Nearly 30 retailers have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2020, closing thousands of a stores. But a few of those businesses have been acquired by consortia like Authentic Brands Group. Most recently ABG has purchased Brooks Brothers, Forever 21 and Barneys -- all ailing for their own set of reasons. ABG's philosophy seems simple, and predicated on past wins: buy low and eke out profit any way you can every step of the way. The question remains: Who's next?
In 2020, retail workers could no longer just be salespeople. They also had to be safety officers, virtual stylists and shepherds of buy online, pickup in-store orders. The job of the employee changed every single month," said David Marcotte. senior vice president of cross-border retail at Kantar Consulting. In 2021, retail workers shouldn't be pulled in as many different directions -- but the lines between roles will likely continue to blur.
Oddly, 2020 might prove to be the year of the zombie brand. Even the companies that did shutter their physical stores are on track to find a second life online, thanks to companies like Retail Ecommerce Ventures buying rights to the brands out of bankruptcy.
2020 was a big year for Walmart. Not only did the big box store benefit from essential bulk shopping throughout the pandemic, it also overhauled its image as a hub for not only big CPG brands, but young DTC labels. With an aggressive strategy to appeal to every type of consumer, Walmart is proving that at the end of the day, millions of Americans end up turning to it for their needs.
In 2020, new-to-market startups started to do away with branding tactics that have historically been popular on Instagram. Pastels and Sans Serif font have been replaced by bright colors and oversized lettering, while startups are centering their social media centering their social media strategy around busting taboos or reaching customers that have historically been overlooked. As the direct-to-consumer startup space has gotten more crowded, startups have found that they need a different proposition than just creating a new e-commerce experience for mattresses or luggage -- and that requires a new branding playbook
Companies like Airbnb and DoorDash have recently gone public and become the darlings of Wall Street, but there are some players that are notably outside of the current inventory bubble: DTC brands. What began as a warning in 2019 has become a reality in 2020 made more acute by the coronavirus. Most consumer-facing retail startups quite simply won't reach the scale worthy of mid to late stage venture capitalist dollars. In the DTC, that means the mindset is shifting -- and alternatives are being sought out.
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