In today’s top retail news, consumer electronics rental service Grover is launching in the U.S. after success in several European markets, and ShipBob’s CEO tells PYMNTS that direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands need to make sure their customer experience extends through the fulfillment process. Also, Amazon is partnering with Lendistry to provide short-term loans to sellers on its platform, and supply chain platform project44 makes its largest acquisition to date.
Consumer electronics rental service Grover is expanding across the Atlantic to the U.S., aiming to give more Americans access to the latest technology without the pressure or commitment of a high price tag. Grover, founded in 2015 in Germany, is currently in three other European markets, including Austria, the Netherlands and Spain; the U.S. is its fifth market overall. In Europe, Grover has over 1 million registered users and saw its revenue grow by 150% last year.
In a recent conversation with PYMNTS, ShipBob CEO Dhruv Saxena said D2C brands need to think of fulfillment as an extension of the consumer experience “because the customer is really picking on this brand from all the different options that they potentially could have looked on Amazon for.” Unlike third-party sellers on Amazon and Walmart, D2C brands aren’t competing on price but on being a better product and company that resonates with the consumer and convinces them to perhaps pay a premium for merchandise.
Retail giant Amazon is collaborating with community development financial institution Lendistry to provide short-term loans of up to $100,000 to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) selling on Amazon’s platform. Lendistry will offer term loans from $10,000 to $100,000 for up to two years with annual percentage rates between 8% and 9.9%. Amazon sellers can use the money to grow their businesses and pay for staffing and operations costs, product development, and manufacturing and marketing.
Supply chain platform project44 has acquired delivery experience management company Convey in a $255 million purchase. With the acquisition, project44 and Convey link more than 880 global shippers and third-party logistics providers with a network of 113,000 carriers, 2.6 million assets and more than 9 billion shipments. This is project44’s third acquisition this year and its largest to date.
Nearly 20% of U.S. consumers who acquired durable goods over the past 12 months did so using lease-to-own programs, the new PYMNTS Finding Retail’s Invisibles research found. In addition, 75% of consumers said lease-to-own options were the only way they could afford to complete the transaction. Consumers with financial challenges select lease-to-own because they often prefer to use 100% financing rather than cash to pay for durable goods.