2PM - Monday Letter: RokuMart

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No. 873: The most recent Member Brief ("Digital Shelves") covered some key notes on the grocery eCommerce trade. It featured these two most-clicked reports: A Hero's acquisition (by 2PM) and 3 ways a DTC brand can grow its customer base (Retail TouchPoints). This edition is deep with data and insights, we hope that it's useful to you. 

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RokuMart / Intro: We often choose what’s in front of us. This is the bet that Roku is making on both media and online retail.

Retail Media Networks are at the forefront of merchandising and performance marketing. Roku is months into quietly developing an approach of its own. Two principles that we’ve researched here in the past may be combining to form the future of shoppable commerce. To accomplish this, Roku must first become platform agnostic, at least from a content perspective.

The 1990s saw the peak of cable television’s rule. Today’s market fragmentation is a product of the cable industry’s early indifference towards streaming. Nearly 15 years later and the media property has its own Netflix competitor. As a result, we have an unlimited amount of big budget streaming content. We’re beginning to see narratives like these: Amazon’s latest Lord of the Rings project losing to HBO Max’s Game of Thrones prequel (of sorts). But consumers are also paying for multiple services, often paying more than they would have if cable television was their primary source of consumption. While there are no plans to address the rising costs of maintaining multiple streaming subscriptions, Roku seems the closest to addressing the need for curating content in a platform-agnostic fashion. (Read More...)

Roku's latest update adds short-form video

Source No. 1 / TechCrunch: Alongside its fall hardware update, which included new streaming and audio devices, Roku today unveiled the features it has in store for the next version of its media software, Roku OS 11.5.

Walmart and Roku bring commerce to TV ads

Source No. 2 / Progressive Grocer: Viewers just press “OK” with their remote on a shoppable ad and move to checkout, with their payment details pre-populated from Roku Pay, Roku’s payments platform. Once there, tapping “OK” on the Walmart checkout page places the order. A Walmart purchase confirmation is then emailed with shipping, return and support information.

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The new DTC Power List was updated for September 12 with new data for 700 companies; the list his been re-adjusted to measure historical performance. Join here to gain access to this growing list. 

Why DTC brands are now rushing to get on Walmart's shelves

DTC Trends / Insider: Trendy DTC brands like Billie and Bubble made their retail debuts in Walmart this year. As customer-acquisition costs rise, DTC brands can't afford to snub America's biggest retailer. For Walmart, stocking a wider variety of niche brands is key to attracting higher-income shoppers.

Forward Reports: "The marketplace model will become more relevant for digitally-native brands as eCommerce continues to evolve and lines blur. The most capable retailers will reach customers where they are." - Ads, Marketplaces, and Inflation 

The (not so) hidden benefits of wholesale

Omnichannel / WWD: Wholesale isn't just any old distribution channel for True Religion - it's also a cost-effective way to attract new customers. "What many industry people are now realizing is that wholesale can be the most cost-effective way to acquire new customers.

Forward Reports: "On one end: profitable, enterprise traditional brands are in the news for moving away from wholesale and towards DTC. And on the other end: yet-to-be profitable digitally-native brands are in the news for moving towards department store wholesale in search of profits and scale." - Omnichannel Nirvana

Two Peloton founders are leaving the company

DTC Health / NYT: The departures are part of an executive shake-up after the exercise equipment company announced a $1.2 billion quarterly loss last month. Send any friend a story As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

Forward Reports: "Peloton was once a luxury product. It sat adjacent to the SoulCycles and Equinoxes of the fitness market. Then, in 2019, John Foley made the decision to move the product down market and forsake the faithful HENRYs that elevated the status of the product beyond what any fitness implement had seen. In doing so, Foley accomplished massive growth by expanding financing options, lowering prices, and marketing to the masses that “Peloton was for all."" - The Downhill Sprint 

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Interesting Data: This infographic was derived from Search Engine Land to note, in our leading report, how many of the top PPC marketing technologies have begun to develop systems for retail media networks. 

Embrace ‘shop early’ and cancel ‘Black Friday’

Opinion / Bloomberg : A few decades ago, it was taboo to put holiday merchandise out before Thanksgiving. Retailers wanted to keep the focus on that massive shopping day after Americans stuffed themselves with turkey — one giant sales bonanza that they counted on to turn their ledgers from red ink  to black. Hence the tradition of Black Friday.

CEO of Eight Sleep shares the routine that keeps him focused

DTC Leadership / Fortune: Today's CEOs are facing innumerable challenges: a global pandemic and a sea change in how and where employees want to show up for work, just to name a few. For leaders, the pressure has never been higher. How do they mitigate it?

FTC investigating Amazon's acquisition of iRobot

Data / The Robot Report: It may be helpful to read our primer on consumer data and Amazon to better understand why the FTC would be up in arms about the acquisition. More Here: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has officially started an antitrust investigation into Amazon's plans to acquire robot vacuum maker iRobot for $1.7 billion. Politico reports the FTC is investigating a number of potential issues. The FTC's investigation will reportedly focus on whether the data provided by iRobot's Roomba robot vacuum gives Amazon an unfair advantage in the retail industry.

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How inflation affects grocery stocks (Forbes). Amazon is refining delivery operations (WSJ). eCommerce gains push all-time warehouse vacancies (NPR audio). LOTR is losing to House of the Dragon (Insider). Kanye West is done with corporate America (Bloomberg). 
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Notes on Grocery / Excerpt: Success online and in retail stores is connected, particularly when it comes to digital advertising. Digital ads and online visibility is necessary to drive awareness, particularly for emerging DTC brands that need to attract new customers. But physical stores are where most people buy CPG products. From Insider Intelligence, nearly 95% of food and beverage sales and 90% of total grocery sales take place in-store. That’s a strong case for a company like Instacart, where ads and product listings serve as in-store promotions as well as sales channels. Insider Intelligence reports: “Citing recent research from Walmart, Mike Black, CMO at Profitero, said 82% of Walmart shoppers use their smartphones while shopping for groceries, and 43% use it to compare brands and products on Walmart.com. “You realize that ecommerce isn’t just a channel,” Black said. “It’s a shopping tool.” (Read More...)

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