As the internet business evolves different ways of monetizing on the web are arising and the ecommerce business is strengthening its power with revenue expected to reach $460 billion in 2018, according to Huffington Post. Along with the increase of mobile shopping and mobile browsing, which is accountable for 49% of the world’s web page views (excluding tablets), there is no geographic or time boundaries keeping consumers from shopping.
So it should come as no surprise that each year different ecommerce businesses start standing out from the crowd, mostly due to innovation. In a sky full of stars you need to understand your niche and innovate on customer service, on fulfillment, on the organizational aspects of your business, and even on staff training in order to shine away. In this article we will take a deeper look into 7 ecommerce business stars to watch rising even further in 2018.
Top Ecommerce Companies to Watch Out For in 2018
Amazon is no small fish in the e-commerce ocean, but its size is not the main reason why the retailer is number one on our list of ecommerce companies to watch. The fact is that Amazon has probably been published on all lists for tech businesses to watch for the past (insert a high number) years, and this is due to their incredible innovation profile.
It’s not April yet and Amazon has already released plans to form a new company alongside Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan, started pushing the sale of medical supplies, hired a new head of Amazon Studios, was reported to launch “Shipping With Amazon” that will be competing with UPS and FedEX and opened Amazon Go that is a project to remake convenience stores, according to Digital Ecommerce 360.
But back to Amazon’s ecommerce focus, the company that has recently acquired Whole Foods has established a 2-hour delivery plan for the food chain via Prime Now which started in February in limited markets. This is a huge step even further ahead of the competition as according to USA Today, "...the two biggest choke points for consumers when it comes to buying groceries online are cost and scheduling" and the integration between Whole Foods and Amazon will solve both problems.
Apart from innovating in ecommerce, Amazon is a serial launcher of new business units and this is why each month can bring a series of novelty to the giant in the tech industry that has been invading bricks-and-mortar.
Number two on our ranking is a giant of the luxury fashion business. Farfetch is an ecommerce merchant of luxury fashion launched in 2008 and has been growing its brand portfolio. They aim to reach 900 boutiques, 2 million customers and sell to 190 countries in 2018.
Farfetch is due to go public this year and the stock exchange listing is expected to value the company at more than £4bn. So it is no surprise that Farfetch is planning a revolution within their fashion field. The plan is to invest heavily on technology to create the Store of the Future.
The Store of the Future will take the omnichannel experience to another level and will allow those who are browsing at bricks and mortar to flag a wish list from their mobiles whenever they see a luxury bag or trench coat they like, and save it for a later purchase. Although Jose Neves, CEO at Farfetch, does not disclose how much he will be investing on technology in 2018, Business Insider says that the team of 1,000 engineers will reach the 1,600 mark at some point this year.
ThirdLove was founded in 2013 by its current CEO, Heidi Zak, who couldn’t find a perfectly fitting bra to wear at a party for Google employees. With 59 sizes and 15 styles later she sees herself with an empire built on the idea that bras should fit women and not the other way around like the giant Victoria’s Secret that has been losing share as it decided to not adjust to women’s needs.
Heidi also has an eye for big data and how to use it to her business advantage. She told Forbes that the data they get from customers affect how they develop products, create the customer journey, and ensure great experience. Overall it changes how they interact with customers.
One of ThirdLove’s big guns is the technology called Fit Finder on their website. Fit Finder not only helps women find the perfect bra fit to them, it also helps the company even further by providing data from 8 million women that use the tool.
While most bricks and mortar retail business are investing on technology and making efforts to drive much of their sales to the online platform, the online mattress start-up Casper is turning the other way around.
Casper has opened their first permanent store in New York earlier this year, and it’s a 3,000 square-foot space that invites customers to test the mattresses and even doze off on them.
Casper is known for letting customers try the mattresses and return them if they don’t adapt to it. This isn’t the first time that they have come up with physical spaces. Over the years they’ve built pop up stores across the US and “Napmobiles’ that drove around town offering nap time to those in need. However this is the first time that Casper has launched a permanent store and we will be looking forward to see what’s next for Casper in 2018.
Glossier is a beauty brand that grew from the very popular blog, Into the Gloss. The company is lead by the current CEO Emily Weiss and is mostly dominated by female staff and with an increasing popularity among millennials. Glossier has been getting stronger as time goes by and will continue to grow.
The plans for Glossier in 2018, that just hired one of Conde Nast’s most valuable creative director Marie Suter after a $52 million series C round and summing up to $86 million total funding, is to launch in France, open a New York flagship store and continue to staff up. Overall the new capital round will be the trigger to improve customer experience.
As the brand disrupt the way beauty communicates with customers, and talks to an intriguing millennial mind, Glossier is on our Top Ecommerce to Watch in 2018 list as we foresee some pleasant surprises along the way.
Boxed is an online wholesale retailer commonly referenced as the Costco for millennials, that doesn’t charge a membership fee. When CEO and Co-founder Cheh Huang noticed that none of the big box warehouses were selling with the convenience of bulk home delivery, he created a business focused on the mobile experience.
The New York based Boxed’s growth is also due to a division of the business that sells in bulks to other business, delivering supplies to offices all over the US. The reason why Boxed has made it to our Top Ecommerce to Watch List in 2018 is due to the recent talks about Boxed being acquired by Amazon or Kroger. But companies like General Mills (that owns Hagen Dazs, Nature Valley, Cheerios and others) and Bed Bath & Beyond, the home décor chain, are also interested in bidding.
Given that each one of these businesses have a particular strategy for acquiring Boxed, like Bad Bath & Beyond that aims to launch its own kitchen supply business unit, this is definitely an ecommerce business to keep an eye on in 2018.
Goat is a rare footwear online outlet that has been getting attention over the past few years, and plans to get even more in 2018 with the recent acquisition by hard-to-find bricks and mortar kicks business Flight Club. Not only have they gathered wealth as they have recently announced a new funding round of $60 million from Index Ventures.
The two businesses have more than 7 million members and 400 thousand individual sneakers for sale. They claim to continue their operations individually without interfering on the parent company for now. While Goat will remain focusing on mobile and web platforms that gathers both buyers and sellers, Flight Club will keep focusing on traditional retail and ecommerce.
With the latest funding, the intent is to scale both online and retail operations, domestically and internationally.
The promise of ecommerce businesses in 2018 is to keep the focus on consumers. This will be achieved by following trends and new demands such as the omnichannel experience. They will also widen their reach with new business units and increase product portfolios which is a common result of business mergers, and by exceeding customer expectations while facilitating exceptional delivery, returns and exchange processes, and offering product testing before purchasing.