The e-commerce boom has led to an influx of startups trying to build businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars by selling software to DTC brands. And it’s a surge that shows no signs of slowing down.
Virtual Dining Concepts is a ghost kitchen company -- meaning it connects industrial kitchens with restaurants that only distribute through dining apps like DoorDash. But there's a Planet Hollywood-esque spin: instead of simply ginning up a dark restaurant that will live on the various dining apps, he's aligning his businesses with celebrities and influencers. It's a growing online commerce trend, and hints at some business model hurdles.
Two resale apps, Poshmark and ThredUp, have gone public within the past three months, and as a publicly-traded companies, now face more pressure to maintain revenue growth, namely expanding into new products and services. But, the biggest challenge standing in the way of these companies' expansion plans, analysts say, is in ensuring that people keep wanting to sell products through their sites.
After a year in which many subway and airport ad placements sat idle, some startups are beginning to dust the cobwebs off of their out-of-home strategies. This week, Glossier launched an ad campaign with an out-of-home component that's betting on people returning to the movies. Other startups are waiting to see whether an uptick they say they are waiting to see a larger uptick in people taking the subway or flying on a plane before committing to any out-of-home campaigns
Covid has led to an explosion in interest in livestreaming. There’s been an uptick in established retailers like Macy’s or Nordstrom hosting livestream shopping events this year, while livestreaming startups like NTWRK, Popshop Live and Whatnot have recently announced significant rounds of venture capital. But the go-to partner livestreaming partners for many DTC brands is still QVC.
Owning the supply chain has become a growing trend among digitally-native brands in recent years. Unlike the first generation of DTC players, emerging companies like Rothys and Caraa are choosing to own their production over partnering with manufacturers. But, as apparel brand Duer came to find during the pandemic, there are limits to what you can realistically own.
The installment payment space is infiltrating local businesses. After a year of customers seeking the financing options from tech startups like Klarna and Affirm, buy now pay later startup Sunbit is hoping to ride that wave by attracting small merchants.
After a year in which social gatherings have essentially been limited to Zoom or Clubhouse, and people had to postpone major events like weddings and vacations, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. With President Joe Biden announcing last week that all states should open up coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1, people now have a closer idea of when they’ll be able to resume activities they’ve been putting off since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Here's how startups are preparing for people to spend their money come summer.
Companies have updated packaging and sourced new product ideas after reading through the comments on TikTok. Combing through the comments can be labor-intensive on both organic and paid posts. Yet brands have found that customers’ comments can lead to easy product improvements if they can become comfortable with the tone of the app and put in the man-hours of listening to their customers there.
Direct mail marketing is nothing new. Yet the strategy to send print catalogs to customers homes is becoming more popular among brands and retailers. In recent years, DTC brands have successfully tested out direct mail to acquire and retain customers. With people stuck at home due to the coronavirus and the volatile digital advertising market, the traditional method is getting even more traction.
Since launching more than 20 years ago, Simplehuman has become known for its high-end kitchen and bath products, such as the brand's flagship line of trashcans. The company had historically focused more on wholesale distribution and physical retail partnerships. However, founder Frank Yang explained that the pandemic proved an e-commerce DTC strategy is a must for long term growth.
Barely a week goes by anymore without a brand that started selling “direct-to-consumer” announcing it’s starting to sell wholesale through a big-box retailer. A couple of years ago, wholesale partnerships at places like Target were reserved for the most high-profile direct-to-consumer brands. Now, more “DTC brands'' are now also testing the wholesale waters one to three years after launching their first products.
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.
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.
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