Member Briefs

Member Anecdote: Omicron and Resilient Retail

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…

Member Brief: CryptoKicks, Part 3

Nike prides itself on being first in line to new innovations or opportunities. The few times that it hasn’t been, it’s marketed so well that the consumer eventually forgot that another brand beat them to the punch (Nike has owned the mindshare in everything from NBA basketball to pro skateboarding).

Member Brief: LTK, The Content Fortress

LTK, the social shopping platform founded in 2010 by influencer Amber Venz Box, is now valued at $2 billion following a $300 million round of capital led by Softbank Vision Fund. In a crowded and competitive landscape of social commerce and shoppable platforms, LTK has managed to carve out a unique position and cultivated staying…

Member Anecdote: Frenemies

When you think about DTC, Web3 is its natural successor. Facebook, now Meta, has commerce ambitions to rival its “frenemy” Shopify, according to an Insider report published this week. Despite the name change, the metaverse isn’t Meta’s current commerce focus, and it won’t begin investing there until 2023.

Member Brief: Virgil, The Polymath

On occasion, we unlock member briefs for wider consumption. To support 2PM’s wider work, you can become a member. This essay was originally written on an October day while seated on a bench in New York’s Madison Square Park. When I would travel to the city, I would visit museums with people who inspired me….

Member Brief: StarDAO

This member brief is unlocked for all readers. To join 2PM, you can click here. Web3’s influence on retail is just beginning. Like Nike’s investments into digital goods and services, Starbucks is in position to become the consumer packaged goods leader in the next generation of the web.

Member Brief: The Limits of eCommerce

Standing before a small audience of Austin business owners and investors, I shared a bull case for eCommerce. Within 15 years, online retail will become our primary channel for product discovery and over 40% of all North American retail. The retail real estate footprint in America will continue to decrease as aging malls shutter,…

Members: The Meta Case For Commerce

We are close to dropping the “e” for good. As the metaverse takes shape, there will only be commerce. The pivot from Facebook to Meta is far less surprising than you may believe. Mark Zuckerberg understands that agglomeration will be digital. What does that mean? Agglomeration economies are the benefits that come when firms and…

Member Brief: The New Class System

Everyone is quitting and few understand why. I believe that I do. We are redefining our class system, and some are dissatisfied with their ranking. Technology has always played a role in designing class structure in the United States. At the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City, Westinghouse Electric screened a one-hour film called…

Member Brief: CLUB EBITDA

Retail is an EBITDA sport. In 2019, at Shopify Plus’s New York conference, a relatively unknown, foreign brand espoused the importance of healthy growth and profitability. American brands received all of the attention back then, but it was Daily Paper founder and CEO Hussein Suleiman that won over a crowd of fawning American entrepreneurs.

Member Brief: Digitally Native Vertical Brands

Andy Dunn is quiet these days. But one of the most important essays written in the short history of the direct-to-consumer industry was written by him. It’s time that we revisit the meaning of vertical. We have lost sight of what it means to build a digitally native vertical brand.

Member Practical: BFCM Tips

David Herrmann is one of the most trusted and respected thinkers and operators in paid acquisition. So much so that the New York Times just consulted him about the recent Facebook outage and how it impacted ad spend and ROAs for direct-to-consumer brands (a number of which rely on his team for success).

Member Recap: No Stock For Chrismukkah

A series conclusion. As early as September 12, artificial Christmas trees, decorations, and all of the trimmings were for sale at your neighborhood Lowe’s, on display in front of the Halloween and Thanksgiving decor. The early turn for the holiday season isn’t exclusive to hardware stores.

Member Brief: Beating Ad Myopia

Every platform will become a walled garden of media and commerce and that means new formats for advertising. Enter Shopify and Roku. Shopify has positioned itself successfully as a savior to small businesses. This latest demand generation effort should only bolster its image by the introduction of yet another advertising channel for DTC companies.

Member Brief: The Modern Freezer

Few understand food service like Kat Cole, the former COO and President of Focus Brands. Where she goes, people follow. Where she is, the masses typically flock. The “coffee-loving chronic learner” and prolific investor recently posted a video to Twitter that highlighted her “direct-to-consumer freezer”, sparking a discussion around the resurgence of interest in frozen…

Member Brief: The Casper Analysis

A one-time unicorn, Casper is now trading at a valuation of $210 million (Eight Sleep just raised at a $500 million valuation). As TechCrunch reported, a DTC founder anonymously speculated that the Apple iOS 14.5 update, which cracked down on apps’ ability to track user data without permission, has cut Casper’s marketing returns and customer…

Member Brief: Shopify Corp Dev and Yotpo

The online retail industry is near its all-time peak according to Q1 census data and on-site reviews and user generated content (UGC) are of the most visible forms of social proof available to many online retailers. This makes Shopify and Yotpo a match made in SKU heaven.

Member Brief: The “Home Now” Strategy

Look to the furniture industry and you may find the present and future of eCommerce. I may have never been more incorrect about an industry insight. In an earlier analysis of Wayfair (2PM, February 2020), I honed in on their marketing concerns, razor-thin margins, and the diminishing returns of an aging drop-shipping strategy.

Member Brief: 2PM Is Irrelevant

You may find this essay to be considerably meta. The hope is that the insight can be applied, usefully, to your own pursuits. I thought back to a 1987 lecture by a world-renowned psychologist, spiritual leader, and academic. In it, Ram Dass recalled a story where he explained to his father that though he could…

Members: The Warby Parker S-1 Analysis

(S-1 Here): As anticipated, Warby Parker has filed to go public via direct public listing, bypassing an IPO. Unlike other recent filings this year, which has seen a burst of DTC IPOs, Warby released its S-1, revealing its financial details for the first time. Some highlights: The company reported $270.5 million in revenue for the first…

Member Brief: Out of Stock

What’s past is prologue, but only if there is a pause between it and the present. This is something different: It feels like a continuation of something that we thought would end. When businesses don’t know when things will change, it is difficult to prepare. Stores are emptying of available inventory, and not just because…

Member Brief: Olipop Signs An Olympian

I didn’t know what to say to my grandmother. As a teenager, I avoided the consumption of soft drinks but, according to her, they were a healthy option. Why? Her doctor prescribed her Coca-Cola by the caseload to manage her blood sugar. In the corner of her small kitchen stood several cases of red cans,…

Member Brief: Spiritual Opium and gCommerce

Editor’s Note: I’ve temporarily unlocked this weekly member brief. If you find it to be useful, consider joining the Executive Membership. No one actually knows what the metaverse is. While the spirit of Neal Stephenson’s 1992 ideal remains “a collectively shared virtual space,” it’s difficult to pinpoint what that means or how that ideal will…

Member Brief: The Second eCommerce Wave

It’s going to be another autumn season of heightened eCommerce activity. If you follow technology press, the punditry would suggest otherwise. In a recent Op-Ed for Bloomberg, Tae Kim writes: “Amazon may be facing headwinds from a slowdown in the entire e-commerce category, which faces tough comparisons from the peak pandemic months last year.”

