When DTC health care startup Ro launched in 2017, the startup was initially focused on connecting male patients with doctors to discuss medical conditions like erectile dysfunction and hair loss. Today, Ro now sells medication to treat 11 different conditions under three brands: Roman for men, Rory for women, and Zero, which is focused on nonsmokers. As Ro's potential audience grows, it is finding it is increasingly having to rely on more than just Facebook and Google search ads to reach new customers.
Victoria's Secret's market share has declined for years as consumers have grown tired of its overtly sexualized marketing and merchandise. But the number of startups and retailers vying to take a slice of the business that previously belonged to Victoria's Secret hasn't slowed down.
In 2020, e-commerce startups are facing a greater sense of urgency to turn a profit, and furniture company Wayfair is no exception. Earlier this month, the company announced that it was cutting 550 jobs, or about 3% of its workforce. In an email to Wayfair employees obtained by the Boston Globe, CEO Niraj Shah said that "We find ourselves at a place where we are, from an execution standpoint, investing in too many disparate areas, with an uneven quality and speed of execution."
Bombas is slowly building up its roster of wholesale partners, focusing on finding retailers that align with its one-to-one giving model, and have a customer demographic that fits well with new product offerings. It's one of a number of brands that started direct-to-consumer that is starting to test out which wholesale partners make the most sense for them.
During its fourth quarter earnings report on Tuesday, Walmart once again reported strong growth in its online grocery business, which has become the crux of its e-commerce strategy in recent years. But the company was also hurt by weak sales in toys, apparel and gaming.
As direct-to-consumer startups feel greater pressure to rely less on digital channels like Facebook and Google, other, they're considering investing more in traditional media advertising. That includes out of home advertising (OOH), like billboards, digital bus stops and painted murals.
When Great Jones launched in 2018, co-founders Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis decided to take what they called a "maximalist" approach to design, in order to ensure that their brand stood out many other direct-to-consumer startups at the time that seemed to be taking a minimalist approach to branding. Now, less than two years after Great Jones officially launched, Tishgart already feels like the maximalist approach that was once unique to Great Jones is no longer a novelty.
As more direct-to-consumer startups launch every day, agencies are finding that they constantly have to expand their wheelhouse of skills. Branding agencies are starting to take on performance marketing work, while marketing agencies are taking on more early stage design work. In November, branding agency Red Antler, which did work for Casper and Allbirds, launched a performance marketing arm called Good Moose
As big-box retailers are facing increased pressure to keep their employee headcounts stable, some store workers are frustrated as they feel like they are expected do more with less. On Monday, a workers advocacy group called Target Workers Unite released what it says are the results of an employee survey that shows the majority of them feel like their stores are understaffed, but also don't feel like they are receiving enough hours from Target to make an adequate living.
Strip malls are starting to get a second look from some retailers who have historically ignored them. Last week, both Macy's and Sephora announced that they would seek to open more stores in strip malls in the coming years. Last year, supplements brand GNC announced plans to close 700 of its mall-based stores, and instead focus on its stores in strip malls, which were reporting "relatively stable" store comps.
Within the past year, Google has made a significant push to turn itself into more of a shopping destination. But it's also taken steps to encourage more retailers and direct-to-consumer brands to invest in YouTube. In November, YouTube announced that it was extending shopping ads to YouTube's home feed and search results, so that when a user searches for say, Puma shoes, they see an ad with a carousel of suggested products to buy.
When CPG conglomerate Edgewell announced in May that it was acquiring razor brand Harry's for $1.37 billion, the news was viewed as a win for direct-to-consumer startups. Now, what was once viewed as a surefire deal might no longer happen. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it was suing to block Edgewell's proposed acquisition of Harry's.
Mall owners are looking to bail out some of their tenants as more struggling brick-and-mortar retailers declare bankruptcy. On Monday fast fashion retailer Forever 21 announced that it had struck a deal to sell its retail business to a group of acquirers that included Simon Property Group, Brookfield Property Partners, and Authentic Brands Groups, for $81 million
Now that Walmart offers grocery pickup in over 60% of its U.S. stores, it has started to ramp up advertising encouraging customers to try out the service. On Sunday, Walmart will run its first-ever Super Bowl ad promoting online grocery pickup; the company also ran a national TV campaign promoting grocery pickup that kicked off during the Golden Globes in January 2019.
Casper isn't the first DTC mattress brand to go public -- despite the large amounts of noise around it. Purple, which launched as an online-only mattress brand via a Kickstarter campaign in 2015, sold to shell company Global Partner Acquisition Corp. in 2017 for $1.1 billion, which subsequently took Purple public.
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