As flu season begins and with it possibly a second coronavirus wave, consumers appear more concerned over health and safety than ever. Before, home essentials were in high demand. Now, it's nicer products focused on health and sanitation. Startups like air purifiers maker Molekule, DTC bidet Tushy and emergency kit brand Judy expect the growing interest in their products to follow suit.
Party City’s annual October Halloween pop ups have been scaled back by about 90% this year. It also plans to hired 20% fewer seasonal workers. The party supply chain's decision, which counts on the holiday's sales for 20% of its annual revenue, could signal a similar fate for other seasonal pop-ups this year.
The days of tossed over branded swag seem long gone, thanks to young brands making branded apparel a core part of their marketing strategy. In recent years, brands like Glossier and SoulCycle proved a community of enthusiastic fans can act as walking billboards. Now, the awareness-growing tactic is being deployed even by new companies. Now, with in-person events out the window, merch is becoming even more important to DTC startups.
Consumer packaged goods, especially those consumer mostly at home, have experienced a resurgence in interest in the past few months. Much like meal kits and alcohol, breakfast cereal lends itself to being consumed at the kitchen table rather than on the go. DTC brand Magic Spoon, which aims to reinvent the cereal category, has been an example of this demand.
Private labels have been on the rise for the past five years and show no sign of stopping. With consumers giving non-national brands a second look and a shortage of essential supplies, retailers are focusing on growing their in-house labels more than ever. One example is online bulk grocery delivery service Boxed, which launched Prince & Spring five years ago. Now, the line is expanding it at a rapid pace.
As one of the brand founders who've vowed to stay away from Amazon over the years, Camille Rose's Janell Stephens had a change of heart when the pandemic hit. In the past year, she went from attempting to stop second-hand product sales on the site to opening an official Amazon store. Speaking to Modern Retail, the haircare brand's founder and CEO discussed the divisive channel's addition to the company's retail expansion.
The rise of low and non-alcoholic cocktail alternatives has been in the works for some time. Now, specialty beverage brands like Seedlip, Ritual Proof Zero and Curious Elixirs are seeing additional demand for their products. As their founders see it, even alcohol drinkers are finding themselves needing to cut back on at-home consumption for health reasons.
The arrival of the pandemic made buying prescription eyewear even more of a nuisance. Not only were many optometry locations shut down, but many Americans also lost their jobs and health insurance in the process. This helped DTC eyewear seller Zenni grow its sales and new customer acquisition in record numbers.
CUUP, which sells specialty bras in non-standard sizes, has seen huge growth over the last few months. Like many DTC brands, the company saw a surge in growth in the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, with March and April year-over-year sales spiking by 322% and 700% respectively. The startup's co-founder and CMO Abby Morgan spoke with Modern Retail about how it tweaked its content strategy over the last few months.
This year, alcohol brands are getting creative in the ways they're making up for lost hospitality and on premise marketing. In recent months, this has mainly involved delivery platform paid campaigns and social media ads. But with live events at a halt for the time being, brands like Grey Goose are attempting to get customers to buy their drinks from the couch.
No-show socks are typically a big summer seller for DTC sock company Bombas. But with this summer being different thanks to social distancing, it didn't expect a niche style within the category to come out of customer demand. Co-founder Randy Goldberg spoke to Modern Retail about the line of no-show performance socks, aimed at the growing home fitness trend, and how they're helping the company find a new seasonal revenue source.
While Amazon has yet to confirm the surprise date, Prime Day will reportedly take place sometime in October. That's only weeks before the holiday season kicks off, including the supposedly canceled brick and mortar version of Black Friday. That's culminated in sellers being encouraged to prepare inventory and marketing strategies as the event approaches.
Founded in 1910, Everlast isn't exactly a young DTC startup. The legacy brand, which has historically been known as an equipment supplier for professional boxers, has goals to expand beyond its niche market. After experiencing double-digit sales growth in the last few months, thanks the home gym phenomenon, the strategy is to continue adding new distribution channels as well as venture into athleisure.
Despite their ability to reach more customers virtually, digital pop ups have proven to be a challenge for many brands during the Covid-19 era. For companies that rely on sampling and discoverability, this is a time to think outside the box and move away from livestreams. In the case of CBD beverage brand Recess, CEO Ben Witte told Modern Retail the idea is to make virtual popups more profitable as the brand expands markets.
Tech solutions providers have accelerated partnerships with retailers to implement new AI tools beyond autonomous checkout. In recent months, vendors have announced tools for more targeted in-store marketing and social distance compliance as foot traffic picks up again.
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