Who would be the next billion dollar eCommerce firm from New York ?

Here is a list of contenders that we came up with :

Etsy – Kid from the old block by eCommerce lifespan . Marketplace for individual creators and handmade crafts. Solid revenue stream.

Lot18 – Wine and gourmet retailer backed by A-list VCs. Said to be doing 50M-100M in revenues , still a long way before hitting the big B mark but operates in a space that offers a runway to scale.

Fab – Been making a lot of noise with huge funding rounds and a design focused inventory push . A ton of investors from The Washington Post to Kevin Rose backing them.

Gilt Groupe – Membership based flash sale site claiming more than 6M members

Everyday Health – Sort of next gen WebMD, offers online health info and solutions, Said to be eyeing an IPO with revenues approaching $1B

Let us know if there are other fast growing New York eCommerce firms we might have left out.

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Indian Online Lingerie Startup Gets $6M Funding, Sector Looks Promising

Legend has it that Victoria Secret founder Roy Raymond was inspired to start the store after feeling embarrassed during lingerie buying adventures for his wife. He envisioned that the not-so-cool and ugly lingerie stores with unfriendly saleswomen could be replaced with cool , colorful and aesthetically designed stores with pleasant service. 

India, a country notorious for women’s safety and privacy is perhaps ideally suited for a revolution in the way lingerie is purchased. Two online lingerie sites have seen hectic activity since launch. PrettySecrets.com, founded in 2011 claims ‘it is inspired by the desire to bring high quality lingerie to the Indian woman’s doorstep’. The venture is backed by Indian Angel Network, Harvard Business School Alumni Angels India and a bunch of other investors. Alexa stats clearly show a take-off in traffic from end of 2012 and it is currently is one the top 3000 sites in India.

Another Indian lingerie etailer called Zivame , also founded in 2011, recently announced it has raised $6M from a groups pf VCs including IDG ventures. The site claims to feature over 2000 styles across various lingerie categories. The site is already among the top 1000 sites in India per Alexa. It will be interesting to wait and see how these ventures play out in this niche retailing segment that has the potential to target over 100M women in the coming years.


Mobile eCommerce: Native App or Responsive Web Design ? We Love The Latter !

By Anthony Fornabiao, VP of Sales, Solveda LLC

“U.S. MOBILE RETAIL SALES WILL RISE 63% THIS YEAR, PROPELLED INTO ORBIT BY RETAILERS WITH POWERFUL MOBILE STRATEGIES”

This headline from a well-known industry magazine caught my eye recently so I decided to reach out to a mid-sized local retailer. It was pretty clear to me that with a thriving online business they definitely needed a better mobile solution. What was less clear was the ROI on building a specific iPhone or Droid “app”, and who would actually go to the trouble of downloading the “app”, let alone using it for purchases? Turns out that they were thinking exactly the same thing.

At Solveda we think about this as “small device”. Maybe it’s an iPhone, maybe a Droid, maybe an iPad or an iPad mini. If we were to custom build an “app” for each of these devices none of our clients would ever recoup the development costs. And who knows what the next device will be.

Our approach is to design sites for “Responsive Web Design”, or RWD for short.

RWD is a design technique whereby the display will “respond” to the available space it has to work in. Think about an eCommerce page listing products available for purchase. On a desktop there may be 4 products displayed horizontally across the page, on an iPad perhaps there are 3, and on a smartphone in landscape mode only 2 are displayed. The basic premise is to never have a horizontal scroll bar, just keep responding!

There are many design and implementation decisions to be made and it’s can be tricky when you have to consider how an eCommerce solution will be viewed on an array of different devices. With time and experience we’ve shown we’re up to the task and can advise and implement based on the RWD knowledge and best practices that we’ve attained over the last few years.

And one last thought on RWD—discussions are typically around smartphones and other “small devices”. But what about those consumers with very large devices like a big office monitor or TV display? Well our RWD approach is truly responsive, and if more space is available we will display more information. It’s responsive in every way!

