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Trending Retailers


Blue Apron. Dollar Shave Club. The RealReal. The Honest Company. All startups, all relative newcomers to the retail scene, and all generating big buzz and sale increases — enough to place them among the top 20 fastest-growing e-retailers in a recent survey.* They are all pure players (at least for now) and if you don’t see them as competition, think again.

• Blue Apron: A subscription service that helps busy consumers get a home-cooked meal on their table in no time, Blue Apron delivers boxes of perfectly portioned fresh ingredients (with accompanying recipes) for three meals per week right to their customers’ doorsteps. (It also sells kitchenware.)

In June, Blue Apron landed $135 million in Series D funding from Fidelity Management and Research Company, valuing the company at $2 billion. It plans to use the funding to enhance its supply chain and fulfillment logistics.

• Dollar Shave Club: This monthly razor delivery service offers proof positive that a viral YouTube video can indeed launch a brand — and shows how clever use of social media and smart marketing can create an online community.

Since attracting 12,000 subscribers in the 48 hours after its YouTube debut in 2012, the company has grown to some 1.5 million active subscribers. Along with razors, it now offers shaving cream, aftershave, wet wipes and hair care products. Its monthly packages also include a mini magazine, The Bathroom Minutes.

Dollar Shave Club also has a blog on health and hygiene. Founder and CEO Michael Dubin recently live-streamed his colonoscopy to raise cancer awareness.

• The RealReal: Authentication. That’s what helps luxury goods (think Chanel and Christian Louboutin) consignment retailer The RealReal stand out from competitors. The company inspects and authenticates its merchandise before selling the goods, ensuring that customers don’t end up with designer knockoffs.

In addition, The RealReal, which claims 3.5 million members, offers “white glove pick-up” in major cities where associates will come to sellers’ homes to pick up their items. The company recently closed on $40 million in Series D funding, bringing its total raised to $83 million.

• The Honest Company: Actress Jessica Alba’s non-toxic, eco-friendly product brand is on fire. Starting out with diapers, the company’s wares now include baby formula, bath and body products, household cleaning products and more. High-quality standards, educational and charitable initiatives have helped Honest Co. amass a dedicated, almost cult-like following.

While the bulk of sales occur on its web-site, Honest Co. also has a growing brick-and-mortar presence, with distribution in such retailers as Whole Foods Market, Destination Maternity and Nordstrom. And some reports have it scouting out its own store location. The company has a current valuation of $1 billion.


Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring explained it best in a presentation to the Retail Marketing Society, noting that in today’s complex landscape, competition can come from anywhere and anyone.

“We are not just competing against Saks, Neiman and Nordstrom anymore,” Spring said.

* Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide

Marianne Wilson

[email protected]

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