Stories of the week shaping the future of consumer experiences (CX).
DTC brands or DNVB brands have seemed to be all the rage over the last few weeks. Now yes, some may say we are late to the game with this realization (Dollar Shave Club was 2011 but, hear me out...)

Over the last few weeks, we have seen significant moves from some of the largest players on the scene — Casper thinks they are bigger than they are, Hello gets acquired and Away cannot seem to figure out who their real CEO is... 

Either way, DTC brands have come into full focus in my life. Both with my work and for new clients at Latitude. It's a fun time to be in the game! 

So, net-net, there is a bit of a theme for the week. Hope you enjoy.

See you out there.

-Carter
Publications Close to Home
Fast Five Podcast | Google Unleashes New Tools for Apparel Shopping & A Monty Python Tribute
In this week's Omni Talk Fast Five, sponsored by Trigo, Chris Walton, Carter Jensen, and Emma the intern discuss the top weekly headlines from the world of retail, while Anne Mezzenga is on vacation in sunny Florida. This week the gang talks Google's new shopping features, Intel and Area 15, CVS expanding its health hubs, Walgreens getting even more hot and heavy with Kroger, and a controversial headline from H&M regarding high-tech recycling bins.

Listen and Subscribe – iTunes | Spotify | Google | SoundCloud

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Brands & Retailers
They Changed the Way You Buy Your Basics (NYT)
Founders of Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker and other billion-dollar companies exploited giant rivals’ weaknesses — and really listened to their customers.

...By targeting a corporate giant’s weakness — high prices or inconvenience or a stodgy image — a clever start-up with the right strategy, the right message and the right product value could create a new national brand virtually overnight. All this was happening at a time that more consumers in their twenties and thirties were up for grabs. They lived digital lives, so were accustomed to — happy to! — buy things online.

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20/20? No Clear Vision for Retail - Twin Cities Business
For the local readers, an in-depth look at the current MPLS market. .. And WTF happened to Southdale??

Retail is dead. Amazon killed everything. Or the millennials ruined it. So goes the theme of many headlines in recent years.

But the truth, as always, is more complicated. Brick-and-mortar retail is changing and evolving, as it has always done. E-commerce is growing, without question, but brick-and-mortar stores still count for nearly 90 percent of all retail sales. For the third quarter of 2019, preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau showed 11.2 percent of sales came through e-commerce channels.

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‘Allbirds is an Outlier’: Why VC-backed direct-to-consumer brands are hitting a wall.
The direct-to-consumer business model, once hailed as the future of fashion, isn’t holding up quite as well as predicted.

Throughout the 2010s, numerous fashion brands popped up with a simplistic business model: focus on a single product or small suite of related products, sell direct and online-only, and advertise aggressively on social media. This model worked for brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos, and countless brands followed suit. But the outpouring of VC money to DTC brands over the last decade — more than $3 billion from 2012 to 2019 — may have caused more harm than good.

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CASPERhaps | No Mercy / No Malice
From Prof. G —
"In 2015 one of my students asked me to invest in his business. He was sourcing cotton in Egypt, milling it in Israel, and then landing a set of sheet sets, duvets, and pillows in Brooklyn for $79 that he would sell for $129. The value proposition was clear: bedding that sold elsewhere at $400, for a lot less. The Fulops, a husband and wife team, had secured orders online before the cotton was purchased. This is the definition of good marketing and business strategy — finding products for your consumers vs. finding consumers for your products (piling stuff high in a store and hoping people buy)."
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Research & Insights
16 DTC brands that investors think will take off in 2020
Investors including Ian Sigalow, Peter Pham, and Tim Armstrong are backing DTC companies like Kangaroo, Tonal, and StockX.

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Store closures 2020: JC Penney, Bed Bath, Pier 1 hit as retail slumps

Any hope retailers would extinguish the fires consuming them in 2020 is fading fast, with closures by Macy's, J.C. Penney, Express, Pier 1 and others.

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Social & Technology
Bose's Take on Experiential Retail Wasn't Cutting It
Not even Bose’s noise canceling headphones can tune out the roar of e-commerce. Bose said Wednesday it’s closing 119 stores over the next few months.

Bose’s entire retail presence in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Layoffs will likely follow. Bose isn't saying how many jobs it'll cut, but The Verge reports the number is in the hundreds. 

What’s staying: Around 130 stores throughout China, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, India, and Southeast Asia. 
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Thanks for being a subscriber to Spark— Would love to catch up in-person if you have the time in the coming weeks. Feel free to reply to this email or send me a text - 651.269.2863. More info on my current work is available at CarterJensen.com. See you out there.
CJC, LLC. 900 Summit Ave #303 Minneapolis, MN 55405 USA
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CJC, LLC. · 900 Summit Ave #303 · Minneapolis, MN 55405 · USA