Welcome to The Week in Direct-to-Consumer, a weekly roundup for marketers from Quad Insights that sums up the latest news in the DTC space.

Dieux enters wholesale for the first time, partnering with Sephora

DTC clinical skincare brand Dieux just entered its first wholesale partnership, launching on Sephora’s website Feb. 13 and in-store in early March, Cosmetic Design USA’s Cassandra Stern reports. Sephora will sell Dieux’s moisturizers, gels, creams and eye masks that have found traction on TikTok and Instagram, Stern notes, adding that “the move to expand from DTC sales to a more omnichannel approach fits neatly into Dieux’s overall growth strategy in 2024.”

The takeaway: Dieux joins a rapidly rising list of DTC brands embracing a hybrid retail approach.

See also: DTC skincare brand Curology recently launched a partnership with Amazon, as we noted in an earlier installment of The Week in Direct-to-Consumer.

Misfits Market launches fulfillment program for DTC brands

Misfits Market — the online grocer best known for selling distressed-looking (but still fresh and edible) produce that might otherwise be headed for a landfill — has formally launched an e-commerce fulfillment program for DTC brands, Grocery Dive’s Sam Silverstein reports. Silverstein notes that the program, called Fulfilled by Misfits, leverages Misfits’ five refrigerated warehouses and home delivery network to “store, pick, pack, fulfill and deliver products nationwide for its clients.” Fulfilled by Misfits’ current client list includes several DTC brands, including Spot & Tango, Cometeer and Magic Spoon, per the announcement.

The takeaway: With January 2024 ship-to-home grocery sales up 7.8% year-over-year, Misfits Market is positioning itself as a temperature-controlled logistics provider that can drive growth for DTC and other brands in the perishable-products space.

DTC skincare brand Hero Cosmetics runs its first Super Bowl ad

In an article titled “Regional Super Bowl ads for DTC brands—How Hero Cosmetics built awareness with its spot,” Ad Age’s Phoebe Bain explores the DTC brand’s decision to run its first Super Bowl spot. Best known for its Mighty Patch pimple patches, Bain notes that Hero elected to leverage a 30-second spot, “Pop Me,” that’s already been running on CTV — and the brand saved money by doing a regional/streaming buy (running in New York, Minneapolis and on Paramount+). Read the full story here.

The takeaway: Hero’s Super Bowl strategy highlights one of the many ways in which DTC brands are increasingly looking to play in the marketing big leagues.

See also: Canned water brand Liquid Death recently rolled out a campaign encouraging brands to advertise on its packaging in lieu of the Super Bowl, as we noted in an earlier installment of The Week in Consumer Packaged Goods.

Ralph Lauren uses AI to optimize inventory as it boosts DTC

As Ralph Lauren continues to grow its DTC channel, the fashion brand is leveraging AI for inventory management, Consumer Goods Technology’s Liz Dominguez reports. Thus far, its AI-powered inventory optimization pilot has rolled out to European and Asian stores, but Dominguez notes that the company will scale the program across its business, especially as it continues to leverage data and AI for further DTC growth. “The DTC channels are really where the world of Ralph Lauren comes to life most powerfully… And that’s where we’ve invested most,” Ralph Lauren President & CEO Patrice Louvet told Dominguez.

The takeaway: While generative AI’s content creation powers are attention-grabbing, an increasing number of companies are leveraging AI to optimize operations. (More on this topic from Quad: “AI is driving retail and CPG revenue growth, new survey says.”)

Further reading

DTC retail strategy/DTC partnerships:

DTC trends:

DTC celebrity brand launches: