Austin is not only home to giant sellers and service providers, but also startups that deliver healthy meals locally, re-sell old gadgets, and cater exclusively to dudes with beards.
Here are some of the largest, best funded, fastest-growing, and most interesting Austin e-commerce startups that fuel and inspire the online economy.
What they do: BigCommerce helps small- to medium-sized businesses build professional-quality storefronts and generate more revenue with less digital grunt work.
How it's changing e-commerce: The one-small-store-at-a-time approach has worked out tremendously well for BigCommerce. True to its name, it has raised a lot of money, hired a lot of local talent, and championed the entrepreneurial spirit in Austin and beyond.
What they do: Brightpearl is a retail management platform with multi-channel management for inventory, accounting, orders and shipments.
How it's changing e-commerce: The software is used by 1,400 businesses in 53 countries around the world to optimize tasks, allowing them more time to improve their brand and develop new products.
What they do: RetailMeNot is a full-service e-commerce platform that gives sellers the tools to connect with buyers at every stage of their journeys. It encourages merchants to embrace technology and run with it.
How it's changing e-commerce: RetailMeNot gets millions of visits a year and facilitates billions of dollars in transactions. It has taught even enormous retail clients to think and behave like digital entrepreneurs.
What they do: ShipStation streamlines the shipping process for online merchants, combining processing, production, and customer service under one roof.
How it's changing e-commerce: Some people are better at designing shirts than staying on schedule. ShipStation and its ilk of service providers make it easier for digital denizens selling physical goods to keep their promises and delight their customers.
What they do: Shopgate is a SaaS provider with an eye on changing user behavior. It empowers online sellers to quickly and easily optimize for mobile, and create their own apps.
How it's changing e-commerce: The mobile shopping landscape is still evolving, and Shopgate enables its clients to embrace not just iOS and Android, but AppleTV and other platforms. Its diverse clientele includes Tough Mudder and the Golden State Warriors.
What they do: Volusion builds a range of e-commerce solutions for businesses of all sizes, from startups to SMBs to international enterprise clients. It works in SaaS, design, inbound marketing, and more, making it a true e-commerce one-stop shop.
How it's changing e-commerce: In operation since 1999, Volusion has now worked with more than 40,000 clients and has altered the business landscape in millions of small but significant ways. Austin's canine population may not understand what it does, but it appreciates the company's inspirational largesse.
What they do: Why crash on a couch when you can rent the whole house? That's the idea behind Vrbo, one of the strongest challengers to Airbnb's vacation-rental dominance, and a company that has made quite a home for itself in Austin over the last 10+ years.
How it's changing e-commerce: Although it was acquired by Expedia in late 2015, Vrbo maintains its distinctive ethos and local character, even as it closes in on $1B in sales.
What they do: Headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, Spreetail has opened an office in Austin with the goal of expanding its e-commerce solutions.
How it's changing e-commerce: Spreetail markets products, builds e-commerce technology and manages warehouses in order to bring the lowest prices to its customers. The company sells thousands of products each day on multiple e-commerce sites.
What they do: Favor makes one of Austin's most popular and fastest-growing delivery apps, and has quickly made a name for itself in a crowded market with its range of options, acclaimed service, and classy personality.
How it's changing e-commerce: Favor has raised $90M, invested in swank new digs, built a growing community of "runners" and devoted customers in Texas, and expanded to six US states and one Canadian province. It is now a contender for nationwide gig-economy glory.
What they do: How's this for specialization — Beardbrand is an online retailer catering to gentlemen living a bearded lifestyle. Think of it as Dollar Shave Club, but the opposite.
How it's changing e-commerce: Founded by competitive beardsman Eric Bandholz, Beardbrand shows how a savvy entrepreneur can build a community and a business around almost anything. Its strong visual angle made it an obvious choice for TV's Shark Tank.
What they do: PureWRX is a reseller and service provider for the IT industry. It helps its partners set up shops and sell new, refurbished, closeout, and discontinued computer hardware.
How it's changing e-commerce: Old gadgets need love, too. PureWRX is part of a growing group of Austin tech startups that help sustain the city's culture of reducing, reusing, recycling, and sharing.
