DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: Rent the Runway suspends membership programme; Gousto will add 700 jobs in next three years; and Instagram launches ‘Reminders’.
Rent the Runway suspends membership programme
New York’s buzziest clothing rental startup announced last week that it will not accept any new subscribers or one-off rental orders before October 15. The news comes as the company faces a wave of customer complaints about delayed deliveries.
CEO Jennifer Hyman blamed these delays on a “significant” operational shift at the company, which involved changes in its supply chain. She said in an email sent out to customers that these changes would “greatly improve” the customer experience and increase the selection of items available in the Unlimited closet.
The company also said on Friday that it will issue refunds and give an additional $200 in cash to customers who made a one-off order, but had it cancelled because of the supply chain problems.
Hyman told Bloomberg that the troubles began on September 13 when the company installed a new system in its New Jersey warehouse. This created problems with the fulfilment process and impacted the number of orders that could be shipped each day.
Gousto will add 700 jobs in next three years
British online recipe box company Gousto will add more than 700 jobs over the next three years, underscoring growing demand for food services that send precise ingredients for recipes directly to customers’ homes.
Gousto said the jobs will be split between its headquarters in London and its distribution centre in Spalding, eastern central England. Hundreds of roles will be created in its technology team in data science, analytics and software engineering.
The firm’s recruitment drive contrasts with major job losses in Britain’s traditional retail sector over the last year, including 4,500 announced by supermarket group Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, in August.
The value of online sales in Britain’s grocery industry is forecast to grow 44% to 16.7 billion pounds in the five years to 2024, according to market researcher IGD, partly driven by newer entrants to the space, such as Amazon and meal box operators such as Gousto, HelloFresh and Mindful Chef.
Launched in 2012 with four people, Gousto now has more than 500 employees. The hiring announcement follows a £30m funding round in July, which took total funds raised to over £100m.
Instagram launches ‘Reminders’
Instagram has launched ‘Reminders’ to support product drops. The new feature involves reminders and detail tags to encourage Instagram-centric releases and shopping via their Checkout feature.
Enabling reminder notifications may help brands convert potential customers who don’t have the patience to keep refreshing ahead of a release time. Instagram head of fashion Eva Chen is working directly with digital, luxury and beauty brands to get them on board, but says big followings aren’t a priority.
The US-only feature lets brands add ‘reminder’ buttons from the stickers tray to any new launch announcements they post on Instagram Stories. They can also add product detail and launch date tags to photos on their feeds; when clicked, the tag will let followers enable reminders for the product release. If they opt in, they’ll receive push notification reminders both one day and 15 minutes before the drop. Customers who shop the drop are directed to purchase through Instagram’s in-app Checkout.
The feature is a way to capitalise on behaviour that’s already taking place on the platform, says Eva Chen, Instagram’s head of fashion.
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