Member Practical: A Digital Supply Chain

There’s a new way to view a brand’s investment in media operations. Every brand should have a digital supply chain or a set of components that, when properly constructed, equip a retail business with an important class of end products: content, first-party data, digital products, and community.

Member Exclusive: Studying The Fast Cinematic Universe

We’ve never seen anything quite like the Fast Cinematic Universe in all of entertainment history. Today, every media property is likely to attempt a cinematic universe. We owe this to a Vin Diesel epiphany. The Fast and Furious saga built its own cinematic universe out of thin air, with no written source material.

Member Brief: Peloton’s Diffusion

Keep your eyes on Peloton as 2021 comes to a close. When cycling instructor Alex Toussaint shouts through the screen, people listen. There is one of his motivational quips that Peloton’s management should have followed: Set your price and live your life. In September 2019, I wrote: “This week, the company took one final step…

Member Brief: The NIL Guide

This report is supported by 2PM’s Executive Membership and is temporarily unlocked for the Monday letter. To be a part of what we’re building, you can join here: The Executive Membership. Michigan’s Fab 5, USC’s Reggie Bush, and UCLA’s Ed and Charles O’Bannon literally changed my life.

Member Brief: The Final Level

If attention is our new currency, we are only beginning to realize its costs. The creator economy is not conducive to mental health. The feedback loops are constant and so are the demands on one’s time. And yet, solo creators are joining the ranks by the tens of thousands.

Member Brief: Rapinoe Leads The Offensive

For companies like Parade, Adore Me, ThirdLove, Thinx, Savage x Fenty, and Knix, there was no easier target than Victoria’s Secret. For decades, VS was a retail brand that moved like Goliath while being run by executives that felt that David never had a stone’s chance. Agility was the Columbus, Ohio company’s nemesis.

Member Exclusive: Web3 and DTC

Where users congregate should interest anyone who does business on the internet. Unfortunately, the conversation around blockchain technologies can seem complicated, exclusionary, or even boring. That’s because consumers don’t care about the technology itself. What we do care about is functionality and experience. When Apple announces iOS 15, most of its future users don’t ask…

Member Brief: Crocs and Consumer Epidemics

There are numerous stories like this one. Together, they develop a pattern of influence that becomes a trend. And then eventually, that trend may become consensus. When you’re a parent, you resign yourself to the understanding that your children are often leading indicators of consumer revolutions.

Member Brief: The Post-Returns Marketplace

Over the last several weeks, I’ve studied the third-party and returns logistics industries with fury. What I found is that there is major disruption happening in stores that can be categorized into three distinct groups: independent, mid-market, and major. Most of the impending opportunity was available to the smaller, independently run shipping warehouses peppered throughout…

Member Brief: Democratization and Eadem

There is irony in the word “Eadem.” When I first heard the Latin term while on a trip abroad, it was used in reverence in the context of the 16th century British monarchy. Known to refer to equanimity and stability, the word signifies a perpetual sameness or precedence.

Member Brief: Tail Wagging The Dog

The tail is beginning to wag the dog. Strategist and consultant Michael Miraflor recently visited his neighborhood Kohl’s and observed an astounding trend. Nearly 70% of the store’s traffic was there to return Amazon packages, according to his estimates. I wanted to dig deeper here. Research suggested that while the 70% figure may be extreme,…

Member Brief: Figs Resuscitates DTC Strategy

Figs prints money. Figs broke the simulation. Figs rewrote a DTC playbook that expires each quarter; theirs will last for the next years of brand development, growth, and exits. The scrubs brand is the brainchild of Co-Founder and Co-CEO Heather Hasson, whose “ah-ha” moment came about while listening to a friend explain her pain points as a nurse-practitioner. Near the top of the list?

Member Brief: Pat McAfee and YouTube

When we think of independent creators today, we think of a finished product: polished, well-produced, perfected. Our mind conjures images of rambunctious YouTube videographers, vloggers, TikTok creators, artists, and larger-than-life independent journalists. Pat McAfee is neither of those, at least not in the conventional sense. The difference between others’ work and McAfee’s is simple enough….

Member Practical: Digitally-Native Union

“Build your brand online; build your business offline,” or so the adage goes. Omnichannel retailers may well win the future. If so, healthy malls will remain a strategic ally, but times are a’changing. As many modern retailers take the fight to incumbents who are slowly innovating towards their own versions of DTC-focused businesses, physical retail…

Member Brief: It’s Not Us, It’s Them

The concept of opportunity is deeply personal to me. Opportunity is earned through hard work, proximity, favor, and luck. For many, luck is the variable that wavers. But for others, it is often proximity. One of the last obstacles in eCommerce is the democratization of access and proximity to opportunity.

Member Brief: Digitally-Native Failure

There are many success stories in the commerce industry to emulate. Brand founders can build lucrative personal brands and illustrious second acts on the currency of their prior earned successes. Learning from the failures of others, however, can be equally beneficial. First, we must understand what success looks like at the highest level.

Member Brief: One Byte

There are only four things that we do better than everyone else, and pizza delivery is one of them. The industry has laid the groundwork for many of the best practices known in commerce today, from phone orders, to internet orders, to order tracking, to the omnichannel model emulated by other retail categories.

Member Practical: A Treatise on Trust

Trust is the catalyst for sustained digital commerce growth and prosperity. In the next stage of online retail, trustworthy brands will be the brands who win. The shift towards digital commerce has been dramatically catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic and created green-grass opportunities online for many emerging brands.

Member Practical: Founder-Product Fit

Very few can compete with Lady Gaga in brand awareness. Yet Helena and Woody Hambrecht are doing so with Haus, the aperitif brand with the same name as Gaga’s direct-to-consumer beauty brand Haus Labs. Backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Gaga’s brand launched the same year as the Hambrecht’s aperitif.

Member Brief: Shopify’s Zero Visibility Bet

Shopify climbed to new heights during the pandemic. Whether it stays there will depend on how the company navigates the end of it. When snowboarding, there is a pivotal moment when you approach the end of normal powder and enter the beginning of something more rigorous and less predictable.

Member Brief: The Press Club

There is a saying in the direct-to-consumer industry: “You may have sales, but you don’t have shelf space.” Now apply these same words to the evolving media industry. The Passion Economy monetized creation, but it has yet to democratize access to respect. As the rise of darlings like Substack and Clubhouse compete with traditional media, the question becomes: if you build a successful media business around your ideas, are you in the club?

Member Brief: The Lying Mall Owner

Every mall ownership group has to lie or the house of cards may fall. It’s not the pandemic’s fault that the mall bubble is bursting; it’s been years in the making. We’ve all seen it. A verified Twitter personality records and posts a video of a busy American mall with the caption: “Retail is back…

Member Practical: Art, Science, and Economics Meet

A kitten, an NBA champion, a canvas of graffiti-covered art, and 4,101 parcels of virtual land walk into a bar. Instantly, the value of that bar grows by 137 ethereum. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you are not alone. This primer will help explain the origin, the present, and the…

Member Brief: Clubhouse Commerce

The true measure of retail’s direction is the attention focused on the technologies that provide the most serendipity. Physical retail will always have its place and online retail will likely never be the majority of all sales velocity. But consider this question: If you were starting a brand right now, where would you go for…

Member Practical: ButcherBox’s Growth Arbitrage

Between 2010 and 2016, a number of CPG retailers and digitally native vertical brands came of age with the help of a licensed gym movement that shaped a decade of influencers in health, nutrition, and fitness. That list includes fixtures like NoBull, FITAID, Rogue, Mizzen + Main, Zevia, Siete Foods, and RXBar.

