D2C investments, new brick-and-mortars, and retail media partnerships get brands on our ‘unofficial’ May list of interesting retailers

Gatorade and Canada Goose are doubling down on D2C. Walmart and Best Buy signed deals to bolster their retail media business. And digitally native brands Wayfair and Warby Parker invested big in physical retail. Here’s our Unofficial Most Interesting Retailers List for May 2024.

1. Walmart

In addition to launching bettergoods, a new private label food brand, Walmart opened two Neighborhood Markets, boasting an expanded in-store space for greater product assortment, efficient layouts, and enhanced services, including a Health Services Room and a Mother’s Room.

Partnerships were also a focus. Walmart teamed up with Pawp, allowing Walmart+ members to access 24/7 telehealth pet health services, as well as Disney, to bolster its retail media targeting capabilities.

2. Best Buy

Best Buy partnered with CNET to develop a new retail media model, combining ad inventories to enable broader reach. CNET content, including product reviews and editorial advice, will also appear on Best Buy’s website, app, and physical stores, to help engage consumers earlier in the purchasing journey.

3. Gatorade

To boost D2C sales from its ecommerce website, Gatorade released a loyalty program that allows consumers to collect points for purchasing qualifying products in-store or online and by engaging, for example, by referring friends or subscribing to emails. Even if Gatorade doesn’t see traction from its D2C business, it may be a good opportunity for the brand and manufacturer PepsiCo to capture first-party data, our analyst Arielle Feger said on an episode of the “Behind the Numbers: Reimagining Retail” podcast.

4. Kroger

Kroger is making it easier for advertisers to reach consumers without third-party cookies through a partnership with Yahoo Advertising. Customer purchasing data from the retailer’s retail media arm, Kroger Precision Marketing, can now be used directly in the Yahoo DSP, in an effort to prepare for the depreciation of legacy identifiers.

5. Warby Parker

Warby Parker’s Q1 2024 revenues saw a 16.3% YoY increase, reaching $200 million—a sign that its investments into physical retail is paying off. This year, the digitally native vertical brand (DNVB) plans to open 40 more stores, expand services with more optometrists, and widen its product selection with contacts and sunglasses. “That expansion into services has been critical in setting [Warby Parker] apart from other D2Cs that have struggled since their IPO. It means that there’s a lot more than just the products that keep bringing people back into these physical locations,” our analyst Sky Canaves said.

6. Amazon

This month, Amazon hosted four shopping events, including a Pet Day, Book Sale, Summer Beauty Haul, and a Memorial Day sale. Opening these events to non-Prime members not only kept consumers spending outside of the flagship Amazon Prime Day sales, but can also encouraged membership sign-ups. Although Amazon has not reported sales data from these May shopping events, its Big Spring Sale in March helped convert 28% of non-Prime members to the program, according to data from CivicScience.

7. Wayfair

Wayfair reported positive signs of growth this month. In addition to opening the doors to its first large-format store, it shared talks of a new loyalty program and a brand campaign. Its latest Q1 2024 earnings reported US sales falling only 1% YoY—a much smaller hit than the overall furniture industry, which fell 8.4% over the same time period.

Another reason why Wayfair may not be seeing as much of a slowdown as its competitors is because they also sell smaller home goods, decorative items, and appliances, Canaves said.

8. Canada Goose

Canada Goose opened three new brick-and-mortars this month, adding to its plans to double its physical footprint by 2028. Many luxury brands are honing in on their D2C strategy with mixed results, Canaves said, but Canada Goose has seen signs of success, reporting a 22% increase in revenue for Q4 ending March 2024.

“Canada Goose also announced a new creative director,” Canaves said. “He’ll be able to move the brand in a new direction beyond the logo and outerwear, creating a new type of luxury fashion category that merges performance with high-end craftsmanship.”

Listen to the full episode.


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