business news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in The Information about three startups working with direct-to-consumer online retailers to help them "work together to showcase their goods in new ways - without cannibalizing each other’s sales."

Two of the companies - Canal and Disco - have similar business strategies, helping "one merchant sell its goods on another merchant’s site. When customers browse or place an order on one brand’s site, they get recommendations for complementary items from another brand, which they can buy without leaving the site they are currently shopping on."

The economics are different - Canal allows merchants to get a commission on sales of other retailers' products, while Disco is just creating greater distribution, with sales being their own reward.

But the goals are the same - to help non-competing or complementary retailers to grow market share and sales without having to rely exclusively on Facebook or Instagram.

KC's View:

Tom Furphy and I talked a lot about this in today's Innovation Conversation, and we agreed that there is a model here for food retailers who want to grow their businesses.  If they can find a way to sell proprietary products on other retailer's sites (or, for that matter, in their stores), it is a way for retailers to help each other at a time when competition is becoming more pitched.