E-Commerce in 2020: trends and obstacles

Time, convenience, and sustainability – three main factors that influence your customer’s decision. We live in the era of globalization and consumerism where there are so many options that it’s a daunting task to make a choice. From a pair of jeans to furniture and cars – everything can sell off online. E-commerce companies consider these factors and follow trends by

1) saving our time allowing to order from homes;

2) making it convenient by offering free delivery, flexible design, and personalized solutions;

3) using eco-friendly shipping and sustainable products. 

This way, top e-commerce startups encounter many problems on their way to the first perceptible revenue:

  • lack of funding. There are already so many products and companies. Who needs another one?
  • A lack of new ideas. We won’t buy a reinvented wheel for 59$ for sale!
  • lack of innovative vision. Selling the fur in an ecologically conscious society is a leap in nothing. 

The best e-commerce startups need to come up with something so revolutionary yet so simple that the funding companies will fight for the possibility to join. Below are the stories of those who succeeded and keep rocking in 2020! 

Snackpass – changing the social perception of takeaway food

About: On a usual day at Yale, students go round and about in searches for food. To study well, you need to eat well – this is the rule. Energy does not occur from the sun. Kevin Tan was one of those who spent recessions listening to the stomach rumbling. The idea came to his mind in 2017 when he was sitting on the economy lecture. First, there was only a website. The app occurred later and was only used at the Yale campus. Today the students of 16 different campuses can order food takeaway. The app is unique for its social impact as it is often used to flirt by sharing the bonuses and sending gifts.

Funding: First, there was no funding at all. They went to the shops and arranged cooperation with the owners. To spread awareness about the app, the founders printed out fliers and handed them in throughout the campus. When the app gained popularity, and it was understood that youth appeals to takeaways, the funding was no longer a problem because even such giants as Y Combinator and General Catalyst took part in donating money. 

What is the use?

  • pre-order the food;
  • skip the queue;
  • earn bonuses;
  • exchange bonuses for discounts/food;
  • send gifts (dishes/bonuses) to friends.

The app works with hundreds of restaurants and cafes, including Popeyes, Papa John’s, Subway, Salads Up, etc. It is spread in 16 different campuses like Harvard, Brown, Yale, Dartmouth, and Michigan. It is useful not only for students but also for coaches and parents. They can order a meal plan – pay for many dishes beforehand – and order a portion of food either for many people at once or many meals for one person. 

Snackpass saves time because you order food, and as soon as you get to the place, it is already made. You gey it by clicking which is faster than talking on the phone. You earn bonuses which save you money. The gift sending function is giving a feeling of social media presence. It feels like pressing a like on the post – you give credits!

Wheels – innovative commuting

About: The startup aims to provide convenient and greatly designed bicycles for commuting. This way the founders Jonathan and Joshua Viner strive not only to enhance the road to work, shop, or cafe but also to improve the environment with the reduction of exhaust gas from cars. The company wants to spread its ideas to more and more cities. Now it operates within San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Scottsdale. 

Funding: The most recent one was in October 2019 – a $50 million donation by DBL Partners. Before that, they had almost 30 million dollars in the fund. 

What’s the use?

  • rent electric bikes to commute;
  • be safe with a helmet (“Helmet now included!”);
  • use bikes speakers to listen to music;
  • enjoy sustainability and friendly design.

Wheels solve two main problems of 2020’s society – the impact of urbanization on the environment and convenient commuting without jams. It saves customers time and allows them to enter an environmentally conscious community. 

MistyRobotics – E-Commerce innovations

About: It’s a tool for developers, educators, and researchers that is to help with the implementation of robotic technologies in life. “Misty opens up robots as a development platform”. Later, MistyRobotics aims to bring science-fiction movies to our homes because this creature will do a lot of things. 

Funding: $11 million in equity. Last September the company announced that it will deliver the robots to its crowdfunders. The number of them is 500. In October they allowed a pre-order for 2 899$. 

What can Misty do?

  • recognize people, detect who they are;
  • hear, record voice and answer;
  • possess personality traits chosen by the user;
  • respond to touch;
  • capture images;
  • collect data;
  • share data;
  • stream video;
  • integrate with other APIs.

Misty is available in three versions: Basic, Standard, and Enhanced. The target of the company is to accelerate the implementation of robotics in everyday life. Their E-commerce website contains information about the customer and user cases because the founders understand: the robot is not what you buy in the first place. Misties are used for elderly care, in laboratories, and educational processes. 

