Amazon reportedly obtained a liquor license in San Francisco. This is likely part of the company's slow expansion into the alcohol delivery business. As a whole, alcohol e-commerce has been relatively untapped – and Amazon may be the company that makes a big splash.
Wine company Winc just launched its equity crowdfunding campaign on the Seedinvest platform, in the hopes that it can raise a Series D fund with the help of its fanbase. Winc has raised nearly $50 million from traditional investors. Now, it's turning to everyday people with some extra cash to spare asking them to invest in the growing company too. It's a rare move for the alcohol space, but follows in the footsteps of a few interesting brands.
This past week, Arizona Iced Tea announced plans to launch a partnership with a cannabis company. It follows a few other bigger brands dipping their toes in the cannabis space. While ingredients like THC and CBD are trending culturally, the companies trying to launch these products have an unclear regulatory road ahead.
This week, Microsoft purchased the marketing technology platform PromoteIQ. It's another example of the computing giant trying to both court retailers and compete with Amazon. But can Microsoft level up with the e-commerce giant?
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.
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