A new type of restaurant is becoming popular, and you can't sit down in it. Called "ghost kitchens," these delivery only establishments are catching entrepreneurs' eyes and investors' capital.
Robotics has been considered a disruptor for years now. But we haven't quite seen how the automated technology will transform the retail industry. While a number of well-funded robotics startups crash and burn, a few others operating in the background have shown a growing demand for retail robotics.
In its early days, being direct-to-consumer meant lower prices. Because there was no middleman, so the theory went, companies were offering better quality goods at more competitive prices. But as the industry matures, there has been a shift away from branding DTC products as the most affordable alternative to traditional retail shopping for personal products. The strategy to offer “no markups” was integral for the success of Warby Parker and Everlane, among others when they launched a decade ago. However, that’s no longer the case, as evident from a new crop of luxury DTC brands that are looking to duplicate the model’s biggest success stories, in diamonds, luxury fashion and more.
As more DTC companies face cultural growing pains, Lola's co-founders are trying to build a culture that supports all of its employees.
As subscription startups look to boost their retention rates, they are doing away with the term subscription. Instead, they're pitching customers on joining a membership, where they'll get access to more than just product. The hope is that by giving subscribers access to more exclusive perks like events or special sales, they will stick with the service longer, and spend more money with the company
As CAC costs continue to rise, DTC brands may begin to feel the stress of business reality. The question remains: what comes next for businesses that grew online and are expected to scale beyond $50 million. While some may be able to build solid omnichannel businesses, others may be in the midst of a reckoning.
Where Amazon goes, other retailers follow. So as Amazon has rapidly expanded its network of Go stores, startups like Grabango and Zippin have launched to help retailers launch similar types of facilities that allow customers to walk in and out without having to stop at a cash register. These types of stores usually use a mix of computer vision and sensors to track which items shoppers pick up as they move throughout the store. That way, when a shopper exits, the store knows exactly which items to charge each customer for, typically through an app the customer has to download before entering.
Since San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures launched its first venture fund in 2010, the firm has backed some of the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer startups in recent years, from Bonobos to Away to Glossier. Now, as there are DTC brands in every category from toothpaste to pet food, Forerunner is making a more diverse array of investments in commerce. This year for example, Forerunner started investing in more companies like supply chain company Attabottics and returns startup Narvar that help address the logistical challenges these DTC brands face as they scale.
For years, direct-to-consumer brands have relied on Facebook and Instagram advertising to acquire new customers rapidly. This year, they tried to wean themselves off of it. Rather than putting all of their eggs in one basket, more DTC brands see acquiring customers in places other than Facebook as key to building a profitable, sustainable business.
While individual retail credit cards lose their luster, new programs providing no-interest loans are becoming much more popular. New data shows just how quick these services are growing, and how this past year helped these companies get some real traction.
Peloton has had a rough week. First, it aired a TV ad that was widely panned. Then, a short seller brought up some searing points about the competitive landscape. The question remains: Can the exercise company rely on its cult-like status to become the multi-billion dollar brand investors think it can be?
On Monday, Away announced that Stuart Haselden, currently Lululemon's COO, will replace co-founder Steph Korey as CEO come January. Haselden has experience navigating some of the key challenges Away will face -- namely, evolving a company's brand identity as it expands beyond its core product, and developing a comprehensive plan for international expansion.
In order to better manage returns over the holidays, all retailers are looking at how they can give customers more cost-effective ways to exchange and send back items. But it's particularly a challenge for direct-to-consumer startups, many of whom at most have a handful of physical stores that customers can return products to.
Peloton has had a rough week, following the release of a much-derided TV ad. People on Twitter criticized the company, and its market capitalization dropped. The entire saga highlights a new kind of luxury company -- and how they represent a growing cultural divide.
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