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Let’s recap for a sec. Digital Native Brands, or Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs), are brands born on and primarily experienced via the internet. They pursue a vertically-oriented business model and position themselves as experts compared to traditional players. The term was first coined by Andy Dunn, founder of Bonobos (a DNVB that was, ironically, later on acquired by Walmart).

French DNVB for eyeglasses, Jimmy Fairly, flaunts the fact they are selling to you, directly.

The vertical business model of DNVBs (sometimes they are also called v-commerce brands) is built upon removing all intermediates (distributors, importers, wholesalers), thus sourcing directly from the factory. This clearly allows them to gain a cost advantage compared to inefficient legacy supply chains. Also, these direct relationships with their suppliers shorten feedback loops and reduce their product development cycle. Last but not least, they are able to execute a tighter control on the manufacturer’s operating standards. You can find these brands in nearly every vertical, but the most popular examples (like Dollar Shave Club or Harry’s) are active in niches with just a few big players maintaining ridiculously high prices (in the example of razors, Gillette and Schick). They enter the market with an equivalent quality / lower price or a superior quality experience.

DNVBs often resonate well with (and are created by) millennials, who in the meanwhile have gained a significant spending power. These millennials (often also referred to as Digital Natives) are driving change in shopping behavior. With their smartphone (and thus, the Internet) at their fingertips, they have an unlimited access to product reviews, unboxing videos and social shares. Older generations trust Consumers International. Millennials have faith in user-generated content (UGC). Their expectations are extremely high and include both the product’s tangible quality and the total shopping experience. This is why DNVBs are – according to the very same Andy Dunn – “maniacally focused on the customer experience”.


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