Home insurance startup Hippo just reached unicorn status. Since the very beginning, the company worked with the branding agency Work & Co to help craft and evolve its strategy and products. While many upstart DTC brands sing the praises of bringing all branding in-house, this provides a helpful example of an agency partnership that helped a company be worth more than $1 billion.
Many DTC brands are no longer happy selling just products. Instead, they're expanding into services and platforms. But is this strategy to scale achievable or just empty promises to investors?
Thrive Market positions itself as an alternative to Whole Foods. Indeed, it customer acquisition could be considered the antithesis of Amazon-esque one-off tactics. At a conference, the online grocery marketplace's svp of marketing discussed the slow and steady approach Thrive makes to keep loyal customers.
More retailers are turning to podcasts to get across their brand messaging. The most recent example is Staples, which announced an entire new content platform. The question remains: Are these programs real, or just a passing trend?
The strategy is pretty straightforward: Mark Cross doesn't want other websites like The RealReal or Poshmark eating its lunch, and instead will make it possible for consumers to buy its own previously-owned products using its own proprietary technology. This is part of the company's latest push to expand to more affordable categories, away from its known niche of expensive products.
Most digitally-native retail brands start small, but as they grow they increasingly need to scale their customer service program. Recent headlines from growing companies like Rent the Runway illustrate the growing need DTCs have for centralized and proactive customer service programs.
Alibaba wants US small-to-medium sized business to use its platform to sell wholesale. It's a clear move to both enter the North American market and compete with Amazon. The question remains: will US companies be interested?
More e-commerce companies are having trouble filling ordered quickly and efficiently. While big retailers try to build out logistics programs to rival Amazon, third-party providers are seeing a growing opportunity to target the high-end direct-to-consumer space.
Hollister is relaunching its lingerie brand Gilly Hicks by opening four new pop-up stores. This is part of the retailer's strategy to reinvigorate business and catch people's attention using small format, more experiential spaces. This strategic shift follows the lead of DTC brands. But can a large ailing retailer ride the same wave?
Members of Nordstrom's loyalty program were recently miffed that they missed out on early access to the retailer's annual sale. While these kinds issues happen for big brands, this example highlights some pain-points Nordstrom – and other big brands – has experience with newly revamped, digitally-focused loyalty clubs.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Amazon's Brand Accelerator program includes a clause that grants the company the right to purchase any brand it works with for a set price. Essentially, what this means is that Amazon agrees to provide resources to help a business's sales, but it can – at a moment's notice – decide to purchase the brand and bring the entire operation in-house.
Much of retail work is seasonal and volatile. A growing number of new companies aim to tackle that uncertain labor force by partnering with brands and retailers to offer gig work. At first glance, this may look like temp work. But these new services are transforming the model by which brands and retailers find talent, as well as quietly shifting the labor makeup of the stores we visit.
More businesses are forgoing CMOs and looking toward more digitally savvy talent to lead marketing. The problem is: It's unclear if there's enough talent to meet the growing need.
Accurate consumer data is a goldmine for companies. While businesses have sought out feedback to inform future product design, DTCs provide a strengthened relationship between brand and customer. With this, more digitally-native startups are able to capitalize on data to receive quick and informative feedback.
As Amazon's Prime Day expands from one, then one-and-a-half, to two days (taking place this year on July 15 and 16), retailers are bulking up their competitive defense strategies as well. This year, Target, Nordstrom, Walmart, eBay, and a slew of others announced a series of deals on the same days as Prime Days. More retailers are participating in the mid-summer sales event than in the past, too: RetailMeNot estimates that this year over 250 competitors will be offering some form of deals this summer, up from 194 last year.
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