There’s no doubt online commerce has changed the way we buy and sell, and thanks to the innovative thinkers behind several new ecommerce startups the landscape of retail therapy continues to evolve and change to provide more options, more convenience and better service. Both merchants and shoppers are benefitting from products that make it easier to connect people to the things they need and love.
Here are four up-and-coming commerce startups making a big splash in the world of buying and selling.
Situating themselves as the ecommerce website builder of choice for small and mid-sized businesses, Bigcommerce has been making news as the go-to company for increasing retail sales and service online. For stores hoping to differentiate themselves from big online marketplaces like Amazon, Bigcommerce provides everything from website design and secure shopping carts to experienced marketing gurus who help launch both brand-new startups and seasoned veterans into new levels of ecommerce success.
Featuring complete integration with eBay, Bigcommerce stands out in the world of ecommerce business support for its unique understanding of the online marketplace. Highlights of their store designs include the ability to offer drop shipping, pre-ordering and back-ordering and even on-demand shopping comparisons to ensure shoppers are getting exactly what they want for the price they want to pay.
As of March, the Australian-based company had raised $75 million and with a client base of more than 50,000 merchants in over 130 countries, Bigcommerce feels ready to take on Amazon when it comes to providing online retail services to smaller retailers.
What makes Bigcommerce different is the chance for small businesses to build brand recognition and a loyal customer base, which doesn’t really happen on powerhouse sites like Amazon. Bigcommerce may be championing the little guy, but they certainly seem to be growing into a force to be reckoned with.
Their slogan, “Subscribe is the new shop,” says it all. OrderGroove is a fast-growing startup that offers subscription commerce solutions to retailers across the web. Subscription services have become a staple of modern commerce and can be the key to brand loyalty and sales growth. The goal of OrderGroove’s services is to help companies convert casual shoppers into loyal subscribers who make more frequent purchases and spend more annually.
Not only does this serve retailers and other online merchants, but it also makes life simpler for the consumers who benefit from the convenience of subscription services that help them keep their cupboards (and closets) stocked for less. The experts at OrderGroove have the knowledge and technology needed to ensure customers deliver a subscription program that works.
And retailers are noticing because OrderGroove currently powers over 75 brands including L’Oreal, Lot18 and Jockey. The company, which started in 2008, saw tremendous growth from 2011 to 2012, tripling its client roster and experiencing 430% revenue growth year-over-year. In November 2012, OrderGroove raised $7 million from Fung Capital USA and additional investors including former Walmart.com CEO Raul Vazquez.
Those investments seem to be paying off. OrderGroove was recently recognized for the Most Innovative Use of Tokenization at the 2014 Paymetric Customer Innovation Awards, and continues to add to its list of clients.
Being a musician is often more of a side project than the way to pay the bills, but passionate musicians still want to be able to upgrade equipment, collect rare instruments or just change it up every once in a while – without breaking the bank. That’s something online retailer Reverb understands. This unique marketplace connects sellers and buyers in a specialized community where musicians can get more for items they sell and pay less for items they purchase.
In addition to being exclusive to the world of music, Reverb understands that many instruments and the musicians who play them have a story to tell. One of Reverb’s advantages over other sites like eBay is the time they take to really cultivate and tell the story rather than just posting a generic description along with a price tag.
And speaking of price tags, Reverb’s transaction fee is only 3.5% compared to 10% on eBay and 15% on Amazon. But even with Reverb taking a much lower cut, the site still did over $1 million in sales on just 3,500 transactions, according to a cover story in “Music Inc.”
Those kinds of numbers have started grabbing attention. In late 2013, the startup gained the attention of some celebrity admirers who liked what they saw so much they decided to invest. Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick joined up with a cadre of other investors, including David Lowery of Camper van Beethoven fame, to the tune of $2.3 million.
Affirm is attempting to fill some of the credit holes left in the wake of the recession with their flexible pay-over-time options that don’t rely on traditional credit. In fact, Affirm isn’t a credit card – it’s a way to buy that new TV or laptop and spread out the payments without slapping down plastic or getting high interest in-store credit.
Founded by one of the minds behind PayPal, it’s not surprising that CEO Max Levchin has come up with another way to cchange the face of finance. Affirm’s main product is Split Pay. Split Pay lets shoppers divide their online purchase into three monthly payments. Affirm pays for purchases immediately and bills customers for the balance in accord with the product selected.
To use Affirm all consumers need to do is click the Affirm button at checkout, enter identifying information and Affirm will make an instant approval decision. Affirm doesn’t use FICO credit scores, instead they calculate risk based on a range of factors that include the cost of items being purchased and personal data gleaned from sources including social media.
The formula seems to be working, as the company has piqued the interest of investors, raising $45 million from venture capital films in the past year. By providing alternative ways for consumers to manage their cash flow and giving retailers more options, Affirm hopes to help commerce return to the days where trust and relationships were more important than credit scores.
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