more articles by

Anna Hensel

  • MAY 20, 2021

    Cheatsheet: Home Depot and Lowe’s are trying to extend the home improvement boom

    Last year, Home Depot and Lowe's reported huge sales gains on the backs of people spending more time -- and more of their money -- at home. Now, the question is whether or not these gains can continue into 2021. During their first quarter earnings calls this week, Home Depot and Lowe's laid out their respective strategies for retaining customers this year.

  • MAY 19, 2021
    Q&A

    Hu Kitchen co-founder Jason Karp: There are ‘too many options’ in CPG

    Jason Karp is quickly becoming the driving force behind a lot of brands trying to create a healthier spin on CPG staples. Along with his wife Jessica and brother Jordan, Jason launched Hu Kitchens in 2012. Karp spoke with Modern Retail about why he's getting into the frozen foods space, and how he thinks "greenwashing" is overtaking the health foods category.

  • MAY 18, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Startups are still trying to figure out what takes off on TikTok

    While DTC brands are more eager to test out TikTok, marketers and agencies say that most startups are still trying to figure out what types of videos work. As a result, they say experimentation is the key to TikTok success. And specifically, keeping an eye on what's trending on the For You page, and figuring out how to incorporate trending hashtags or effects into a brand's video.

  • MAY 12, 2021

    Rakuten ramps up logistical investments in Japan to fend off Amazon

    For years, Rakuten was the go-to third party marketplace for Japanese shoppers looking to buy anything from electronics to tennis shoes online. But then, in a dynamic that's played out in other countries around the world, Rakuten found itself on the defensive as Amazon started making greater inroads in Japan. Now Amazon, not Rakuten, is the bigger e-commerce player in Japan, by some estimates. And that's put Rakuten on the defensive.

  • MAY 11, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Startup funding rebounds during the first quarter of 2021

    Venture funding for DTC startups has increased, but it's being driven by an increased in interest in a handful of categories.

  • MAY 06, 2021
    Q&A

    Sephora e-commerce exec Carolyn Bojanowski on the growing importance of same-day fulfillment in beauty

    As more beauty sales are moving online, retailers like Sephora have had to up their e-commerce game. Carolyn Bojanowski, senior vice president and general manager of e-commerce at Sephora, said that a big focus for the retailer over the past year has been adding more e-commerce services, like a same-day delivery partnership with Instacart, as well as more ways for customers to chat with Sephora employees online. Bojanowski spoke more with Modern Retail about how Sephora's e-commerce experiences have evolved over the past year.

  • MAY 05, 2021

    How furniture brand Industry West pivoted from B-to-B to DTC

    Historically, 70% of furniture brand Industry West's sales have come from business-to-business transactions, namely from restaurant or hotel owners opening new spaces. But in 2020, Industry West's revenue makeup flipped. Last year, 70% of its sales came from individual consumers, as more people were driven to refurnish their new or existing houses during stay-at-home orders. Now, spurred by the increase in DTC sales, Industry West is aiming for more aggressive growth, projecting this year that it will do just under $40 million in sales.

  • MAY 04, 2021

    DTC Briefing: How growth marketer became the new much-coveted jack-of-all-trades

    For direct-to-consumer brands, one of the most important roles has long been the role of growth marketer. For a venture-backed direct-to-consumer brand, who might be expected to driver 20%-30% of revenue growth month-over-month it's vitally important to have someone like a head of growth who knows what levers to pull to increase sales. But as the digital marketing landscape has changed, what brands are looking for in growth marketers has also changed.

  • MAY 04, 2021

    As other channels become unpredictable, DTC brands embrace streaming and connected TV

    Streaming and CTV have taken on new importance over the past year, both as people are watching more TV during the pandemic, and amidst an upheaval in digital marketing. As a result, DTC brands are speeding up their efforts to test out TV advertising, to break up their reliance on Facebook and Google.

  • APR 30, 2021

    ‘A culturally and emotionally connected brand’: How Walmart CMO William White is approaching marketing

    When Walmart's chief marketing officer William White joined the company last May, America's largest retailer was in rapid response mode. During a video chat at the Modern Retail Summit last week, White spoke about how the company had to shift its marketing strategy during the coronavirus pandemic last year, as well as how his team is trying to make Walmart a "culturally and emotionally relevant brand.

  • APR 29, 2021

    After getting its start in CrossFit, Nobull is ramping up product expansion

    When Nobull first launched in 2015, it decided that the best way to build brand affinity was to be hyperfocused on one growing sector: CrossFit. But over the past year, the company has started to expand more aggressively into new categories, after launching its first pair of cycling shoes last June. It's now launching a swim collection next month.

  • APR 28, 2021

    ‘Not all ROI is apples to apples’: Retail leaders share gripes and concerns

    At last week's Modern Retail Summit, professionals came together and spoke about how they're thinking about some of the industry's most pertinent problems, like how to stand out on Amazon and preparing for a post-cookie landscape. Leaders from top brands described the trials and tribulations they faced over fireside chats, and attendees shared persistent thorns in their sides at break out working groups.

  • APR 27, 2021

    DTC Briefing: Startups brace for fallout from the iOS14 update

    Apple has said that the fifth (and what’s expected to be the last) version of its iOS14 update will hit users’ phones this weeks. As part of that, iPhone users should start receiving the App Tracking Transparency (ATT prompt). And as the update hits users phones, it could start wrecking havoc on direct-to-consumer startups’ marketing plans. 

  • APR 26, 2021

    Madewell launches its first mobile app

    J.Crew-owned Madewell is launching its first mobile app, aimed squarely at getting more out of its loyalty program members. Madewell started developing the app last fall, after seeing a spike in mobile traffic during the pandemic, according to Chris Maliwat, vice president, head of digital and consumer experience at J.Crew. Longterm, Maliwat said that Madewell's app strategy is to make it "easier and faster for [loyalty members] to access the goods that we think she wants to browse."

  • APR 23, 2021

    Affirm seeks to go beyond buy now pay later with its Returnly acquisition

    On Wednesday, Affirm announced that it intends to acquire Returnly, a software startup that helps retailers manage returns, for $300 million in cash and equity. The acquisition gives more insight into exactly how Affirm -- and some of its other competitors -- are mapping out their strategies for what else they can offer retailers, beyond just a digital form of layaway.

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