Member Brief: The Opendoor Policy

There is a February 1979 article in Texas Monthly, an esteemed publication that covers the culture and happenings of the lone star state. It was frequently the case that the monthly magazine covered the glam and the glitz of a state fueled by oil, politics, and American football.

Special Report: The Changes To Come

Set aside partisanship for a moment. With each new administration, things change. With each election cycle, the anticipation of those changes can make the difference between success and failure. Change isn’t always gradual. In 2019, we passed the centennial anniversary of the end of the Spanish Flu. All the while, we were preparing for our own ghastly pandemic. It was a tumultuous time, then and now.

Special Report: The Parasite Economy

The biggest East Coast snowstorm of the pandemic to date lasted for a day. But in the city that never sleeps, it left a lasting image. I stood along the corner of Broadway and Broome for what seemed like an hour. Snow accumulated to piles nearly two feet high, edging along sidewalks glazed over with…

Member Brief: The TCG Timeline

In 1985, a high tech “surf phone” debuted in Southern California. In Surfing Magazine’s “Currents Section” that spring, the editorial team asked a question: “What if you could call a number any time of day and get an up to the minute report on surf conditions?” There was demand, inquiring surfers called, and a phone service called “Surfline” became an immediate hit within its niche audience. Surfline used the technology of its day, the 1-800 number, to help novice and advanced surfers score their biggest waves.

Member Brief: The Bionic Woman

Science fiction often serves as a guide for the future. In Silicon Valley, Snow Crash, a 1992 sci-fi novel, has been required reading for technologists for nearly 30 years. Neal Stephenson’s cult classic is one of several highly referenced stories credited with inspiring immersive virtual reality, augmented reality and the metaverse.

Member Brief: Instashop

With countless independent, traditional, and direct-to-consumer brands on its roster, Verishop is focused on delivering what is missing from today’s social media. Millennials and Gen Z want to shop online; they want to window shop. And most importantly, they prefer their ideas shared with their audiences.

Members: Newsletter Media’s Tipping Point

It’s the week before the 2020 election and I am bordering on physical and mental exhaustion. I am not an outlier. Solo media entrepreneurship is a difficult business, one that is driven by memberships and advertising revenue. Across the digital ecosystem, entrepreneurs with 10,000+ subscribers are building real businesses.

Member Practical: The Apparel Antidote

Welcome to Practical No. 2, the second in a 2PM Member series of features on individual people and what they can teach industrialists about building in the new digital economy. Sometimes, the hardest part of the journey is navigating from Zero to One. Here, we will cover how they accomplished it.

Member Practical: Perell’s Step Function

Welcome to Practical No. 1, the first in a 2PM Member series of features on individual people and what they can teach industrialists about building in the new digital economy. Sometimes, the hardest part of the journey is navigating from Zero to One. Here, we will cover how they accomplished it.

Member Brief: The DTC Acquisition Corp

This Member Exclusive is temporarily unlocked. On occasion, we make these reports available to the greater audience for topics that are widely important. This content is part of our Executive Membership. I invite you to join. There are three key narratives to consider. Observe them and study how they may interact.

Members: Linear Commerce, 1889

When we consider the dawn of the global brand era, we often cite the genius of Madison Avenue, the 1960s and the Mad Men style of advertising and brand development. However, we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if that’s where our research began and ended. One of history’s most effective media strategies was devised 60…

Member Deep Dive: The Tale of Cactus Jack

The ad featured one of the biggest stars in the world, a modified McDonald’s burger, a sensible price, a catchy name, and a strong marketing push. But it didn’t succeed. Nearly 30 years later, McDonald’s found a way to make the strategy work. In 1992, NBA legend Michael Jordan was the face of the “McJordan…

Member Brief: Brands Beating Bland

I don’t remember how I made it to Laredo from Houston, but I do remember the grain-free tortillas that Miguel Garza handed me after he and I ran repeat miles in the South Texas heat. It was a silly ritual that I looked forward to whenever training with him.

Member Brief: War Games

This Member Exclusive is temporarily unlocked. On occasion, we make these reports available to the greater audience for topics that are widely important. This content is part of Executive Membership. I invite you to join. With the current administration’s target on TikTok and its proposed acquisition, I began to think about the second- and third-order…

Member Brief: The New TAM

At the turn of the 20th century, the popularity of the automobile relied upon the investment into paved roads. The popularity of internet-born brands will depend on infrastructural development of its own. To understand where we stand in this period in time, consider this John Steinbeck quote from 1962: When we get these thruways across…

Members: On Deep Generalism

In the two years that I sat at that Austin coffee house each day, it felt like I found an arbitrage opportunity: a free education. But the credit was none my own. The room over-indexed on successful executives and entrepreneurs who’d seen material success in the booming Texas city.

Member Brief: The New Prep

The man wearing the overcoat was gone. The black frock coat that he wore was tailored to his long frame. Inside the coat read “One Country, One Destiny” and he had it on when he passed away. In March 1865, just two weeks before his assassination, Brooks Brothers commissioned the manufacturing of the coat for the president. The insignia along the silk twill embroidery was intended to be a reminder that national unity was utmost priority.

Member Brief: The American Dream

More than 8,000 stores closed in 2017. That number surpassed 9,300 in 2019. With 6,000 stores shuttered already, 2020 has a projected a new record: 12,000 or more. These aren’t just retail casualties. America’s malls were designed to appeal to the middle class, and both are disappearing.

Member Brief: The Duel

There are no experts, there’s nothing new under the sun, and today’s months are yesterday’s decades. As soon as any of these matters are forgotten, a venture is at a new disadvantage. Such is the story of Quibi’s launch. Formerly incorporated as “New TV”, Quibi is an app-based streaming service tailored to millennial viewing preferences….

Member Brief: Ideal Cities

The ideal city is one that embraces digital commerce principles, tools, ideas, and technologies. As municipalities begin to report record-breaking spreads in COVID-19 cases, there is little time to waste on idealism or political partisanship. The preparation that we should have assumed months ago must be fast-tracked for the late summer and early fall.

Member Brief: The DTC Fitness Conundrum

In J.T. MacCurdy’s 1943 book The Structure of Morale, the Canadian psychiatrist laid out an argument that overconfidence is a grave tactical error. In the book, he uses the context of Germany’s World War II bombings over Great Britain. When the first siren sounded I took my children to our dug-out in the garden and…

Member Brief: The Great Equalizer

For the middle-class masses, the new normal is a currency that is worth less than it was at the beginning of this year. The three and four-star hotels that remain in operation are outfitted for essential travelers, medical workers, and the quarantined. In those hotels, there are five day rotations for cleaning crews. Food, health, and fitness resources are rarely available. Customers who use these facilities are asked to lower their expectations.

