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Walmart and Target face competition from smaller online brands

The explosive growth of e-commerce in recent years is no secret, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many people shop. Although large retailers have found ways to adapt to changing consumer needs, small Companies still have an advantage over them in a constantly changing environment.

Although large retailers have an advantage over small businesses in physical settings, companies that provide direct-to-consumer options, such as Warby Parker and Allbirds, have an advantage over retailers such as Wal-Mart and Allbirds. the goal When talking about the digital realm, according to Walmart Marc Lore, former head of e-commerce.

“Their products resonated with customers-specific demographic groups-which is difficult for large businesses to replicate,” he told NBC Finance Channel“These companies will continue to grow and develop. It is difficult for mass retailers to replicate these types of brands internally. If they do things like their own brands, it is difficult for these brands to have a real soul.

He added that these brands tend to resonate with younger people. For large retailers, this is a more difficult situation to crack because there is a greater push for more authentic products, while mass retailers are in There is no similar reputation in this regard.

“It is really difficult to create these brands within mass merchants,” Lore added. “The thing that really sets these brands apart, such as Warby Parker, is the connection with customers… something that really resonates with millennial Z customers, you can’t start from scratch and create from a mass merchant Come out. This is not authentic.”

Lore’s comments came after the eyewear seller Warby Parker applied for an initial public offering, and sustainable footwear brand Allbirds is also considering taking action.

Ben Sun, co-founder and general partner of the venture capital firm Primary Venture Partners, said that this advantage may play a role in the next few years.

“E-commerce is being eliminated by these smaller, independent, long-tail brands, which are creating great products [and] Now there are opportunities to reach consumers because they are not restricted and must be offline, which is difficult to really penetrate,” he said.

Although it may be seen as not so real, this has not stopped retailers, especially Wal-Mart and Target, from cooperating with other companies to plan special series and brands to sell in their stores, trying to give them the same feeling.

During Lore’s tenure, Wal-Mart managed to bring a new feel through the acquisition of apparel companies and brands such as Bonobos, ModCloth, Eloquii and, as well as and mattress brand Allswell. They did sell ModCloth and, and was later closed in 2020.

Other initiatives include Speed ​​up, And a new household necessities series in cooperation with partners gap.

The goal has also been moved to create Professional production lines and products In their store, because they also cooperate with other retailers and online merchants.In addition to the very successful homeware series that worked with Chip and Joanna Gaines, namely Magnolia’s Hearth & Hand, the company is also known for its exclusive partnerships with other big names, such as Levi’s, Disney and Super beautiful. However, their actions Bring DTC products Entering the store also paid off for retailers, through deals that sold Harry’s razors, Function of Beauty products, Lively and Native beauty brands, Quip oral care, Barkbox pet toys, and Casper bedding. It is understood that the company actually invested US$70 million in Casper in 2017. Digital Day, And are “actively” looking for new brands every day.

Other brands that have begun to appear on Target store shelves include Many health and wellness Including Care/Of vitamins, feminine care brand Proof, Sugarbreak supplements, and Hilma and Beekeeper’s Naturals pharmaceutical products.

Photo: AFP/Nicholas Cam

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