Reopening stores, even just for curbside pickup, isn't as easy as it looks. Companies are performing cost-benefit analyses -- taking into account inventory reallocation, store staffing logistics, and whether try-ons are necessary enough to justify opening up. The reality is that for many smaller brands, “curbside alone can’t cover costs to warrant a reopen as the virus wave continues,” explained Lunya CEO Ashley Merrill.
Apparel retailer Gap is having to make some budget cuts as the company is under tremendous financial stress due to the coronavirus. One of the victims is Hill City, its two-year-old men's athletic apparel brand. The company announced last week that it would be winding down Hill City in the coming months. "The financial impacts of covid-19 have required the company to ruthlessly prioritize and reduce operating expenses," a Gap spokesperson said.
As existing commerce companies adapt to survive a global pandemic, Jimmy Wu actually launched one. His new company Cat Person sells cat food, toys, furniture and treats in a market that Wu sees as skewed toward dog owners. On the most recent episode of the Modern Retail Podcast, Wu talked about the pet food industry, launching a company during a pandemic and the overall DTC boom.
Brands are now taking public stands in light of the past week's protests. But many of these so-called values based companies are still predominately white and haven't figured out how to make lasting internal change. Conversations are now beginning to happen, but some founders may be saying one thing and unconsciously doing another.
Running a radical, mission-driven brand can be tricky. East Fork Pottery's Connie Matisse explained at this week's Modern Retail+ Talk the need to integrate values throughout business decision, and why "not everyone needs to be your customers." Consistently defining your company and what you stand for is integral in finding and retaining customers, she said.
DTC startups have responded to events of the past week in a couple of ways. The first is by affirming their support for Black Lives Matter on social media, and pledging to fight against systemic injustice. Some brands followed that with pledges to donate to organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Movement for Black Lives Matter. Now, the focus needs to shift to building diverse companies.
Running different channels requires skills and discipline. Brand consistency is key, especially when many channels are involved internationally and across different touch points. Ask “what are the reasons to come to the site and why is the experience special?” said Ugly Drinks CEO Hugh Thomas.
Over the past two months, digitally native startups have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of store closures. Part of this growth was due to the fact that shoppers had fewer options. Now, shoppers have more options as stores open back up in more states. The coming months will prove just how much of the growth direct-to-consumer brands experienced was a flash in the pan.
Brooklinen's marketing team explains why customer feedback is valuable during a crisis. Checking with the audience helped them modifying tone and content, target offline customers and make them comfortable with e-commerce, and leverage existing social media resources to further build customer loyalty.
Over the past year, Facebook hasn't been shy about its e-commerce ambitions. So, it didn't come entirely as a surprise on Tuesday when Facebook announced that it would be launching customizable online storefronts called Facebook Shops, as part of its quest to get customers to think of Facebook and Instagram as their go-to places to discover new products. Shopify is largely considered to be the go-to e-commerce provider from direct-to-consumer brands, and as such, stands to benefits the most right now from Facebook's aggressive e-commerce push.
CPGs are currently in a mad dash to solidify their DTC strategies. Clorox has been building out its team for the last year and half. It's both launched new brands and focused on building out more direct sales strategies with older ones. The company's vp and general manager of DTC spoke with Modern Retail about the company's strategy, and how it's recently been accelerated.
CBD beverage brand Recess just launched a redesigned website, alongside some new revenue streams. The company now has subscriptions, a line of merchandise and a new ordering system for wholesale vendors. Its national expansion plans are starting to come into sharper focus.
People are sheltering in place and they're also adopting pets. As a result, pet food startups have seen a huge boom over the last few months. This tracks with other bigger players shutting their doors and seeing shipping delays. While things begin to normalize the question remains whether these new entrants will be able to keep momentum.
Now that companies have roughly two months of working remotely under their belts, all CEOs are grappling with if, and when, they should call employees back to the office. Many CEOs are trying to figure out exactly what that will look like. For some, it may mean getting a smaller space. For others, scrapping offices altogether.
California's soft store re-openings are being spearheaded by local businesses and smaller startups. The DTC brand Vuori, for example, is starting with curbside pickup but is already strategizing what re-opened stores will look like.
Advertisers, from DTCs scrapping for share in a crackling at-home beauty market to seasoned retailers leaning into the quarantined consumer’s e-commerce surge, what’s changing about your campaign KPIs? How are you using data to make choices and effectively budget across channels? What’s working, what’s broken and how will you fix it? Take this survey and get the full results plus a $5 Starbucks gift card.
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