May 6, 2018 by Ashwin Ramasamy

eCommerce is changing…really fast!

When this picture was clicked, eCommerce was very simple. It meant a website where you sell something. Since then, Amazon has grown from 1.5 Million customers using the Marketplace in 1997 to 100 Million customers in 2017 with Amazon Prime alone. Several companies got a whiff of how great eCommerce is and 20 years later we have 1.2M companies selling you anything from makeup for pets to marijuana.

In the year 1995, when eBay was launched a broken laser pointer was the first product sold by, what we now refer to as, an online marketplace. Then Amazon came into existence later that year and today they have 20 million sellers making more than $100,000 a year selling about 400 Million products.

Today, omnichannel retailing means brick and mortar, online and marketplace presence. We generally include mobile within online but mobile as a channel is now pretty big on its own. More than one-third of all purchases during the holiday season is done through smartphones and 80% shoppers use the mobile apps while shopping in a store to look up the catalog and//or competitive prices for products.

Change has been constant and also quite exponential. Two years back, if you were pursuing eCommerce leads, you’d look at marketplaces and websites. Now, there are eCommerce companies that make more sales on Instagram in a year than they do on their own websites Some of them don’t even have websites

A year or so ago, B2C sales channels could be classified into 6 buckets – physical stores, direct sales, catalog/ telesales, website, mobile and marketplace and that was all you needed to track to find good eCommerce leads to sell to.

Now that has changed. Chat apps have become commerce apps. Social apps like Instagram have become storefronts. WeChat in China claims that 83% of their users shop on their app. Payment apps like PayTM in India transformed into online malls and their ‘payment first’ apps are now eCommerce apps.

Earlier Instagram Shoppable Posts were integrated with an eCommerce store on a platform such as Shopify (like this). And then all you needed was shoppable posts on Instagram and payments via WhatsApp. A few days back, Instagram came circle by launching a native payments feature for some users. Now you can buy products without leaving Instagram.

Influencer led brands are benefitting (Good American Jeans had $1M in sales on 1st day of launch!) more than traditional brands with early Instagram exposure.

In a recent study done by PipeCandy, we looked at 30,000 apparel and fashion brands. While several of them are under $10M in revenue, a lot of them are rolled up into fashion conglomerates. Independently these brands are nicely growing small businesses but the decision making is centralized. Celebrity brands are actually managed by full-service agencies or licensed to fashion houses. Small brands, when they hit a local maximum are tackled by launching new brands selling identical assortments with an aim to create another mid-sized niche consumer favorite.

With channels exploding and ownership structures getting more complicated than ever, going after eCommerce leads need a lot more preparation than buying lead lists off of the internet.

If you are selling to eCommerce & brand organizations, try PipeCandy. We are building the ‘industry graph’ of the digital-first commerce world where the rules are still being written.

Ashwin Ramasamy

Co-founder @ PipeCandy

Slips poor jokes & gets away with a poker face. Carries a no BS attitude at getting things done. First to arrive at the office, Ashwin’s energy does not ebb through the day. Ashwin is one of the co-founders and he sets the tone for marketing, sales, design & culture.