Oren John | Product People


Published over 1 year ago • 5 min read

In an increasingly competitive online sales environment, where 80%+ of purchases still happen in physical retail– I’m keenly watching a new generation of businesses that have their own unique merger of online sales and retail presence with the incorporation of services.

This week I paid a visit over to friends at Jack Henry. They have a (recommended) line of skin and haircare, focused on men, with pure ingredients, one of the few brands that are acting on the mens skincare opportunity I outlined a few weeks ago on Twitter and in this newsletter.

In addition to their popular line online and in retailers like Erewhon, they have a wonderful in real life experience in the form of their beautiful industrial barber shop in Costa Mesa (where I live, next to one of my favorite coffee shops WIP).

I think models like this are smart, they allow a brand that might not be able to make the economics of a flagship product store work by incorporating a more traditional services business, while also making the experience unique to their brand.

But the thing I like the most about their presence, that I feel really makes the opportunity come alive, is that they have a daily content workflow on TikTok and other social media from inside the store. Barbers are interviewed, fits are checked, stories are told etc as part of the day-to-day life in store, helping populate social and try new things with a team of personalities.

Meanwhile, in DTLA, the Shoe Surgeon offers a more accessible version of their high end custom projects to consumers with customization workshops that help anyone create a custom shoe the love- marrying a popular aspirational online brand to an in-person experience that brings in a totally different consumer.

We’ve seen similar concepts with ALD’s Cafe Leon Dore in NY and London (and J. Crew is reportedly doing the same).

This is about taking the cultural and content opportunities of a great popup and leveraging it into a longer term retail strategy that is more accessible for newer or smaller brands. The tie-ins to art galleries, tattoo shops, etc are easy to make, but I also think you could see more tactical companies doing service businesses

- An Amazon cleaning products company with a local carwash
- A high quality tools business with a repair shop
- Clothing stores that offer cleaning or tailoring
- And the fitness correlations are already a big thing, as I detailed in last week’s emailer on Onnit’s partnership with DeFranco’s gym in Austin.

Obviously, running two businesses is harder than one, but the creative means of expansion that allow brands to leverage online and local together is a concept that I think it just getting explored.

As we see a huge generational shift of retiring boomers either selling their businesses or passing them to their children multiplied by the new marketplaces to buy and sell businesses of any size online… there are going to be new and unique models developed that everyone should be considering to expand, localize, or vertically integrate.

Related, article is up on ProductWorld about considerations for DTC brands expanding into retail and Amazon:

Now, onto the more tactical.

BFCM prep. Black Friday this year is going to be… different.

Brands, especially department stores etc. are sitting on MAJOR inventory. Consumers are cautious and have been waiting to spend for when the deals come, companies are worried and anxious to try to make their numbers any way they can.

And at the same time, new platforms are here-we didn't have reels, TikTok and live (this was moreso around than the others) strategies as major drivers last year-and shoppers habits are changing.

Here’s what I’d be looking to do.

Since this year is likely to be chaos, I think the best strategy is very active communication
- Many brands might be starting even earlier than the week of Black Friday. If you do this, be transparent with shoppers that you do or don’t plan to drop price further (can be an encouragement tactic, or a scarcity tactic depending on strategy).
- Tease that deals are coming early so consumers know to have you in their shopping plan
- Announce when you plan to launch your deals, and also specify what’s not on sale

Add Live on your biggest platform (Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitter… or all)
- Promote a live for start of event
- Go live and talk through what’s on sale
- Use clips from live for social throughout the sale

Pro Tips
- Run your sale 1-2 days early for VIPs (existing customers or repeat customers) so they can feel special.
- Get influencers and partners involved with their own codes. Offer influencers slightly higher discounts for their audiences, or do some items exclusive to their offer that aren’t on other sales

Product plan
- It’s too late for new SKUs, but might be worth some smaller rush items for gift upsell
- Work with your warehouse team or 3PL to add gift-wrapping if relevant
- What can you bundle and make giftable as holiday specific sales

On social
- Feature 2-3 different sale item on posts and stories every day of sale
- Carousels or short videos describing the product and being very sales forward
- Don’t be afraid to reuse photos or videos, perhaps with some additional BTS or context
- Add the face to your brand and whose working during the week.

On email
- Drop a gift guide, or a series of guides for different types of consumers. There is SO much content to do here.
- Adjust your automation for new subscribers to be specific to the holiday season, gifts and promoting your sales and swap back after. I set calendar invites for swapping things like this as easy reminders
- Campaigns basic stack: sale announcement, sale reminder, launch, product showcase emails (1-2), popular sale items + top content, 24 hours left.

On your website
- Highlight BFCM items on their own landing page with rich content
- Highlight giftable items through the holiday on your site with rich content (video, articles) about who they’re good gifts for

A section dedicated to the many videos I’m doing

Sports is high fashion’s newest frontier

Calculating the value of influencers

On adverts vs conversations

My new TikTok series, Products that Stand Out:

Graza used one UX trick that was in front of our faces the whole time

A $199 pepper cannon

Vollebaks indestructable clothes

Factories back next week, got some things brewing there. In the mean time, multiple samples have arrived from Pietra on some products I'm working on for a lil holiday capsule. Use the code OREN30 if you're interested in trying Pietra yourself.

🛠 Builder's Build 🛠

Whose worth more? Mr. Beast vs Yeti Coolers

Inspired by a Landforce tweet exchange, we discuss who has more enterprise value between one of the worlds top creators and a popular cooler brand:

Types of online courses - Do it yourself, done with you, done for you:

I appreciate you reading, and stoked to see what you create!

– Oren ​



Check out 2 newsletters from my best friends James & Colin

NanoFlips - Learn the art of buying, growing and selling websites:

Free Smoke - A Cannabis Business newsletter by Colin Landforce:

Oren John | Product People



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