Scratch a Niche
ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me
This is the first post in a series on ecommerce startups.
The advent of online shopping has threatened to divorce buying stuff from talking to people for good. It’s a shame, because socializing and new stuff acquisition are a potent combo when it comes to raising one’s self esteem.
Not to mention, as Gretchen Weiners once said, “You wouldn’t buy a skirt without asking your friends first if it looks good on you.”
Gmail’s new inboxes have elicited many an aggravated response from users who expect the free service to be exactly the way they want it at all times and never change. And now, retailers are weighing in with their own tales of woe and disappointment.
To be specific, ecommerce types are “up in arms,” the New York Times reports, about the fact that their endless stream of junk mail is now relegated to a folder labeled “promotional.”
This spring, Nordstrom watched its customers skulk around the department store on-camera and tracked their habits through cell phone signals, as if life were just one big game of The Sims, the New York Times reports. Nordy’s ended the experiment in May, because touchy customers complained for some reason.
But the Times mentions retail analytics company RetailNext in the story, and that company’s site names a host of retailers that use its technology, including Bloomingdale’s, American Apparel and Verizon.
Dwolla*, the Des Moines-based payment platform that has a strong presence in NYC, announced today that it has received a $16.5 million Series C investment led by venture capital behemoth Andreessen Horowitz, with contributions from NYC firms Thrive Capital* and Union Square Ventures. The fresh funding will allow Dwolla to double its staff of 40 to 80 and open a third office in San Francisco, according to The Next Web. Andreessen partner Scott Weiss will be joining Dwolla’s board.
Exit This Way
Fab famously got traction once the cofounders pivoted from gay Yelp to design-focused flash-sales site. But now that flash sales are no longer the darling of the tech industry, Fab is moving on. Hence the company’s announcement at its kindergarten-like West Village HQ last night: ”We’re going to do a little pivot again,” CEO Jason Goldberg announced.
“We’re redesigning Fab as the world’s number-one design store,” he said. “We’re going from flash sales to design store, and we’re going there in a really big way.”
That means a revamped website, products sold exclusively on Fab, brick-and-mortar stores, and the acquisition of a German company offering customizable furniture.
A tipster contacted Betabeat to let us know that Ben Fischman, the founder and longtime CEO of lifestyle and fashion ecommerce site Rue La La, had stepped down from his role. A press release obtained by Betabeat confirms the news: Mr. Fischman will be replaced by Steve Davis, Rue La La’s president.
ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me
Fab.com has made more costume changes than a drag queen. Launched in 2011 as a social network for gay men (name: Fabulis), the company then transformed itself into a flash-sale site selling arty farty tchotchkes. Now, Business Insider suggests, Fab might be gearing up to design its own products. According to a blog post written by Read More
If there were a word cloud for recent ecommerce reports, it would be shaped like a mushroom cloud with “over-hyped” “implosion,” “froth,” “down rounds,” and “suck it, America, Europe does it better,” all in extra large font.
So we weren’t expecting to hear that JackThreads, the men’s ecommerce site acquired by Thrillist in 2010, had its best revenue month ever in February, even bigger than typically high-selling holiday months. Growth in new members was up 366 percent year-over-year and double the growth in number of new users joining in November and December of 2012.
Good news for tech bros who still have a soft spot for their jam band past: everyone’s favorite musician from high school is now joining Justin Bieber and Will.i.am in the angel investor game. Dave Matthews has backed SpotTrot, an ecommerce app that allows musicians to sell merch on mobile phones.
Hey, this almost makes your firedancer tattoo relevant again.
Step away from the “purchase” button. According to an investigation from The Wall Street Journal, shopping sites run by companies like Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone and Home Depot show customers different prices and deals based on what they know about you, including geolocation.