Member Brief: Allbirds and Adidas

On page 42 of a May 1977 issue of Field & Stream, camping editor Steve Netherby wrote: It looked as though the centuries-long search for a waterproof-yet-breathable lightweight fabric had ended in complete success. [1] Guaranteed to keep you dry, Gore-Tex was invented in 1969. The fabric was a notable technical innovation at the time….

Member Brief: When In Home

For decades, media monetized by way of display advertising, native advertising, branded media, affiliate marketing, and eventually direct commerce. Like a technological progression, the funnel widened and shortened over the years. The definition of media broadened with time. Today, click through rate (CTR) means less to a publisher than the revenue that one visitor accounts for.

Member Brief: Enter the Metaverse

Part One: Metaverse Series. Can a company build a Metaverse or does it simply manifest? It’s been surreal living in Columbus, Ohio during this period of pandemic and national response. The distant future feels nearer in many ways. It accelerated towards us. Like other major cities, the stores, streets, and parks are empty.

Member Brief: How to Make It In America

A love letter to How to Make it in America. The retail industry is changing. Old norms like profitability, sustainability, and efficient growth have risen to the top of admired attributes for brands and their founders. Bootstrapped founders were once lesser-than. Today, executives like Moiz Ali and Jamie Schmidt have taken center stage.

Member Brief: NBC and Linear Commerce

The Law of Linear Commerce was an original theory and basis of the first member brief: a short study of Kylie Jenner’s powerful use of commerce tools to monetize her audience. It has since become the basis of a commerce strategy by NBCUniversal. As the economy recovers and retail begins to resemble its former self,…

Member Brief: eCom Thru Transition

The food industry has done more than service pizza, nuggets, and burgers. It’s served as a leading indicator for how commerce will evolve. Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line but the McDonald brothers designed systems practical enough to facilitate their systems within every neighborhood in the United States.

Member Brief: On DTC and Home Improvement

The dryer isn’t working! These are the words that set off a chain of events that would conclude with 19 hours on the phone with Lowe’s and countless more companies researching why their processes were so far behind today’s standards. The entire ordeal reminded me of a scene from the 90’s sitcom Home Improvement, starring Tim…

Member Brief: The Credit Report

Those numbers couldn’t be correct. A month before job losses in the United States surpassed 10 million in two weeks, figures were leaking out of China. In eCommerce and retail, China has served as a leading indicator of sorts, but on February 15th, we couldn’t have imagined the news that would come at the end…

Member Thesis: The Connected Mall

Long before retail was impacted by social distancing, the American mall was fighting for survival. Early signs of this were everywhere: perpetual discounting and promotion, insufficient staffing, stale inventory, and outdated storefronts. A number of these retailers are highly-leveraged assets, a culprit even a junior financial analyst could identify.

Member Brief: The New Main Street

At its very birth, the telegraph system became the handmaiden of commerce. These were the words of the National Telegraph Review and Operator’s Companion, a trusted industry publication written in 1853. Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet is an exploration of Samuel Morse’s contribution to global communication.

Member Brief: DTC’s Second Life

I opened the freezer and for the first time, sealed cups of Daily Harvest outnumbered all other products. The prepared foods brand owned our freezer. A growing number of Americans will soon say the same. This report explains. We are creatures of habit. At the macro levels, our conduct typically evolves when prompted by external…

Member Brief: A Corrected Analysis

When Rafat Ali of Skift suggests that you make a correction, your ears perk up a bit. That’s exactly what happened when I published a short editor’s note in Monday’s edition: I was surprised to see media companies like The Information omitted from Ben Smith’s analysis.

Member Brief: On Neo-Traditional Development

Think back to your youth. When you visited your local malls in in the 1990s or early 2000s, they resembled marketplaces of vendors and major retailers. It was a living and breathing brochure of SKUs. Back then, storefronts didn’t require special features, personality, or experiential qualities.

Member Brief: Under Division

Mary Zophres received the box on a Thursday in 1998. By Monday, the word had made it to the film’s director. Oliver Stone was interested in samples of the fledgling Under Armour brand but only if the production studio wouldn’t have to pay for the requested $44,000 in apparel.

Member Brief: Quantifying the DTC Market

History has an interesting way of influencing the future. With enough historical context and data, observers can forecast outcomes. But for product manufacturers and retailers, the ability to anticipate outcomes is tantamount to success or failure. It was King C. Gillette who once wrote: For the capitalist, fortunate will he be who reads the writing..

Member Brief: The New Magazine Stand

It was a walk past Graydon Carter’s Greenwich restaurant that led me to rethink my opinion of the media industry. At the time, I was a discouraged Director of eCommerce at a media brand and things weren’t going as planned. I was missing something and I couldn’t quite figure out what.

Member Brief: The Mechanics of Belief

Montero Hill was sitting in a college math class when he had a thoughtful idea. A soft-spoken class clown with an influential Twitter following, the 19-year-old was in an unenviable position. He didn’t love his college experience. His social life at the University of West Georgia was lacking.

Member Anecdote: The Last Marketplace

With new upward mobility in urban areas and rising online retail adoption rates, independent storefronts have struggled to take advantage of this new growth. Even as mobile marketplaces have partnered with food vendors and restaurants, it’s rare to find the same technologies applied to stores that sell products in limited quantities.

Member Brief: Quibi and VC-Subsidized Media

In March of 2009, Uber launched in San Francisco to great fanfare. At the time, the mobility company’s Chief Executive, Travis Kalanick, had a goal that seemed simple enough: first attract the higher rungs of society and then dominate the world by capturing marketshare. Except, to do so, he’d have to adjust the prices.

Member Brief: SMS and The New Chaos

The moment that changed the music business happened insurgently, as they do. In 1998, when Shawn Fanning began working on Napster, the once-infamous file sharing platform, it was built on a borrowed laptop with little money and even less support. And then, in an act of serendipity, a pre-Facebook Sean Parker met Fanning in a…

Member Brief: Gen Z and The NBA Problem

Time compounds resources and amplifies opportunity. With my oldest daughter seated behind me on a rented scooter, we jetted through the winding roads of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Our goal was simple enough: we wanted to find one of the island’s cliff edges. Away from the island’s center, the roads are made of packed gravel.

Member Brief: The Blue Room Theory

Standing before a well-lit meeting room of concrete, modernity, and dark steel: Michael Dearing led a professional discussion with nearly 40 participants. The topic was Away’s recent managerial troubles. But this wasn’t your ordinary forum for discussion. The room was filled with brand founders, engineers, venture capitalists, and HR executives.

