This week in eCommerce we have big news from one of the largest publishers in the world. Condé Nast made an announcement this week that its Style.com property will be their big foray into eCommerce, leveraging their partnerships with high-end brands and a vast audience of hot-to-buy subscribers. Online fashion startup Lyst received $40 million in another round of C series funding, backed by the main controlling shareholder of LVMH; one of the world’s most well-known luxury goods conglomerates. Instacart Inc. and Petco Animal Supplies Inc. annouced a partnership earlier this year and are now bringing select cities across the U.S. a one-hour delivery service of pet food. This service marks the first non-grocery offering from Instacart! Fetch is leading the way for a new breed of mobile apps. The service, now availble for download from the iTunes store, will let consumers buy good and services from their brand-new Apple Watches. Pizza delivery from your wrist, sounds weird but we’re down! For all the details from this week’s eCommerce newsmakers read-on below:
Condé Nast is entering the eCommerce world, by making a major move with their Style.com property. In an announcement made this week to fashionistas and digital enthusiasts the CEO of Condé Nast, Charles Townsend, is making Style.com their new eCommerce business. This new platform will the a big first for the well-known publisher. Style.com will be selling merchandise to its users, those that are subscribers to the publisher’s digital and physical publications including, Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue. The eCommerce venture will launch in the UK this autumn and afterwards be brought to the U.S. market, with other major countries shortly thereafter. With a subscriber based in the hundreds of millions, Condé Nast certainly has an audience to leverage with a widely-active relationship. Style.com’s competitive advantage will be that their customer base is larger than any other fashion eCommerce business in operation. Style.com is an authority in the fashion space, so many brands are keen to involve themselves with the venture.
Big Names pouring money into another fashion startup
Lyst, a fashion start up, has received another $40 million in series C Funding. This brings the total of money raised for the online fashion retailer to $60 million since its founding in 2011. One of their main backers is Groupe Arnault, who also happen to be the main shareholder of LVMH. Competitor Farfetch was propelled earlier this month to what some call “unicorn club” status with a valuation of over $1 billon. Lyst conversely has been a little more mum on its valuation, wanting to distance themselves from the obsession. Total sales to date for Lyst this year have his $150 million, compared to $12 million in 2014. Lyst is one of the only online fashion aggregates that draws from a huge pool of stores and designers, and it attracts more active buyers – not just those casually browsing the high-end brands it links to – that it personalizes content to. One of the biggest secrets to their success? It’s all in the universal cart experience, which increases sales conversions by as much as five-fold!
In recent partnership with grocery delivery service Instacart Inc., Petco Animal Supplies Inc. announced they were in the process of testing fast delivery in Boston and San Francisco. This is the first non-grocery offering from Instacart, bringing a wider breadth to their convenient offering. Analysts say that only a small amount of customers will be interested in the service, and suspect that only 10% will take advantage of the offering. Instacart needs to operate cautiously as their still in growth mode. The service works, by having personal shoppers select from their offering of more than 11,000 items to deliver to shoppers in as little as an hour. This service will be available in the follow American cities: Atlanta, Austin, Boulder, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, DC.This delivery service will be key to Petco’s consumer-focused omnichannel offering.
With the Raise of Mobile comes a New Breed of Apps
There’s been a surge of new startups like Magic, Operator, and GoButler created to break into the commerce world by fulfilling requests from consumers via mobile app or SMS. Fetch does all this but better, because the mCommerce platform and mobile shopping assistant is tackling the Apple Watch. This new mobile concierge service will let consumers order products on demand from their wrists. From ordering a pizza to buying a movie ticket, if you need it, Fetch will do it. Fetch CEO says his service is “the combination of a personal shopper, virtual assistant, and travel agent”. Requests are picked up by one of 58 trained professionals who specialize in a particular categories, like travel. The process is augmented by technology that pulls pricing via APIs. Fetch will also work in conjunction with Postmates and Instacart to offer same-delivery service, and a variety of other eCommerce service providers. Fetch makes money in the process by taking advantage of affiliate programs, and is working to increase commissions by partnering with retailers and suppliers. The app will also try to supplement income by offering tiered premium subscriptions, which will provide customers with faster response times and increased personalization.