Retail commerce is rapidly morphing to digital, with online sales seeing double-digit growth as the e-commerce channel captures an ever-increasing share of the consumer dollar, according to the Consumer & Retail Insider, an industry report released by Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (BGL). E-commerce M&A is accelerating as more consumers migrate online.
Amazon is a dominant force in today’s digital age. The retail titan has seen explosive growth, outpacing the overall e-commerce market, and now accounts for more than one-third of all online sales. In an exclusive Amazon roundtable, leading e-commerce executives share insights on how brands with a differentiated digital experience can thrive in the age of Amazon. “Niche marketplaces focusing on specific product sub-types, vertical-specific offers, or vertical-specific user interface have gained footing alongside Amazon,” said Dave Barr, the executive vice president and co-founder of Lyons Consulting Group and roundtable participant.
“The human condition is a complex one, and it is one that will not be sufficiently satisfied with Amazon alone as the be-all and end-all for products and purchases,” said Blythe Jack, a managing director at TSG Consumer Partners (TSG) and roundtable contributor. “For those products that lend themselves to a more three-dimensional purchase experience, Amazon is going to be relegated to a much smaller role.” TSG’s recent investments in e-commerce platforms Backcountry and REVOLVE, which cater to the “enthusiast” consumer and offer highly-curated and rich purchase experiences, underscore this point. “Branded destination online marketplaces that offer a compelling shopping experience replete with sticky content, engaged user communities, and integrated e-commerce that play to “discoverability” of new products and brands will continue to sustain and succeed,” said Jack.
Amazon’s aggressive category expansion has disrupted virtually every retail sector, with grocery its latest target as it builds upon the transformative acquisition of Whole Foods Market, completed in August 2017. The deal has spurred a wave of acquisitions and partnerships, with Kroger (Ocado Group and Home Chef, announced in May 2018), Target (Shipt, December 2017 investment), and Albertsons (Plated, September 2017 investment) among the investors looking to expand digital and fulfillment capabilities in the race to capture share of this burgeoning online market.
BGL is a leading advisor to branded companies sold through all channels with special emphasis on direct-to-consumer business models.