What they do: ShopSnap is an e-commerce platform for small businesses, giving them plush online digs and an array of tools to digitally hawk their wares. What HubSpot has done for marketing, ShopSnap is doing for retail. Its Austin staff of 14 is headquartered in the Bee Cave Galleria.
How it's changing e-commerce: With new initiatives including a B2B partnership program, ShopSnap is actively gunning for its major competitors, such as Shopify and Woo Commerce. Its approaches are tailored for clients in different verticals, and it even promises to help small merchants compete with Amazon.
How it's changing e-commerce: It defines a lifestyle, designs the accessories, and even throws in a parody game called Fratty Bird.
What they do: BuildASign is a leading online shop for physical signage. It makes signs, canvas, shirts, business cards, car wraps — basically, anything a small business or a swinging party needs to promote itself.
How it's changing e-commerce: The company has raised $57M in revenue and has operations in the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany, and is known locally for its charitable giving.
What they do: Cratejoy is a full-service shop for subscription sellers. In its relatively young life, it has already raised millions and brought in hundreds of merchants.
How it's changing e-commerce: The startup, which charges low fees and reaps impressive returns, is one of several recent Y Combinator alumni that opted for Austin over the Bay Area.
What they do: The online grocery store Farmhouse Delivery delivers healthy organic food to Texan homes. It reduces waste through careful inventory management and helps shoppers stay healthy without leaving the house.
How it's changing e-commerce: Greenling recently merged with Farmhouse Delivery, expanding its influence while remaining local and very much a part of its native tech startup landscape.
What they do: Big data meets e-commerce at Edgecase. Its unique adaptive platform uses machine learning and human-generated content to help consumers share their preferences and create better buying experiences.
How it's changing e-commerce: Edgecase continues to grow by helping retailers and consumers work together for mutual benefit. In 2015, it took on $7.5 million in a Series C round led by Austin Ventures.
What they do: Loop & Tie's mission is to take the fear, uncertainty, and doubt out of gift-shopping. It gathers items from independent retailers worldwide, making it easy for users to be a savvy shopper and impress loved ones.
How it's changing e-commerce: Loop & Tie demonstrates the strength of an e-commerce platform with a specific objective. Its offerings include stylish clothing, cutting-edge gadgets, and much more.
What they do: Phlur is Austin's premier online retailer of colognes and perfumes, selling premium fragrances with humane and environmentally sound practices.
How it's changing e-commerce: The web is not yet optimized for sharing smells, so Phlur promotes its products through carefully crafted visual narratives, demonstrating that the tools of e-commerce can serve almost any industry with the right approach.
What they do: Quickgifts, an online marketplace for gift cards focuses on the finer things: spas, restaurants, entertainment, and other experiences that are particularly appropriate for giving.
How it's changing e-commerce: Quickgifts has been around since the very early days of its niche. With a powerful suite of tools for merchants and special perks for shoppers (such as the "Dibbs Card" and the impressively segmented "Card Mall"), Quickgifts fosters a culture of giving and fun.
What they do: The mobile rewards program Perk aims to make advertising less adversarial. It helps advertisers, publishers, and users work together to get what they want.
How it's changing e-commerce: Perk has spread millions of dollars in cash, prizes, and gift cards across the web and around the world. Founded by UT alumni Roj Niyogi and Adam Salamon, it has expanded to include the video rewards program Appsaholic and the app studio Corona Labs.
What they do: TicketCity has been helping fans find seats at concerts, sporting events, festivals and more for over two decades.
How it's changing e-commerce: TicketCity sells tickets for more than 100,000 events and since its founding in 1990 has helped some 1 million users find what they're looking for.
What they do: YETI is one of the fastest growing outdoor brands, offering a variety of products, the most popular being, their everything-proof coolers. The young company continues to expand their product line, offering an array of high-quality gear from apparel and drinkware to bags and buckets.
How it's changing e-commerce: The team at YETI took an existing product and revolutionized it, making their coolers and other goods the new standard for durable outdoor gear.