1) Lush will log off social media in the U.K. in an effort to cultivate better relations with shoppers.

WHAT HAPPENED: Lush, the British cosmetics company known for its cruelty-free products, will turn off its U.K.-based social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but its intention to bolster influencer marketing contradicts the decision.

Why it matters

  • By ditching social media, Lush will give up nearly 570,000 Instagram followers, more than 423,000 Facebook followers and about 202,000 Twitter followers. But more importantly, the company had an arguably successful social strategy, which it largely used to disseminate the inclusivity-minded values inculcated into its brand. Its Instagram account (the North American version of which will remain live), features both men and women, as well as same-sex and heterosexual couples, which matched the genderlessness of its in-store experience and neutral packaging. This served as proof that Lush stood for more than a product company, which gave it an authenticity, even online.
  • The main question now is whether Lush’s decision to log off serves as an experiment or a bellwether for the rest of its operations, especially with its North American social accounts ongoing. The company said that its intention behind ditching social was to speak directly with customers on its site, as well as via email and phone, which will subsequently help avoid rising digital marketing prices and the sudden algorithmic changes on sites like Instagram that can topple a company’s social strategy. Owning more distribution is worthwhile, but Lush also said it will seek to grow its influencer marketing, which would effectively add a new middleman. If the goal is to bring more customer interactions onto its own platforms, influencers—which are typically active on social media—won’t help the brand centralize its marketing on an owned platform or speak directly with shoppers. With Glossier’s anticipated joint-ecommerce and social media platform, there’s also the question of whether the beauty brand will mimic Lush and go off social media too, though it’s unlikely.

2) David’s Bridal looks to prom season for growth, but continues to rely on an occasion-specific strategy.

WHAT HAPPENED: After emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2019, David’s Bridal is looking to prom dresses as a new growth driver.

Why it matters

  • David’s Bridal hasn’t given up after filing for bankruptcy in November 2018. The company, which didn’t close stores or liquidate assets at the time, has instead sought to amplify its prom dress business as an avenue for growth. In late 2018, it began working with a marketing agency to restrategize customer acquisition, particularly among 13-18-year-olds, currying favor with emotion-driven advertising about prom night. But it simultaneously launched a second campaign to reel in their parents (ages 35 to 65) who are most likely buying these prom dresses. For this demographic, the company pitched the prom dresses as affordable and convenient.
  • As of now, the dress category outside of bridal comprises 20% of David Bridal’s business. While the marketing work grew ecommerce revenue by 24% between January and March 2019, it’s not yet clear whether the overarching plan—to strike a long-term relationship with customers who will start buying from David’s Bridal for prom, and later for their weddings—will pan out. Both of these occasions are family affairs so it makes sense to involve multiple generations in the advertising campaigns, but the events are so far apart that the company can’t possibly count on customer loyalty to carry over from prom night to a wedding. But a more sustainable business model for David’s Bridal would focus on dresses that are relevant for more than just one-time events. It’s highly likely that the company’s campaigns helped drive a spike in sales between January and March because prom season is around the corner—it’s less likely what David’s Bridal plans on doing after the spring to keep its non-bridal business growing.

3) Kidbox launches a subscription service at Walmart, drastically expanding its potential audience.

WHAT HAPPENED: Kidbox, a subscription service for babies, girls and boys will offer up to six boxes of four to five clothing options per year on Walmart.com for $48 each (about 50% off retail price).

Why it matters

  • The wholesale deal will likely give Kidbox an edge thanks to Walmart’s huge range of customers across the U.S. This is of particular importance at a time when Stitch Fix, the predominant subscription styling service, and Rent the Runway, the forerunner of the rental economy, both recently announced they will launch a children’s category. Notably, both Stitch Fix and Kidbox are going after mass market audiences, which is also a productive move to amass greater consumer appeal (Stitch Fix is pursuing this demographic through investments in TV spots as opposed to digital ads, which target shoppers outside of the U.S. coasts). At the same time, the partnership brings more of a premium offering to Walmart through the more than 120 brands that Kidbox offers.
  • The role of private labels in the Kidbox-Walmart partnership is also something to watch. Kidbox launched private labels in 2018, though it’s unclear how these will feature in the boxes sold via Walmart, which like its normal offering, will be sold based on the results of a styling quiz. However, it’s an additional way for Walmart to grow its children’s assortment, to which it added more than 100 brands over the course of the past year, as well as its first children’s apparel private label, which launched in February 2018. Given Walmart’s recent acquisition activity, there’s a chance it could purchase Kidbox if the partnership goes well.

4) Disney announces pricing for its kids’ content streaming service, but can do much more by looking to its larger ecosystem.

WHAT HAPPENED: Disney+, Disney’s forthcoming subscription streaming service, will cost $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

Why it matters

  • The cost of Disney+ is about half that of Netflix, which offers a $13 monthly subscription its standard plan, recently raised from $11. Though the announcement shook Netflix’s stock, Disney’s service is aimed specifically at kids and families, which puts it at a disadvantage. As of now, only 8% of current Netflix customers plan to ditch Netflix for Disney+, while 59% plan to maintain their allegiance to Netflix and 24% plan to subscribe to both, according to a survey by the research firm SunTrust.
  • Disney has a leg up thanks to its wealth of pre-existing content created over the course of decades—a reality Netflix lacks as much younger company, although its leaned into original content prolifically. But with Disney+, the company has chosen to separate children’s content from its sports streaming on ESPN+ and its adult offering on Hulu when it might have a more resonance by centralizing all of this content on a single streaming platform for families, for whom each individual streaming platform will be relevant. ESPN+, which will suffer an estimated $650 million in annual losses for 2019-2020, is expected to reach 12 million ESPN+ subscribers by 2024, while Hulu, which Disney just gained more control of this week, has 25 million customers. But these numbers are meager compared to Netflix’s more than 139 million and Disney’s fractured streaming options are unlikely to change that anytime soon, though Disney has a wide-reaching ecosystem beyond content, from theme parks to merchandise to resorts that it can merge with Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu if it so chooses to.