New opportunities in e-commerce

Both Josh Kopelman and Fred Wilson have lately been pointing out that it is time for e-commerce 2.0 after we have seen a lack of innovation in this space for almost a decade. I have been thinking about concrete opportunities in the e-commerce vertical for some time now and wanted to share them – here are my top 3:

  • Private sales sites for niche verticals: private sales sites have seen an incredible success over the past 3-4 years in almost every major market in the world as the approach of brands at discount prices coupled with being part of an exclusive sale has hit home with consumers and vendors alike. In the past 6 months a few sites have started to focus on specific verticals (e.g. One Kings Lane for home decor or Zulily for kids’ products) but there remain many more niches that haven’t (e.g. travel, sports and outdoors apparel)
  • Social commerce: despite being a buzzword for quite some time now no one has really nailed an approach that uses the power of trusted friend recommendations to create a more interesting e-commerce experience. Sites like Blippy or our own JustBought.it have created interesting ways to share your purchases with your friends in a Twitter-like approach but neither has yet fully realized the potential of social commerce. So how would a social commerce product look like? Like Aardvark but focused on commerce? Like Kaboodle but focused more on friends instead of a whole shopping community?
  • Customization: it feels that customization initially stopped at coffee mugs and t-shirts and has only recently picked up a bit (e.g. for suits by our portfolio company Indochino or shoes by Distorted People) but what about all the other apparel categories out there? This requires pretty complex manufacturing and logistics capabilities but feels like a largely untapped market.

Let me know in the comments section what you think of these ideas and if you have others – and looking forward to seeing many entrepreneurs tackling e-commerce 2.0, there is money to be made.

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