Jeff Jordan of a16z wrote a good piece on going from ecommerce for nerds (1.0) to mass market ecommerce (2.0). The article is a bit longer long and the following post should cover the gist.

Background

e-commerce 1.0 describes today’s still highly pervasive online merchants selling products they source elsewhere through the basic indexing of a vast amount of products. This space is today dominated by Amazon and ebay (I would add Mercado libere and Rakuten for other geographies).

Jeff provides a good overview of e-commerce innovations that he is referring to as e-commerce 2.0, which I briefly summarize:

Direct Sourcing

  • Warby Parker bypassing existing supply chains to offer products they design and source elsewhere
  • Other examples are Bonopos, Chloe & Isabel, Ledbury etc.

Curation

  • Going from simple indexing (I search for a product) to curation.
  • Personalization plays well into that aspect (see our recent posts)

Alternative distribution

  • Using subscriptions (Birchbox etc)
  • Distribution networks / multi level marketing (Stella & Dot)
  • Or additional offline channels / multi-channel approaches

Engagement

  • Free shipping
  • Instant / same day delivery
  • Social Engagement (customers posting pictures of products)
  • I would add virtual fitting tools helping customers to pick the right size (e.g. http://www.virtusize.com)

Event Sales

  • Flash sales (ventee prive etc)
  • (I would add Pop-up stores)

*Before joining a16z, Jeff was CEO of Opentable and held various executive position with ebay and paypal. You can find the whole article here: http://jeff.a16z.com/2012/11/15/e-commerce-2-0/


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