Thanks to the digital revolution, the business world has evolved more rapidly than we ever could have imagined. From healthcare to entertainment, technology, and especially the Internet, has unmistakably changed the way we live our lives on a daily basis.
Shopping is no exception. As ecommerce, the buying and selling of goods and services online, gets increasingly popular, certain companies are taking advantage of the Internet and other technologies to push the boundaries of online shopping. Now that customers expect 24/7 availability, personalization, and more in their shopping experiences, certain businesses are doing a great job of setting new trends in this arena.
Here are twelve companies that are revolutionizing the ecommerce industry.
Located in San Jose, California, Azazie provides affordable, custom-sized wedding and bridesmaid dresses online. This unique platform understands each customer’s’ needs and creates custom-fit dresses that are shipped right to your door.
What’s revolutionary about this model is the fact that it provides high-quality merchandise at affordable prices by cutting out the middlemen, avoiding excessive advertising costs, and taking expensive physical retail space out of the equation. This way, brides and bridal parties can find their perfect wedding looks without the added expense – which is helpful considering that the average American wedding costs around $35,000.
The idea behind Kayak, an online travel coordinator that helps users find cheap flights and hotels, isn’t necessarily new. However, what is cutting edge about this company is how it uses technology with its ecommerce platform.
Kayak has taken advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) technology by using chatbots to communicate with customers. Consumers can ask the bots specific questions like “Where can I find a cheap hotel in Santa Cruz?” and the chatbot will provide instant recommendations. With brands using chatbots seeing revenue increases per customer between 20% and 40%, this strategy is quickly taking the ecommerce world by storm.
It’s nearly impossible to talk about revolutionary ecommerce without bringing up Amazon, and for good reason – it’s one of the largest ecommerce companies in the world. And with retail ecommerce sales reaching $1.915 trillion in 2016, this is no small feat. Amazon has come up with innovative ecommerce solutions like delivery drones, self-driving cars, and multi-sided marketplaces to continue its ecommerce dominance.
Nordstrom’s contribution to the ecommerce world lies in its innovative combination of digital and brick-and-mortar salesmanship. For instance, the company’s marketers tracks Pinterest pins to identify popular products and uses that information to promote these products in their physical retail locations. They also combine online and in-store shopping with interactive touch screens in their fitting rooms.
Despite the ecommerce boom, brick-and-mortar stores will still account for about 85% of U.S. retail sales in 2025, so keeping brick-and-mortar in mind will help Nordstrom stay relevant for years to come.
78% of consumers report that they’d be more likely to purchase from a retailer if they provided offers targeted to their interests, wants, or needs. Modcloth has nailed this with its “Be the Buyer” program, which allows customers to vote on potential designs that the company then introduces into its inventory. This way, buyers can give input and are more likely to make a purchase.
- Warby Parker
Warby Parker is estimated to be valued at over $1 billion, largely due to its innovative approach to ecommerce. This eyewear giant provides designer styles at low prices and includes charitable donations to nonprofits as a part of its pricing model. It also has a home try-on program that allows customers to try on five frames for free at home.
Similar to ModCloth, Betabrand has a “Think Tank” where up-and-coming fashion designers can upload their designs. Customers can vote on these designs; once they’re approved, customers can then fund the production of the prototype. In return, those customers get one of the first products created. This is a great way to tap into the fact that 64% of consumers say it’s more important that companies provide relevant offers than to not track online activity.
One of the world’s largest furniture retailers, IKEA, prints more than 210 million catalogs a year to attract customers to their website and brick-and-mortar stores. Online shopping at IKEA is a fun and innovative experience because it incorporates image recognition and augmented reality technology so users can virtually “place” IKEA furniture pieces in their own homes.
96% of Americans with Internet access have made an online purchase in their life. Button taps into this market by predicting what people want when they visit common websites. This B2B startup links apps to recommend purchasing options based on user browsing history. For instance, if someone is using Foursquare to find a restaurant, Button will pull up the Uber app with the address already selected.
- Kate Spade
Kate Spade is at the forefront of digital innovation in retail, which is probably why its yearly gross profit hovers around $754 million. For instance, the company had “Kate Spade Pop-Up Stores” that were huge display windows showcasing new products that users showed interest in online. Customers could order the products via touchscreen on the physical display windows, and a messenger delivered the products within an hour for free.
Flexe provides retailers with warehouse space through its service pairing companies with unused space with ones that need temporary storage. Hosted completely online, it has about 30 million square feet of storage and online fulfillment services to allow warehouse operators to charge additional prices to ship orders directly to customers.
- The Year of Wellness
Subscription boxes have become extremely popular in the ecommerce world. Currently, there are about 2,000 companies with a subscription-style delivery service. The Year of Wellness takes this a step further by providing health plans and products to help you detox and establish healthy habits.
The ecommerce industry has sparked innovation in thousands of companies. By paying attention to industry trends and these leaders, more ecommerce retailers are sure to join the club.
What are some of your favorite innovative ecommerce brands?
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.