Fearing a holiday email onslaught, DTC startups turn to text messaging to promote sales

There's no shortage of "last chance" sales hitting email inboxes these days, as desperate retailers like Gap and Macy's are trying to squeeze some much-needed revenue out of shoppers. But that also makes it harder for younger startups to grab customers' attention, when every retail company in the world is trying to email them. So, some startups are turning to text message instead to promote sales or key events. Thinx, used text messaging to promote its 30% off sale in August, while Lensabl is encouraging customers to get their first-time discount via text message instead of email.

Top Stories Sep 25

Why Party City’s scaled back pop-up plan is a foreboding holiday bellwether

Party City’s annual October Halloween pop ups have been scaled back by about 90% this year. It also plans to hired 20% fewer seasonal workers. The party supply chain's decision, which counts on the holiday's sales for 20% of its annual revenue, could signal a similar fate for other seasonal pop-ups this year.

'There will be failures across every carrier': E-commerce companies are bracing for more shipping delays over the holidays

E-commerce companies are preparing for a huge surge in online orders over the holidays, as people remain hesitant about visiting stores. While the extra revenue may be welcomed, it could also put a strain on their ability to get products to customers on time. In a recent survey of 63 merchants by CommerceNext, an event series and community for retail marketers, respondents said that their biggest logistics concern leading up to the holidays was that carriers like FedEx and UPS would cap deliveries during peak demand.

'Give your community what they want': DTC brands are increasingly leaning on merch

The days of tossed over branded swag seem long gone, thanks to young brands making branded apparel a core part of their marketing strategy. In recent years, brands like Glossier and SoulCycle proved a community of enthusiastic fans can act as walking billboards. Now, the awareness-growing tactic is being deployed even by new companies. Now, with in-person events out the window, merch is becoming even more important to DTC startups.

Other news to know

  • As retailers gear up for the holiday season, they are hiring fewer cashiers and more workers to fulfill online orders. Target is the latest such example, announcing that it plans to hire 130,000 seasonal workers, who will focus mostly on staffing curbside pickup, and filling orders in distribution center.
  • Ulta Beauty said in an SEC filing that it will delay its planned expansion in Canada, to instead focus on its U.S. business as it is navigating through the coronavirus pandemic. The move will cost Ulta between $55 million and $65 million this year, due to lease obligations and some money it had already spent on store build outs.
  • CNN has a feature on why Costco is still holding off on offering grocery pickup and delivery, despite the growth these two services have seen over the past several months.
Number of online orders Target fulfills at its stores


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With new fashion line, Walmart's private label apparel strategy emerges

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On Monday, Walmart launched Free Assembly, a new private label line of men's and women's clothing with pieces ranging from $9 to $45 in price. It's not the only fashion move that Walmart has made as of late, as the big-box retailer has been looking for ways to get customers to buy more higher-margin items like clothing in order to make its e-commerce and store businesses as profitable as possible. But Walmart has a unique opportunity to grow apparel sales right now as people people are making fewer trips to stores, but looking to buy more in a single trip.

Office clothing brands face a bleak future where nobody goes to offices

Rent The Runway just announced plans to end its Unlimited rental option. This was a core part of its offering and hints at pain felt throughout the workwear and formalwear space. Fewer people are going to work and attending large events. As a result, demand -- both for department stores and platforms like Rent The Runway -- is cratering. In the middle of a pandemic with an unknown timeline ahead, the future of many of these companies looks ominous.

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