The eCommerce startups market is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. According to Statista, revenue in the eCommerce industry is projected to reach more than $3.2 trillion by the end of 2021. Online shopping is also the most popular purchase method since around 27% of the total global population are digital buyers.
This rapid growth entices many entrepreneurs to build their own eCommerce startups that drive innovation and economic growth worldwide. However, this also makes growing a business highly challenging due to the high competition.
In this article, we will look at eight examples of successful startups in the eCommerce industry and identify what makes them thrive.
BigBasket is an online grocery shopping service that delivers food and household items to its customers’ doorsteps. This company is based in Bangalore, India, and offers various grocery products, including fruits & vegetables, bakery items, dairy products, and personal care items.
BigBasket uses a website and mobile app as their main platform. The eCommerce startup’s primary goal is to fill the gap in distinct groceries such as organic food and high-end consumer products. Their platform also offers idli or dosa batter, which has low competition in the online market.
They also provide a prepaid credit service called BigBasket Wallet. This service allows customers to pay a lump sum amount once and shop multiple times without repeatedly paying.
As of May 2021, BigBasket’s valuation is estimated at around $1.85 billion, making it the largest online grocery store in India, with over 15,000 orders received per day. According to CB Insights, BigBasket has raised around $770 million in funding to date.
HungryPanda specializes in providing food and grocery delivery services for the Chinese communities and Asian food enthusiasts. The mobile app offers delivery, takeaway, dine-in discounts, fresh & rare ingredients from Asian supermarkets.
This London-based startup operates in nine different countries and mainly targets Chinese consumers outside of China. HungryPanda is popular among its target market because it provides all menu information in Mandarin, which is highly important for Chinese diasporas.
They partner with multiple merchants in the Asian food industry that provide various authentic Asian cuisines. These include Sichuanese, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian food.
As of now, HungryPanda hasn’t been disclosing its valuation to the public. According to Crunchbase, HungryPanda has raised a total of $90 million in funding over two rounds. Their latest funding round was a Series C funding for $70 million on November 30, 2020.
FlipKart is an eCommerce company based in India that began as an online bookstore before expanding into selling other items. Right now, the platform offers a wide range of products, including electronics, fashions, and home essentials.
This eCommerce platform has gained over 200 million registered users as of July 2021 and is estimated to generate $9.2 billion in gross sales during the 2021 festive month. Aside from the plethora of product libraries, there are other factors that affect FlipKart’s popularity in India.
The eCommerce startups managed to attract customers’ attention by practicing some interesting marketing strategies. They launched an annual event called the Big Billion Day, which acts like Black Friday for India. They also collaborated with many famous Indian celebrities to promote their platform.
FlipKart has gained a total of $12.6 billion in funding from 25 investments. In 2018, Walmart acquired 77% of its controlling stake for $16 billion. Right now, FlipKart’s valuation is estimated at around $37 billion.
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The shipping process is an integral part of every eCommerce business, and this is where Deliverr shines. This startup provides fast shipping services for online shops that allow businesses of all sizes to compete with big names like Amazon in terms of fulfillment.
The main factor that makes Deliverr preferable for many eCommerce businesses is its dedication to providing a two-day delivery. This startup operates mainly in the U.S., but it also supports shipping to over 220 countries.
Deliverr also prides itself on its simple and transparent pricing plans. Their fulfillment fee covers core necessities like shipping, packaging, account creation, and warehouse receiving. Clients don’t need to worry about long-term contracts or hidden fees.
In the first quarter of 2021, Deliverr announced that it had raised a $170 million Series D, bringing its total funding to around $240 million.
Depop is a London-based fashion eCommerce platform that focuses its products on millennial and Gen Z shoppers. It utilizes mobile applications as its main platform that allows users to buy and sell products and provide ways to share fashion inspirations with the community.
Depop has successfully integrated eCommerce and social media characteristics into its platform, attracting many younger users. The startup’s popularity is proven by the fact that one-third of all 16 to 24-year-olds in the UK are registered on Depop.
In July 2021, Depop was acquired by Etsy for approximately $1.625 billion consisting primarily of cash and subject to certain adjustments. Before that, it raised a total of $105.6 million in funding over seven rounds.
HelloFresh is another food-related eCommerce startup on this list. This company provides weekly deliveries of pre-portioned meal ingredients for their customers. The packages come with instructions on how to cook the food, making meal preparation an easy process.
Clients can choose from a wide variety of menus, including meat & veggies, low carb, and vegetarian options. HelloFresh’s service allows clients to cook their meals without the hassle of shopping for groceries and measuring the ingredients.
Aside from making cooking more convenient, HelloFresh also claims that their service helps customers eat more sustainably. Their pre-portioned ingredients prevent unnecessary food waste and reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Up to December 2016, HelloFresh has raised a total of $367.5 million in funding over six rounds. They held their initial public offering (IPO) in November 2017 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. HelloFresh has raised around $364 million at IPO with a valuation of around $1.9 billion.
HERO is an eCommerce company that focuses on implementing what they call social and conversational shopping. They provide services such as one-to-many shoppable video and one-on-one virtual shopping that allow online retailers to engage with customers more effectively.
The company believes that online shopping experiences need more human touch. Thus, they created a platform where merchants and customers can communicate seamlessly with text messaging and video call features.
HERO has partnered with reputable brands such as Nike, Levi’s, Sephora, and LVMH. They also collaborate with Shopify in 2020 to provide virtual “in-store” shopping experiences.
This eCommerce startup has raised a total of $10 million in funding over three rounds. In July 2021, Klarna announced their acquisition of HERO at a valuation of $159.49 million.
8. The Hut Group
The Hut Group (THG) began as a white label eCommerce provider and has grown to be a large supplier specifically focused on health and beauty. THG has more than 195 shipping destinations, 18 fulfillment sites, and 30 localized sites.
They developed their own eCommerce platform called THG Ingenuity, giving them real-time knowledge of how consumers behave.
The company has acquired numerous brands, including IdealFit™, ProBikeKit, GLOSSYBOX, and Acheson & Acheson over the years.
THG went public in September 2020, with starting stock at £5.00. They managed to raise a total of $5 billion in funding over 17 rounds.
Growing a startup in today’s highly competitive online market environment can be challenging. Not to mention that running a business is confusing without enough experience and knowledge. That is why you might want to look at successful businesses as points of reference and motivations.
In this article, we have looked at eight examples of successful eCommerce startups, namely:
- The Hut Group
By looking at these startups, we can see two main factors they have in common when it comes to growing a successful business. A business needs to have the ability to identify gaps in the market and develop unique solutions to customers’ needs.