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Showing posts from March, 2020

The Direct-to-consumer (DTC) Lemmings

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Currently, there is a shake out in direct-to-consumer, also known as "DTC," startups. You may wonder what distinguishes the direct to consumer category from what is known simply as e-commerce, which is a venerable and long-ago consolidated category. Why has a lot of supposedly smart money spawned a large number of doomed startups?

While lemmings periodically have population explosions, they don't actually leap into the sea. So let's take a closer look at the breeding grounds of DTC startups to see why there are many more of them than the e-commerce ecology can support. Winter is coming.

A superficial reading of this wave of e-commerce startups can seem to find justification for their existence in the apparent opportunity to disrupt dominant consumer brands that have the power to deny competitors access to retail distribution and mass media marketing. This is why you see startups bringing mundane items like shaving razors, mattresses, bicycles, eyeglasses, and even p…