No. 3: Weekly Edit

July 31, 2020
Fire Ant

Some of my friends are in the process of launching DTC businesses. And every single one of them would endorse adopting some kind of “pre-sale” strategy to inform a broader product rollout, especially during these uncertain times when demand and supply equations aren’t always clear. Came across an interesting take on the importance of this approach in Modern Retail this week.

Let’s get started.

🗞️ News

Modern Retail — Why some DTC brands are opting for a pre-sale strategy [Jul 30, 2020 | Gabriela Barkho]

  • Many brands are using pre-sale strategies to effectively market, and plan for contingencies, in these uncertain times.
  • As stated by JoAnn Martin, VP of Marketing at e-commerce solutions platform Searchspring, “Pre-sales have built-in virality, and can also be used to build a community around a product.” The key is to live up to the customers’ expectations.
  • My comments: A friend of mine just completed a soft-launch for his new direct-to-consumer skincare brand after successfully engaging in a pre-launch sales campaign. In his case he had the inventory ready to go, but wanted to use the pre-launch as a gauge for consumer demand and the efficacy of his marketing tactics. As he ramps up for a full launch in the coming weeks, he’s much better off given the insights from the pre-launch. All of this to say, if you can plan for a successful pre-sale strategy, it’s worth it, particularly in these uncertain times when any planning in advance goes a long way.

The Economist — The world’s leading brands jump on the direct-selling bandwagon [Jul 26, 2020]

  • The direct-to-consumer model continues to gain steam among major brands as it’s seen as an effective channel for acquiring valuable customer data directly.
  • These are the most telling statistics in the article: in their most recent quarters, Nike’s online sales spiked by 75% to just under $2 billion, and Lululemon’s by 68% to $352 million. Nike relied on direct-to-consumer sales for over 30% of its revenues — a target it had not expected to reach until 2023. At Lululemon more than half of revenues come from the channel.
  • The rise of intermediary technology providers such as Shopify have only helped to fuel the ongoing momentum in direct-to-consumer channels.

💰 Funding

  • Advertima, a Switzerland-based computer vision startup focused on physical retail, raised €15 million in Series A funding. Fortimo Group led.
  • Remitly, a Seattle-based digital remittance company, raised $85 million. Insider PayU led (FinTech investment arm of Naspers).
  • Instrumental, a Palo Alto-based computer vision startup focused on detecting manufacturing anomalies, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Canaan Partners led.
  • Byrd, a Berlin-based e-commerce fulfillment platform, raised €5 million in Series A funding. Rider Global led.
  • DataPlor, a Los Angeles-based provider of business location data, raised $4 million.
  • JetClosing, a Seattle-based digital closing service for home resales and re-financings, raised $9 million in Series B funding. T. Rowe Price led.

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