more articles by

Anna Hensel

  • JUN 15, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Instagram is trying to make influencer marketing more prominent

    Social media apps are rolling out more tools meant to encourage brands to work more closely with influencers. Instagram, for example, announced last week that it is testing a new affiliate tool, which allows influencers to earn a commission from products they recommend that use Instagram’s checkout service, with the commission being set by the brand. It's led to a change in overall influencer strategy.

  • JUN 10, 2021

    Pitch Deck: How Pattern Brands laid out its new holding company vision

    This week Pattern Brands -- a holding company formed by the former members of branding agency Gin Lane -- announced that it was pivoting away from launching its own brands, and instead would look to acquire a number of smaller brands in the home goods space. It's a move that has been in the works for over a year. Modern Retail obtained a pitch deck that Pattern Brands sent around last summer, laying out its vision for the holding company it hoped to build.

  • JUN 08, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Pattern Brands pivots to acquiring startups

    Pattern Brands was one of a few startups that thought it could crack the customer acquisition challenges brands faced by taking a holding company approach. Led by the former team behind branding agency Gin Lane, Pattern Brands would launch multiple brands under one company, all catering to an affluent millennial customer. Now, Pattern Brands is taking a different strategy.

  • JUN 07, 2021

    Why retailers are increasingly building mobile apps for store employees

    As store workers at many big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy are now expected to deal with both online and in-store orders, retailers are increasingly thinking about creating new tech tools to help workers manage the growing list of tasks they're responsible for. Walmart, for example announced last week that it was creating a new mobile app called [email protected] Through the app, store employees can manage their shifts and view their schedules, use a voice-activated personal assistant to answer common questions, such as where certain items are located throughout the store, and eventually, use the app to scan merchandise in the backroom.

  • JUN 03, 2021

    With Depop acquisition, Etsy is building a ‘house of brands’ to fend off marketplace competition

    This week, Etsy announced that it has acquired Depop, a clothing resale app for $1.6 billion. That announcement comes nearly two years after Etsy acquired Reverb, a marketplace for new and used music gear. In its press release, Etsy laid out its rationale for acquiring Depop: It help Etsy further its "house of brands" strategy, in which it will operate the three marketplaces  separately -- Etsy, Depop and Reverb -- but share technology, marketing, product and customer services staff.

  • JUN 01, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Partnerships are becoming a consistent part of startups’ marketing playbooks

    With summer approaching and people being inclined to spend more time at the beach than they are online shopping, brands are looking for creative marketing tactics to drum up excitement. And one of the most common tactics startups have started experimenting more with in recent years is partnership marketing. Partnership marketing encompasses everything from product giveaways on Instagram to selling more co-branded items, and they're increasingly becoming a small but critical component of startups' strategies for critical sales moments.

  • MAY 27, 2021

    How Best Buy is rethinking the role of its store employees

    As Best Buy is mapping out its post-pandemic future, its store employees are becoming responsible for more than just selling product. Like many other retailers, Best Buy saw huge growth in fulfillment services like curbside pickup during the pandemic, so it's testing out how it can reformat its stores in order to fulfill more online orders as well as utilize its employees to better handle all the new daily requirements.

  • MAY 25, 2021

    Nordstrom’s sales growth lags as it struggles to diversify away from apparel

    Nordstrom's sales are starting to inch closer to pre-pandemic levels, but the department store chain is still trying to figure out the right product mix going forward. During its first quarter earnings on Tuesday, Nordstrom reported year-over-year sales growth that was slower than the growth reported by Macy's and Kohl's during their respective first quarter earnings last week.

  • MAY 25, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Despite growth, store traffic yet to reach pre-pandemic levels for many startups

    As vaccinations ramp up, stores are getting more crowded. As a result, former retail epicenters like Soho are seeing signs of life again, with more stores drawing more lines to get in.

  • MAY 25, 2021

    As it expands beyond the coasts, Feather is trying to make furniture rental trendy

    Like other retail startups, furniture rental company Feather has adjusted its growth strategy for the year as it tries to figure out how to best fit into customers' post-pandemic lifestyles. Now, the company is expanding to new markets and launching in new categories. As a rental startup, Feather faces a unique challenge in that its growth trajectory also depends upon its ability to get more people on board with the idea of temporary ownership.

  • MAY 20, 2021

    Cheatsheet: Home Depot and Lowe’s are trying to extend the home improvement boom

    Last year, Home Depot and Lowe's reported huge sales gains on the backs of people spending more time -- and more of their money -- at home. Now, the question is whether or not these gains can continue into 2021. During their first quarter earnings calls this week, Home Depot and Lowe's laid out their respective strategies for retaining customers this year.

  • MAY 19, 2021
    Q&A

    Hu Kitchen co-founder Jason Karp: There are ‘too many options’ in CPG

    Jason Karp is quickly becoming the driving force behind a lot of brands trying to create a healthier spin on CPG staples. Along with his wife Jessica and brother Jordan, Jason launched Hu Kitchens in 2012. Karp spoke with Modern Retail about why he's getting into the frozen foods space, and how he thinks "greenwashing" is overtaking the health foods category.

  • MAY 18, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Startups are still trying to figure out what takes off on TikTok

    While DTC brands are more eager to test out TikTok, marketers and agencies say that most startups are still trying to figure out what types of videos work. As a result, they say experimentation is the key to TikTok success. And specifically, keeping an eye on what's trending on the For You page, and figuring out how to incorporate trending hashtags or effects into a brand's video.

  • MAY 12, 2021

    Rakuten ramps up logistical investments in Japan to fend off Amazon

    For years, Rakuten was the go-to third party marketplace for Japanese shoppers looking to buy anything from electronics to tennis shoes online. But then, in a dynamic that's played out in other countries around the world, Rakuten found itself on the defensive as Amazon started making greater inroads in Japan. Now Amazon, not Rakuten, is the bigger e-commerce player in Japan, by some estimates. And that's put Rakuten on the defensive.

  • MAY 11, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Startup funding rebounds during the first quarter of 2021

    Venture funding for DTC startups has increased, but it's being driven by an increased in interest in a handful of categories.

Modern Retail Marketing Leaders Forum
Jul 21, 2021

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