Member Brief: Regarding HENRY

The clock ticked down in the second quarter of a high school basketball game in Delaware – a middle class, rural area near Columbus, Ohio. The school sits just 29 miles outside of the city’s center, a modest distance but a world of difference. Standing on the bleachers, immediately behind the opposing team’s basket, the…

Member Brief: The Blackest Friday

In celebration of Black Friday / Cyber Monday retail holiday, this report has been through November 30. If you’d like access to more of these reports, you can join the Executive Membership at 2PM here. Executive Members move the industry forward. On a recent flight from Columbus to New York, I sat behind two parents…

Member Brief: Disney+ and Antitrust

When you open Disney+ for the first time, you immediately recognize which streaming services will become obsolete. A number of the top 20 films in iTunes, a service that charges $11.99 to $19.99 for download, are now included in your $6.99 subscription fee. It’s quite literally a steal, a play for scale.

Member Brief: NASA, The Moon, and Jeffree Star

There’s a scene in Damien Chazelle’s First Man that depicts a moment that I had never considered. A tune by Leon Bridges blares for the short duration of the scene. On screen, a group of young African-Americans stand viewing the Apollo 11 launch from a nearby field.

Member Brief: Amazon and The Carbon Footprint

The Amazonian fires of August 2019 served as another sign that Earth’s climate is under duress. The dry heat and unforgiving conditions in the region contributed to an accelerated damage to Brazil’s annual fire season. The forest’s destruction had wide ranging economic implications for American companies; the most consequential of which didn’t share a geography…

Member Brief: The DTC Holding Company

The return of Victor Gruen’s Ringstrasse concept. Acclaimed architect Victor Gruen once envisioned an American city center that resembled Vienna’s Ring Road, a vibrant area of multi-use commerce, art, and experience. There, retail, dining, art, and entertainment flowed effortlessly. That original concept gave way to more American ideas in the 1950’s: size, volume, and inevitability.Gruen,…

Member Brief: Psychographics In Focus

A 2013 Boston Globe report on Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby included a throwaway line that caught my eye. Theoni Aldredge was a legendary costume designer credited with films like Moonstruck, Ghostbusters, and Annie. But her contribution to 1974’s Gatsby was different and the film’s effects and retail tie-ins would change lifestyle branding…

Member Brief: Imagined Communities

There was a poll administered not too long ago and the result was astounding. Americans have become increasingly non-religious. Until recently, religion was a major line of demarcation for many Americans. Religion influenced one’s culture, social group, and even their politics. In a recent report by The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson on the matter, he lays…

Member Interview: What Madhappy Got Right

When Peiman Raf sat for a Los Angeles dinner with 20 or so executives in commerce and media, he carried himself like the junior person at the table. Seated just five places down, I remember observing his humility. That evening’s 2PM Executive Member Roundtable was attended by some of the best and brightest.

Member Brief: Consolidation Season

A unique global brand that exudes authenticity. That was the manner in which Ryan Cotton, a Principal at Bain Capital, described the private equity firm’s 2013 acquisition. With 1,000 regional employees, a 55 year history, and a then-estimated $150 million [1] in annual revenue, Bain’s acquistion of Canada Goose followed the traditional P/E playbook for…

Executive Members Only: Polymathic

Updated to include audio. What is Polymathic? It began as a suggestion from the c-suite of a publicly-traded media company. She wanted a source where noise was low and value was high and everyone was centered around one goal: building the future of the industry. I wish that we had the best and brighest builders…

Member Brief: As Seen on IG

Part two. This is a continuation of Part One: As Seen on TV. In part one of this series, 2PM covered high level theory around the advertising that is native television and the declining art of brand salesmanship. In Part Two, we highlight a few companies that are changing that.

Member Anecdote: The Long Middle

When Uber launched in March of 2009, the initial go-to-market plan didn’t involve infinite scale. The service launched as a black car hailing mobile app, one that was marketed heavily to San Francisco’s business elite. It wasn’t until the influence of an early investor that the company moved towards a plan for mass adoption and…

Member Brief: Substack and Local News

The New York Times did something extraordinary. The legacy publisher pivoted from a legacy publisher to the media playbook suited for this era of technology and hyperconnectivity. The New York Times (NYT) traded the past for the future by leveraging the present. In 2015, the United States of America was in the midst of one of…

Member Brief: Eddie and Cactus Jack

Netflix is growing up and Disney is playing it safe. The impending battle between Netflix and Disney Plus is shaping up to become a pivotal moment in streaming’s 22 year history. Two titans are swinging for a monopoly in a field that had none before it. Or is that the case, after all?

Member Brief: Modern Luxury Thesis

For nearly seventy years, the American middle-class was the key demographic for marketers and advertisers. Growth within that economic cohort was nearly uninhibited. Growth continued througout the decades, a product of economic and political policy. The middle-class was a surefire destination for the educated and well-positioned in America.

Member Research: Away vs. Rimowa

In airport lounges across the United States, there is an aluminum and scuff competition brewing. On any given day in Atlanta’s largest Delta lounge, you’ll find 200 business executives and leisure travelers with well-appointed carry-ons. Most are vibrantly colorful hard shells; some are aluminum. Of those metallic attention grabbers, many are manufactured by Rimowa, but…

Member Brief: The Pet House Future

We are living in a renaissance of re-urbanization in America. Drive through any bustling metropolitan area and you’ll find the markings of progress: multi-use commercial developments, the peppering of four and five star restaurants, thematic bars, trendy brunch spots, and green space for social activities. You’ll find a concentration of these millennial-friendly amenities; you’ll also…

Member Brief: Brand-First Strategy

In a recent conversation with the CEO of Shoelace, the journey marketing platform, Reza Khadjavi posed an important question: what is the modern definition of brand-first? With customer acquisition costs (CAC) rising and retention rates emerging as the key performance indicator, the question has never been more critical.

Member Brief: The Straw Man

CommerceNext is a reputable, New York-based conference for digital marketers. With over 1,000 in attendance, the event was a magnet for conversation around the direct-to-consumer era. There, 2PM was interviewed by Shoptalk’s Chief of Global Content Zia Widger. The topic was a timely one, The future of DTC brands.

Member Research: GGB vs. Caliva

On traditional vs. DTC. The VP of Marketing and Branding for Caliva, Rosie Rothrock received word that one of pop culture’s most influential figures wanted in on the industry and she secured the deal. The Caliva partnership with the newly-minted billionaire music mogul and artist Shawn “Jay Z” Carter filled the proverbial pages of Hypebeast,…

Member Brief: Light-Shipping and “Now”

The year is 2021 and you’re looking at a display advertisement on your favorite lifestyle site. You shift away because you have an unforeseen bill to pay but then your eye catches the product again. The wearable on your right wrist senses a subtle rise in your heart rate.

Member Data: Retail Media

Behind the curtain. On February 15, 2010, went live. Within 48 hours of GQ’s dubbing the company “the Netflix of eyewear,” the site was so flooded with orders for $95 glasses that Blumenthal temporarily suspended the home try-on program. Any analysis of the direct-to-consumer era should include digital media’s role in the growth of…

Member Brief: Walmart’s Weakness

When you have the next opportunity, seek out a conversation with a Walmart employee. No, not one of those that you’d find at Recode’s Code Commerce, though you’ll find that they’re amazing people. But that’s a completely different world. Find ones like Cindy or Daryl. Cindy has been working at a Walmart Supercenter for nine…

Member Insights: Full Stack Retail

Two key developments, from over the past few months, shaped this week’s announcements at Toronto’s Shopify Unite 2019. The first: in the last year, BuzzFeed left Shopify to utilize fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). This was certainly a blow to Shopify; just months prior Shopify began working with BuzzFeed to drive demand to its many stores….

