Direct-to-consumer brands are starting to invest more in traditional advertising channels, like billboards, television and direct mail as consumers' inboxes or Instagram feeds are getting clogged with ads from competitors. Brands who spoke with Modern Retail say that direct mail is proving to be a small, but useful part of their marketing mix to reach a select group of high-intent customers.
Over the past year, weighted blanket brand Gravity Products has started to partner more with brands on product collaborations in order to lessen its reliance on selling directly to consumers. Today, Gravity announced that it's partnering with DTC mattress brand Purple on a product collaboration. CEO Mike Grillo said that partnerships now make up nearly 18% of Gravity's revenue, up from 2% last year.
As legacy retailers struggle with what to do with their large store footprint, there's a growing industry of retail-as-a-service companies that are pitching them on software and services that they say will help them make better use of in-store space.
As Amazon's grocery ambitions grow, it's turning to familiar tactics to get a leg up, particularly in the delivery space, by trying to make its services as cheap and convenient as possible compared to competitors. Amazon's grocery delivery offerings are currently split between two different types of services, and compared to its biggest competitor, Walmart, it offers delivery for fresh produce in fewer U.S. cities
Some direct-to-consumer companies are slowly building out corporate gifting programs, as they look for more ways beyond paid advertising to reach large groups of potential new customers. Bombas piloted a corporate gifting program for the first time last year. Today, it has a team of three that manages corporate sales, two members of which were just hired in June, according to chief marketing officer Kate Huyett.
As buy now, pay later financing models start to gain more traction among younger customers, the businesses powering these transactions are also looking for more ways to keep customers shopping within their network of retailers. Affirm, founded in 2013 is one such business, and last week launched a redesigned mobile app that's designed to encourage customers to turn to Affirm to finance more of their purchases.
With the holiday shopping season-fast approaching, big-box retailers like Target and Walmart are trying to drum up publicity with the announcement of new shopping features and exclusive products to win over a greater share of toy shoppers.
Brands, especially venture-backed ones, live and die by a few metrics. Customer lifetime value and retention rates are especially critical in proving to investors that their company is worthy of being valued at five times or ten times revenue.
New and existing sites are increasingly seeing an opportunity in helping both shoppers and industry members make sense of the growing DTC landscape. The founders of these sites say that because it's easier now than ever before to start a new brand, and many of these brands gain traction through a mix of paid Facebook and Instagram ads, influencer partnerships, and affiliate deals, it's hard for even someone who works in the consumer industry to understand which new mattress or razor is best.
As retailers are leaning on their stores to do more than ever before without significantly raising labor costs, store associates can get caught in the middle. Over the past few months, big-box retailers, from Target to Home Depot to Kohl's, are encouraging more customers to take advantage of in-store fulfillment options like buy online, pickup in-store or ship-from-store. That in turn requires more investment in their backroom operations. Others, like Kohl's, are now offering more front-facing in-store services.
As Snapchat's created more in-app commerce opportunities over the past year, it's also sought to encourage consumer brands to spend more on the platform by creating more shoppable ad formats, and improving its ad targeting options.
Email addresses have become the currency of choice for direct-to-consumer brands. As a result, many DTC brands offer customers a discount off their first order, if they sign up for the company's email list
The "treasure hunt" shopping experience that's been popularized in outlet and off-price stores has historically been difficult to recreate online. But as more people general are doing their shopping online, that isn't stopping more retailers from trying their hand at building a more appealing discount shopping experience online.
As a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, Lowe's doesn't solely rely on digital marketing channels to raise brand awareness -- it's also looking to drive them more of its existing customers into stores, or get them to buy products in other categories. Lowe's has zeroed in on YouTube in particular as an important channel in driving customer traffic to its website, and that its customers see YouTube as a "resource for product inspiration and knowledge."
Many malls in the U.S. are about to lose yet another brick-and-mortar tenant, as Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy earlier this week. Forever 21's bankruptcy filing has prompted discussion about whether or not fast-fashion is dying, or just evolving. But there are some lessons that every retailer would be wise to take away from Forever 21's bankruptcy filing.
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