June 14, 2024

The fashion startup Rent the Runway seemed destined for long-term success when it launched as an industry-disrupting force in the late 2000s. As this video shows, though, not even a $1 billion IPO could save the company from established competitors and the impact of a global pandemic. 

Questions:

  1. How did the pandemic affect Rent the Runway’s business? 
  2. What advantages do established competitors like Urban Outfitters have over startups like Rent the Runway?
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Business is all about giving the customer what they want, but sometimes it can be difficult to figure out exactly what that is. Some brands get to know their fans by giving them a platform that directly asks for their input, providing companies with much-needed ideas while customers feel included in the development process. For example, in 2008 Lego launched its initiative Lego Ideas where builders submit original designs to be evaluated among a wider community of enthusiasts. If an Continue reading

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March 19, 2024

With more than 51 million monthly active users in the United States, the Chinese e-commerce outlet Temu has expanded significantly in recent years thanks to its huge selection of cheap goods. This video looks at the platform’s low-price strategy and how it’s winning customers the world over in spite of reports of poor quality products and possible ethical issues.

Questions:

  1. Why do you think Temu’s business model is appealing to customers?
  2. Which e-commerce strategy do you think is most effective Continue reading
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December 1, 2023

The Chinese e-commerce giant Shein (pronounced Shee-In) controls more than 40 percent of the U.S. fast fashion market, with more than $8 billion in sales last year. This video explores how the retailer consistently churns out cheap shirts and dresses, which includes accusations of labor exploitation that has tarnished Shein’s image with some shoppers.

Questions:

  1. How does Shein’s “small batch” production strategy differ from other clothing companies? 
  2. How has Shein tried to recover its reputation with U.S. consumers? Do Continue reading
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November 29, 2023

The annual sales bonanza known as Black Friday now lasts for much longer than 24 hours, beginning in the days before Thanksgiving and continuing on through Cyber Monday. And while a record number of American consumers turned out at stores to check out this year’s bargains, they didn’t exactly spend a lot of money. According to data from the National Retail Federation, an estimated 200.4 million people shopped over the five days after Thanksgiving, amounting to more than 60 percent Continue reading

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November 17, 2023

With nearly 2,000 stores across the U.S., more than 75 percent of Americans live within ten miles of a Target. These brick and mortar locations have become surprisingly valuable assets for the company’s e-commerce business, with more than 95 percent of online orders originating from Target stores. This video goes into detail about the retailer’s logistical operations, including the local sortation centers Target is investing in to keep up with increasing demand. 

Questions:

  1. How does Target utilize nearly 2,000 Continue reading
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August 30, 2023

America’s biggest retailers have often embraced product returns as a key aspect of their business, starting with J.C. Penney and his namesake company in the early 20th century. Allowing customers to return any product with no questions asked, other big companies like Walmart and Amazon would go on to follow his example in the years to come. “It’s a hallmark of successful American retail,” said Dale Rogers, business professor at Arizona State University. “If you make it easy to shop, Continue reading

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August 4, 2023

The YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, is the video-sharing platform’s most popular creator, boasting more than 172 million subscribers and counting. Donaldson has parlayed his massive success on YouTube into numerous other businesses, including food brands like the snack line Feastables and MrBeast Burger. He co-founded the latter in 2020 after partnering with Virtual Dining Concepts, a company that specializes in serving food through “ghost kitchens.” These ventures take up residence in the kitchens of established restaurants Continue reading

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August 2, 2023

Experts estimate that as many as 80,000 American retail stores will close over the next five years as companies like Forever 21, JCPenney, and Neiman Marcus struggle to stay afloat. That’s not the case for the British retailer Primark, however, which has 18 locations in the U.S. with plans for a lot more to come. This video looks at how the company became a multibillion dollar brand in Europe by sticking to brick-and-mortar stores stocked with high quality items at Continue reading

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April 26, 2023

On Sunday, the once mighty home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond declared bankruptcy after years of poor sales and mounting debt. The company will start closing its 360 locations today and has stopped accepting the big blue coupons that made the brand famous in better days that have long gone. In recent times, Bed Bath and Beyond faced increasingly choosy consumers who avoided the retailer in favor of competitors with better selections and e-commerce capabilities. The company enjoyed a Continue reading

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