Startups like Warby Parker, Allbirds, Outdoor Voices, and Everlane rarely offer promotions. Many of these companies have built their businesses online around a game book that basically says: We will never go on sale.
“As a brand, we have no sales,” said Brian Berger, CEO of men’s sweatpants maker Mack Weldon. “We have a permanent loyalty program … and that gets us out of the loop of thinking about promotions and retraining customers so that we don’t want them to behave. We want them to shop whenever they want.”
Instead, Berger said Mack Weldon will be stepping up its marketing efforts around Prime Day and during this holiday season, especially on social media. The brand launched its first television campaign in June, which it continues to run. The sweatpants are growing in popularity during the pandemic and consumers are looking for comfortable clothing. Early in the Covid-19 crisis, Mack Weldon was selling 1,000 pairs of jogging pants a day, Berger said.
“During the holidays you have to break through the noise and have a great offer on the market,” said Berger. “And there are other ways to break through the noise,” he said.
Men’s activewear brand Vuori launched its first TV advertising campaign on Monday.
“Transcend Dealbuster Culture”
According to Harley Finkelstein, President of Shopify, the e-commerce platform for many direct-to-consumer brands, including sneaker maker Allbirds, “Deals are just one of the things shoppers look for during the vacation”.
“This is the year when purchases deliberately cross dealbuster culture,” he said. “More than any other year, consumers will vote with their wallets for retailers who match their values. They support black-owned businesses, local retailers, and socially and environmentally conscious brands.”
The Abbio cookware brand will also not be available for sale on Prime Day.
“One of the perks of having a strong direct channel is that we don’t have to compete with Amazon on Prime Day,” said Jonathan Wahl, Abbio co-founder and CEO. “It’s a different customer and a completely different business strategy.”
Prime Day “is all about the” deal “versus the value of the brand or offer,” Wahl said.
However, some brands may choose to break out of the unofficial direct-to-consumer gamebook. Some have already tried to move inventory to storage rooms and persuade consumers to spend a little more during the global health crisis.
Last month, the luggage brand Away held its first sale in its five-year history, promising deals of up to 50% off its bags – some of which retail for more than $ 400.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Away said the sale, both online and in stores, had outperformed the brand on every previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, and exceeded even “most aggressive expectations”. Some customers reported website outages due to the increased traffic around the event, while others later reported that their deliveries were delayed. They went to the company official Twitter Complain account.
While Away currently has no plans for further sales, it will be releasing a number of new products over the holidays, according to Brendan Lewis, vice president of communications and corporate affairs at Away.
Meanwhile, clothing brand Everlane got a 25% discount on all sales during the pandemic, claiming customers could get discounts on items that “aren’t normally on sale”.
An email to customers in March about the event said, “We have never done it before. But there are a lot of new features right now.”
“Most direct-to-consumer brands are nimble enough to adapt and adapt to change,” said Taylor Sicard, co-founder of Win Brands Group, which owns a number of brands, including candle company Homesick. “Year-round is a great example – brands have had to adjust week after week, month after month.”
Partnership with Amazon
Two of Win’s brands, Homesick and ring maker QALO, will see sales of 10%, 15% and 20% respectively on Prime Day this year. Buyers can find both on Amazon in addition to their own websites. QALO has been selling on Amazon since 2014 and Heimweh since November 2017.
“A lot of brands are reluctant to go in that direction and there are good reasons for that,” Sicard said of selling some of its products on Amazon. “It’s a very restrictive platform. You don’t have data analysis … and then you have very limited audience activity because Amazon owns the audience, not you as a brand.”
“But the way I see Amazon, I treat it like a big box store, only on the Internet,” he said.
Some other direct-to-consumer brands agree. The leaf start-up Brooklinen, the mattress brand Casper and the dog accessories manufacturer Barkbox are also available on Amazon.
The benefits of Amazon’s annual Prime Day surge could be reason enough for some retailers to join the platform. Global revenue for the 48-hour shopping event, which began Tuesday, is expected to grow 43% from 2019 to $ 9.91 billion by eMarketer.
But for non-Amazon retailers, there are good reasons to compete against another sales event of their own.
63 percent of consumers say they are “very likely” to compare Prime Day promotions to other retailers’ offers before making a purchase, according to the NPD Group, which tracks the earnings of more than 130,000 consumers. And this year, with Prime Day happening in October rather than July, 18% of consumers told NPD that they believe they can find the best vacation deals around Prime Day and are only marginally behind the 20% of consumers who believe this will happen on Black Friday. Cyber Monday was the third most popular option in NPD’s poll.
According to Shopify’s Finkelstein, 55% of Shopify merchants believe Consumers will start shopping for the holidays later this year.
“Ultimately, I think a big part of maintaining brand equity is the storytelling component of any advertising you want,” said Mark Chou, founder of Bradhurst Ventures, a consultant for consumer brands.
“If you just give a discount and don’t say anything else, in a way it’s almost too obvious what you’re doing,” he said. “Consumers aren’t stupid and understand that some industries are challenged. But if you can still tell a story about why you’re doing something, it can be branding and non-dilutive.”