Morning Brew - ☕ Deep Thrive

Thrive Market’s chief merchandising officer.
June 10, 2024

Retail Brew

Passage by 1Password

It’s Monday, time to start acting like an adult again. Or is it? For the first time, consumers 18 and over purchased more toys for themselves than for any other age group, per Circana. This came as no surprise to us, though, since our editor insists on pretending that it’s his hand puppets who run our weekly meetings.

In today’s edition:

—Erin Cabrey, Alex Vuocolo

E-COMMERCE

Cornering the market

Thrive Market box Thrive Market

April Lane has had a long—and sometimes winding—retail career that led to her most recent gig: chief merchandising officer at Thrive Market.

Lane, just five weeks into her new role when she spoke to Retail Brew, began as an associate focusing on retail and CPG strategy at Boston Consulting Group in 2002 before holding roles at Limited Brands and Nike, working on the launch of surf brand Hurley’s e-commerce website, and eventually joined Amazon in 2010. But before any of that, she was a cashier at Whole Foods in college, a role that shaped the way she saw the grocery category and informed the work she did once she joined Amazon, and eventually, Thrive Market.

Membership-based marketplace Thrive Market ships its national branded and private-label food and beverage products, as well as supplements and cleaning products, to 48 states. Earlier this year, the company became the first online-only available grocer to accept SNAP benefits through payments made using electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.

It’s that ethos of accessibility that inspired Lane to join the online grocer, she said, and the experiences of her 20+ years in retail could help her thrive.

Keep reading here.—EC

   

PRESENTED BY PASSAGE BY 1PASSWORD

Abandoned cart antidote

Passage by 1Password

Here’s a tough stat to see: Roughly 30% of online purchases are abandoned because customers can’t remember their passwords. The trick to getting shoppers across the finish line? You gotta streamline the checkout process—and passkeys can help.

Get this: Passage by 1Password is hosting a live webinar at 2pm ET on June 25 that will go all in on how businesses can slash abandonment rates by implementing passkeys into their checkout processes.

The talk will feature 1Password’s CEO Jeff Shiner and CMO Melton Littlepage in a town-hall-style discussion. They’ll cover everything from how to slash abandonment rates to getting started with passkeys.

Save your spot.

RETAIL

Cocktail craze

Absinthe Moussa81/Getty Images

Shopify’s sales data for May shows some predictable and not-so-predictable shopping trends, from outdoor grill spits and cocktail ingredients to computer hardware designed to support the “AI gold rush.”

Invited to the cookout: To start with the fun stuff, the e-commerce platform saw sales increases for items that seemed related to recent outdoorsy holidays and events such as Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and graduation parties. For example, sales of food warmers were up 242%, grill spits spiked 254%, and large catering dishes grew 223%.

Shaking things up: There also appeared to be a bit of “cocktail craze” in May, according to Shopify, though not necessarily for your standard mixed drinks.

Keep reading here.—AV

   

STORES

Augmented

Lowe's Jhvephoto/Getty Images

While AI seems to be generating the most hype these days, innovation isn’t just for fancy new technology. In the world of fast food, Wendy’s is innovating the venerable chicken nugget. Starting this week, the chain’s new Saucy Nuggs will be available nationwide. The offering takes the chain’s popular chicken nuggets and tosses them in a flavorful sauce. So look out, Nvidia. Wendy’s is on the cutting edge.

Here’s what else is going on in retail this week:

In technology roll-outs: On Saturday, Lowe’s launched a pilot offering customers an in-store shopping experience powered by Apple Vision Pro. The home improvement store said the tech will help customers visualize and design their kitchens. This experience was initially available through Lowe’s Style Studio, which launched in February, but the pilot brought it into select stores. Lowe’s was one of the early adopters of using AR, or augmented reality, to reshape digital shopping.

Keep reading here.—AV

   

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SWAPPING SKUS

Today’s top retail reads.

Safe passage: New York State’s Retail Worker Safety Act, which requires measures including panic buttons for stores with more than 500 employees in the US, passed in the Senate and awaits Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature. (Spectrum News)

Uneasy rider: What officials in New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, are doing to crack down on delivery drivers’ alleged reckless driving of mopeds, motorized scooters, and motorcycles. (the Associated Press)

In the map of luxury: Why luxury brands like Louis Vuitton sometimes have multiple stores near one another in tourist areas. (Marketplace)

Clean checkouts: Passkeys can streamline the shopping experience and cut down abandoned cart rates. Passage by 1Password is hosting a live webinar that’ll give you all the deets. Register now.*

*A message from our sponsor.

HOT TOPIC

At the mall, it’s where band tees are the only tees. In Retail Brew, it’s where we invite readers to weigh in on a trending retail topic.

To combat shoplifting, Giant Food stores in Washington, DC, are banning closed bags like knapsacks and duffels larger than 14” x 14” x 6” (but permitting reusable shopping totes).

You tell us: Should stores ban large knapsacks and duffel bags to combat shoplifting? Cast your vote here.

Circling back: Last time, we told you some retail executives were calling for secondhand items to be exempt from sales tax. Their reasoning? They think the tax constitutes double taxation since the items were taxed when sold as new and that removing the tax would encourage the environmental benefit of buying used items rather than new ones.

So we asked if you thought the sales tax on secondhand items should be eliminated…and you most certainly did. More than 9 out of 10 of you (90.9%) said the tax should be eliminated, while just 6.2% thought the sales tax on secondhand items should remain and 2.9% didn’t know or weren’t sure.

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