Member Brief: On Multi-brand Retail

The company has been met with a notable skepticism. Long before Verishop launched, its merits were hotly debated. Industry insiders poked and prodded the idea that another marketplace had the audacity to enter the space and against Amazon of all companies. Does the industry need another marketplace?

Member Anecdote: Mailbox Zero

This week, there were several developments that warranted the first of a new series called Member Anecdotes, a quick response short-form report that contextualizes recent development and helps Executive Members plan for the future. Google / Facebook are now concerned about antitrust scrutiny (WSJ) Marketers spend on podcast advertising but prefer improved targeting.

Member Brief: Going Global

The group included 20 sherpa guides and 362 porters, yet only one individual made it to the top. As a result, that climber met the glory. He was the sole heir to the honor of scaling the tallest mountain range on earth. At 29,029 feet, he stood at cruising altitude with nothing but traditional textiles,…

Member Research: Tonal vs. Peloton

This is No. 2 in a series of research reports. For the first, re-read StockX v. GOAT. Who will own your spare room? From the design and machining of everything from barbells to mechanical fitness implements, engineering is at the core of the equipment industry. But it’s not the heart of it – most successful…

Member Brief: 2007 – 2019

As the direct-to-consumer industry evolves, so will the inferences and analyses that we can make. In Asymmetrical Warfare, I wrote: “As media buying becomes more difficult for challenger brands, more direct-to-consumer brands will shutter. And competition will become more symmetrical and predictable as the hundreds of new brands narrow down to the sturdier dozen.”

Member Brief: The Case for Consideration

In the direct to consumer era, “last-click attribution” has overshadowed all marketing reason, it’s become the priority for data-driven marketers. With spend shifting to the bottom of the funnel: Facebook, Google, and now Amazon (FGA) are able to draft off of the contributions of top-funnel marketing channels.

Member Brief: The War For Returns

Exclusive Deep Dive. Between 2017 and 2018, eCommerce as a percentage of all American retail sales jumped from 13.0% to 14.3%. This number is expected to reach 17% in 2019 despite an online retail infrastructure that’s not yet ready for the reverse logistics demand. As online retail penetration moves past the 17% mark in North…

Member Brief: Triple Frontier

With Amazon Prime thriving and competitors like DoorDash, Postmates, Deliv, and even Shipsi competing to democratize last mile for the rest, this form of logistics has landed atop the logistics conversation for the mainstream business media. But surprisingly, competing with Amazon may not be the DTC brand’s chief executive’s greatest priority.

Member Brief: The New Oil

In this week’s Retail Dive, Corrine Ruff wrote on the “DNVB University.” In it, she illustrated the influence of Bonobos alumni over a number of the younger brands that began in the DTC era. Care/of, Native, and Rockets of Awesome are but a few companies that launched with the help of former Bonobos employees.

Member Brief: The Clearbanc Argument

Venture financing is evolving and so are the high growth companies that seek alternatives to traditional venture capital. Recently, Andreessen-Horowitz renounced its VC exemptions to register as a financial advisor. And in a surprising decision by the marketing-savvy group of investors, the shift to financial advisory means a few key changes: regulator personnel hires, employee…

Member Brief: Facebook and the Middle Man

On Facebook and cutting out the middle man. Where Warby Parker goes, the industry follows. This is what Instagram executives are hoping for, at least. If you were to launch a challenger brand today, how would you do it? Facebook executives are making the bet that by 2020 and beyond, the commerce conversation will begin…

Member Research: StockX vs. GOAT

The resale market dominates the athletic shoe industry. With the sneaker resale market tipping into the mainstream and Stadium Goods selling to Farfetch (for $250 million), the remaining competitors in the field are StockX and GOAT Group; it seems likely that the competition is bound to escalate between the two.

Member Brief: Amazon Pulls The Rug

With the exception of a few larger volume sellers, Amazon is shifting away from the retailer model by limiting their wholesale partnerships to the most impactful partners. The rules of the consumer economy are changing faster than ever. Some of these changes have had dire consequences, especially for independent retailers and challenger brands.

Member Brief: The Target Report

Target is in a three-way battle against Amazon and Walmart; the Minneapolis-based retailer’s opponents couldn’t have more contrasting strategies. Each retailer’s strategy reflects their differentiated effort to Conserve Attractive Profits, a value chain law posed by Harvard Business School professor and author Clayton Christensen. When a product starts to become a commodity, a decommoditization process…

Member Brief: A Familiar Strategy

Amazon operates in such a way that it’s no longer just a business, it’s a generational institution. The Bezos-led retailer lords over the industry with an astounding 300 million shoppers, each month. For a vivid picture, there are 325 million Americans and 110 million Amazon Prime subscribers.

Member Brief: The Great Infrastructure

On Amazon’s great HQ2 debacle. The drive from Palo Alto to Santa Cruz winds through dense forests and creeks. On a recent trip, I made that drive – back and forth – between my wife’s meetings and my own. At one point, I stopped and marvelled at the beauty and efficiency of this particular stretch….

Member Brief: The DTX Company

The DTX Company is emblematic of the era that we’re in. A new fund – led by former Oath CEO Tim Armstrong – has launched to influence an evolving direct to consumer retail ecosystem. In this report, we take a look at what DTX is hoping to achieve and we suggest an adjusted path forward.

Member Brief: Sports Media and Vertical Integration

With news of BuzzFeed considering a merger with Group Nine Media, mergers and acquisitions are suddenly back in the limelight for digital publishers. But the industry that stands to help the most from the current consolidation trend is sports media. The year ahead stands to be one primed for M&A discussion, as three companies have…

Member Brief: The Great Merch Race

Takeaway: Fanatics and UMG Bravado are on a collision course. The “great merch race” will be won by the agencies that value licensing agreements, trademarked products, and long-term partnerships. As “wearable intellectual property” continues to fuel online retail growth for artists, publishers, and everything-in-between, it will be the agencies that develop high-visibility / high sales rosters…

Member Brief: The Club Model

Short report. WeWork (now: “We Company”) receives the mind share of real estate interest by tech and retail media. With over 7,900 employees and over 11,000,00 square feet under management, this is practical. But we’re beginning to see the tip of the iceberg for brands, real estate, and activation.

Member Brief: Growth of Tribal Sharing

If you grew up in the right part of town in the 80’s and 90’s, you may have remembered those “Rent-a-Center” stores. You knew that if you drove past one of those, you may not have been on the right side of town. You’d see window decals that advertised their six-month, same as cash deals….

Member Brief: The Pivot to Tradition

Pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the gold. The DNVB sells their products through their own online cart. Historically, these brands have a price advantage over traditional retailers and competitors – to include Amazon. They accomplish this by cutting out the middleman and marketing directly to consumers.

