Stuck indoors, people are trying to build their own Instagram pantries

People are staying home and they're buying things online. While platforms like Amazon and Walmart face bottlenecks due to surges in demand, smaller DTC players are seeing influxes of interest. Many of these brands offer higher-end pantry items, which more people are willing to splurge on in this new coronavirus reality.

Latest Stories

  • APR 03, 2020

    ‘Absolute tsunami’: Consumer startups are scrambling to receive disaster relief

    For one executive, like so many other business owners, the last week has been stressful -- and filled with spreadsheets. This person, who co-founded a growing consumer-facing digital startup, has spent the last week looking at his financials and trying to figure out if he qualifies for federal and state aid. Right now, he believes he can participate in at least three new programs that will give him cash in the six figures to keep his business afloat for the next few months, which has seen sales steeply decline over the last few weeks. He's spent the last week poring over tax documents, speaking with colleagues and trying to demystify what seem to be very obtusely-written rules. But like for so many, he's finding the new rules confusing and hard to navigate.

  • APR 02, 2020

    In a time of mounting unknowns, advice has become a hot DTC commodity

    Brands are in uncharted territory as the age of coronavirus hurdles along. They have many questions and few empirical examples. As a result, a number of people and services are trying to rise the occasion and become the leaders of the DTC consulting space.

  • APR 02, 2020
    blue apron

    The coronavirus outbreak may mean a second chance for Blue Apron

    Before the coronavirus outbreak, Blue Apron was on life support. The meal kit company reported in February that it had 351,000 customers during the fourth quarter of 2019, down from more than a million at the height of its popularity, and has consistently failed to turn a profit in its nearly three years as a public company. CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski said the company was considering a menu of strategic options including a sale and raising additional capital.  But in March, the company started seeing an unexpected uptick in demand, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.

  • MAR 30, 2020

    The future of toy stores isn’t in selling you toys

    Toy stores haven't fared well over the last century. But a new crop of retailer are trying to rethink the entire category — and make it less of a toy store and more of an experience. Will it work?

  • MAR 26, 2020

    Apparel brands are marketing their products as work from home essentials

    As shoppers in the U.S. and Europe are spending more time in their homes thanks to shelter in place orders, apparel brands are seizing the opportunity by offering sales on items like loungewear and leggings, and marketing their products as essentials for people working at home.  Everlane is hosting a sale this week where shoppers can get a discount if they buy two pairs of leggings or two sweatshirts. Universal Standard is having a mix and match sale where if customers buy three products from a selection of tank tops, t-shirts, and sweaters, they get 30% off. It's an easier lift for some companies than others.

  • MAR 26, 2020

    Layoff tracker: Purple furloughs 35% of staff as wholesale business declines

    As many states are continuing to order non-essential retail stores to stay closed, and shoppers tighten their wallets, startup founders are having to take a look at what costs they can cut to ensure their can keep their business running through the coronavirus outbreak. Many startups are cutting their digital advertising spend. Others are trying to renegotiate leases. Many founders are taking extreme pay cuts themselves, and asking their executive teams to as well. And, ultimately many of them are also having to layoff or furlough staff, or asking them to take unpaid leave as well. Modern Retail will be tracking the job and salary cuts announced by startups, by date of when they were first reported, in order to get a better sense of how the coronavirus outbreak will impact the burgeoning direct-to-consumer industry.

  • MAR 25, 2020

    ‘Tabula rasa’: DTC brands, long reliant on billboards, pivot strategies

    Many brands have relied on out of home ads, like subway takeovers, to diversify away from social and digital. But now that everyone is staying home, these businesses are being forced to rethink where best to reach audiences and how to message to them.

  • MAR 23, 2020

    DTC brands are tightening up how much they spend on digital advertising

    For the past couple of years, investors have been urging direct-to-consumer brands to rely less on digital advertising to acquire new customers. While they may be hesitant to admit it, many direct-to-consumer advertising brands are pulling back on their advertising spend on Facebook and Google as they anticipate shoppers will tighten their wallets in the coming months.

  • MAR 18, 2020

    Amazon sellers enter an uncharted new world

    It seems like every day Amazon is changing the rules for its sellers. Some are seeing huge gains, others are seeing huge losses. What's clear, however, is that the platform has dramatically changed over the last few weeks and many brands feel left in the dark.

  • MAR 16, 2020

    Retail startups press pause on events, rethink store operations

    Some investors have speculated that the coronavirus could lead to a rise in sales for e-commerce startups, as more people shop online instead of visiting stores. But, that doesn't mean that these startups are completely in the clear. Direct-to-consumer startups, in their never-ending quest to acquire customers more cheaply, have been moving to open more stores in recent years. Others also rely on in-person events to reach new potential new customers.

  • MAR 13, 2020

    ‘It’s their Super Bowl’: As trade shows get canceled or delayed, CPG brands figure out how to cope

    Melanie Kahn, founder of Illinois-based beverage brand Poppilu Antioxidant Lemonade, was relying on the annual Natural Products Expo West event to help move her business forward in a number of ways. She was hoping to meet with potential investors during the event, which was supposed to be held between March 3 and 7 and get her company in front of new retailers. Plus, she had a new product to promote, for kids. 

  • MAR 13, 2020

    Neighborhood Goods launches dashboard to help brands analyze store data

    This week, Neighborhood Goods opened its third location in Austin, Texas. With it, the company is also offering brands a new digital dashboard to better understand store analytics. As more physical retail concepts become popular with digital brands, the ability to analyze and contextualize real-time data is increasingly becoming table stakes.

  • JUN 01, 2022

    Why independent retailers are joining shopper networks

Modern Retail Awards
Sep 9, 2022

Recognizing the companies and campaigns modernizing retail in the digital age.