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A Day in the Life of Silicon Valley Power Player Kirsten Green
Oct. 3, 2017 | WSJ | By Francesca Mari.

HE DRIVER’S SEAT Kirsten Green, founder and general partner at early-stage venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures, Although Green formalized her venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures with its first institutional fund only five years ago, she has already built one of the most recognizable portfolios in the tech world. And with the sale of two of her early investments last year—Jet.com to Walmart for $3.3 billion and Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1 billion—she’s become one of the most prominent players in venture capital, an industry dominated by men......In 2008, she invested in a company started by two Stanford business grad students: Bonobos. She liked the founders, and they agreed to share their insights with her. “I couldn’t lose other people’s money, but I could invest in my own learning,” .......
Silicon_Valley  women  vc  retailers  Kirsten_Green  Warby_Parker  Bonobos  Dollar_Shave_Club  Unilever 
october 2017 by jerryking
As Retailers Race to Close Stores, a Web Startup Is Opening Them - WSJ
By Khadeeja Safdar
April 30, 2017

Online brands are treading more carefully into physical retail. Several brands, such as Everlane, Casper and Warby Parker, have opened temporary stores to test out foot traffic and experiment with new concepts. ....One challenge for online brands is to ensure that new locations increase sales, rather than cannibalize existing business.

“We have to see the interplay between our online and offline channels,” said Ms. Ulman. “A customer who shops online and offline is supposed to be very valuable, but we want to understand just how much more valuable.”....Online apparel brands are finding that they don’t need much to set up a store. The evolution of point-of-sales technology means that transactions can now be made on phones and tablets. Some newer retailers don’t even keep much inventory. Bonobos, which started out selling men’s clothing online, lets customers try on items at its more than two dozen “guideshops” and mails purchases to their doorsteps.

Greats sells eight core styles of shoes in different colors and materials, making its business more mobile than that of a traditional retailer. At its new locations, the company plans to bring its own interior elements such as shelving, greenery and lighting.

“You can do a lot within four walls,” said Ms. Ulman. “All we really need is some Wi-Fi.”
clicks-to-bricks  sneakers  pop-ups  e-commerce  retailers  store_closings  shopping_malls  landlords  bricks-and-mortar  foot_traffic  omnichannel  short-term  leasing  inventory-free  cannibalization  Bonobos  Everlane  Casper  Warby_Parker  point-of-sale  brands  Wi-Fi  mens'_clothing  apparel  physical_retail 
june 2017 by jerryking
Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores
April 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.
Legacy retailers have to put their mountains of purchasing data to work to create the kind of personalization and automation shoppers are getting online
(1) Data Is King
When I asked Target, Walgreens and grocery chain Giant Food about loyalty programs and the fate of customers’ purchasing data—which is the in-store equivalent of your web browsing history—they all declined to comment. ...Data has been a vital part of Amazon’s retail revolution, just as it was with Netflix ’s media revolution and Google and Facebook ’s advertising revolution. For brick-and-mortar retailers, purchasing data doesn’t just help them compete with online adversaries; it has also become an alternate revenue source when profit margins are razor-thin. ....Physical retailers must catch up to online retailers in collecting rich data without making it feel so intrusive. Why, exactly, does my grocery store need my phone number?

(2) Personalization + Automation = Profits
Personalization and Automation = Profits
There’s a debate in the auto industry: Can Tesla get good at making cars faster than Ford, General Motors and Toyota can get good at making self-driving electric vehicles? The same applies to retail: Can physical retailers build intimate digital relationships with their customers—and use that data to update their stores—faster than online-first retailers can learn how to lease property, handle inventory and manage retail workers? [the great game ]

Online retailers know what’s popular, and how customers who like one item tend to like certain others. So Amazon’s physical bookstores can put out fewer books with more prominently displayed covers. Bonobos doesn’t even sell clothes in its stores, which it calls “guideshops.” Instead, customers go there to try clothes on, and their selections are delivered through the company’s existing e-commerce system.

