The End and Beginning of Retailing

I was struck again this morning by the volume and tenor of mainstream news covering retail and ecommerce. Stories regarding the rise of Amazon and the end of retail are nothing new. What is striking about the latest stories is the ever faster pace at which the change is occuring; the massive, global scale of recent investments; and the positive feedback loop that is accelerating as companies innovate and consumers respond with ever greater dollars and expectations.

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Eric Best
Digital Natives vs. Traditional Wholesalers: Different Challenges, Same Hard Math

In a previous life, I was Head of Ecommerce for a 100+ year old performance running brand in Seattle. During the nine years of my tenure, I saw firsthand the challenges of building a fast-growing D2C ecommerce business within a “traditional” wholesale-focused brand. While my team lived and breathed things like conversion rates, ROAS goals, and service metrics like contacts per order… most of the company was focused on growing the wholesale side of business.

Many times I would say to myself…“If we were starting a new brand from scratch, we would never do it this way...”

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Meredith Han
Part II of CRaP vs. Customer Ecstasy: The Unit Economics Tightrope

Given the nature of the modern cloud stack, it is now practical to track unit-level revenue, costs, and margin as events occur -- comparing actuals to forecast moment-by-moment and acting in real time on the information. It’s also possible to align these unit economics with customer experience so that operations decisions can be made intentionally to balance profit today with customer LTV into the future. Let’s dig in to the details!

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Eric Best
CRaP vs. Customer Ecstasy: The Unit Economics Tightrope

Digital-first consumer businesses — including Amazon and every D2C brand — walk a fine line between profitable orders and great customer experience. This balance creates a unique existential risk for D2C brands, by virtue of the scope and complexity of operations. There’s a lot going on in terms of variable costs, and endless ways to end up upside down on order profitability and customer LTV. We take a closer look at how to tackle the problem.

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Eric Best
Brand, Do You *Even* Disrupt?! Episode III

A 9-Part Guide to the Core Business Models Driving D2C Brands.

We wrap up our series with a look at the importance of halo or hero products that drive brand awareness and single-purchase customer LTV (also known as LCV) — and the power of (very retailer-like) product selection and cross-sell opportunities. Bonus! We’re including a ninth and critical strategy to the mix — one often confused in the industry with traditional retailing and pure-play ecommerce.

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Eric Best
Brand, Do You *Even* Disrupt?! Episode II

A 9-Part Guide to the Core Business Models Driving D2C Brands.

Last month we reviewed the first three of these D2C models — focusing on efficiency and price disruption, product differentiation, and brand social impact. This time, let’s dig into network effects, subscription models, and brand exclusivity. Here we go!

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Eric Best
Brand, Do You *Even* Disrupt?!

A 9-Part Guide to the Core Business Models Driving D2C Brands.

It turns out there are only nine business model variants that allow a D2C brand to successfully engage consumers, disrupt incumbents, and change the world. SoundCommerce reviews them here.

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Eric Best
With Hyperelastic Fulfillment, D2C Brands Make the Last Mile a First Priority

There’s a new revolution happening in retail, and direct-to-consumer brands are driving the change by taking a page directly from Amazon’s playbook. It has profound implications for urban landscapes as consumer buying behavior continues to shift from large format stores to showrooms, online commerce and doorstep delivery.

In the era of Uber and Airbnb, it’s no surprise that an entire venture-backed ecosystem is springing up to enable this hyper-local, hyper-elastic fulfillment and delivery capability. How can you leverage hyperelastic fulfillment in 2019 to provide more convenience and a better doorstep experience for your shoppers?

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Eric Best