Amazon has rolled out a series of new initiatives this year to help tackle its marketplace’s counterfeit and unauthorized seller problem head-on in an effort to protect brands and customers. But thanks to a slurry of fast-changing rules, a lack of clear communication and automated product sweeps, third-party marketplace sellers are getting caught in the fray and losing out on sales.
Live today, Made For You is a razor brand for men and women made by Bic and selling exclusively on Amazon. As subscription razor companies have flooded the DTC market, Bic is using Amazon’s platform and existing operations – fulfillment, fast delivery, an existing membership base with Prime – to compete.
Haus, which launches online today, is a new aperitif brand selling directly to customers online. Co-founder Helena Price Hambrecht, which has a background at Silicon Valley startups like Skillshare and Uber, worked with her husband Woody Hambrecht, a winemaker, to plot out a modern spirits brand using the sourcing, processing and bottling systems they already owned. The resulting aperitif is wine-based, and contains 15% alcohol.
Iris Nova, the DTC beverage company that launched in 2015 with Dirty Lemon, plans to invest a total of $100 million into startup consumer brands by 2021. The goal is to build out a modern portfolio company for brands in the CPG space to compete with legacy companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The round was led by VCs and angel investors including Randa Digital, Amity Supply, Cherry Tree VC, Brian Spaly and Scott Belsky.
After several quarters of successful growth, Vera Bradley is attempting to turn its positive earnings into long-term success with the acquisition of millennial jewelry brand Pura Vida. The transaction, finalized on Thursday, saw Vera Bradley taking 75% control over Pura Vida for $75 million, only a little more than the Pura Vida’s $68.3 million in revenue from last year. Vera Bradley’s revenue for the same period was around $416 million, in comparison.
Ebay is pushing ahead on making its marketplace more personalized as customers shop not just by selection, but convenience. On Thursday, the company announced it was releasing 10 new features that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to learn and then adapt to customer preferences in search, product suggestions and ads, as well as on the homepage and through customer service.
For 10 Grove, a bedding brand competing in a category already crowded by other players like Brooklinen, Snowe and Parachute, its vertically integrated supply chain is the cornerstone of how it plans to build a “genuine” direct-to-consumer business, according to founder Rana Argenio.
Shopify is taking a page out of Amazon’s playbook as it looks to become the all-encompassing platform engineering the growth of direct-to-consumer retail.
In the last 18 months, Rocksbox's private-label products, made up of eight different brands, have grown from 25% of its total inventory to 85%, and private-label products are driving about 85% of sales for the company.
Resident is the latest brands group to form around a collection of retail startups, and it’s betting that a power-in-numbers approach will work in its favor in the crowded DTC mattress category. Resident is now the parent company of mattress brands Nectar Sleep, DreamCloud, Awara and Level Sleep, rug brand Wovenly and Bundle, a furniture line that launched in May.
Underpinning Rothy’s store strategy is an emphasis on profitability: According to Rothy’s president Kerry Cooper, the first store is profitable and became so four months in. As more digitally native brands move offline and into their own physical retail stores, these locations have served dual purposes as both marketing plays and sales channels, particularly in the form of pop-ups that ship inventory displayed in stores to customers’ homes.
Plus-size and extended-size fashion brands are launching by the droves, no thanks to wholesale partners. Rather than retailers' buy-in, the direct-to-consumer model's proven success is giving brand founders the go-ahead. More brands are launching to cater to women above a size 14, and are relying on the direct-to-consumer business model rather than wholesale to reach their customer.
Supermaker, which launches today, is a new media site founded by Schmidt and Cantino focused on telling the stories of entrepreneurs, particularly women and people of color who are launching consumer brands with a “conscious agenda” according to Cantino, as well as sharing career and business advice around topics like raising investment funding and commanding successful social campaigns. The site currently features spotlights on brands like Bippy, a sustainable toilet paper company, and Anna Robertson, the founder of Ghana-based apparel brand Yevu.
With Delivery Unlimited, Walmart is adding another option to its suite of delivery services that get orders to customers on a same-day basis, upping competition against Amazon and Target, as well as cross-retailer services like Instacart. It’s the latest in a string of additions to Walmart delivery options.
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