Amazon’s upcoming Go convenience stores, selling groceries and meal kits, don’t require cashiers. That’s the sort of automation that could position Amazon to reap margins—or slash prices—to a degree unprecedented for retailers in traditionally low-margin categories like food and packaged goods.

While online retailers are accustomed to updating inventory and prices by the hour, physical retailers simply don’t have the data or the systems to keep up, and tend to buy and stock on cycles as long as a year, says George Faigen, a retail consultant at Oliver Wyman. Some legacy retailers are getting around this by teaming up with online players.

Target stocks men’s shaving supplies from not one but two online upstarts, Harry’s and Bevel. Target has said that, as a result, more customers are coming in to buy razors, increasing the sales of every brand on that aisle—even good old Gillette. Retailers have long relied on manufacturers to drive customers to stores by marketing their goods and even managing in-store displays. The difference is this: In the past, new brands had to persuade store buyers to dole out precious shelf space; now the brands can prove themselves online first.

(3) Legacy Tech Won’t Cut It

Perhaps the biggest challenge for existing retailers, says Euromonitor’s Ms. Grant, is finding the money to transition to this hybrid online-offline model. While Target has announced it will spend $7 billion over the next three years to revamp its stores, investors fled the stock in February after Target reported 2017 profits might be 25% less than expected.

When Warby Parker, the online eyeglasses retailer, set out to launch stores across the U.S., the company looked for in-store sales software that could integrate with its existing e-commerce systems. It couldn’t find a system up to the task, so it built one from scratch.

These kinds of systems allow salespeople to know what customers have bought both online and off, and what they might be nudged toward on that day. “We call it the ‘point of everything’ system,” says David Gilboa, co-founder and co-chief executive.

Having this much customer knowledge available instantly is critical, but it’s precisely what existing retailers struggle with, Mr. Faigen says.

Even Amazon is experiencing brick-and-mortar difficulties. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Go stores would be delayed because of kinks in the point-of-sale software system.

Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder and co-chief executive of Harry’s, is skeptical that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart can make the leap, even if they invest heavily in technology.

The problem, he says, is that selling online isn’t just about taking orders through a website. Companies that succeed are good at selling direct to consumers—building technology from the ground up, integrating teams skilled at navigating online marketing’s ever-shifting terrain and managing the experience through fulfillment and delivery, Mr. Katz-Mayfield says.

That e-commerce startups are so confident about their own future doesn’t mean they are right about the fate of traditional retailers, however.

A report from Merrill Lynch argues Wal-Mart is embarking on a period of 20% to 30% growth for its e-commerce business. A spokesman for the company said that in addition to acquisitions, the company is focused on growing its e-commerce business organically.

It isn’t hard to picture today’s e-commerce companies becoming brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s harder to bet on traditional retailers becoming as tech savvy as their e-competition.[the great game]
lessons_learned  bricks-and-mortar  retailers  curation  personalization  e-commerce  shopping_malls  automation  privacy  Warby_Parker  Amazon_Go  data  data_driven  think_threes  Bonobos  Amazon  legacy_tech  omnichannel  Harry’s  Bevel  loyalty_management  low-margin  legacy_players  digital_first  Tesla  Ford  GM  Toyota  automobile  electric_cars  point-of-sale  physical_world  contra-Amazon  brands  shelf_space  the_great_game  cyberphysical  cashierless  Christopher_Mims  in-store  digital_savvy 
april 2017 by jerryking
Retail Instincts Propel Investor to Venture Capitalism’s Top Tier - The New York Times
By KATIE BENNER and MICHAEL J. de la MERCEDMARCH 26, 2017

Ms. Green is an unorthodox venture capitalist for several reasons. Apart from having never worked at a venture capital firm before starting her own in 2012, she is also a woman in a male-dominated field. (Of the top 20 venture investors this year, only two were women.) And unlike many generalist venture investors, who work in a range of areas, Ms. Green focuses specifically on commerce and other retail-related start-ups.....Ms. Green’s roots in retail run deep. She began her career as an accountant auditing retailers. In the late 1990s, she covered those companies as a stock analyst for Montgomery Securities, studying wonky measurements like customer traffic in retail locations and a store’s profitability per square foot. She also observed the rise of brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach and Ugg.

