Lost packages typically mean lost revenue for retailers. With the current e-commerce sales boom, the chances of having to replace delayed or lost customer orders has increased. Despite having to eat the added costs, a number of brands are figuring out new ways to deal with this mounting problem.
After years of focusing on growing within large cities like New York and Los Angeles, skincare startup shop Heyday is going the franchise route to expand. The company, which closed a $20 funding round this month, is hoping the addition of a virtual consultation platform will help it gain a bigger presence.
As direct-to-consumer brands shift more of their marketing dollars towards television, streaming platforms like Hulu are also starting to take up a greater portion of their time and energy. Last year, lingerie startup ThirdLove did two custom sponsorships with Hulu, tied to two Hulu original series, Little Fires Everywhere and Mrs. America. Based on the success of those campaigns, ThirdLove vp of marketing Rebecca Traverzo said the company plans to pursue more custom sponsorships in the future. Meanwhile, telehealth platform Ro recently incorporated Hulu into its Valentine's Day campaign.
One of the most frequently touted advantages of going direct-to-consumer is the ability to collect more data on customers. And one of the most straightforward ways companies can do that is by getting customers to fill out a quiz. But as executives at brands like ThirdLove and Clare told Modern Retail, there's more to creating a successful quiz than just following a Buzzfeed-like template.
As e-commerce has grown into a bigger industry, brands now have more ways to build their online stores than ever before. One type of e-commerce architecture that's being talked about more is headless commerce. At its most basic level, headless commerce means that the architecture for the front-end of the website from the back-end, which gives companies more control over how their website looks and runs.
As some retailers start carry more products on their websites, they've found that it can be overwhelming for customers to sort through dozens of different sneakers or leggings. For retailers that sell thousands of SKUs like Bandier, the challenge is to improve the overwhelming experience via recommendations and promoting curated collections on their homepage.
The so-called ugly produce movement has gained steam during the pandemic, with customers turning to services like Misfits Market, Imperfect Foods and Hungry Harvest for their grocery essentials. Now these startups, typically viewed as a niche category within the overall delivery space, are focusing on private label and customization for customer retention.
This week's DTC briefing delves into what's fueling a new crop of new sites that are trying to be both a marketplace and a reviews site for direct-to-consumer brands. At least early on, these sites are better designed to help brands tell their stories, rather than to help customers figure out, for example, which DTC swimsuit brand to buy. And, a Q&A with Win Brands Group co-founder and CEO Kyle Widrick.
Since first launching checkout on Instagram two years ago, Facebook has made news when it's gotten large retailers like Target and Sephora to use the service. But now, it's adding a new feature to the service aimed squarely at attracting more direct-to-consumer startups. On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it would add support for Shop Pay as a payment method through its checkout service .By partnering with Shopify, the main engine powering many direct-to-consumer startups' businesses, it gives Facebook another way to coax these companies into trying its checkout service.
At the very beginning of the pandemic, podcast listenership dipped dramatically due to the lack of commutes. While downloads recovered throughout 2020, brands that advertise on the medium have tweaked their marketing strategies to cater to the new listening habits.
Startup EatOkra wants to become much more than a Yelp for Black business. Its current iteration lets users filter by location and food type, leave reviews and find contact info and open hours for restaurants in their area. But the company said a lot more is on the horizon, including new features that would let users buy from businesses and even home chefs directly in the app. In a dire moment for the Black business community, EatOkra wants to become something bigger.
Caraway, a predominantly direct-to-consumer cookware startup, is kicking off its first physical retail partnership. The startup announced on Tuesday that it's launching a new cookware set that will be sold exclusively in 81 Crate and Barrel stores, and through Crate and Barrel's website. Caraway just launched in November 2019, but CEO and founder Jordan Nathan told Modern Retail that he thought it was important for Caraway to start selling its products through other retailers' websites early on, because "we want to be where customers are buying for big stages of their life."
Buy now, pay later services had a record year in customer acquisition during the pandemic. Now, companies like Afterpay and Affirm are turning to physical stores to market their installment payment options for customers. What began as an e-commerce checkout tool is becoming the latest tool to get shoppers back into stores.
As the number of purchases made online grows, so has the number of startups selling businesses on their checkout experience like Bolt and Fast. Meanwhile, established companies like Shopify and Apple are trying to push greater adoption of their own digital wallet. All are trying to convince direct-to-consumer startups and other e-commerce brands that if they use their incrementally better checkout system, it will result in huge increases in conversion rates and average order values -- but the reality is that only a few will become the go-to checkout options for most consumers.
As the pandemic continues to upend the ways people shop, direct-to-consumer startups are continuously looking for creative ways to reward customers through the launch of new loyalty programs. Handbag brand Dagne Dover launched its first-ever loyalty program last week, through which customers can earn points not only for buying product, but also for writing a review, or following the company on social media. Hair care startup Prose also launched its first ever membership program over the summer, incorporating perks like access to one-on-one virtual consultations and a wellness podcast. It's a trend that started before the pandemic, but now it's more important than ever that companies find ways to reward their loyal customers, even if they're not able to buy product right now.
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