There’s no shortage of e-commerce buzz in Austin when it comes to companies that are making advances in the industry and, in one particular case, dominating it worldwide. Here, we're looking at six of the most notable examples, taking a glance at what’s going on inside.
Online stores built in a few hours
First up is Bigcommerce, a platform founded in 2009 allowing fast-growth businesses to “easily launch professional online stores in hours, not weeks or months.” It’s raised $75 million in three rounds from three investors, the most recent round of which brought in $40 million in Series C funding. Clients include Gibson Guitar, YETI Coolers and more than 55,000 other stores which have sold more than $4 billion. For users switching over from ProStores or Magento Go, Bigcommerce has teamed up with Magento to offer free migration services with a few extra bells and whistles to aid in the transition.
Real-time shopping discounts in store
While Bigcommerce makes life easier for up-and-coming online retailers, BrickTrends aims to bridge the gap between the virtual shopping experience and the physical one. Its product, Shelfbucks, “aims to level the playing field between physical and online retail and revolutionize the brand-to-consumer channel through mobile” by using a form of beacon technology that isn’t invasive, but rather, allows shoppers to hold their phones up to Shelfbucks tags next to products on shelves, giving them deals they can use at the register. It’s a move that brings the worlds of e-commerce and physical shopping just a bit closer together, saving shoppers money in the process. The Wall Street Journal is already a fan, having taken the app for a test drive at SXSW in 2014 and posting a video about it.
Taking square aim at corporate gifting practices and hoping to make them a bit more personalized without falling back into the “personalized pen” trope of yore, Loop & Tie offers a gifting system that allows gift-givers to select a dollar amount and a suggested product to give to recipients, allowing them wiggle room to select an alternative gift if the one chosen isn’t to their liking. Loop & Tie’s founders liken it to the experience of having a boss bring an employee into the store and telling them to choose whatever they’d like. With gift levels of $25, $50, $75 and $100, the app offers a wide range of tasteful options, from chocolate to cocktail shakers to LSTN headphones to donations to charity. They also recently secured another $105K in funding.
Digital deal domination
It would be remiss to cover e-commerce in Austin and leave out RetailMeNot, the giant digital offer marketplace born here in 2007. To give a sense of its scale, the company explains: “During the 12 months ended June 30, 2014, RetailMeNot, Inc. experienced more than 625 million visits to its websites. In 2013, RetailMeNot estimates $3.5 billion in its paid retailer sales were attributable to consumer traffic from digital offers in its marketplace. Its mobile apps have been downloaded over 18.5 million times.”
After the national economy’s tempestuous last decade, that’s no surprise at all, with millions of Americans tightening household budgets and looking more closely at ways to save money simply and efficiently.
As shopping trends change, the economy improves and shoppers’ relationships with mobile devices grow ever more dependent, we’ll be keeping an eye on Austin’s e-commerce companies, taking a look at how they’re contributing to the global commerce landscape.