Verishop – exclusive E-Commerce solution

About: The startup was founded by the previous executive of Snapchat Imran Khan and Cate Khan. The main purpose is to provide users with exclusive products in clothing, kitchen utilities, and self-care. Convenience, enticing delivery solutions, great website – all of it is already implemented with numerous fashion e-commerce shops. Verishop focuses on brand curation. The company offers handpicked products without the inclusion of third-parties which is represented in the name. Verishop = verified shop. 

Funding: currently reached 30 million dollars. 

What’s the use?

  • find small exclusive shops in one place;
  • shop in a non-mass-market place (Verishop collaborates with other startup-brands);
  • get products recommended by influencers (Tastemakers shop);
  • join the environmentally-conscious movement by purchasing in The Responsible Store with sustainable products.

The startup combines sustainability and focuses on youth trends like reliance on social media and a desire to lead an exclusive lifestyle. 

Girlfriend Collective – innovation in E-Commerce fashion

About: It is a Seattle-based startup founded by Ellie and Quang Dinh which focuses on recycled sportswear. Their first products were leggings. Each pair made of 25 recycled bottles, it was sold for… 0$. It’s an example of how the startup gains awareness and trust during the first stages of development. Now each pair costs a minimum of 65$.

Girlfriend Collective focuses not only on sustainability but also on the celebration of diversity. They support body positivity, producing sportswear in the range of sizes from XXS to 6XL. On the website, you can see different models, not only traditionally skinny ones. They celebrate racial, ethnic and national diversity. The clothing is produced in Vietnam and Girlfriend Collective reassures that the factory pays fair salaries, has acceptable working hours and safe conditions. “We know. We go there”

What’s the use?

  • personalization: access to all sizes, ability to pick the length of the leg;
  • get Oeko-Tex certified and guaranteed recycled sportswear;
  • get the athleisure of good quality and great minimal design.

Here the company joins the movements celebrating diversity and sustainability which is one of the main trends in E-Commerce as well. However, they are not trend-followers, they are trendsetters. 

TapRm – a successful American E-Commerce startup

About: Jason Sherma once wondered why only 0.2% of beer sales are operated online. Yes, people consider the process of buying a beer in a bar almost traditional. However, what if you want to drink it at home. And what if you want the beer that is not accessible in the shops in your area? TapRm provides its customers with exclusive drinks from 102 different craft breweries. This way, they introduce small brands to the world and make the beer e-commerce industry more familiar. 

Funding: Last December TapRm got 1.5 million dollars to tackle issues of legal alcohol delivery. Now they can distribute beer not only to the restaurants but also to each customer via the website. According to the founder, online retail is a priority. 

What’s the use?

  • get access to different beer types;
  • order a large shipment for your birthday celebration/restaurant/college party;
  • get free shipping if the order exceeds 25$ (before the quarantine the minimum sum for free delivery was 50$);
  • make sure it is all legal because TapRm has all the necessary documents and sells only to those under 21. 

Cazoo – the most recent E-Commerce startup in 2020

About: Cazoo is an example of how online commerce step by step replaces brick-and-mortar shops because it delivers used cars. Alex Chesterman met the demands of 2020’s society and solved two customers’ problems: 1) he provides only cars of good quality 2) he delivers them to clients’ homes for free. Startup users won’t have to spend time comparing different variants and detecting whether there are any damages in the car. The system does it for them. 

Funding: on the 23rd of March the founders have announced raising 100 million dollars on their startup. Before, it got its first donate one and a half years ago. 

What’s the use?

  • find a used car of good quality (the company fully reconditions them);
  • get them delivered in “as little as 72 hours” with safety standards;
  • get a 7-day money-back guarantee;
  • have access to MOT and service history as well as the info about previous owners.

The company has strict rules when it comes to delivery because of the recent coronavirus spread in the world. It does not deliver cars if people self-isolate. In such a case, they put an order in a line and perform it after the end of the quarantine. Also, Cazoo ensures they perform the delivery with all protecting equipment. 

If you want to enter the market – live in the future. You just blink, and the e-commerce industry is already changed. 

1st blink – they sell robotics through the Internet;

2nd blink – they deliver beer to your home;

3rd blink – they recycle bottles and make clothes out of it;

4th blink – they certify a used car and deliver it right to your doorstep.

Keep up – sell to the people of the future. 

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