While the current grocery delivery trend is to optimize for speed, not all analysts agree and startup CEOs see it as a viable or sustainable tactic. “This whole idea of speed of delivery is I think equivalent to the bridge to nowhere,” said Bill Bishop, an industry analyst who founded the research firm Brick Meets Click.
The face of venture capital fundraising is changing, with crowdfunding taking center stage. After years of relying on VCs, lenders and bootstrapping to scale, some founders are giving crowdfunding a second look. Thanks to platforms like Republic, connecting with dozens of enthusiastic investors is paying off.
Last week, McDonald's joined Chipotle in an increasing list of companies that are raising wages and offering other benefits like on-the-spot hiring to attract new employees amidst a post-pandemic worker shortage in retail. In 2020, more unemployment claims were filed than in the Great Recession, thanks to both temporary and permanent store closures. Today, businesses are beginning to see sales return to pre-pandemic levels: food and retail sales were up 36% and 26%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same time period the year prior according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, businesses like McDonalds and Chipotle are facing PR crises over workplace treatment, and are struggling to find workers. To meet demand, businesses are raising wages, using on-the-spot-hiring and offering one-time bonuses to interest potential candidates.
New Belgium’s latest beer, Torched Earth, tastes bad on purpose. The product is another in a series of creative marketing and project-based efforts from the Colorado-based craft brewer to bring awareness to climate change by illustrating the way beer might taste in a future without climate action.
At the Modern Retail Summit, held between April 21 to April 23, top retail executives discussed precisely these topics. Here are some of the top insights presented during the three-day event.
E-commerce technology is the new gold rush. New data from CB Insights showcases just how hot the e-commerce space is. In the first quarter of 2021, funding for e-commerce startups hit $11.7 billion -- up from $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020 and $5.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019. It showcases an industry-wide realization: more VCs are investing in e-commerce startups and more businesses are adopting digital features to make their businesses omnichannel.
After testing out same-day delivery with third party services -- including Instacart, DoorDash and Postmates -- Walgreens has designed and launched its own delivery program. To compete with large retailers, the pharmacy chain will use its store associates pick and pack orders for third party messengers to drop off at customers' homes.
Ephemeral ghost kitchens are on the rise -- as evidenced by the rise of a burger pop-up named Gay Burger. For now, these programs -- which have the spontaneity and sense of humor of an internet meme -- are rare. But Gay Burger’s brief rise points to a future in which meme-able virtual restaurants might surface on third-party delivery apps: designed to go viral, then disappear, like a delivery-only pop-up restaurant.
Bundling together products into packs, while leaving some uncertainty about what is inside, is not new. Playing cards have been using the same concept for decades. But the rise of YouTube and TikTok has brought the phenomenon into newer sectors of the retail world -- including toy, grocery and fashion brands.
Tensions between large retailers and brands have always existed. But with the rise of e-commerce -- and the need for DTC channels as Covid showed -- has convinced some brands that wholesale partnerships aren't the be-all, end-all for a successful business.
When Nobull first launched in 2015, it decided that the best way to build brand affinity was to be hyperfocused on one growing sector: CrossFit. But over the past year, the company has started to expand more aggressively into new categories, after launching its first pair of cycling shoes last June. It's now launching a swim collection next month.
Those gamification features are still incredibly rare in the U.S. -- but given their success overseas, they signal that some e-commerce companies are evolving to become not just shopping hubs but also sources of entertainment.
Oatly wants to become the go-to alternative to dairy all around the world. In order to do so, the oat milk brand just filed to go public in the U.S. Oatly's rise has been rapid -- a Swedish company, Oatly Group AB only started selling its products in the U.S. in 2017. And last year, it had revenue of $421.4 million compared to just $204 million in 2019. What's fueled Oatly's rise is not only rapid international expansion, but also a bet on buzzy chains to help it gain brand awareness.
Ghost kitchen company Zuul is partnering with landlords -- and the model offers an early glimpse of a much larger effort by the ghost kitchen industry to establish itself in institutional food markets. Ghost kitchen companies are signing partnerships with hotel chains, residential buildings and traditional offices in order to supply bulk food orders -- all as a way to both build out a steady customer base and cut the overall cost of deliveries.
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.
Watch this on-demand webinar where experts discuss the changes to the back-to-school season and what it means for retailers now and in the future.
At the Modern Retail Summit, retail executives will come together to discuss effective strategies for driving sales by building a loyal customer base both online and offline.Book Passes