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Digitally Native Vertical Brands, or DNVBs, have transformed the landscape of retail in recent years. The term digitally native vertical brand was coined by Andy Dunn, who founded the online clothing brand Bonobos in 2007. He later sold his company to to Walmart in 2017 for $265m. DNVBs have a variety of key elements that set them apart from other traditional retailers.


Digitally Native Vertical Brands were born on the web, and focuses on millennials and digital natives. Everything is performed online: advertising, story-telling, and transactions. According to Andy Dunn, “it [a DNVB] doesn’t have to adapt to the future, it is the future.” DNVBs are most appealing to those who have never known a time without the internet and are very comfortable using the web.

Vertical Structure

DNVBs are unique because they cut out the middleman. They communicate directly with consumers, and sell their own products on their own websites. DNVBs control the entire customer experience with their brand. The website shares the same brand name that appears on the product itself. There are no third parties.

Focus on the Brand

What makes DNVBs unique is their emphasis on their brand and brand loyalty. They are fighting to replace e-commerce companies, which are channels rather than brands. Although they can’t grow as quickly as e-commerce groups, in the long run their brand matters more than extreme rapid growth.

Customer Experience

Digitally Native Vertical Brands are extremely focused on their customers’ experience. Their level of customer service is unprecedented. The control the entire experience online, from when a potential customer first sees an advertisement online, to placing and paying for an order, to settling any issues after the purchase and delivery.

Ability to Extend Offline

Although DNVBs are born on the web, they by no means will end up digital-only. These brands have the ability to expand offline through means such as unique partnerships, physical retail locations, or pop up shops. Offline, DNVBs focus less on warehouse retail and more on how they market their distinct brand and continue to improve customer service.

Digitally Native Vertical Brands set themselves apart from other traditional retailers through their structure, presence on the web, customer experience, and focus on their brand. These unique brands are the future of retail, and they will likely continue to increase in popularity.