Thrive Market, which first launched in 2014, had been growing at a rate of 40% a year before the pandemic. Now, with new customers joining the membership-based online grocery service, that growth rate has more than doubled to 90% a year, according to the company's co-founder and CTO Sasha Siddhartha. "We were already a digital native experience, so there were lots of parts of the business that scaled naturally," Siddhartha said on the latest episode of the Modern Retail Podcast. He spoke about how the company has adapted to the new e-commerce heavy environment.
E-commerce companies are preparing for a huge surge in online orders over the holidays, as people remain hesitant about visiting stores. While the extra revenue may be welcomed, it could also put a strain on their ability to get products to customers on time. In a recent survey of 63 merchants by CommerceNext, an event series and community for retail marketers, respondents said that their biggest logistics concern leading up to the holidays was that carriers like FedEx and UPS would cap deliveries during peak demand.
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.
During its fiscal first quarter earnings, Nike reported that sales were down 1% year-over-year. In today's retail environment, that's a success. The athletic apparel reported that while it's still not seeing the same in-store traffic that it was a year ago, it's digital sales are up 82%, even as more than 90% of its stores were reopened. Nike's benefitted from seeing a huge increase in downloads of its apps, which include its main Nike shopping app, Nike Train Club, and Nike Run Club.
On Monday, Walmart launched Free Assembly, a new private label line of men's and women's clothing with pieces ranging from $9 to $45 in price. It's not the only fashion move that Walmart has made as of late, as the big-box retailer has been looking for ways to get customers to buy more higher-margin items like clothing in order to make its e-commerce and store businesses as profitable as possible. But Walmart has a unique opportunity to grow apparel sales right now as people people are making fewer trips to stores, but looking to buy more in a single trip.
Rent The Runway just announced plans to end its Unlimited rental option. This was a core part of its offering and hints at pain felt throughout the workwear and formalwear space. Fewer people are going to work and attending large events. As a result, demand -- both for department stores and platforms like Rent The Runway -- is cratering. In the middle of a pandemic with an unknown timeline ahead, the future of many of these companies looks ominous.
Grocery delivery growth may be slowing, but grocers are still betting on it being lucrative long-term. Within the past month, grocers have announced a slew of new deals to build micro-fulfillment centers and/or test out new delivery methods. That's because they are betting that a significant number of people who tried grocery delivery for the first time during the pandemic will stick with it. And, they don't want to be caught flat-footed again when faced with a huge surge in demand.
Retailers and tech companies are breaking a sweat trying to outgun one another in the red-hot subscription fitness space. Apple became the latest entrant on Tuesday, announcing at a product event that it would be launching a new service for Apple Watch users called Fitness+ by the end of the year. A big tech company like Apple entering the space brings a greater air of legitimacy to the idea that subscription fitness is set to be a lucrative revenue driver that many companies will want in on in the coming years.
Truff considers itself a luxury DTC hot sauce brand. And one of its most popular social media channels is TikTok. In fact, co-founders Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni said their company is the biggest hot sauce brand on TikTok, with 69,000 followers and nearly one million likes as of this writing.On this episode of the Modern Retail Podcast, the co-founders spoke about growing the company its strategic retail decisions.
Business interruption insurance has become a new sore spot for retailers during the coronavirus pandemic. When Century 21 filed for bankruptcy last week, the New York City-based department store chain blamed its demise on failing to receive payouts from its business interruption insurance. Typically, business interruption insurance policies don't explicitly list viruses or pandemics as an event that they will cover. So rather, retailers and other businesses are looking at the rest of their language in their policies, to see if there's a section that they can argue should be applied to pandemics.
Second quarter earnings season is almost to a close, and there are already lessons to be learned about what retailers must do to survive. Some companies are thriving in the age of coronavirus, while others continue to falter. The recent round of results may not be terribly surprising, but they do highlight the digital acceleration felt by every company around the world.
Even though some shoppers are still hesitant to visit stores, not every retailer is shying away from opening new brick-and-mortar locations. Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald said on Tuesday during the company's second quarter earnings that it plans to open about 70 pop-up locations during the second half of this year. Before the coronavirus, Lululemon primarily used pop-ups to test out new markets that the company was considering opening permanent stores on. Now, the company is leaning on these pop-up stores to help the company mitigate long wait times in areas where it is seeing a lot of foot traffic.
Jonathan Wahl sees the boom in kitchenware companies as a good thing for the sector as a whole. "Seeing others recognize the same opportunity reaffirms that yes, we're on the right track," Wahl, who co-founded the cookware company Abbio last year with his brother, said on the Modern Retail Podcast. On this episode, he spoke about growing a brand during coronavirus and the myriad other kitchenware brands available online.
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.
Back-to-school season was retailers' first major test in the coronavirus era, and not every company passed with flying colors. While no major retailers have released exact figures about how sales were this back-to-school season compared to last, a few things have become clear. Retailers' spend on back-to-school advertising is down, and those that are spending are favoring digital advertising and social media campaigns rather than splashy national TV campaigns. And, the window of time during which people do their back-to-school shopping has grown. Both trends are likely to continue into the holiday season this year.
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