Email addresses have become the currency of choice for direct-to-consumer brands. As a result, many DTC brands offer customers a discount off their first order, if they sign up for the company's email list
Chatbots were all the rage a few years ago, but consumers never took to them. Now, DTC brands are using a mixture of AI and human-based chat technology to better handling customer service.
New and existing sites are increasingly seeing an opportunity in helping both shoppers and industry members make sense of the growing DTC landscape. The founders of these sites say that because it's easier now than ever before to start a new brand, and many of these brands gain traction through a mix of paid Facebook and Instagram ads, influencer partnerships, and affiliate deals, it's hard for even someone who works in the consumer industry to understand which new mattress or razor is best.
Food52 just sold a majority stake to The Chernin Group. According to the company, what propelled the deal was the commerce strategy it put in place. Now, with the cash infusion, the home and kitchen site plans to invest even more into both online and physical retail.
As digitally-native brands are spending more on brand marketing, they find they may have to manage tension between different members of their marketing team, as what's best for the brand may not always be deemed best by performance marketing standards.
As the resale market grows, it's ushered in a wave of startups that see a lucrative opportunity in helping retailers navigate the secondhand apparel space. Some marketplaces that started out as peer-to-peer are striking more partnerships with brands and retailers to increase revenue, while at the same time trying to direct traffic back to their own site. Another startup called Yerdle, which last week announced it had raised a $20 million round of venture capital financing, has created a white label service that retailers like REI, Eileen Fisher and Patagonia have used to build resale services that pull from their own inventory.
Many DTC brands relying on performance marketing use Facebook for customer acquisition. But the DTC company Candid has found that despite it's robust offerings, the platform simply doesn't align with its longterm strategy.
Rakesh Tondon, CEO of clothing and accessories rental provider Le Tote, said that his company's decision to acquire Lord & Taylor for $100 million was driven primarily by technology. Speaking at the Evolving E e-commerce conference in New York City on Tuesday, Tondon said that Le Tote was initially in talks with Lord & Taylor to open up Le Tote boutiques in some of its stores, as well as license its technology stack to Lord & Taylor, when reports broke that parent company HBC was looking to sell Lord & Taylor.
As Facebook and Google ads, the bread-and-butter of many direct-to-consumer brands' customer acquisition efforts, become more expensive, there's also been a rise in companies eager to give money to cash-strapped DTC companies -- for a fee. One of the most prominent of these companies is Clearbanc.
There's a growing group of business evangelists online who love to wax philosophic about DTC brands. But it's not only a pocket of Twitter, but a thriving social network of entrepreneurs, VCs and consultants. But does it run the risk of becoming too much of a clique?
As DTC brands grow, they face the issue of copycats encroaching on their space. This is increasingly becoming an issue founders are being forced to reckon with. The latest example is Ro, which noticed that competitor Hims had a UX almost identical to its own.
As direct-to-consumer brands expand into new categories, they're starting to hire more marketers with a special focus on retention, whose goal is to win over more business from repeat customers. Brands that currently have openings for retention marketers at various levels include Brooklinen, Care/Of, Peloton and Prose.
Returns are one of the most ubiquitous part of the online shopping process. They are also extremely expensive -- as well as difficult to accurately quantify. For DTCs, returns are one of the large-yet-invisible problems continually hampering the bottom line.
As they grow up, direct-to-consumer startups are starting to partner more exclusive product drops, giveaways and events, all in the name of cheaper customer acquisition. While many of these partnerships are only responsible for incremental revenue, they are one of a number of ways that today's DTC brands are trying to find cheaper and more organic ways to get more people to hear about their brands.
When Dan Levitan, along with former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, launched consumer-focused venture capital fund Maveron in 1998, the pair decided on eBay as their first investment. Maveron's thesis was that technology was going to play a bigger role consumers' lives and how they buy products. At the time, that meant getting in early on marketplace startups, where customers could for the first time buy from a wide selection of products online. Today, it means that brands are able to go from "obscurity to ubiquity" in an unprecedented amount of time, thanks in large parts to investments in digital media like Facebook and Google.
A new research report finds that publishers consider malvertising, porn and other sketchy ads to be potential reputation-killers. They're trying a variety of techniques to block such ads — but some are working better than others.
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