On Thursday, Dollar General announced that it is launching a new chain called Popshelf, which is targeted towards wealthier shoppers and will carry crafting items, home decor, health beauty products. Ninety-five percent of items will be priced at $5 or less, according to a press release. It's part of Dollar General's play to increase average order value, and attract new shoppers, in order to increase its profits.
As online sales soar, it's also been a boon for the companies interested in providing funding to these e-commerce businesses. Toronto-based Clearbanc said it's invested more than $1 billion into 3,300 companies, up from roughly 2,000 at the end of last year. Shopify, which has an alternative lending arm called Shopify Capital, reported that it doled out $153 million in financing to e-commerce businesses in the U.S, U.K. and Canada during its second quarter, a 65% increase from the same period last year. As studies project that e-commerce will continue to make up a growing portion of total retail sales even after the pandemic ends, these alternative lenders are betting that the amount of funding e-commerce businesses will need will also only grow.
Big-box retailers are starting to announce their holiday hiring plans, and among those that are still hiring, most of them have a singular focus: to hire more people to help them fulfill online orders. Target, Walmart, Kohl's, Gap, Michael's and Dollar General are among the retailers who have announced within the past two weeks plans to start hiring in preparation for the holidays, with an emphasis on hiring for roles to fulfill online orders. "We know customers will be shopping online more than ever this year and we’re staffing accordingly to support increased digital fulfillment efforts," Kohl's chief people officer Marc Chini said in a press release.
Before the coronavirus, Bed Bath & Beyond had reported nearly four more years of same-store sales declines, culminating in CEO Steve Temares stepping down and being replaced with former Target executive Mark Tritton in December. But now, the home-goods retailer may have found new life, as home goods sales have increased during the pandemic. And Bed Bath & Beyond isn't the only retailer encouraging people to spend more money on their home as they are stuck inside.
Despite experiencing record e-commerce sales during the coronavirus, DTC CEOs are trying to prepare for how to handle some worst-case scenarios over the holidays. Specifically, fears over shipping delays and how to compete with deep discounts are keeping them up at night. As they've had to do throughout the coronavirus outbreak, they're trying to figure out what unexpected scenarios to plan for.
Prime Day is a big sales day for Amazon. While the company doesn't disclose exact revenue figures, the e-commerce giant said that Prime Day sales last year were higher than the last Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. But Amazon's goal on Prime Day isn't just to get people to buy more physical product. It's also to encourage more people to buy Amazon Prime memberships, and to get the companies that sell on Amazon to spend more on advertising. And that's evidenced by the way that the company encourages Amazon agencies to prepare for Prime Day, by getting their clients to spend more on advertising.
Amazon has a new carrot to dangle in front of struggling retailers. On Tuesday, the e-commerce giant announced a new point of sale solution that it is calling Amazon One. The device allows customers to pay without ever having to take out their phone or credit card, instead paying by placing their palm over a scanning device. But retailers have also become increasingly wary of using Amazon's technology.
The countdown has begun for sellers: after a months-long delay, Amazon has officially announced a new date for Prime Day. Amazon's annual sales event will now be held on October 13-14. On the one hand, some sellers are hoping that more customers will use Prime Day to do their holiday shopping, and allow them to capture a greater share of sales than they would have if the event was once again held in July. But, others are concerned that more shoppers will decide to just wait a few more weeks, in the hopes of getting better deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
There's no shortage of "last chance" sales hitting email inboxes these days, as desperate retailers like Gap and Macy's are trying to squeeze some much-needed revenue out of shoppers. But that also makes it harder for younger startups to grab customers' attention, when every retail company in the world is trying to email them. So, some startups are turning to text message instead to promote sales or key events. Thinx, used text messaging to promote its 30% off sale in August, while Lensabl is encouraging customers to get their first-time discount via text message instead of email.
E-commerce companies are preparing for a huge surge in online orders over the holidays, as people remain hesitant about visiting stores. While the extra revenue may be welcomed, it could also put a strain on their ability to get products to customers on time. In a recent survey of 63 merchants by CommerceNext, an event series and community for retail marketers, respondents said that their biggest logistics concern leading up to the holidays was that carriers like FedEx and UPS would cap deliveries during peak demand.
During its fiscal first quarter earnings, Nike reported that sales were down 1% year-over-year. In today's retail environment, that's a success. The athletic apparel reported that while it's still not seeing the same in-store traffic that it was a year ago, it's digital sales are up 82%, even as more than 90% of its stores were reopened. Nike's benefitted from seeing a huge increase in downloads of its apps, which include its main Nike shopping app, Nike Train Club, and Nike Run Club.
On Monday, Walmart launched Free Assembly, a new private label line of men's and women's clothing with pieces ranging from $9 to $45 in price. It's not the only fashion move that Walmart has made as of late, as the big-box retailer has been looking for ways to get customers to buy more higher-margin items like clothing in order to make its e-commerce and store businesses as profitable as possible. But Walmart has a unique opportunity to grow apparel sales right now as people people are making fewer trips to stores, but looking to buy more in a single trip.
Grocery delivery growth may be slowing, but grocers are still betting on it being lucrative long-term. Within the past month, grocers have announced a slew of new deals to build micro-fulfillment centers and/or test out new delivery methods. That's because they are betting that a significant number of people who tried grocery delivery for the first time during the pandemic will stick with it. And, they don't want to be caught flat-footed again when faced with a huge surge in demand.
In March, the fundraising environment for direct-to-consumer startups was "downright frozen," as Michael Duda, managing partner at hybrid accelerator agency and venture capital fund Bullish, put it. Now, March seems like a lifetime ago. Over the past six months, many direct-to-consumer startups in categories ranging from home improvement, health and wellness, and food have struck it big, reporting that their online sales have doubled or tripled while customer acquisition costs have decreased. Consumer investors are starting to close deals again, while investors that had previously soured on DTC startups because of high customer acquisition costs are starting to change their tune.
Retailers and tech companies are breaking a sweat trying to outgun one another in the red-hot subscription fitness space. Apple became the latest entrant on Tuesday, announcing at a product event that it would be launching a new service for Apple Watch users called Fitness+ by the end of the year. A big tech company like Apple entering the space brings a greater air of legitimacy to the idea that subscription fitness is set to be a lucrative revenue driver that many companies will want in on in the coming years.
Recognizing the next generation of leaders across media and marketing, fashion, beauty and retail.Remind Me