After a year of significant e-commerce growth, Best Buy executives said the company is now focused on preparing for the shift to online shopping to remain permanent. During its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, Best Buy reported that e-commerce sales were up 90%, and now represent 43% of its total sales. CEO Corie Barry said that the company is projecting that next year, e-commerce will still make up roughly 40% of sales. In order to prepare for this shift, Best Buy is rethinking both how its stores look, and how it staffs those stores.
Following into the steps of DTC brands like Harry's and Bevel, Old Spice is opening a barbershop concept store that doubles as a content studio. According to parent company Procter & Gamble, the Columbus, Ohio shop will be open to the public for grooming services. And it shows Old Spice trying out some new experiential marketing strategies.
Starting tomorrow, Modern Retail is unveiling two new email products: The DTC Briefing and the Amazon Briefing. Both will feature reported stories and exclusive analysis about their respective retail niches. The DTC Briefing will be delivered every Tuesday morning and the Amazon Briefing on Thursday mornings.
Candice Matthews Brackeen is looking outside of typical Silicon Valley circles for the next billion-dollar company. She's a general partner at Lightship Capital, which raised a $50 million fund last summer that's focused on companies from the Midwest that have Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPoC) founders. "Right now we're trying to build the best portfolio possible to return capital to the LPs," she said on the Modern Retail Podcast.
Walmart is reaching out to sellers, trying to get them to try out its third-party marketplace. These direct reach-outs appear to be rare, limited only to the bigger players on Amazon, but they indicate Walmart’s increased commitment to bringing third-party sellers whose products have already found success on Amazon directly to the Walmart Marketplace.
During its fourth quarter earnings call, Macy's executives made it clear that they are betting on e-commerce to help the department store chain recover from the pandemic, as they tried to position the company as a "digitally-led" retailer. Digital sales were up 21% year-over-year, and its e-commerce division is now profitable. But Macy's is still trying to figure out how to differentiate its website from those of of other big-box retailers or department stores.
Joann is getting ready to go public, betting that it will be able to ride the crafting boom for a while. The crafting supplies retailer filed its S-1 last week, reporting that its revenue during the first three quarters of 2020 was $1.921 billion, up 24.3% compared to the same period the prior year. Joann was taken off the public markets after being acquired by a private equity firm a decade ago. But now, the company is ready to take another crack at being a publicly-traded company, citing the fact that its acquired eight million new customers during the pandemic.
Almost six months after its official debut, Walmart+ has been one of the retailer's successful coronavirus-era rollouts. With Walmart's growing e-commerce sales over the past year, the membership program may help keep the momentum going. In turn, Walmart's answer to Amazon Prime stands to build on the retailer's online grocery and essentials delivery business long after the pandemic.
After brands and retailers have began the 15% Pledge to add diverse products to their shelves, some companies have rolled out the first assortments in time for Black History Month. Retailers like Gap, Macy's and Lowe's have taken the first steps to carry BIPOC-founded products, alongside initiatives like hiring diverse candidates and incubating Black and other founders of color.
Nearly a year after a proposed spin off of Victoria's Secret was called off, the lingerie brand has been trying quietly to course correct some previous missteps. Most recently, Victoria's Secret announced this week that it would once again start selling swimwear in select stores, after exiting the category in 2016. Retail analysts say that Victoria's Secret's recent moves have been less focused on trying to re-establish itself as the most-talked about brand in lingerie, and rather getting back to the fundamentals of retail.
On this week's episode of the Modern Retail Podcast, Fly By Jing founder Jing Gao spoke about how the company started as a pop-up restaurant concept, her branding and marketing approach as well as what the company's future plans are. "I feel like there's an unspoken understanding between our customers and our brand," she said.
Companies like Walgreens and CVS have managed to keep revenue growing during the pandemic -- but they've also been hurt by falling sales of products in non-essential categories like beauty. Before the pandemic, these companies were trying to reinvent themselves as primary care destinations, by adding more spaces in store and online for health care products and services beyond just refilling prescriptions. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has only made that transformation more urgent.
Aldi is one of the few retailers who still has an ambitious slate of store openings planned for this year. The discount grocer announced last week that it plans to open 100 more stores in the U.S this year, and is set to have the third largest number of grocery stores in the U.S., behind Kroger and Walmart. In addition to opening more stores, Aldi has been making other investments to become more of a household name.
Burger King is the latest quick service restaurant to announce it's launching a customer rewards program. This week, the fast food chain joins rival McDonald's in piloting a loyalty program that encourages repeat purchases and digital orders. Many of these businesses incurred increased losses during the coronavirus outbreak -- and they likely see new digital programming as a way to try and garner more customer engagement.
After an initial slowdown in March due to supply chain constraints, online eyewear brand Zenni Optical says it saw record growth in 2020. With people stuck at home, the company received an influx of new customers trying to avoid going to the eye doctor. And since most were working from home, Zenni's line of blue light blocking lenses grew at an unprecedented clip. According to chief product officer Bai Gan, this past year was "the beginning of a new era" for eyewear brands. He joined the Modern Retail Podcast this week and talked about why.
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