As more beauty sales are moving online, retailers like Sephora have had to up their e-commerce game. Carolyn Bojanowski, senior vice president and general manager of e-commerce at Sephora, said that a big focus for the retailer over the past year has been adding more e-commerce services, like a same-day delivery partnership with Instacart, as well as more ways for customers to chat with Sephora employees online. Bojanowski spoke more with Modern Retail about how Sephora's e-commerce experiences have evolved over the past year.
Like many traditional retailers, Bed Bath & Beyond has been forced to adapt to consumers' needs with a robust digital strategy. Now, Bed Bath & Beyond is turning its attention to overhauling merchandise with the help of private labels -- or "owned brands" -- as the company calls them. Chief merchandising officer Joe Hartsig spoke to Modern Retail about the launch of these in-house brands, modernizing stores and the importance of understanding today’s consumer.
As competition among DTC brands grows, so does the need to stand out with unique and legacy-building products. It's why the approach to design is changing, explains Bret Recor, founder of Clever Box -- the design studio behind Away and Caraway.
Venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures is well-known for funding the first generation of direct-to-consumer startups like Bonobos and Dollar Shave Club. But the firm has also been taking a more broader approach to consumer, with recent investments. Senior Associate KJ Sidberry spoke with Modern Retail about his investment thesis.
Since launching more than 20 years ago, Simplehuman has become known for its high-end kitchen and bath products, such as the brand's flagship line of trashcans. The company had historically focused more on wholesale distribution and physical retail partnerships. However, founder Frank Yang explained that the pandemic proved an e-commerce DTC strategy is a must for long term growth.
The pandemic helped push secondhand resale sites, including Poshmark and The RealReal, into the spotlight. One platform that's been quietly building a following is Tradesy, which is mainly geared toward fashion and luxury shoppers. In an interview with Modern Retail, Tradesy founder Tracy DiNunzio discussed the importance of building a robust authentication program early in order to scale a resale site.
Since taking over as CEO of Thinx in 2017, Maria Molland has sought to turn the startup -- and subsequently the period underwear category -- from a niche player into something that's at home on the shelves of mass-market retailers. To bring about this change, Molland has started to invest more in traditional advertising, running the company's first TV ad in 2019, as well as expanded its wholesale presence. Of course, like over other startup, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in Thinx's plans. Still, Thinx is closing 2020 with close to $80 million in revenue, and ended the year profitable.
Telehealth experienced a boom in 2020, as the pandemic forced people to replace in-person services with online alternatives. That also means it's been an explosive year for telehealth startups like Ro, which is projecting that it will end the year with $230 million in gross revenue, up 55% from the year prior. The scope of Ro's role in health care also changed dramatically this year, as the startup launched its own digital pharmacy and acquired a software startup called Workpath, that assists in deploying nurses for at-home visits. Ro's co-founder and chief growth officer Rob Schutz spoke with Modern Retail to share more details about the company's vision.
Even with offices closed, Nespresso has been able to thrive. According to Nespresso USA's Justin DeGeorge, vp of marketing, the biggest shift was bringing the in-store experience online and making replenishments as easy as possible. He spoke to Modern Retail about what 2020 meant for the coffee seller, the role of stores and overall consumer tastes shifting.
Like many e-commerce platforms, eBay is having a big 2020. Over the years, the company had strayed away from its core mission to power merchants. Now that the pandemic's momentum is waning, the priority is to "pivot back and focus on sellers" in the coming year. "An opportunity has fallen into eBay’s lap,” said Bradford Shellhammer, who heads up buyer experience at eBay. He spoke with Modern Retail about the company's 2021 strategy.
More than nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, people are still shopping online more than they did last year. This has created an opportunity for companies focused on creating the tools that these e-commerce providers need to run their businesses. Those are the types of businesses that Mike Duboe, general partner at venture capital firm Greylock, told Modern Retail he is most interested in investing in.
Levi Strauss & Co has been building out its direct-to-consumer business for years, seeking to lessen its reliance on struggling wholesale partners. But that still didn't fully prepare the denim brand for the new shopping methods every retailer would have to embrace during the coronavirus. For example, Marc Rosen, who joined the company six years ago from Walmart and is now the president of Levi's America's business, told Modern Retail that Levi's had yet to roll out buy online pickup in store. But once its stores closed due to stay at home orders, it had to get the service up and running in a matter of weeks. Rosen spoke with Modern Retail about how the coronavirus has accelerated Levi's tech roadmap.
The start of the holiday ads run usually takes place during the long Thanksgiving weekend. However, this year's schedule is all over the place, to say the least. Even before Halloween and Election Day have rolled around, retailers like Gap are already rolling out their national end-of-year TV and digital ads. Gap’s CMO Mary Alderete spoke about the brand is navigating this new terrain.
As one of the brand founders who've vowed to stay away from Amazon over the years, Camille Rose's Janell Stephens had a change of heart when the pandemic hit. In the past year, she went from attempting to stop second-hand product sales on the site to opening an official Amazon store. Speaking to Modern Retail, the haircare brand's founder and CEO discussed the divisive channel's addition to the company's retail expansion.
CUUP, which sells specialty bras in non-standard sizes, has seen huge growth over the last few months. Like many DTC brands, the company saw a surge in growth in the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic, with March and April year-over-year sales spiking by 322% and 700% respectively. The startup's co-founder and CMO Abby Morgan spoke with Modern Retail about how it tweaked its content strategy over the last few months.
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