more articles by

Anna Hensel

  • MAR 18, 2021

    Why department stores are betting on livestreaming

    U.S. department store chains are starting to embrace livestream shopping, as it gives them another way to pitch themselves as a place to discover new products, whether in-store or online. Nordstrom announced yesterday that it is launching a new page on its website dedicated to livestream shopping, and plans to host several livestream events each week throughout 2021. The news comes after Macy's also hosted its first livestream shopping event at the beginning of March.

  • MAR 17, 2021

    Target’s new private label tries to cash in on the crafting boom

    Target is betting that the arts and crafts boom will continue even after the pandemic is over. Earlier this week, the big-box retailer announced the launch of a new private label line called Mondo Llama, under which Target will sell crafting supplies aimed at both kids and adults. The retailer's approach indicate that may start to change, especially in light of the fact that people have been spending more on crafting supplies during the pandemic.

  • MAR 16, 2021

    DTC Briefing: How startups are preparing for a summer of almost-normalcy

    After a year in which social gatherings have essentially been limited to Zoom or Clubhouse, and people had to postpone major events like weddings and vacations, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. With President Joe Biden announcing last week that all states should open up coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1, people now have a closer idea of when they’ll be able to resume activities they’ve been putting off since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Here's how startups are preparing for people to spend their money come summer.

  • MAR 15, 2021

    How Adidas is planning for DTC to make up 50% of its revenue by 2025

    Adidas, like other athletic apparel companies, is now eager drive more customers to its own stores and websites rather than to those of their wholesale partners. In a virtual investor meeting this week, Adidas released a new strategic growth plan which called for direct-to-consumer sales to make up 50% of revenue by 2025. It's a strategy that Adidas' biggest competitors, Nike and Under Armour, are employing as well. But Adidas has some catching up to do.

  • MAR 12, 2021

    Unpacked: Why dropshipping is getting a second look

    As more sales move online, some wholesale retailers are taking steps to reduce the amount of inventory they own. Specifically, department stores like Nordstrom and other brick-and-mortar retailers like Footlocker are starting to carry more products on a dropship basis. But while dropshipping might be more cost effective for both brands and retailers, it also comes with some drawbacks.

  • MAR 11, 2021

    Retailers are bracing for port delays to continue for months

    There's a long line of retailers waiting to get their products in from overseas, and it's not expected to ease up anytime soon. Multiple retail companies have cited congestion at West Coast ports as potential headwinds in their earnings calls over the past several weeks, and say it's an issue that anticipate won't get resolved for months.

  • MAR 09, 2021

    DTC Briefing: The new rules of wholesale

    Barely a week goes by anymore without a brand that started selling “direct-to-consumer” announcing it’s starting to sell wholesale through a big-box retailer. A couple of years ago, wholesale partnerships at places like Target were reserved for the most high-profile direct-to-consumer brands. Now, more “DTC brands'' are now also testing the wholesale waters one to three years after launching their first products.

  • MAR 02, 2021

    Kohl’s is trying to make its stores a destination again once the pandemic subsides

    During its fourth quarter earnings, Kohl's executives focused their remarks on how the company plans to bring shoppers back to store next year. The company reported today that during its fourth quarter, net sales were down 10% year-over-year, while online sales were up 22%. Kohl's still managed to report a profit of $343 million. Now, Kohl's is preparing for the launch of a new private label athleisure brand later this month, as well as the launch of new Sephora shop-in-shops in August, to try and drive customers back to stores.

  • MAR 02, 2021

    DTC Briefing: How the pandemic has changed the e-commerce startup playbook

    Four founders of direct-to-consumer startups spoke with Modern Retail about how they've had to rethink how they run their businesses over the past year. Now, all are trying to figure out what consumers will want to spend their money on once the pandemic subsides -- and what they'll be willing to venture to a store for, versus what they will still want to buy online. Plus, a new direct-to-consumer startup launches in Walmart, and an e-commerce CEO is getting into venture investing.

  • MAR 01, 2021

    How Google has quietly streamlined its shopping ad formats

    Over the past few years, Google has been testing out a variety of ad formats designed with e-commerce companies in mind. Now, it's starting to slowly change some of those advertising formats. These moves are indicative of Google's current strategy: streamlining its shopping advertising formats in favor of making it easier for merchants to run campaigns, as well as to run ads across more Google properties.

  • MAR 01, 2021

    How Hulu fits into DTC brands’ TV advertising strategies

    As direct-to-consumer brands shift more of their marketing dollars towards television, streaming platforms like Hulu are also starting to take up a greater portion of their time and energy. Last year, lingerie startup ThirdLove did two custom sponsorships with Hulu, tied to two Hulu original series, Little Fires Everywhere and Mrs. America. Based on the success of those campaigns, ThirdLove vp of marketing Rebecca Traverzo said the company plans to pursue more custom sponsorships in the future. Meanwhile, telehealth platform Ro recently incorporated Hulu into its Valentine's Day campaign.

  • FEB 25, 2021

    How Best Buy is preparing for post-pandemic shopping trends

    After a year of significant e-commerce growth, Best Buy executives said the company is now focused on preparing for the shift to online shopping to remain permanent. During its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, Best Buy reported that e-commerce sales were up 90%, and now represent 43% of its total sales. CEO Corie Barry said that the company is projecting that next year, e-commerce will still make up roughly 40% of sales. In order to prepare for this shift, Best Buy is rethinking both how its stores look, and how it staffs those stores.

  • FEB 23, 2021

    Macy’s faces an uphill battle pitching itself as a digital-first department store

    During its fourth quarter earnings call, Macy's executives made it clear that they are betting on e-commerce to help the department store chain recover from the pandemic, as they tried to position the company as a "digitally-led" retailer. Digital sales were up 21% year-over-year, and its e-commerce division is now profitable. But Macy's is still trying to figure out how to differentiate its website from those of of other big-box retailers or department stores.

  • FEB 23, 2021

    DTC Briefing: How brands use quizzes as a customer service and data collection tool

    One of the most frequently touted advantages of going direct-to-consumer is the ability to collect more data on customers. And one of the most straightforward ways companies can do that is by getting customers to fill out a quiz. But as executives at brands like ThirdLove and Clare told Modern Retail, there's more to creating a successful quiz than just following a Buzzfeed-like template.

  • FEB 22, 2021

    How crafting supplies retailer Joann reinvented itself for the e-commerce age

    Joann is getting ready to go public, betting that it will be able to ride the crafting boom for a while. The crafting supplies retailer filed its S-1 last week, reporting that its revenue during the first three quarters of 2020 was $1.921 billion, up 24.3% compared to the same period the prior year. Joann was taken off the public markets after being acquired by a private equity firm a decade ago. But now, the company is ready to take another crack at being a publicly-traded company, citing the fact that its acquired eight million new customers during the pandemic.

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