Peapod is shutting down its Midwest division, laying off 500 people. While it's only a small percentage of its overall business, the move highlights the headwinds grocery e-commerce businesses face. While more grocers try to offer more digital fulfillment options -- it becomes ever more clear that it remains an difficult, unprofitable program.
Many onlookers believe a DTC cooling is on the horizon. With a bunch of less-than-stellar exits from the likes of Casper, Peloton and Harry's, the VC-funding model of branding building seems to be crumbling. This leaves both investors and founders left with the question: Is it worth it to raise money from venture firms? It's becoming a more complicated topic, and one that will have a big impact on a company's choices down the line.
Birchbox is laying off a quarter of its global workforce. It's a last-ditch effort to keep the 10-years-old business afloat -- and shows just how difficult it is to be a business that relies mostly on subscription sales. Despite numerous attempts to reinvigorate the brand, things seems especially bleak for Birchbox right now.
Casper is finally a public company. The road here was bumpy. It involved the mattress brand slashing its valuation by more than half and hoping Wall Street would take the bait. Conversely, Peloton, which IPO'd earlier this year, went another route -- going all in and hoping its buzz would lead to fortune. Both are having difficulty on the public markets. And they show the evolving blueprint growing DTC brands have to make when looking for an exit.
There are a bunch of DTC brands that look very very similar. Meanwhile, there are others that solve problems way outside the scope of digital commerce. What's happening is both a mad dash to cash in on the DTC craze, as well as a realization that new brands need to find some sort of competitive advantage -- even if their products look similar to others'.
Venture capitalist and Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary recently invested in the DTC eco-friendly cleaning product brand Blueland. In his opinion, online remains the best place to grow a business. Modern Retail sat down and talked with him about the direct-to-consumer landscape, and he had a few warnings for companies that don't have their margins in check.
Reviews have been on Amazon for decades. But big and small brands alike are noticing more players gaming them. While Amazon claims that it's trying its best to fight the problem, it is only becoming a bigger headache as the e-commerce platform continues to grow.
Reviews have been on Amazon for decades, and so too have fake ones. But as Amazon has become a more dominant e-commerce force, the problem review fraud presents has become more clear. Here is a look at how Amazon has approached its review ecosystem, and how it's led to dark network of bad online actors.
This week, Digiday Media hosted its very first Amazon Strategies event. There, retailers, brands, marketers and others got into the nitty gritty details of what keeps them up at night. Competition -- both from others and Amazon itself -- was a frequent topic, as were data difficulties and problems keeping a clean brand presence. Here are some of the top observations overheard at the event.
A few years ago there were only a few DTC cookware brands. Now there are dozens, and they all are trying to tell a similar but unique story. As a result, more of these companies are honing their brand story and trying to figure out product differentiation.
For the last five years blockchain has been hyped as the next technological paradigm. Despite many believing that it could radically change retailers' supply chain, blockchain-based applications have yet to hit the mainstream. Now that the craze has settled, some use-cases may end up quietly being adopted.
Both retailers and service providers alike are investing heavily in pickup services. To consumers, it's billed as a way to buy groceries online and have them ready to be picked up while driving home. But for the grocers, it presents heightened costs and new logistical issues. How long will this fad last?
All eyes are on Casper and its plans to go public. The company has long been considered a leader in the DTC space, but now that things don't look great for its public market debut, the question remains how its performance will impact other digitally native brands.
Over the last six months, Walmart has made many changes to its leadership. While some of these changes are natural to growing multinational businesses, they also hint at the retailer's evolving and more cohesive online strategy.
Payless ShoeSource has come out of its latest bankruptcy proceedings with big plans to relaunch in the U.S. It's provided scant details about what that would look like. But with all of its U.S. locations closed, a large brand and business overhaul will be necessary to keep the retailer alive.
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