Social media apps are rolling out more tools meant to encourage brands to work more closely with influencers. Instagram, for example, announced last week that it is testing a new affiliate tool, which allows influencers to earn a commission from products they recommend that use Instagram’s checkout service, with the commission being set by the brand. It's led to a change in overall influencer strategy.
This week Pattern Brands -- a holding company formed by the former members of branding agency Gin Lane -- announced that it was pivoting away from launching its own brands, and instead would look to acquire a number of smaller brands in the home goods space. It's a move that has been in the works for over a year. Modern Retail obtained a pitch deck that Pattern Brands sent around last summer, laying out its vision for the holding company it hoped to build.
Direct-to-consumer floral company Pomp launched on Wednesday, joining the new guard of online-native brands trying to improve the floral industry’s convoluted supply chain, and provide simpler alternatives to industry giants like 1-800 Flowers. The perishable floral industry has struggled with supply chain since its birth. In response, new DTC challengers like Pomp, Farmgirl Flowers, and Urban Stems innovate with owned supply chains, and a smaller, more curated assortment of bouquets.
Pattern Brands was one of a few startups that thought it could crack the customer acquisition challenges brands faced by taking a holding company approach. Led by the former team behind branding agency Gin Lane, Pattern Brands would launch multiple brands under one company, all catering to an affluent millennial customer. Now, Pattern Brands is taking a different strategy.
As DTC brands continue to look for new customer acquisition channels, Pinterest is becoming a bigger part of their shoppable content playbook. The social platform, which has been increasingly building out e-commerce capabilities, has partnered with several digitally-native brands on a shopping event featuring exclusive products.
With summer approaching and people being inclined to spend more time at the beach than they are online shopping, brands are looking for creative marketing tactics to drum up excitement. And one of the most common tactics startups have started experimenting more with in recent years is partnership marketing. Partnership marketing encompasses everything from product giveaways on Instagram to selling more co-branded items, and they're increasingly becoming a small but critical component of startups' strategies for critical sales moments.
As vaccinations ramp up, stores are getting more crowded. As a result, former retail epicenters like Soho are seeing signs of life again, with more stores drawing more lines to get in.
Like other retail startups, furniture rental company Feather has adjusted its growth strategy for the year as it tries to figure out how to best fit into customers' post-pandemic lifestyles. Now, the company is expanding to new markets and launching in new categories. As a rental startup, Feather faces a unique challenge in that its growth trajectory also depends upon its ability to get more people on board with the idea of temporary ownership.
While DTC brands are more eager to test out TikTok, marketers and agencies say that most startups are still trying to figure out what types of videos work. As a result, they say experimentation is the key to TikTok success. And specifically, keeping an eye on what's trending on the For You page, and figuring out how to incorporate trending hashtags or effects into a brand's video.
Following years of subscription acquisition and retail expansion, Quip is entering the crowded dental aligner space. DTC brands like SmileDirectClub and Candid Care have been offering at-home teeth-straightening for years. But Quip is betting on its existing dental care platform and customer demand to set its service apart.
Venture funding for DTC startups has increased, but it's being driven by an increased in interest in a handful of categories.
Walmart continues to fulfill its health-focused ambitions. While the retailer has separate plans to open medical clinics alongside its pharmacy business, it's also stocking shelves with more relevant health and wellness products. The latest category Walmart is overhauling with the help of DTC brands, including Ro and The Honey Pot, is sexual wellness.
For direct-to-consumer brands, one of the most important roles has long been the role of growth marketer. For a venture-backed direct-to-consumer brand, who might be expected to driver 20%-30% of revenue growth month-over-month it's vitally important to have someone like a head of growth who knows what levers to pull to increase sales. But as the digital marketing landscape has changed, what brands are looking for in growth marketers has also changed.
As retail coffee establishments reopen and customers make more coffee shop trips, digital platforms like Trade are looking for ways to keep at-home brewing going. The subscription-based marketplace saw exponential growth during lockdowns. Its next challenge is retaining these new customers beyond the pandemic.
Apple has said that the fifth (and what’s expected to be the last) version of its iOS14 update will hit users’ phones this weeks. As part of that, iPhone users should start receiving the App Tracking Transparency (ATT prompt). And as the update hits users phones, it could start wrecking havoc on direct-to-consumer startups’ marketing plans.
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