The pandemic was tough on physical retail. With month after month of physical stores closed and brands shifting much of their attention to the rapidly growing e-commerce business, it seemed inevitable that brands would pull away from their brick-and-mortar investments. Glossy and Modern Retail research shows that, indeed, many brands dropped out of physical retail during the pandemic. However, brands are already planning to reinvest in physical retail as the market opens back up over the next six months.
We're now a year out since the pandemic first hit, and brands and retailers are beginning to make more concerted steps to grow their businesses. According to a recent Modern Retail and Glossy survey, 42% of brands are already spending more on advertising than they were during the past year. That is to say, companies are beginning to think about growth rather than survival.
Two resale apps, Poshmark and ThredUp, have gone public within the past three months, and as a publicly-traded companies, now face more pressure to maintain revenue growth, namely expanding into new products and services. But, the biggest challenge standing in the way of these companies' expansion plans, analysts say, is in ensuring that people keep wanting to sell products through their sites.
Global e-commerce sales grew 27.6% year-over-year, an increase from the 20.2% growth seen in 2019. This isn't surprising -- people were stuck at home during a pandemic and most relied on the internet to buy their essentials. But for brands, this meant they needed to upgrade their digital offerings. And those investments are only going to increase. A recent survey from Modern Retail and Glossy highlights the changes that brands and retailers made over the last year.
Brands and retailers have had to get creative over the last year to survive the harsh reality of the pandemic, like pivoting to e-commerce and direct sales. But one strategy was particularly noteworthy: launching into new categories. According to a survey that Glossy and Modern Retail conducted of 98 brand and retailer employees, 57.3% of respondents said their employer launched new categories over the last year.
ThredUp is about to go public, but it faces stiff competition. What ThredUp says makes it different from the rest is its back-end business model intended to help retailers facilitate their own resale services. In its S-1 the platform went to great lengths to showcase its ability to diversify revenue by offering these back-end services. Still, ThredUp faces a tough road ahead. Its losses continue to mount and 2020 was not friendly to the apparel industry.
As direct-to-consumer brands shift more of their marketing dollars towards television, streaming platforms like Hulu are also starting to take up a greater portion of their time and energy. Last year, lingerie startup ThirdLove did two custom sponsorships with Hulu, tied to two Hulu original series, Little Fires Everywhere and Mrs. America. Based on the success of those campaigns, ThirdLove vp of marketing Rebecca Traverzo said the company plans to pursue more custom sponsorships in the future. Meanwhile, telehealth platform Ro recently incorporated Hulu into its Valentine's Day campaign.
One of the most frequently touted advantages of going direct-to-consumer is the ability to collect more data on customers. And one of the most straightforward ways companies can do that is by getting customers to fill out a quiz. But as executives at brands like ThirdLove and Clare told Modern Retail, there's more to creating a successful quiz than just following a Buzzfeed-like template.
In the aggregate, onlookers can draw out broad themes for how a company like Amazon sees itself, based on its investment history. And in Amazon’s case, though those signals are murky, they point to a few of the company’s areas of interest -- including an increased focus on fulfillment and delivery, plus growing fascinations with customer service, sleep and smart home devices. Here, we map out a few potential patterns in Amazon’s investments from the past five years.
As e-commerce has grown into a bigger industry, brands now have more ways to build their online stores than ever before. One type of e-commerce architecture that's being talked about more is headless commerce. At its most basic level, headless commerce means that the architecture for the front-end of the website from the back-end, which gives companies more control over how their website looks and runs.
This week's DTC briefing delves into what's fueling a new crop of new sites that are trying to be both a marketplace and a reviews site for direct-to-consumer brands. At least early on, these sites are better designed to help brands tell their stories, rather than to help customers figure out, for example, which DTC swimsuit brand to buy. And, a Q&A with Win Brands Group co-founder and CEO Kyle Widrick.
In the past two years, Amazon has rolled out a suite of fashion-tech features, all in the hopes of finding new ways to draw in fashion customers. The pace of innovation is furious, with new features popping up nearly every month -- yet while some of those features have already disappeared and might amount to throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks, they have, in the aggregate, grown Amazon's fashion clout. Here's a look at some of Amazon's high-profile fashion launches over the past year and a half.
As the number of purchases made online grows, so has the number of startups selling businesses on their checkout experience like Bolt and Fast. Meanwhile, established companies like Shopify and Apple are trying to push greater adoption of their own digital wallet. All are trying to convince direct-to-consumer startups and other e-commerce brands that if they use their incrementally better checkout system, it will result in huge increases in conversion rates and average order values -- but the reality is that only a few will become the go-to checkout options for most consumers.
There's a fierce competition brewing amongst the major social media companies to win over the advertising budgets of e-commerce companies. Facebook, Google, TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat are always testing out new advertising formats, but within the past couple of years, these companies have increasingly focused on testing out new ad formats and features designed with e-commerce companies in mind. Modern Retail has laid out all the different ways that these companies are trying to win over more e-commerce brands.
Within the past month, a number of new SPACs focused on the consumer sector have emerged. Some consumer investors are looking at SPACs as a way for them to get more involved with later-stage companies, and if their SPAC does well, it could give them a competitive advantage over other venture firms. But as more SPACs launch, they'll be more competition to win over the best candidates poised to go public.
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