When I compiled my newsletter over the weekend – I added a new section to it. Direct to customer ecommerce is something that stumbled across and have over the last few months looked at in depth. However these direct to customer businesses are now using Target, Nordstrom and Amazon as a channel to reach new customers. This is a double sided agreement as the startups involved (Harry’s, Bevel and now Casper) are providing these older businesses with the opportunity to access a new customer base.
Ecommerce is at a cross roads
If your business is not called Amazon, ecommerce is increasingly becoming more complex as customers demand Amazon like experiences (shipping and customer service) and that requires investment both in people and capital. Investors are also more looking at these direct to customer startups as they are ultimately margin businesses at scale. Instead of spending X on a product and selling it via multiple channels that take their own commissions these business are going straight to the customer and passing on that savings directly to the customer.
After Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for a billion dollars the signs were clear – niche specific startups with founders that have deep domain experience creating great products are reasonable prices are the future. There is only one giant that can slow down Amazon and that is Walmart due to its scale and potential to invest in providing customers with pricing similar to that seen on Amazon.