DTC brands are preparing for nightmare holiday shipping delays and out of stocks

After surviving the Black Friday rush, direct-to-consumer brands have a new challenge at hand: how to ensure their holiday sales aren't hampered by long shipping delays and going out of stock on certain items. Founders say that they are trying to incentivize customers as much as possible to order early, as well as giving as many details as possible about warehouse and supply chain challenges, in the hopes that shoppers will be as patient as they were in the spring.

Top Stories Dec 04
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Why retailers like Amazon and Target are embracing no-rush delivery

At the same time as retailers are racing to perform ever-faster shipping times, they also appear to be upping the incentives for slow delivery. Retailers, including Amazon, Target and Macy's are all offering shoppers discounts in exchange for longer shipping times. And that split might signal a changing mindset for some retailers -- rather than focusing on speed at all costs, some are taking a more nuanced approach to logistics.

Modern Retail Research: 50% of brands have downsized their brick-and-mortar staff this holiday season

So much for staffing up on seasonal store associates. According to a November 2020 Glossy and Modern Retail survey of brand workers, in preparation for this holiday season, brands shifted their resources away from stores to investments that better serve online shoppers. Read more in our latest research brief.

How buy now pay later became an important part of holiday marketing

Buy now, pay later has become one of the biggest shopping trends of the pandemic. Thanks to a struggling economy and unpredictable holiday season, millions of consumers and hundreds of retailers are embracing installment payment services like Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm. And they're advertising them prominently during holiday promotions.

Other news to know

  • Walgreens is the latest retailer to launch an advertising business, following in the footsteps of Amazon, Walmart, Target and other retail giants. Called Walgreens Advertising Group, the division will sell ads across its own website and app, using data collected from its own loyalty program, as well as co-branded programmatic ads on Facebook and YouTube.
  • FedEx has acquired ShopRunner, a membership-based e-commerce platform in which users get access to free two-day shipping and returns on products from more than 100 retailers. When the deal closes, ShopRunner will be run as a subsidiary of FedEx Services. Transaction terms were not disclosed.
  • Express has laid off 10% of corporate workers, after making additional layoffs earlier this year. The layoffs come as the Columbus-based apparel retailer’s sales were down 34% year-over-year during the fourth quarter.
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'It's never easy': Clorox's Jackson Jeyanayagam on hiring DTC talent in a post-pandemic world

'It's never easy': Clorox's Jackson Jeyanayagam on hiring DTC talent in a post-pandemic world

As the pandemic's third wave mounts, Clorox wipes are still a hot commodity -- the product's shortage is expected to last into the new year. That outsized demand has led to a bump in sales for the company overall, and a stock that's risen by a third this year. Clorox's general manager of DTC Jackson Jeyanayagam, who oversees new digital business ventures and brands for the CPG giant, said that the edge extended to hiring power. "Here I come at Clorox trying to sell someone to come from a Netflix, an Airbnb or Warby Parker or Peloton and come work for me at Clorox, which no one ever thinks of as DTC," Jeyanayagam said on the Modern Retail Podcast.

How e-commerce platforms stacked up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Cyber week is becoming Cyber November, according to B-to-B vendors that power e-commerce merchants. This holiday season, companies that build SMBs' online stores, which include Shopify, BigCommerce and Adobe's Magento, are all seeing record sales among merchants. Here's how e-commerce platforms fared over this holiday shopping weekend blitz.

Discover the ROI of retailers investing in site search
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Discover the ROI of retailers investing in site search

New research shows that retailers with advanced site search see 50 percent higher conversion rates than those with only basic search functionality.

What Kohl's Sephora partnership means for the future of department stores

What Kohl's Sephora partnership means for the future of department stores

After a decade-long partnership with JCPenney, Sephora is now striking a deal with one of its rivals to reach new customers. On Tuesday, Kohl's announced that it had secured a partnership to open 850 Sephora shop-in-shops within its stores by 2023, the first of which will open next year. For the past 16 years, Sephora has operated shop-in-shops within JCPenney stores, with that deal set to expire within approximately two years. Sephora's decision to ditch JCPenney for Kohl's signals how drastically the fortunes of these two department stores have diverged.

Why Tastemade is partnering with retailers for shoppable programming

Recent Walmart and Amazon partnerships suggest that shoppable TV might become a big part of Tastemade's future. And as more retailers are looking to invest in their own television shows, social-first media companies like Tastemade are becoming their go-to place. But the media company still has to figure out how to get people to actually buy the products.

Why Facebook is investing in customer service as its commerce ambitions grow

Why Facebook is investing in customer service as its commerce ambitions grow

As Facebook is seeking to become more of a commerce platform, it's also increasingly interested in acquiring services to assist the e-commerce and retail companies it is  trying to court. That's evidenced by Facebook's latest acquisition, announced on Monday. The social media giant announced its intent to acquire Kustomer, a customer service platform that counts Birkenstock and Glossier among its customers.

'The online store has gone crazy': Christmas tree sales are finally going digital

As shoppers become more dependent on e-commerce, a growing number are beginning to look online even for Christmas trees. A small handful of DTC-style brands, like Walddie, have cropped up to offer delivery-focused tree sales. Even big players like Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s are stepping into the market, selling Christmas trees not just in their physical stores but also online. Digital Christmas tree are on the rise -- but ultimately, the Christmas tree business might show the limits of online ordering despite this banner year for e-commerce.

Why shoppable content will help brands win this holiday season
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Why shoppable content will help brands win this holiday season

With in-person sales largely out of the picture this holiday season, brands must adapt to deliver the frictionless experiences that online consumers expect and demand.

Why DTC furniture brand Sabai uses Instagram stories for product development

Since launching earlier this year, DTC furniture brand Sabai Designs has been on a mission to incorporate its Instagram followers' feedback into the design process. This process of releasing color and design combinations that early followers voted on has resulted in high conversion rates. However, Sabai also found there are advantages and drawbacks to crowdsourcing design ideas from social media.

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