Weekly eCommerce Reading List: Week of January 16

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Alicia Doiron

This week in the world of eCommerce, omnichannel beauty retailer and eCommerce masters, Lush Cosmetics, is planning on expanding store sizes. Fashion retailer BCBC plans to focus their attention on eCommerce after laying off over 100 employees. Could Flirtey drones be delivering your takeout soon? It's already been happening in New Zealand and Nevada. Drone delivery startup Flirtey raises another 16 million. And eCommerce beauty subscription box retailer Birchbox is set to open their second brick-and-mortar location in Paris.

Omnichannel Beauty Retailer Lush is Expanding its Physical Locations

Source: Financial Post

Omnichannel beauty retailer and eCommerce leaders, Lush Cosmetics is planning on tripling its average store size over the next three years. This is a huge accomplishment as so many other brick-and-mortar retailers across North America are downsizing or closing their doors altogether. But Lush, the retailer known for their colorful quirky bath products and skincare are having the opposite problem; their 250 stores are just too busy for employees to handle. “With the volume we’ve had, we were too often at the level where staffers were complaining about having too many customers crammed into the store,” Mark Wolverton, chief executive of Lush North America, said in an interview with The Financial Post. Right now the average North American store size is 800 square feet and takes in an average of $2 million annually, but Lush plans on expanding 120 stores to be 2,000 to 2,500 square feet. Lush plans on expanding 40 of their expansion projects completed by the end of its fiscal year in June, when their sales are predicted to hit $750 million. Lush continues to be a leader in the omnichannel space in that they’ve done an enviable job of creating a seamless experience between their physical and digital presence. Wolverton stated that “the internet plays a really important role in terms of exposure and repeat shopping” but will never take over the in-store experience customers receive.

BCBG Plans to Focus Their Shift to eCommerce

Source: Internet Retailer

From one brick-and-mortar retailer expanding stores, to another who’s planning to reduce physical locations and has recently laid off 123 employees. In a bid to cope with their debt, the fashion house plans to restructure the company and focus their attention to online shopping. In an email statement to Internet Retailer, Seth Lubove, a spokesperson for BCBC said they have “too large a physical retail footprint...In order to remain viable, the company -- like so many others in its industry -- must realign its business to effectively compete in today’s shopping environment.” While BCBG is in a bit of a cash crunch, the retailer doesn’t believe they are in so bad a position they would need to file for bankruptcy. The company is exploring options and believe eCommerce will help them to remain relevant in today’s digital shopping society.

Drone Delivery Startup Flirtey Raises $16 Million

Source: TechCrunch

Could a Flirtey drone deliver your next eCommerce purchase? It certainly could be a possibility. The startup recently raised $16 million in Series A funding to bring its drone delivery service to new customers, companies and possibly countries. The flying crafts first created some buzz last year when they delivered cold slurpees and hot pizzas to quench thirsts and nurse hunger pains in Nevada and New Zealand. While there is no shortage of tech companies experimenting with drone delivery, Flirtey has been seen as a leader in the industry because of their sound technology and because of the way they’ve eased into the market. Menlo Ventures’ Managing Director Mark A. Siegel who also happens to be a Flirtey board member stated his interest in drone tech and services “In delivery, we think that at scale drones will be the most efficient and lowest cost mode of transport for small packages that require time sensitivity– think medical supplies, fast food, and on-demand e-commerce.”

eCommerce Beauty Subscription Startup Birchbox to Open Brick-and-Mortar Store

Source: VentureBeat

Traditional online retailer Birchbox, is set to pen a physical location in Paris later this year. The company was founded out of New York in 2010 and though it is one of many subscription boxes, they’ve managed to become leaders in their market. They currently claim one million subscribers across the U.S., U.K, Spain, France, Ireland, and Belgium and continue to grow with a little help from VC funding, which now totals more than 80 million. This is actually their second physical store, with their first being opened in New York in 2014 making them a true multi channel retailer. Birchbox plans to emulate their New York store but will make a few tweaks to cater to their French audience. Customers will be able to personalize their own box of products in both sample-sized and full-sized variations. In addition there will be a team of beauty specialists to provide help and guidance to in-store shoppers. This remains a key differentiator from their online store.