Over the past year, many retail startups experimented with virtual events. But for Monica + Andy, an eight year old baby clothing brand, virtual events became a regular part of its marketing strategy. Now, Monica + Andy presents a potential case study as to how DTC brands might approach events going forward: CEO Monica Royer said she expects half of Monica + Andy's events to be virtual, half in-person, going forward.
The direct-to-consumer chewing gum brands have been pushing one idea in particular: Rather than positioning chewing gum as an afterthought purchase, they want turn it into a high-price, premium product that consumers seek out on direct-to-consumer websites the way they might with a houseplant or a meal kit.
Roughly two months after the iOS14 update rolled out, direct-to-consumer startups are still trying to understand the impact of it. The impact felt by DTC startups has widely varied, according to the four media marketers and media buyers. Multiple brands reported their cost per impressions (CPMs) rising on Facebook since the iOS14 update, while the conversion and purchase-related data Facebook reports back seems to be less accurate.
A couple of weeks ago, Pattern Brands, formerly known as Gin Lane, announced it was pivoting from launching its own brands to acquiring them. Now, there's a new entrant in the acquisition game: OpenStore. OpenStore is taking the Shopify holding company approach and supercharging it, by placing automated bids on Shopify brands. This will likely intensify the mad dash to to acquire as many small Shopify brands for cheap -- interest that was already intensifying thanks to the success of Amazon-focused holding companies.
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.
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.
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.
At the Modern Retail Summit, retail marketers will discuss everything from the Amazon effect to new infrastructure to the shift in the direct-to-consumer world.Book Passes