Member Brief: The Netflix Report

Consider your favorite film of all time. You’ve probably watched it fifteen times. You know the lines, the body language of the main characters, you know the movie’s score. You may even have the screenplay lying around at home. Odds are, you’ve watched it in the comfort of your own home far more often than…

Member Brief: A Neighborhood of Goods

Redefining anchor retail. If you asked anyone around the table at last night’s Executive Member Roundtable in Soho, one of the issues facing the maturing DtC industrial complex was an obvious one. There is a lagging effort in the mall management sector to attract these emerging “challenger” brands – a growth trigger that could potentially revitalize stuttering malls by…

Member Brief: The Toy Report

The toy consumer gap. There are scenes from two very popular films of old: the piano scene from Tom Hanks’ Big and the “Dunkin’s Toy Chest” scene from Macaulay Culkin’s Home Alone 2. These two stand out to me because as a child, unless you lived in the metropolitan New York are, you never once…

Member Brief: The Product Lab

The 2016 Gear Patrol FJ40 The digital publisher’s product lab is a new evolution of content monetization. Publishers seek to harvest data with the intent to determine the most appealing products to the publisher’s readership. Using this method, they can sell specialized collaborations (or sourced products) to the readership.

Member Brief: Brand Equity Study

This has been another year of broken records for this annual sales cycle. Black Friday was the first day in history to achieve $2 billion or more in mobile sales. Cyber Monday generated over $7.9 billion in North American sales. But while sales volume increases, brands are left scrambling to get in on the fun….

Member Brief: The Luxury Bodega

In the fall of 2017, WeWork purchased the building of an iconic retailer on New York’s Fifth Avenue. It signaled a new era for the cowork building network, one that wouldn’t be limited by the cost structures of rented tables, private offices, or floors. But there is such thing as too much money, too many…

Member Brief: Headless Commerce

There is quiet content startup in Nashville, Tennessee that opened my eyes to the possibility before content creators. Founded in 2016 and launched in September 2018 by Alecia Vimala, has quietly influenced how content is monetized. And the core of the company is built on a relatively newer principle, to most, called headless commerce.

Member Brief: BuzzFeed Goes Amazon

In August of this year, BuzzFeed’s commerce group quietly migrated their apparel merchandising operations away from Shopify Plus. Around this same time, BuzzFeed Reviews launched to compete against the growing strength of affiliate sales-driven publishers like the Wirecutter or Gear Patrol. There is overwhelming data citing a direct relationship between affiliate sales and advertising sales momentum.

Member Brief: The China Strategy

As customer acquisition costs continue to rise, younger direct-to-consumer brands are fleeing the constraints of online top funnel advertising for unconventional ways of reaching new consumers. Physical retail has been widely reported on as an alternative to top funnel customer acquisition. With the help of the Alibaba Group, we’ve steered a few well-suited brands towards one of the most promising growth opportunities: Chinese eCommerce. In this report, we detail why China needs to be top of mind for brands looking to expand.

Member Brief: Direct to Consumer Luxe

On Tesla’s Model 3 and the Target One demographic. In June of 2018, The Atlantic published an article that articulated a macroeconomic trend that I’ve long felt was a credible undercurrent in retail. There is this cohort of consumers that isn’t quite 1%, yet isn’t quite middle class.

Member Brief: a new strategy

Note: 2PM, Inc. consults several top brands, agencies, retail SaaS, and investors across the eCommerce ecosystem through our 2PM Growth partnerships. In a recent meeting, we explored methods to assist luxury brands moving from a market position that leans heavily towards brick and mortar retail. This luxury retailer’s Q2 2019 goal is to achieve a…

Member Brief: The Grocery Report

When you think of online retail, grocery is not one of the first industries that come to mind. That was until Instacart launched in 2012. Since then, grocery fulfillment has become the wild west of sorts, a new frontier with the retailers of old adopting new strategies to achieve parity with companies like Amazon.

Member Brief: Watch Thursdays

Commerce as context. Shopping will evolve, and Prime Video could be at the forefront. Amazon debuted a new format for their Thursday Night Football broadcast. As part of a two-year deal with the National Football League, Prime Video has rights to all 11 of the games played on Thursdays.

Member Brief: The First Roundtable

Roundtable No. 1. This past week, 2PM, Inc. held a quiet and close knit meeting of eleven industry executives, investors, and media entrepreneurs (all Executive Members) atop the William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We discussed the reemergence of physical retail. The number one question: Are malls really dying?

Member Brief: Checkout is acquisition

The lead article of Member Brief No. 40 is by Micah Rosenbloom, a talented and proven venture capitalist at Founder Collective in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In his most recent Tech Crunch article, there’s a great passage: What strikes me as most unusual and unpredictable is that most of these companies were founded by entrepreneurs with analytical, business…

Member Brief: The Nike Report

What were they thinking? Nike was born in 1964, in the midst of the American civil rights era. Shielded from it all, the brand was then known as Blue Ribbon Sports and wouldn’t become the Nike that we know, today, until the company hired a young basketball player out of University of North Carolina.

Member Brief: The Lululemon Dossier

To Chip Wilson, Lululemon’s founder and former CEO, the product was about yoga and nothing more. It’s hard to imagine athleisure as a yoga-only product, today, but for a time he attempted to fiercely protect it. Quick history. As premium athleisure jumped the chasm from yoga studios to competitive sports to casual fashion, it’s growth…

Member Brief: Facebook Commerce Goes Physical

The three most influential platforms for American eCommerce operators are Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Depending on who you ask, each of the three could be considered the most important platform for brands. Google’s and Facebook’s advertising systems have been the foundation for brands pursuing direct to consumer models, whereas Amazon has been the foundation for…

Member Brief: The MVMT Acquisition

Founded by Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante in 2013, MVMT has operated one of the most prolific and efficient playbooks in the burgeoning direct to consumer industry. In what could be the most important acquisition in the DNVB space, the five year old MVMT brand was acquired by the Movado Group for $100 million, with…

Member Brief: Lack of Trust

Voice commerce was supposed to be all the rage. Consumers were supposed to quickly intrust Amazon with their retail data preferences. For Americans who don’t need to track their checking account balances, impulsive purchasing was to be one of Alexa’s primary uses cases. But the barrier to purchase has never been higher for voice commerce.

Member Brief: The Brandless™ Investment

Going head-to-head with Inc. may sound like a suicide mission, but Brandless’s pitch was enough to win over Masayoshi Son. On July 31, Brandless announced that SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund had invested $240 million; the deal values Brandless at a little over $500 million.

Member Brief: Lack of Trust

Voice commerce was supposed to be all the rage. Consumers were supposed to quickly intrust Amazon with their retail data preferences. For Americans who don’t need to track their checking account balances, impulsive purchasing was to be one of Alexa’s primary uses cases. But the barrier to purchase has never been higher for voice commerce.

