Uber is turning to e-commerce to keep both its riders and drivers happy as it faces stiffer competition in the ridesharing market. The company announced today that it's launched a shopping app in conjunction with Cargo, a startup that signed a deal to become Uber's exclusive "in-car commerce provider" a year ago.
Big-box retailers like Target and Walmart increasingly want their stores to double as fulfillment centers. They see their existing store footprints as one of the biggest advantages they have over Amazon, which has had to build more than 100 fulfillment centers in order to enable next-day delivery on millions of products for Amazon Prime members. But, there are limitations on just how much the store can do.
As a number of startups are now competing to build more modern stores for direct-to-consumer brands, they are starting to think about how they can help these brands grow beyond just giving them a space to sell their product. Startups like Bulletin, Neighborhood Goods and Showfields increasingly want to build solutions to help brands grow online and offline.
Amazon may be the only retailer with an event called Prime Day, but competitors are capitalizing on the growing name recognition of Prime Day among U.S. shoppers to promote their own sales events. No one is calling their sales event Prime Day outright, but other retailers are alluding to Amazon's annual two-day sales event in their marketing and promotional copy.
Direct-to-consumer health care brands are starting to grow up, but still face an uncertain road ahead as some doctors express concern about the rapid growth of telemedicine. Companies like Ro and Hims, which got their starts selling generic erectile dysfunction and hair loss medication respectively direct-to-consumer, have now grown to encompass multiple brands
As Amazon continues to set shipping expectations, competing marketplaces and platforms are racing to ensure their sellers don't fall behind. This week, Etsy became the latest marketplace to go all-in on free shipping, with an announcement that at the end of July, it will start ranking sellers who offer free shipping higher in search results.
Last year, VC firm Greycroft announced that it was launching a joint $50 million fund with grocery chain Albertsons to invest in startups and platforms to power the grocery sector. Greycroft partner and co-founder Ian Sigalow, who manages the Albertsons fund, broke down the fund's playbook, how the firm is approaching grocery and how he sees traditional brick-and-mortar chains like Albertsons evolving.
Compared to Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest offers direct-to-consumer brands access to a smaller user base. But, it's starting to become a greater part of their marketing mix, albeit a smaller one, as brands look for cheaper traffic elsewhere as advertising costs on Facebook and Instagram continue to rise.
The Dick's partnership is the first time that Story is partnering with another retailer, since it got acquired by Macy's in 2018. While "it's a little atypical for a retailer to sponsor another retailer," it's something that Macy's is looking to do more of, according to Story's founder and now Macy's brand experience offer Rachel Shechtman.
Robin Li, principal at GGV Capital, believes that as more e-commerce and direct-to-consumer brands are looking to diversify their marketing mixes, they should be more open about sharing what's working for them on different channels.
As Boxed continues to add to products to its private label brand, Prince & Spring, it's looking for more ways for the brand to stand out outside of Boxed, and continues to experiment with which promotion type will drive up average order value. Boxed launched Prince & Spring four years ago. Now, approximately 100 of the 1,800 SKUs that Boxed carries are Prince & Spring products, and Prince & Spring accounts for about 15% of Boxed's sales.
As direct-to-consumer brands have started to branch out from their bread-and-butter digital marketing channels like Facebook and Google and explore channels like TV, out-of-home and direct mail, pressure is building to figure out which of these channels are most effective at driving sales.
Most, if not all, DTC companies don't launch with a loyalty program. Given that these brands are often first built around a single "hero product," that doesn't leave them with much room to offer customers additional add-ons once they spend a certain amount. But, six-year-old lingerie brand ThirdLove decided to launch a loyalty program, called Hooked, in November in conjunction with a revamp of its promotional offerings.
Nike's direct-to-consumer sales continue to grow consistently, but investments in digital capabilities and real estate continue to eat into the athleticwear company's profit margins. The athletic apparel company reported during its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday that sales from Nike Direct totaled $11.8 billion during its fiscal year 2019, up 13% from last year. To grow DTC sales, Nike has focused on directing customers to sign up for its free NikePlus app.
On Thursday, Amazon announced Counter, a new service that will allow customers to pick up Amazon packages from select retailers' stores. Amazon's initial launch partner for Counter in the U.S. is Rite Aid. But in its press release, the e-commerce giant said that it's "actively looking to bring additional partners onboard, including small to midsize businesses and other large chains." It's indicative of the power Amazon still holds over brick-and-mortar retailers.
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