Does Amazon understand customer experience more than most brands?

More than 50% of product searches now begin on Amazon. This week we wrote about how the company has won over consumers' wallets by prioritizing convenience and functionality over design—and what other brands should do about it.


Do DNVBs exist anymore? Revisiting the buzzword

Andy Dunn coined the term DNVB—digitally-native vertical brand—in 2016. The clearest possible reading of the addition of the word “vertical” is that it means “control,” akin to the idea of vertical integration, in which a company controls various…


Money has flowed into digitally-native brands. When will it flow out?

As heavily-funded brands, Honest Company and Harry’s were once thought to be the new guard of digitally-native retail, along with many other companies that have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital. But what has become of…


The Grinds: JCPenney launches Fanatics shop-in-shops, Honest Company raises $200 million, Wish brings the dollar store online, Walmart opens ModCloth stores

JCPenney banks on shop-in-shops, this time with digitally-native sports manufacturer and retailer Fanatics. What happened JCPenney launched Fanatics shop-in-shops in 350 of its locations, and plans to open 300 more by the end of the summer. Each…


Beyond marketing: How Bonobos, Lush, Sephora and Nike are attempting to ingrain inclusive values into their business models

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


Passing the Baton — with Micky Onvural of Bonobos

#64. Bonobos was a healthy product-driven company, built on a strong vision and a small, but loyal audience. But since 2016, and Bonobos' Walmart acquisition, co-president Micky Onvural has helped steer the company into a resonating brand. We had a…


Why is Walmart intentionally launching brands outside its ecosystem?

Last week Walmart announced that it’s launching two new standalone brands: Allswell for mattresses and other bedding products, and Co Squared for beauty and personal care. These are the first two standalone brands Walmart has launched since its…


Basics brands are commodities. Why do people keep building them?

The hidden secret of most businesses is that the more boring the business, the better the business—the flashier, the worse. This heuristic is especially true in the consumer goods landscape, where brands run the hazard of seeking attention over…


Dear Thor Equities: One Thing I Would Do

Retail, as you know, is going through a tumultuous time. While many older brands that fell asleep at the wheel are struggling and realigning their retail footprint, there is a new crop of digitally-native brands that are only just dipping their toes…


Offense vs defense: Amazon and Walmart’s diverging acquisition strategies

Walmart's acquisition spree in the consumer space has earned the company a lot of press recently. The speed of these acquisitions is a bet that buying companies, brands and talent is the only way for Walmart to catch up to Amazon, its biggest…


From online to offline: cost structures and sunken costs

The future potential of a business is closely linked to where it stands in the present. If the future is headed north but the current business is positioned south, it's going to take a lot of work to reorient itself. In the commerce world, the most…