Some direct-to-consumer companies are slowly building out corporate gifting programs, as they look for more ways beyond paid advertising to reach large groups of potential new customers. Bombas piloted a corporate gifting program for the first time last year. Today, it has a team of three that manages corporate sales, two members of which were just hired in June, according to chief marketing officer Kate Huyett.
Brooklinen announced a new marketplace called Spaces. It partnered with other DTC brands to sell adjacent but not competitive goods on the bedding company's website. It's indicative of a growing business trend where brands are banding together to try and maintain growth.
Over the past year, weighted blanket brand Gravity Products has started to partner more with brands on product collaborations in order to lessen its reliance on selling directly to consumers. Today, Gravity announced that it's partnering with DTC mattress brand Purple on a product collaboration. CEO Mike Grillo said that partnerships now make up nearly 18% of Gravity's revenue, up from 2% last year.
As buy now, pay later financing models start to gain more traction among younger customers, the businesses powering these transactions are also looking for more ways to keep customers shopping within their network of retailers. Affirm, founded in 2013 is one such business, and last week launched a redesigned mobile app that's designed to encourage customers to turn to Affirm to finance more of their purchases.
Brands, especially venture-backed ones, live and die by a few metrics. Customer lifetime value and retention rates are especially critical in proving to investors that their company is worthy of being valued at five times or ten times revenue.
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.
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.
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.
Multi-touch attribution has become the attribution method of choice for brands, especially direct-to-consumer ones, once they start advertising on more channels than just Facebook and Google. But switching to a multi-touch attribution model isn't as simple of a switch as transitioning from one software vendor to another. It is often a months-long project, that requires close communication between a brand's marketing and data science teams.
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.
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