Did Former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Just Create A New Retail Holiday?

Black Friday is less than two weeks away, but the season for giving has already kicked off with a new shopping holiday.

In the wake of the direct-to-consumer revolution, digitally native brands have banded together to offer deals to consumers, well ahead of the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush.

The first “DTC Friday” launched Nov. 15 at DTCFriday.com, featuring brands ranging from Greats footwear to Care/Of vitamins. Organized by the DTX Company, a direct-to-consumer-boosting incubator helmed by former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, the holiday seeks to provide a convenient platform for consumers to discover a range of independently operated specialty brands.

“There’s a very interesting element of discovery,” said Ben Hordell, a partner at DXAgency, a marketing and advertising firm that specializes in consumer products. While part of the appeal of DTC brands is that they are so individualistic, having a centralized website helps consumers find deals on not only their favorite brands, but new ones they may not have known about before, he said.

“What we used to do as shoppers was go to the mall, and we had those cornerstone department stores. As you walked from department store to department store, you would discover new shops in between,” he explained.

Likening the DTC Friday site to an online mall, Hordell said that consumers might feel more compelled to try out new, niche brands based on their association with the holiday’s other — more established — participants.

DTC Friday’s 120 inaugural brands include Buffy bedding, Dagne Dover bags, Lunya sleepwear, Draper James apparel, Material cookware, MaxBone pet accessories, Rhone athletic wear, Rockets of Awesome children’s clothing and more. Deals range in value, from free shipping to 10% to 50% off orders.

Despite the enticing offerings, DTC Friday has hit the retail market with more of a whisper than a bang. The effort has drummed up little press, and many of the participating brands have not advertised their involvement. They could be hedging their bets, Hordell said, in an effort to gauge whether a discount holiday really makes sense for the DTC space.

“Because this is the first iteration, brands will have to assess after the fact whether they experienced a noticeable bump in sales, or whether they had more email sign-ups, or whether there was more general curiosity from consumers,” he explained. “Those data points will fuel the case studies that allow this to be set up even better next year.”

Editor’s Note: This story was reported by FN sister magazine Sourcing Journal. For more, visit Sourcingjournal.com.

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