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.
TikTok is the app du jour for the younger generation, and advertisers are just beginning to dabble with it. But does it have the ability to become a social commerce leader? While TikTok's parent company has seen e-commerce success in other territories, a few obstacles remain in the way in the United States.
Levi's has been expanding into new categories and exploring more direct ways to make sales, and has seen some favorable results. Menswear sales were up 6$, and womenswear rose 16%. But this growth offset one big decline: US wholesale. In total, wholesale in the United States dropped 2%. "It's a little bit of a melting iceberg," CEO Chip Bergh said.
New alcohol brands are using online content and marketing strategies to appeal to younger demographics and apply a DTC sensibility to booze, one category that – unlike mattresses, razors, athletic wear, beauty and household products – has only recently seen the rise of direct-to-consumer contenders.
Companies like The RealReal, which is now public, StockX and Poshmark have been garnering increased attention and shining a light on the business of reselling goods. This kind of commerce has been around for years, but these startups believe they're part of a burgeoning and soon-to-be dominant retail industry.
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