2PM - No. 791: Building Fandom

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Welcome to No. 791: The most clicked from last Friday's member brief: 20 booming DTC companies (Insider). The second most was on Omicron and resilient retail (2PM Members).

On Friday, the 2PM team will be publishing a recap of the past year of stories and it will be available at 2PM.inc. This Wednesday send is the only of the week and it's the last letter before Christmas, 40% of this week's new member fees and renews will be donated to the Defy Ventures team. 

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A Classic Car Giant, A Lofty Mission / New York Times: Who knew that a Progressive-backed car insurance company could be cool? If you didn't, this feature may make you feel otherwise. It's a 37 year old company that has taken the best of "DTC-era" brand development. In the early 1990s, the company began insuring collectible cars. [...] It has ventured into the editorial realm, releasing boundless automotive coverage on Hagerty.com, as well as YouTube, where it has 1.75 million subscribers. It publishes a monthly car magazine, Hagerty Driver’s Club, sent to 1.2 million readers, as well as a semi-regular lifestyle publication, Radius, distributed to its top collectors. It purchased Drive Share, a peer-to-peer classic car rental platform, like Airbnb for vintage vehicles.

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2PM Memo (752 words): An insurance company, a service provider, a media brand, and an exclusive driving club: Hagerty wants to be all-in-one. The brand has taken the best of modern brand development and applied it to a car insurance business that is 37 years old. Of the nearly 11 million pre-classic vehicles in the United States, nearly 12% are insured by Hagerty. (Read More)
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DTC Power List: This week's biggest moves were Parade (96 to 25), Paravel (246 to 97), Sanreve (134 to 104), Figs (179 to 94), Koala (129 to 118), ButcherBox (82 to 151), and Parachute (26 to 280). 

Jewelry brands style their own newsletter trend

Linear Commerce / New York Times: We covered this marketing concept in the Digital Supply Chain and it seems like a fair option for customer acquisition, it began: "Whether a brand is at the enterprise stage or within months of a public launch, this initial [newsletter] investment can be scaled to establish a basic media operation." Jewelers praise newsletters because they can present information in a kind of longer, storytelling form, especially welcome after the bite-size, click-through nature of Instagram. “You can go deeper in a way that you can’t on social media,” said Rosh Mahtani, founder of the British jeweler Alighieri. “The attention span is much longer — by the time someone’s opened your newsletter, they’re already invested to read the stories.” She has been sending a newsletter two to three times a week, and said she has almost 16,000 subscribers.

DTC skincare brand acquires its own social commerce solution

Linear Commerce / Retail TouchPoints: While the British jeweler Alighieri built their own small operation, Nu Skin opted for an acquisition. This explains Nu Skin's social commerce strategy. DTC skincare and wellness brand Nu Skin recently acquired Mavely, a social commerce platform designed to help creators and affiliates better monetize their communities. In 2020, Nu Skin posted record growth in the Americas and EMEA, largely due to the impact of social commerce via its active brand affiliates, according to Jeff Smith, VP of Global Strategy and Corporate Development for Nu Skin.

Maersk is no longer just a shipping company

Logistics / Quartz: In July 2021, we reported, "Retail supply chains will need to find both short-term solutions as well as rethink dependency on complex supply chains. Brands will invest heavily in flexible processes that can account for moments when things don’t run as planned." This seems to be an answer. Maersk owns more container ships than anyone on earth, but it would be a mistake to think of the company as just a cargo shipping line. [...] Deals like this go by the name “fourth-party logistics” (4PL), and they’re becoming increasingly common. Under this model, a client like Unilever outsources the control of some or all of its supply chain to a single logistics giant like Maersk, which may act on its client’s behalf to book cargo space on ships and planes from other third-party freight providers.

Adidas, Allbirds release low-carbon running shoe

DTC Brands / Retail Dive: Announced in May of 2020, Allbirds finally steps into its future with this collaboration. The shoe produces 2.94 kilograms of CO2 per pair, which is a personal best for both brands, according to a press release. The new product is based on Adidas' Lightstrike midsole, but was redesigned to use Allbirds' bio-based sugarcane material.

The grand plan for Rowing Blazers

DTC Brands / Sprezza: It is currently ranked No. 84 in the 2PM Power List and joins the top 100 of modern retailers that includes: Ten Thousand, Buck Mason, Parade, and Skims. Our leadership team — which is currently half women — will become majority women, and even more diverse by early 2022. We’re also working on getting RWS-certified for our wool sweaters, sourcing alternative, sustainable materials for apparel and footwear, offering more inclusive sizing for our products.

Amazon-based brand giant Anker has big plans for ad tech

Amazon Brands / AdExchanger: Anker is No. 32 on the DTC Power List; this is an interesting one on the brand's attempt to branch out to advertising technology through a subsidiary called Oceanwing. Although it’s a Chinese company and trades on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Anker is a perennial top seller on Amazon in the United States. And since Oceanwing is backed by Anker, it can plug into a huge preexisting supply chain for warehousing and fulfillment. Oceanwing operates in a crowded field of Amazon-based ad tech services, but almost none of those companies also have warehousing and fulfillment capabilities, Ai said. Amazon has its own ad tech and fulfillment operations, of course. But as an Amazon seller with its own supply-chain service, Oceanwing has advantages there as well.

Nike hedges its bets

Metaverse / Business of Fashion: The push into Web3 is the ultimate supply chain hedge. In CryptoKicks Pt. 3, we explain Nike's new digital advantage. This one by BoF delves a little bit deeper. The sneaker and activewear giant acquired the virtual sneaker seller RTFKT last week. Nike has struggled with supply chain problems stemming from Covid-related factory closures in Vietnam. Nike is running as fast as it can to ensure its sneakers are as ubiquitous in the metaverse as they are in real life.

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The lumber bubble is back (Fortune). On that Jack Dorsey tweet (Fortune, as well). Shein is building out its U.S. team (WWD). Shopping in stores is down 26% (CNBC). Autonomous delivery robots roam Cincinnati's airport (RTP). 

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As the 2020 holiday season wrapped up, the writing was on the wall. A booming economy, a shift in retail preferences, and a lingering pandemic contributed to a rise in logistics costs and new real estate strategies for retailers.

2PM explained in December 2020: “The direct-to-consumer industry has served as a leading indicator for how the greater economy will change. For instance, the surge in online shopping has been a boon to retailers. But this growth comes at a price, which will be paid in the cost of reverse logistics. The operations that encompass the return or reuse of products is a growing expense for retailers.”

One year later and the pandemic has caused a substantial shift in how consumers behave. It has begun to impact brand preferences, the decrease in impulse buying, a reduction in non-essential purchases, and a 35% increase on the reliance of online shopping.
 

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