Member Brief: The Infinite Loop

What if there was an additional module beneath return item? And what if that was a new tool for DNVBs to reach new customers? This is what Meghan and I recently discussed with Corbett Morgan, CEO of Columbus, Ohio’s Loop. The SaaS startup recently rebranded as a logistics solution for small to major direct-to-consumer brands…

Member Brief: The Age of Amazon

To better understand Amazon’s market potential, you have to look at how Americans currently shop. Despite the hysteria around Amazon’s monopolistic tendencies, our entire retail economy is skewed to support legacy retail ecosystems: many of our jobs, our subdivisions, even our highways. It’s for this reason that America is considered somewhat of a laggard in…

Member Brief No. 21: Emerging Apparel Category Report

In 2017, the online apparel market amassed a $100 billion dollar year for the first time in history. Consumers have grown accustomed to making these types of purchases without the need to touch, try, or toil with their buying decisions. In this report, we break down two subcategories of the online apparel market.

Member Brief No. 20: Direct Mail Report

Let this sink in for a moment: in 2018, marketers will spend $46B on direct mail. The industry is very much real. Postie is a new Los Angeles-based startup cofounded by Dave Fink and Jonathan Neddenriep, two former principals of Science, Inc. The technology uses a combination of digital consumer data and is executed by an…

Member Brief No. 19: Ten Takeaways

Data. The apparel and accessories category is overly crowded. Frankly, without a great branding agency, luck, and some strong salesmanship: it is nearly impossible for upstart brands to establish themselves in an ecosystem that seems to be evolving by the month. In this report, 2PM looks at the state of the online apparel market ($98.5…

Member Brief No. 18: The Puma Report

Brands. If you’ve built a great product, you’ll need an audience. And if you’ve built a captive audience, you’ll need a great product. Draft night has come and gone. This year, a brand was the night’s biggest story. Puma was last relevant in the basketball world when NBA legend and current Knicks commentator Walt “Clyde” Frazier…

Member Brief No. 17: The Conde Nast Report

Conde Nast recently released a summary of a report on the media group’s power to influence purchases. The study was conducted in partnership with an organization called Tapestry. In it, the findings identified the significance of brand recognition and trust in top funnel purchasing decisions. Conducted throughout the spring of 2018 using Tapestry’s CDJ technique,…

Member Brief No. 16: Patreon’s Signal

If you’re an independent creator, Patreon is likely a platform that you call home. The upstart has achieved great traction in a short period of time. CEO Jack Conte and Sam Yam’s creation launched in May of 2013 after Conte grew increasingly frustrated by Youtube’s lack of monetization.

Member Brief No. 15: The Subscription Economy

Subscription models are replacing legacy commerce models throughout the industry — from eCommerce to digital media to fashion retail and grocery — the benefits to this model have been welcomed by both businesses and consumers. Business has evolved into the subscription economy and adoption is only going to increase.

Member Brief No. 14: The Brand Co-sign

Introduction to intra-package advertising. About four months ago, a few things happened in a short period of time. There began early conversations around Facebook and Google’s privacy shortcomings, marketers began discussing ever-increasing top funnel advertising costs, and I began thinking through methods for vertical brands to offset their growing logistical costs.

Member Brief No. 13: Crashing the Duopoly

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the new rent. When Jeff Bezos once quipped your margin is my opportunity, Zuckerberg and Larry Page couldn’t have known that he would one day refer to their prized advertising operations. Top funnel and retargeting advertising operations can be the difference between the life and death of online retailers.

Member Brief No 12: A Physical $SHOP

This past weekend, Shopify concluded their annual Unite event. The concept of hardware and software as tools to enable an aging physical retail industry was the topic. And it took center stage for the 16,000+ partners in attendance. Shopify has a tremendous opportunity to elevate existing independent vendors to new heights with these new tools…

Member Brief No. 11: Mega-Merch 101

Social media and the normalization of digitally vertical native brands has enabled artists and influencers to create online retail brands as a primary source of revenue. In this report, we will break down best practices – including some insights from our editor’s work with a certain Youtube creator.

Member Brief No. 10: Acquisition Targets

This is another important moment in digital that will fly under the radar. Despite relatively minimal coverage and discussion around this acquisition, it marks a pivotal shift in publisher economics–one that serves as a central thesis of 2PM: E-commerce currently comprises less than 10% of Hearst Magazines’ digital revenue, according to Mr. Young.

Member Brief No. 9: The New Retargeting

Senator Lindsey Graham peered over to Zuckerberg and asked if Facebook held a “monopoly” on the social networking market, to which Zuckerberg replied, “It certainly doesn’t feel like that to me.” But no, Facebook does not have a direct competitor. And for agencies and brands, there are implications to consider.

Member Brief No. 8: NYT Commerce Report

The word commerce was a dirty one in the media space, until recently. One of 2PM’s capstone beliefs is that commerce is the central engine of the digital economy. That may seem to be reasonable now. But consider that just two years ago, fewer than ten digital publishers maintained direct to consumer storefronts.

Member Brief No. 7: Phil’s Dress Shirt

So who wins in the world of micro brands? This was a question posed by Scott Belsky in his recent article on digitally vertical native brands – Attack of the Micro Brands. I think this mass of micro brands with massively efficient marketing are, in aggregate, having a much bigger impact than anyone thinks.

Member Brief No. 6: Tribal Secrets / Q1

The Member Briefing is committed to candidly and objectively discussing the work. That being said, we are kicking off the sixth member briefing with a few things that you’ll rarely hear in public. Here is a Q1 recap of movements made in the publisher / commerce space.

Member Brief No. 5: Shoptalk Takeaways

Is brick and mortar retail really dead? This was the question permeating throughout 2018’s Shoptalk, an event that one DNVB CEO and Executive Member calls “the Golden Globes to NRF’s Oscar’s – but in a good way.” But to answer this question, you have to be willing to hear some uncomfortable thoughts that were not mentioned at…

Member Brief No. 4: RIP Geoffrey

In 2018, 35 million sq. ft. of retail real estate will be vacated, that’s roughly the equivalent of every Starbucks closing overnight. In Member Brief No. 4, we will look at the causes of the Toys ‘R’ Us closing and a look at other retailers who, according to Moody’s, remain on the bubble.

Member Brief No. 3: The Attention Stack

Data: In Issue No. 257, 2PM featured one of the most clicked white papers that I’ve seen. Buried deep into the presentation, on page 142, was a proclamation that eCommerce companies and vertical brands should be reminded of from time to time. First party data is the goal, which in turn drives additional earned reach….

Member Brief No. 2: Walmart Ventures

At press time, Walmart maintains a nearly $300 bilion market cap while Amazon is hovering at $722B. Jet founder Mark Lore was hired to erase the Walmart that America remembers. If he can make us forget, Walmart has an exciting opportunity to forge a new path as America’s integrated brick and mortar / eCommerce power….

Member Brief No. 1: Linear Commerce

This brief is an example of 2PM’s member-only content package. Learn more at the bottom. Linear commerce. If you’ve built a great product, you’ll need an audience. And if you’ve built a captive audience, you’ll need a great product. Here’s a timely tweet by Founder Collective’s Director of Content.