"Landlords have been sympathetic to the retailer brands’ situation during these shutdowns."
"This could be the tipping point that finally gets Americans to adopt the bidet.”
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.
More and more companies are announcing plans to have most employees work remotely. For smaller DTC brands, that rely on both selling physical products and having a scrappy agile work culture, this is especially difficult. But as the coronavirus spreads, so too does the need for a work contingency plan.
Shark Tank investor Matt Higgins remains bullish on the potential of DTC brands to upend traditional consumer companies, and make a profit while doing it. "I think that innovation cycle is never going to end," Higgins said.
Though stocks are tumbling and some businesses are facing big obstacles, the coronavirus is causing some brands to see big gains. In the DTC space, companies offering higher-end home and health products have observed more new customers and bigger order sizes. It makes sense: Why go to Costco when you can buy nice toilet paper online?
Companies that sell primarily direct-to-consumer already faced a tough time raising venture capital funding in 2020. And that was before an outbreak of COVID-19. Most investors say it's too early to tell if other venture capital firms will prove less willing to make investments in the coming months, and certain categories like like travel may be more negatively impacted than others. But nearly all are counseling companies to rethink their growth projections for 2020, and start thinking now about how they can tighten up expenses in a worst case scenario.
In the past two years, Grove Collaborative has become one of the biggest companies in cleaning supplies, hitting a $1 billion valuation last September following a $150 million series D funding round. Like other modern brands, it comes with a do-good, purpose-based mission. Having already implemented practices like having all facilities running on renewable power, Grove Collaborative is now committing to go plastic-free by 2025. “This timeline also forces it to be done on my and my team’s watch, unlike corporations that promise change down the line through a different CEO and management,” Landesberg said.
DTC healthcare startup Ro announced a new assessment tool for COVID-19. It's the latest -- and perhaps most extreme -- example of businesses shifting strategies to deal with the epidemic. Questions abound about how such a program will be executed.
Super Heroic, a direct-to-consumer children's clothing and footwear startup, is shutting down, according to the company's website. A message posted on Super Heroic’s website, with the headline “mission complete,” said that “we started this company with the desire to encourage and inspire our youth to dream bigger and to live boldly….in these uncertain times, we have now reached a place where we must hang up our capes for a while.” The website states that the company “will honor all sales and exchanges until our closure,” but does not give an exact date.
The service, which will operate separately from Elliot, will allow brands to have customers shop products straight from an interactive live stream. The live shopping network is meant to give viewers to ask questions about curated items' fit and texture, among other details, before clicking checkout on products.
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Bombas is slowly building up its roster of wholesale partners, focusing on finding retailers that align with its one-to-one giving model, and have a customer demographic that fits well with new product offerings. It's one of a number of brands that started direct-to-consumer that is starting to test out which wholesale partners make the most sense for them.
When Great Jones launched in 2018, co-founders Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis decided to take what they called a "maximalist" approach to design, in order to ensure that their brand stood out many other direct-to-consumer startups at the time that seemed to be taking a minimalist approach to branding. Now, less than two years after Great Jones officially launched, Tishgart already feels like the maximalist approach that was once unique to Great Jones is no longer a novelty.
As more direct-to-consumer startups launch every day, agencies are finding that they constantly have to expand their wheelhouse of skills. Branding agencies are starting to take on performance marketing work, while marketing agencies are taking on more early stage design work. In November, branding agency Red Antler, which did work for Casper and Allbirds, launched a performance marketing arm called Good Moose
In a new guide for brand and agency marketers, learn the most cutting-edge measurement and attribution techniques preferred by advertisers that have successfully scaled their TV budgets.
Exclusively for Modern Retail+ members: Hear from Colin Darretta, CEO and Founder of Wellpath, on the future of direct to consumer business.Subscribe