New types of ambassador programs from retailers like Express are bringing a sales-based commission model to independent or contract workers without social followings. Whereas previous programs target bigger-name influencers, the newest additions to the retail space are betting that more intimate connections between customer and seller in e-commerce can drive purchases much more successfully.
The 15-minute delivery trend is in full swing -- thanks to the arrival of several ultra-fast grocery services like Fridge No More, Gorillas, Jokr and 1520. These startups, which rely on ghost stores and in-house couriers, are hoping to court urban customers by competing with local grocery and convenience stores.
A group of companies focused on food pickup and delivery, including Servy and AtYourGate, have gained traction throughout the pandemic. Now these companies are hoping to use that foothold to turn airport food delivery into a central feature of the travel retail world -- but there are many educational and labor hurdles to getting there.
For years, retailers and tech companies have tried to harness live video as a means of reaching online shoppers. Now, numerous live video shopping startups have found themselves flush with cash as venture capitalists and celebs pour into the sector in search of the next big thing.
After acquiring Transplace for $2.25 billion, Uber Freight is cementing its status as an important player in the growing world of digital freight brokerage. But it is also opening itself up to an entry into the parcel shipping space.
For decades, sales employees have been strictly floor workers: they interacted with customers browsing in stores, showcasing and pitching them items in order to make commissions. But as more and more customers continue to buy online, their mostly commission-based sales associates as not just charismatic employees but also people with social reach who can become potential drivers of site traffic.
Ex-Facebook exec Fidji Simo's hiring -- along with the vision she outlined in an interview with CNBC -- signals Instacart’s shift into a more social-media-like future, one that focuses both on driving habitual usage, and ramping up the company's advertising business.
Outside of athleisure, fashion sales were some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Now, with apparel sales ticking back up again, retailers and brands are looking for ways to stand out in the crowded field -- including those in the kids clothing category. One way online children's boutique Maisonette is approaching this is by launching its third private label.
Etsy is making a play for Brazil with its latest acquisition of the online marketplace Elo7. Latin America is a weak-spot for Etsy, and it's the latest signal, as Etsy seeks to build a "house of brands," that it is increasingly on acquisitions — rather than partnerships — for new customer acquisition.
Increasingly, link-in-bio companies are building digital storefronts, where anyone who clicks a link in bio can toggle through various products that a creator has for sale. It's a shift that not only helps the link services stay relevant but also represents the latest example of e-commerce and product discovery moving to social media.
Instagram and Shopify appear to be entering the affiliate commissions race. It's a sign that the two companies are trying to disrupt Amazon’s dominance over product affiliate links.
Like many homeware brands, Cuisinart experienced a surge in popularity during lockdowns. The consumer demand for its products, especially trendy appliances like air fryers and bread makers, prompted Cuisinart to make some changes to how it works with retailers.
In early May, Instacart quietly added a new feature called “Product Library,” which lets brands whose products are bought and sold on Instacart edit how their products appear on the platform. The Product Library update might be small, but it showcases the extent to which Instacart, as it becomes an increasingly ad-focused company, has tried to make itself more friendly to brands.
Digital alcohol delivery surged during lockdowns, with major players like Drizly and Minibar dominating sales within past year. However, smaller, niche platforms also found success in wooing local merchants. One startup that's offering liquor stores an alternative to big marketplaces is City Hive, which allows small businesses to provide white labeled pickup and delivery fulfillment.
Online-only, super-fast, super-cheap fashion dominated the pandemic, spurred by TikTok trends. Now, traditional fast fashion retailers will have to keep up. While brick-and-mortar retailers like H&M and Zara are struggling to return to pre-pandemic sales level, online-only fast fashion retailers like Blushmark and Shein are rising in popularity, becoming some of the most downloaded shopping apps in Apple's store. Taking cues from Blushmark and Shein, traditional retailers are reallocating investment to ecommerce, adding features like buy-now-and-pay-later to their sites, and expanding e-commerce to new geographies. Still, digital players have unique advantages of production in an online only model.
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