This week, Tonal announced a store-within-store partnership with Nordstrom to bring its workout machines to a national consumer base. The move shows that as the virtual fitness field deepens, so does competition for retail space and customers.
Four founders of direct-to-consumer startups spoke with Modern Retail about how they've had to rethink how they run their businesses over the past year. Now, all are trying to figure out what consumers will want to spend their money on once the pandemic subsides -- and what they'll be willing to venture to a store for, versus what they will still want to buy online. Plus, a new direct-to-consumer startup launches in Walmart, and an e-commerce CEO is getting into venture investing.
For the past decade, Instagram has dominated the marketing strategies of DTC brands trying to reach younger customers. Now, new startups like skincare brand Habit are finding reason to focus on the Gen Z-friendly TikTok, in hopes of becoming less reliant on Instagram and parent company Facebook.
As the hospitality industry continues to adapt to the virtual world, service workers like chefs and bartenders are seeking new opportunities to supplement their lost income. In recent months multiple platforms, like Demi and The Industry Collective, have launched to directly match these experts to everything from brand sponsorships to paying consumers.
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.
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.
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.
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