of the past year. Nonetheless, many brands and retailers aren’t fighting fraud with measures that are commensurate with the threats they face, while others are turning to new fraud mitigation tools and technologies.

How Amazon’s algorithm allows extremist merchandise to spread

How Amazon’s algorithm allows extremist merchandise to spread

Amazon recently announced that it was cracking down on QAnon merchandise. Even if the company is truly shifting its approach to how it polices product listings, its ability to cut down on disinformation merchandise will be hamstrung by its own algorithms. As long as Amazon’s product recommendation algorithm takes a purely neutral approach — even to anti-vaccine or white nationalist products — it will continue to give them prominent slots in search results.

Brooklinen, 1-800-Contacts and Imperfect Foods are Modern Retail Awards winners

The 2020 Modern Retail Awards celebrated brands, agencies, retailers and platforms that responded to a most challenging and unusual year for consumers and shopping.

TikTokers are building Amazon product recommendation empires

TikTokers are building Amazon product recommendation empires

TikTok users are cashing in on affiliate marketing. #AmazonFinds TikTok is the successor to affiliate-focused recommendation publications like the New York Times-owned Wirecutter, where media companies earn their incomes by highlighting useful niche products. Except these TikTokers are building their product recommendation empires alone, without the backing of a legacy publication.

The Airbnb of retail: Why DTC furniture startup Outer uses customer homes as showrooms

Outdoor furniture company Outer pays its customers to turn their backyards into "showrooms," which prospective new customers can check out as they're deciding whether or not to buy a sofa or a rug from Outer. It's something that the startup has done since launching in mid-2019. But 2020 was the year in which Outer started to prove that its model has traction. The company did more than $12 million in sales in 2020, up from $1.1 million in 2019. Now, the company plans to lean on its customers more to help fuel its growth, as it seeks to expand the showroom model.

'An experience that's bad, or at least a little weird': Alto Pharmacy's Matt Gamache-Asselin on why he entered the space

Healthcare and insurance aren't the sexiest areas, but they are both ripe for disruption. That's why Matt Gamache-Asselin, co-founder and CEO of Alto Pharmacy, decided to enter the space. The five-year-old company has raised over $350 million thus far and has been building digital pharmacy to compete with the likes of CVS and Walgreens. On the Modern Retail Podcast, he spoke about why he entered the space.

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Jan 22, 2021

Recognizing the next generation of leaders across media and marketing, fashion, beauty and retail.

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