As more merchants have gone online, Shopify has only benefited. But its growth strategy has changed; it’s no longer the turnkey e-commerce platform for everyone, but the invisible giant trying to take control.
Japanese retailer Muji announced that the U.S. arm of its business will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Muji currently has 18 stores in the United States, and is reportedly mulling scaling back that footprint. It's certainly not the only retailer facing similar hardships, but the Japanese company has had its own set of problems since before the pandemic.
BigCommerce filed its S-1 earlier this week, providing a little more visibility into how its business works. Since 2009, BigCommerce has provided digital commerce services for merchants. It touts customers including Woolrich, Camelbak, Clarks and Gillette. While it's true that digital commerce is accelerating at an unprecedented clip, the platform faces stiff competition from companies like Shopify.
For this weeks Modern Retail Talk, Lumi co-founder and CEO Jesse Genet discussed how she approaches the difficult issue of figuring out how to best package a product. Her company works with brands like Curology and Empathy Wines. The secret to good packaging, she said, involves a lot more than just finding a good-sized box and putting the item in it.
Walmart is reportedly planning to launch a new membership program this month. Called Walmart+, it will reportedly cost $98 a year and offer fast home delivery and other perks. Those other perks -- as well as the price tag -- are where Walmart is trying to differentiate itself from Amazon. But the question still remains whether or not it will be enough to compete with the 800-pound gorilla.
E-commerce platform Elliot raised millions of dollars and hyped itself for month. But when launch day came around, everything went kaput. How did such a highly anticipated startup end up this way?
For the inaugural episode of our new and improved Modern Retail Talk series -- where we feature a new founder/retail expert every week to discuss a specific issue pertinent to the new reality we're all living in -- Modern Retail (digitally) sat down with co-founder and CEO Matt Alexander about how the company is strategizing its reopening, and what it's learned over the last few month.
Uber is considering acquiring Postmates, according to news reports. This is likely a move by Uber to get more marketshare. But Postmates presents some interesting possibilities. For one, the courier app has partnered with non-food companies, like Old Navy. Which is to say that Postmates presents an opportunity to grow Uber's delivery presence in directions beyond just food.
Platforms like Google and Amazon have made new moves to crack down on fake product listings. This isn't a new problem, but that both are taking it on now show that they're trying better foster brand trust. The question remains whether or not these moves are enough for companies to feel protected from bad actors.
A number of grocery and food-related companies are trying to raise money while the results are in their favor. Instacart, for example, raised $225 million and Albertsons is preparing for an IPO. It makes sense that these companies are looking for this cash now -- they've shown impressive growth in an otherwise uncertain economy.
Big brands are increasingly taking a stand and pulling back on Facebook advertising. Many DTCs likely find themselves in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with the move but unable to make such a pledge themselves. Growing brands rely on Facebook and Instagram for growth, and cutting that off could significantly hurt a company's bottom line.
Kroger has been investing in its digital infrastructure since 2017. This all helped it grow profits during the first quarter of 2020. The grocer saw huge revenue growth too. While other retailers have seen big profit hits a result of putting their businesses online, Kroger was able to grow profit despite the digital shift.
In 2019, the popular headline was that email marketing was seeing diminishing returns. Then, everyone was forced to stay home and everything changed. New data shows that open rates have risen dramatically and email engagement is also on the rise. While it's not terribly surprising, it does mean that brands are rethinking some of their older tricks.
Walmart just announced a new integration with Shopify allowing merchants to easily upload products to the big box store's online marketplace. It's clearly a way for Walmart to more directly compete with Amazon. While Amazon remains the biggest player in e-commerce, the smaller players are figuring out ways they can differentiate themselves and grow their online presences.
Lululemon's sales dropped 17% this quarter compared to the year before. Still, it was able to focus on its digital programs after retail stores had to abruptly close. While the results weren't pristine, the athleisure brand did illustrate why investing in digital fulfillment and engagement helped offset some of the headwinds felt by the global pandemic.
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