We caught up with Matt Whiffen from DNVBlist to help us understand the evolution of v-commerce, and DNVB Brands.
So what exactly is V-commerce and Digitally-Native Vertical Brands?
It's typically defined by four or five pretty simple characteristics: 1) started online and e-commerce driven, 2) physical product, 3) focus on customer experience, and 4) the brand on the website is the brand on the item/product you buy.
What has been the turning point for this movement?
You could say the turning was actually the starting point of the acronym itself. Online-only businesses have obviously been around for a while now, but they weren't really defined in this way until Andy Dunn, the CEO of Bonobos, put the acronym to it. Now, DNVB is also synonymous with vertical commerce or v-commerce.
How do V-commerce brands compete with E-commerce brands?
All v-commerce is e-commerce, but all e-commerce is not v-commerce, if that makes sense. Amazon sells every brand under the sun, same with Walmart and Jet.com, now owned by Walmart. While Amazon and Walmart both have their own in-house brands, their bread and butter is obviously selling other company's goods. V-commerce brands sell their own stuff, and that's it.
Because of that, they can compete on a few levels. One is customer experience, which we mentioned above. Amazon has everything at a good price and it gets to you quick, but a v-commerce brand has a lot more freedom to connect with you one-to-one, and the best brands do this really well. Competing on price isn't reserved just for the Amazons of the world though. V-commerce brands sell direct-to-consumer so there's no middleman taking a cut. If they choose to, that savings can get passed to the customer and often does.
What is your insight on the future of V-commerce?
It's getting easier and easier to start a brand or company these days, so the proliferation of brands isn't going to stop anytime soon. That obviously means more competition for each brand, which continues the cycle. V-commerce will adapt with trends and technology just like anything else. I would image VR/AR shopping experiences are closer than we think.
For folks paying attention to the retail space, it's common knowledge that malls are having a really tough time and we've seen an increasing number of retail brick-and-mortar businesses declaring bankruptcy. This isn't necessarily the beginning of the end of in-person shopping, but shopping in general whether in-person or online is certainly changing in a massive way.
What does this mean to the online consumer?
Does this apply to everyone or it this generation specific? Competition is a positive thing and it definitely applies to everyone. Competition means brands have to compete on a number of fronts from price to quality to variety to marketing channels and everything else. This can only be a good thing for consumers. Below we’ve posted just a handful of brands we’ve been following since their early beginnings.