Walmart Embraces D2C Brands for Growth in 2021

Brands like Quip, Lola, Modern Fertility, and Big Fig have all recently partnered with Walmart to expand their presence.

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Need to Know

  • Walmart is leaning into direct-to-consumer (D2C) partnerships this year to keep up with competitors like Amazon and Target and grow its reach.
  • The partnerships support growing brands as well, due to Walmart’s established e-commerce capabilities and its focus on third-party marketplaces.
  • Brands like Quip, Lola, Modern Fertility, and Big Fig have all recently partnered with Walmart to help grow their businesses, both online and in-person.

Analysis

In order to keep up with competitors like Amazon and Target, Walmart is partnering with young direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands to grow its reach in 2021. 

While many D2C brands prefer managing their products from their own websites, for greater control over data and customer experience, some young D2C brands are leaning into the option of enlisting a big-box brand partner like Walmart that can more easily support e-commerce operations. 

For toothbrush brand Quip, partnering with Walmart means more eyes on their product. Because most people still shop for oral care products in-store, and typically at large retail chains, it just makes sense to have its products accessible at a store like Walmart. And the brand’s subscription-based model hasn’t been affected: customers can buy once in Walmart and then sign up for automatic refills by subscriptions, which are cheaper than in-store purchases.

“Improving people’s oral health by expanding access to simple, effective and affordable oral care has always been the cornerstone of quip’s mission, and we’re excited to work with the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, to improve oral health in millions more households across the country,” says quip CEO and co-founder, Simon Enever

Since partnering with Walmart, quip has become one of the fastest-growing toothbrush brands in the United States, with over 5 million total electric toothbrushes sold. 

Last spring, Walmart partnered with feminine care brand Lola, which transformed the company from a D2C brand into an omnichannel one. Because the majority of American women shop at Walmart, the collaboration just made sense.   

While the partnership was planned prior to the pandemic, it proved to be beneficial timing given the rise in panic-buying for essentials and a rapid shift towards online-only retail fulfillment.  

“It’s more important than ever to get these essential products to women, and make sure they can easily and safely purchase these products,” said Lola co-founder Alexandra Friedman in April. “The existing need for period products has been compounded during this crisis. We want them on shelves, on Walmart.com. We want to get as many as we possibly can to women in need.”

Other D2C brands that have moved to a partnership with Walmart include plus-size mattress brand Big Fig, which has benefitted from Walmart.com’s robust e-commerce and SEO capabilities, and health startup Modern Fertility, which values Walmart’s expedited fulfillment capabilities. 

While D2C retail has grown over recent years, in a post-pandemic 2020, it became the default. Both established brands like Nike and lululemon and up-and-comers like Chewy and Impossible Foods made the switch to D2C. 

Now, with Walmart entering the D2C space, even more brands will be able to grow thanks to the retail giant’s easy customer acquisition, streamlined fulfillment, and robust e-commerce capabilities.  

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