Fast or Frivolous 2018: How have rising digital marketing costs evolved the brand’s channel strategy?

Fast or Frivolous? How consumer brands are evolving, accelerating and evaporating, our flagship report from 2017, charted the rapid changes—but also continuity—that the internet brought to the consumer economy. Pre-internet, the playbook…


The Grinds: Facebook opens pop-ups at Macy’s, Masse monetizes moms, Peloton threatens SoulCycle, Wayfair acquires new customers

Facebook opens pop-ups at Macy’s, bringing the shoppability of Instagram offline. What happened Facebook will debut pop-ups at nine Macy’s department stores for the holiday season. In operation until February 2019, the pop-ups will feature more…


The Grinds: Dollar Shave Club debuts fragrance, Dollar stores look to urban markets for expansion, Influencers become investors, Glossier opens flagship

Dollar Shave Club debuts fragrance in an attempt to differentiate from other digital-first men’s health brands. What happened Dollar Shave Club, the direct-to-consumer subscription razor brand founded in 2011, is expanding to a new category:…


The Grinds: Loyalty programs get experiential, Stripe goes offline, Dirty Lemon opens checkout-free store, L Brands shutters Henri Bendel

Loyalty programs, once discount-centric, are evolving to reflect the experience economy. What happened The vast majority of brands and retailers offer membership in one shape or another, but the benefits have remained rather thin, often composed of…


The Grinds: FAO Schwarz makes a comeback, Hims takes on Hers, Zalando builds a brand with a music festival, Tiffany & Co. banks on flagship

FAO Schwarz will make its comeback in Rockefeller Center as toy retailers scrape up Toys R Us’ debris. What happened FAO Schwarz closed its Manhattan flagship back in 2015. This November, it’s returning with a 20,000 square foot location in…


The boundaries of inclusivity and individuality when it comes to cult fragrance

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…


The Grinds: Best Buy, other retailers crack down on returns, Duty-free airport retail thrives, ASOS stands out with its product descriptions, West Elm sells experiences with local artists

Best Buy and other retailers are cracking down on the number and frequency of returns, but are risking their customer relationships. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Best…


As Facebook advertising costs rise, digitally-native brands turn to traditional advertising

A Warby Parker pamphlet arrives in the mail. A Glossier billboard hovers above Houston Street. Clones of an Away wheatpaste coat a construction barrier. A Stitch Fix TV ad blares from the television. For a generation of digitally-native brands,…


The Live Video Report

Social media is an increasingly important channel for brands and retailers to nurture customer relations and attract a broader consumer base, particularly as mobile devices flourish. The ascent of social media has also catalyzed the expansion of…


The Grinds: Target opens small-format stores, BuzzFeed adds new beauty and style vertical, JAB Holding Company conquers coffee, Glossier launches new pop-up

Target is the latest mass retailer to open small-format stores, whose focus on private label could help it provide even more differentiated products. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.  …


Dear Glossier: One Thing I Would Do

In relationship terms, if most brands are parents, their customers are children—a relationship that, at its core, is one-sided. Glossier has cultivated a brand-customer relationship more like that of two friends on equal footing—a dialogue. The…


The Grinds: Goop expands merchandise, Whole Foods raises rates for sellers, L. L. Bean updates return policy, Secondary sneaker market heats up, Macy’s launches new pop-up

Goop expands and diversifies G. Label merchandise, but questions of scalability loom To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Goop, which launched in 2008 as Gwyneth Paltrow’s…


The Full Price Report

Discount-heavy pricing strategies create long-term cycles of dependence that lead to promotion-addicted shoppers and lowered profit-margins—companies end up repeatedly undercutting themselves. Brands and retailers, therefore, are looking for ways to…


The Sales Associate and Stylist Report

Retailers are hurting, especially as shoppers buy more products online. But the sales associate role in this quandary receives less attention. As working in retail has developed from a career to a gig economy job, brands, retailers and customers are…


The internet was supposed to eliminate sales associates. Then it revitalized them.

As online sales rapidly increase, Amazon takes a bigger piece of the ecommerce pie, voice commerce and virtual reality appear imminent and subscription models are revitalized, why do sales associates need to be part of the shopping journey at all?…


The Gifting and Holiday Shopping Report

Although gift-giving is a global tradition that has been around for centuries, the practice has changed drastically since the 1800s—from a meaningful exchange of valuable goods to a commercially-driven social obligation centered around popular…


Courier: Emily Weiss: Glossier’s architect of content, community and commerce

Press commentary on Glossier's explosive growth in the beauty and cosmetics space. Read the full article. 


The Retail Revolution Report

What does physical retail look like in a world where tens of millions of products are readily available on the Internet? It no longer needs to be the only place where shoppers find, buy and receive products. This should free up companies to…


Building Bulletproof Brands — Part III: How networks and tokens could reshape the economics of physical goods brands

Part I of this series looked at the changing landscape of brand longevity and how the traditional formulas that used to make brands defensible are now obsolete. Part II proposed a new formula that harnesses networks as the only defensible moat…


Building Bulletproof Brands — Part II: Networks are the strongest moats for consumer goods brands

Part I explored how the internet fundamentally changed the playbook for building durable physical goods brands. Before the internet, mastering product, brand, distribution—signified as (product + brand + distribution)—was enough to make a brand…