DTC Twitter is obsessed with Tweet threads. Or, at the very least, they are frequently cited as recommended reads in industry newsletters like 2pm Inc. and Lean Luxe, and often serve as inspiration for further discussions in Clubhouse, Slack, or virtual events. Heavy Twitter usage is not unique to the DTC startup scene, but these Tweet storms are a good a mirror to expose the strengths and weaknesses of DTC startups.
After posting record-high sales during its second quarter, Amazon is struggling to maintain enough space in its warehouses for inventory. That's creating headaches for sellers who rely primarily on Amazon's fulfillment service (FBA) to get the majority of their products to customers.
It can be a good time to sign a new lease, for retailers whose businesses haven't completely collapsed during the coronavirus pandemic. Landlords are desperate to find new tenants as more retailers increasingly declare bankruptcy. But retailers may also risk squandering cash if they sign a new lease before shoppers are completely comfortable returning regularly to stores and/or malls again.
In September, seven-year-old rental startup Le Tote made an expensive, risky bet to acquire more customers. It spent $100 million to buy beleaguered department store Lord & Taylor from Hudsons Bay company. But as the coronavirus forced temporary closures in the U.S., it became clear the bet wouldn't pay off. On Sunday, Le Tote and Lord & Taylor both filed for bankruptcy. Now, Le Tote's survival depends upon it finding a buyer for as much of Lord & Taylor as possible.
Less than two years into the opening of Hudson Yards, one of the most expensive real estate projects in the country, the development's shopping center is losing its anchor tenant. Last week, Neiman Marcus, which filed for bankruptcy in May, announced that it would be closing its Hudson Yards store, among other locations. As Hudson Yards considers a new type of tenant to take over the space, which spans three floors, each type of tenant comes with its own set of drawbacks.
Last week, Simon Property Group and Authentic Brands Group submitted a $305 million for 200-year-old bankrupt apparel retailer Brooks Brothers, through a joint LLC the two had set up called Sparc. The deal is still subject to court approval, as well as if higher bids come in. But no matter how the deal pans out, it gives some important insight into what mall owners like Simon are looking for in acquisition targets, as an unprecedented number of struggling retailers are likely to be up for sale this year.
During the coronavirus pandemic, direct-to-consumer startups in categories ranging from personal care to athletic apparel have reported tripe-digit sales growth. The big question though, is how much it will last, as coronavirus cases start to rise again in some states like California and Texas, forcing other businesses to close once again. Five direct-to-consumer startups said they aren't seeing many signs of headwinds -- yet.
Despite a newfound appreciation for them in advertising campaigns, essential retail workers say their jobs have become more stressful as the pandemic has dragged on, and short-term pay bonuses and words of thanks have provided little comfort.
During Snap's second quarter earnings yesterday, CEO Evan Spiegel called out e-commerce advertising as one of the company's bright spots during the quarter, as consumers are spending more money online during the coronavirus. Snap's revenue overall grew 17% year-over-year, to $454 million. But, even before the pandemic, Snapchat was heavily focused on wooing new e-commerce advertisers, particularly with new ad formats.
Since launching Instagram Checkout a year and a half ago, which allows customers to buy products from participating retailers' websites, Instagram has made it a priority to get more well-known retailers using the feature. Now, the next step on the app's to-do list is to make shopping more visible on Instagram. That was signaled by the launch of a new Shop tab in Instagram Explore last week. But Instagram still has a ways to go until users think of it as a shopping destination first and foremost.
Shopify has a bevy of competitors, like Magento, WooCommerce, Salesforce, Microsoft Amazon and BigCommerce, which just filed to go public this week. But no one company yet has emerged as the biggest threat to Shopify's position as the go-to e-commerce platform for DTC brands. Shopify's dominance says a lot not just about the state of other e-commerce platforms, but also about the state of DTC brands.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., most national retailers have held off on requiring customers to wear masks for entry, unless the state or city a particular store is in required it. Now, that's starting to change. Yesterday, Walmart announced that it would require customers to wear face masks to enter stores starting on July 20. And the largest industry trade group is encouraging other retailers to follow in Walmart's footsteps.
Before the coronavirus, opening more brick and mortar stores was a surefire way for DTC brands to acquire customers more profitably. Now, that calculus is changing.
Back-to-school shopping is an important time of year for retailers. Parents typically spend hundreds of dollars, on average, during back-to-school season, and it's one of the few shopping holidays where spending hasn't drastically shifted as much online. But that could change this year, thanks to the coronavirus, as shoppers remain hesitant to visit stores, and parents are unsure yet what all they will exactly need on their kids' back-to-school list.
As retailers seek to make greater inroads into health care, many of them have unveiled aggressive plans to launch dozens -- if not hundreds -- of their own primary care clinics over the coming years. Whichever of them builds the most successful chain of clinics has the potential to win over a very lucrative share of shoppers' wallets.
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