At Solveda we would always recommend that your eCommerce site is RWD right from the start. This has become a standard for all of our implementations. For most of your consumers this will provide a perfectly acceptable journey through your catalog and into the check-out process. Once this baseline is in place other more specific “apps” can be considered, based on your customer base and their purchasing habits. For most of our clients, the RWD solution fits the bill without the need for these “apps”. A dollar saved is a dollar earned!  Share your comments .


The Importance of Customer Touch Points in eCommerce

 

By Anthony Fornabiao, VP of Sales, Solveda LLC

 

“A CUSTOMER’S JOURNEY-FROM FIRST HEARING ABOUT A PRODUCT TO PURCHASING IT-INVOLVES A VAST AND GROWING ARRAY OF ENCOUNTERS WITH A PRODUCT OR BRAND. IN FACT, CONSUMERS TOUCH YOUR BRAND AN AVERAGE OF 56 TIMES BETWEEN INSPIRATION AND TRANSACTION.”

 While talking to one of clients recently, I got to thinking about customer touch points. Whenever a customer comes into contact with a retailer it’s an opportunity to make an impression. Each touch point should give a lasting impression, and hopefully one that will result in a sale!

 I did some quick research and was surprised to learn that from the initial customer engagement to product sale, a customer would have experienced an average of 56 touch points. That’s a lot of opportunities to make a good impression, and each one needs to be carefully considered so that your brand strength comes through each and every time.

 In this tech driven age, customer touch points extend far beyond the traditional brick and mortar stores. Retailers now touch customers with email blasts, banner ads, catalogs, as well as the traditional radio. print and tv advertising.

 When we engage with new clients, part of our initial discovery is to explore brand strengths. Is it price, quality, customer service, convenience, product uniqueness, or combinations of these? This allows us to more fully understand how to design an eCommerce solution and how it will interact across the other touch points. It still surprises me that by exploring these simple high-level concepts can guide us to deliver a more effective eCommerce solution, and ensure that all customer touch points are consistent.

 “We explained to Solveda that our core brand values were convenience, pricing, and quality. We also have a specific target audience and Solveda expertly managed all aspects and delivered an eCommerce site that ticked all the boxes. This led to an immediate 10% growth in revenue.”

 

Share your thoughts on this topic in our comments board

 


Flipkart, The Indian eCommerce Venture Capital Darling and The Coming Venture Funding Crunch

The past 5 years or so have witnessed tremendous activity in venture capital investments around Indian eCommerce . A market opportunity said to quadruple between 2012 and 2016 drove herds of VCs pitching in with deep pockets supporting dozens of eCommerce offshoots from multi-product retailers to niche and boutique product sellers. One estimate indicates the total investments in Indian eCommerce firms from 2010 to be around $700M. But we also know that Flipkart, India’s eCommerce leader has raised a total of $550M, a bulk of that coming in during the last 3-4 years. The rest of the funding is spread across dozens of other smaller offshoots. That makes Flipkart comfortably placed to thwart any competition in the space. It is also well known that the vast majority of VC lead firms are yet to turn profitable. The interesting thing to watch would be the number of eCommerce firms that might die out over the next few years due to their inability to raise additional funding.


mJunction, the world’s largest steel eMarketplace goes live with Solveda delivering the project

mJunction, an ambitious eCommerce initiative promoted jointly by India’s largest private sector firm Tata Group and the Steel Authority of India today ranks as India’s largest eCommerce venture by transaction volume. An estimated INR 1,60,000 crores (over $30B) has been transacted via its various commerce channels. Today mjuntion is also the world’s largest steel eMarketplace and has been credited with transforming the steel and coal supply chain in the country. It has been widely hailed as a model that brings greater transparency and efficiency in an ecosystem known for rampant inefficiencies and corruption.

mjunction had selected IBM Websphere Commerce as its commerce engine and partnered with Solveda for a complex solution design . Solveda has succesfully delivered the project and now mjunction looks forward to building on this platform to scale to the next generation of its eCommerce business goals.