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.
Scott Cutler, the new CEO of StockX, has experience getting brands to work with, not against, resale marketplaces. As the former president of StubHub, Cutler was responsible for signing partnerships with entertainment companies and sports teams to bring a greater air of legitimacy to the resale ticket marketplace. Now, Cutler is looking to convince more brands to join forces with StockX as the sneaker resale landscape gets more crowded.
As Ro, the parent company of telemedicine brands Ro, Rory and Zero, looks to diversify its marketing mix, the company is looking to partner more with institutions that its target audience already trusts. Earlier this month, Roman, its men's focused brand which sells generic hair loss and erectile dysfunction medication over the internet, announced that it signed a multi-year deal with Major League Baseball to sponsor its television and digital media coverage around Father's Day.
Chicago-based startup Foxtrot, which is building a chain of upscale convenience stores, today expanded to its second market with the opening of a store in Dallas. The startup's expansion comes as chains like 7-Eleven and Wawa are also putting more effort into delivery.
Nordstrom, Kohl's and Macy's are doing a lot of "new retail" right, but retooling the department store for modern customers involves more than just updates to store models, influencer collaborations or e-commerce initiatives -- these stores are competing in a new retail landscape that has called the value proposition of a department store into question.
Walmart is aggressively testing new delivery capabilities – both built in house and in partnership with startups – as the retailer prepares for a delivery war with Amazon. Within the past two weeks, Walmart has announced that it's testing in-home grocery delivery, piloting a grocery delivery subscription service, and, most recently, partnering with a Silicon Valley startup called Gartik to test out using autonomous trucks to deliver goods between warehouses and fulfillment centers.
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