She soon concluded that online commerce would underpin the next generation of important retail brands, but that consumers would not rely on just one way to shop. With the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, Ms. Green saw more bankruptcy filings from traditional retailers, as well as news of store closings and reports of market share shifts. But she also saw stores do well when companies could make an emotional connection with shoppers and better analyze their behavior.

“Retail is now totally propelled by consumers and their needs,” she said. “People can buy what they want in any way that they want it. That trend started a long time ago, and it has really changed everything.”.....In 2003, Ms. Green decided to jump from analyzing this shift to investing in it. For a time, she worked as a consultant to a private equity firm before turning to venture capital because of her interest in young companies. In 2010, she raised an angel investment fund to make one-off investments in companies like Birchbox, a cosmetics subscription service, and Warby Parker, an eyeglasses retailer, while she studied how to raise a venture fund. In 2012, Ms. Green raised a $40 million venture fund. The investment firm Cendana Capital contributed $10 million, despite the fact that she had never worked as a traditional investor or tech entrepreneur.
venture_capital  vc  women  retailers  angels  exits  e-commerce  emotional_commitment  brands  emotional_connections  Kirsten_Green  Birchbox  Warby_Parker  top-tier  investors 
march 2017 by jerryking
Warby Parker Adds Storefronts to Its Sales Strategy - WSJ
By DOUGLAS MACMILLAN
Updated Nov. 17, 2014

Many e-commerce players have tested the waters of physical retail, but most of these efforts are still experiments. RentTheRunway has three shops where women can pick up high-end fashion to rent, and it plans to open its fourth, in Washington, D.C., this month. Amazon.com Inc. is expected to open its first brick-and-mortar location in New York in time for the holidays.

New York-based men’s apparel retailer Bonobos aims to have 40 outlets by 2016, up from 10 at the end of 2011. The stores have limited inventory for sale and are designed primarily to help customers try on clothes so they can order them from the website.
clicks-to-bricks  Warby_Parker  eyeglasses  bricks-and-mortar  e-commerce  retailers  customer_experience  Bonobos  RentTheRunway  omnichannel 
november 2014 by jerryking
Internet’s creative destruction in retail just getting started - The Globe and Mail
ROBERT CYRAN

Published Monday, Apr. 29, 2013
the Web's creative-destructive powers are best seen in the overlay of the Internet on traditional industries. Online sales of shoes, furniture and fashion all made the list of rapidly-growing sectors. E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart.com usually offer lower prices than traditional retailers – and convenient home delivery. That's bad news for struggling retailers like Sears, Best Buy and J.C. Penney.

Specialty websites, like Zappos for shoes, also offer a wider selection than can be found in rival DSW's bricks-and-mortar shops. The shoe retailer warned that same-store sales are now falling. And the Web's ability to remove middlemen with high fixed costs means nimble startups can dislodge entrenched players. Warby Parker sells eyeglasses for a fraction of the price of the local optician. That also threatens the $25-billion business Luxottica has built in making and selling high-margin spectacles in its LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Oliver Peoples shops.

The impact of electronic delivery of digital goods, from books to music to games, has long been evident. And it hasn't been pretty for the incumbents. If this latest survey is on the mark, traditional retailers will soon feel the same pain.
creative_destruction  digital_artifacts  retailers  e-commerce  bricks-and-mortar  Amazon  Warby_Parker  value_destruction  home-delivery  Sears  Best_Buy  department_stores  J.C._Penney  bad_news 
may 2013 by jerryking

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