Brands from Lands' End to Hudson's Bay are launching their own seller marketplaces. This suggests that the third-party model first perfected by Amazon is sweeping retail. As e-commerce competition intensifies, a growing number of retail brands are trying to stay competitive by adding more and more to their selection.
Apparel retailers are eagerly looking forward to summer, as they are some of the businesses that have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the NPD Group, total apparel sales were down 19% year-over-year in 2020. Now, as more people get vaccinated, apparel retailers are hoping that customers will want to get dressed up again heading into the summer.
After a year of postponed and canceled events, wedding-focused retailers are ready for a demand spike. The pandemic has led many shops to shutter or adapt by offering virtual consultations. However, industry experts note that unlike other categories, bridal dress shopping is still largely reliant on in-person appointments and made-to-order production. These factors are making the return of weddings vital for these businesses' survival.
As the demand for delivery eases, pandemic winners are looking to maintain their momentum and retain customers. For example, delivery services Instacart and DoorDash are reportedly thinking about launching rewards credit cards that entice customers with cash back and encourage repeat purchases.
As retailers grapple with shipping delays and massive e-commerce growth, they're looking for more ways to ease pressure on their fulfillment process. To mitigate this, Gap Inc. is planning to roll out a loyalty program feature that rewards higher-tiered customers with faster delivery times.
On Wednesday, Best Buy announced that it was testing out a new membership program, which would cost customers $199.99 per year. In exchange, they would get free shipping, unlimited service from Geek Squad, and access to exclusive deals. That makes Best Buy the latest retailer that's trying to come up with an answer to Amazon's lucrative Prime membership, by launching a membership service of their own.
With concerns about wasteful packaging increasing, brands are looking for more sustainable and cost-effective options to ship orders. The issue is prompting a slew of startups to create reusable packaging that attracts retail partners. To incentivize brands, these solutions promise environmentally friendly options that offer a better return per-use on cost.
Walmart’s addition of more ad units reflects the increasing priority that the company is placing on selling marketplace ads -- and it underscores the rise of paid search ads across all online marketplaces, which have become essential tools for brand discovery, as well as lucrative sources of extra income for those marketplaces.
The rise of the "niche online grocery store" is in full effect. The newly-launched Umamicart, which focuses on Asian-inspired ingredients and products, joins other specialty marketplaces looking to reach home cooks via curation and convenience.
A year ago, essential retailers ruled the roost. Big-box retailers like Home Depot and Target, hardware stores, grocery stores and drug stores were some of the only places where people in the U.S. could still shop in-person, after the first wave of stay-at-home measures. As a result, they reported unprecedented sales growth through the spring. None of these retailers are expecting to match that same sales growth last year, but they are investing in different initiatives to avoid losing market share.
Virtual Dining Concepts is a ghost kitchen company -- meaning it connects industrial kitchens with restaurants that only distribute through dining apps like DoorDash. But there's a Planet Hollywood-esque spin: instead of simply ginning up a dark restaurant that will live on the various dining apps, he's aligning his businesses with celebrities and influencers. It's a growing online commerce trend, and hints at some business model hurdles.
Earlier this week, Taco Bell parent company Yum announced the acquisition of Tictuk Technologies, a software company that facilitates orders on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The acquisition gives a major boost to what has been, until lately, a relatively quiet corner of the food world: delivery storefronts operating on messaging apps -- also called conversational commerce
Spring has historically been the biggest sales season for home improvement retailers like Lowe’s. This year, Lowe's is rethinking its approach to its annual spring sale, in order to market the home improvement retailer as more of a destination for home decor. Rather than just being the place that customers go to to learn how to say, sand a deck, Lowe's also wants customers to think of it as a place to look for inspiration when designing their bedroom or backyard.
For the first time since the coronavirus first hit the U.S., store openings are outpacing closures, according to the latest data by Coresight Research. As vaccination rates increase and the weather warms up, some retailers are finding it the perfect time to delve back into their brick and mortar plans.
Owning the supply chain has become a growing trend among digitally-native brands in recent years. Unlike the first generation of DTC players, emerging companies like Rothys and Caraa are choosing to own their production over partnering with manufacturers. But, as apparel brand Duer came to find during the pandemic, there are limits to what you can realistically own.
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