In 2019, it is not enough to just sell something. You should also be innovative as well. If you are planning to create a business and you are just planning to imitate another business, then it will not be as successful. Customers are often looking for something that they have not seen before. Today, it is all about invention and innovation.
However, creating an innovative ecommerce website is not that hard. It is about having that ability to find that one thing that often miss the eye. To understand this concept, you should look at some of the hottest ecommerce startups of 2019. This will give you more than just product ideas. It will also show you how creative they are with their processes. Hopefully, this will inspire you as you create your own innovative ecommerce website and finally stand out from the crowd.
NOTE: The startups included in this article are from Big Commerce’s 3rd Annual Innovation awards. They are selected based on their merit based on their technical innovations. They are the 15 finalists of the said contest.
1 - Speed Addicts
Speed Addicts is a company that started way back in 2003. It started by selling discontinued motorcycle parts on Ebay. From their humble beginnings, they eventually expanded their selection to include current models. Business was good for them. The costs are low and the profits are high. But as their customer base grew, they needed a solution that can help them create their own ecommerce platform and that's what they did.
In the old days, creating an ecommerce platform from scratch would have costs $50,000-$100,000. But with BigCommerce and their partner, Intuit Solutions. They are able to create a platform that not only serves their customers but also allows them to compete with other ecommerce sellers in their marketplace. Their website has a search by bike feature which showcases parts that are compatible with the bike model and they also have a parts finder app so that motorcycle owners can easily find the part that they need. Aside from this, the company also used Imajize to showcase their parts in 360 degree imagery.
What You Can Learn: Speed Addicts is a classic example of how a simple search implementation can help your business tremendously. But it is all about knowing exactly what your customers need and giving it to them.
2 - Total Home Supply
Some products need highly customized product pages. While the general page with a short description, reviews and a price is often ideal in e-commerce, some products just need so much more. This is what Total Home Supply found and they changed their product pages because of it.
Total Home Supply is a seller of heating and cooling products. However, these products are quite complicated to install so the users need to learn more about it before they buy. With this, the company needs an ecommerce website that has detailed product pages on how to use the item as well as have sections for accessories, add-ons and configurations. For example, one of their products need a product overview video along with a BTU calculator. This gives the customers more than just the classic picture and description.
What You Can Learn: Planning to sell complicated products online? The innovation of Total Home Supply is ideal for complicated products. It is recommended for products that need some tutorials before it can be used.
3 - Lighting Style
Have you ever wanted to customize your website based on the customer who is viewing it? Personalized experiences are a must nowadays. Your customers no longer want to be branded as 'just another customer'. They want to feel special and know that you have their interests and needs at heart. This is a concept that Lighting Style has implemented in their website.
Lighting Style is an online story that sells indoor and outdoor lighting. It used to be B2C but it later evolved to B2B. What makes their ecommerce website special is that they are able to show products to certain types of customers. They tailor the products that their customers see so that only the most relevant listings are seen. This is wise for you only show the product to a person who has a higher likelihood of buying it.
What You Can Learn: This is an example of tailoring the user experience. 2019 is a year of personalization and customization. Your customers want you to care more about their needs. You can only show that you care if you tailor their experience based on their behavior. We are fortunate that we live in a time where doing customized or personalized experiences is easy with some online tools.
4 - Tracks N Teeth Inc.
Selling after market or manufacturing parts can be quite a headache if you don't know how to organize your inventory. But for Tracks N Teeth, it is not that big of a problem. With the use of BigCommerce, they are able to create an online platform for these parts so that they can reach a larger market.
Track N Teeth Inc sells to suppliers and vendors. They have manufacturing parts that have a variety of makes and models. Their priority when they created their online store is to create a search feature that will allow their customers to find what they need with a click of a button.
What You Can Learn: Search is an important factor for items that have models and parts. If you are planning to have an online store and you are in the same industry, you can use the model of Track N Teeth and create a system where everything is searchable.
5 - Alecia
What is better than an ecommerce website product page? Well, we now have shoppable videos. This is when you see videos and you see these product tabs which easily pops up from the video. These product tabs are clickable and it will instantly take you to where you can buy that product. This is what Alecia does. It helps you transform your ecommerce website into shoppable videos.
One of the challenges for Alecia is the fact that they have to make their system secure and PCI Compliant. They need a system which can take the customer from buying to video streaming upon checkout. Implementing an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce made all the difference in their business.
What You Can Learn: Alecia is a perfect example that innovation doesn't end in material inventions. It can also be born out of ideas and online platforms. Alecia created videos with ecommerce. It is perfect for there is clearly a demand for this type of service in 2019 and beyond.
6 - John Paul Mitchell Systems
John Paul Mitchell Systems sell hair specialty hair products. The reason why they are so successful is that they created networks with salons and this helped them sell their products even more. So instead of targeting the consumer directly, they have partnered with salons who have referred customers to them. True enough, the company is able to make as much as $2,000,000 because of this.
What made it easy for John Paul Mitchell Systems to be successful is the coupon system in their website. Through this, they were able to easily create a referral program where salons can simply sign up and refer people to them. Then, they will be given a commission if they managed to successfully make a sale.
What You Can Learn: John Paul Mitchell Systems may sell non-innovative retail products. But they are able to innovate their processes to hit 7 figures. Being innovative doesn’t end with the product. You can also be creative with your processes.
7 - HVAC Parts Shops
Running an online parts shop is not easy. Not only do you need to keep track of your offline inventory, you also need to take a picture, upload and keep track of your products in an online database. If you are not automating this, this can cause you a huge headache.
HVAC parts shop knows this problem. They provide parts for the HVAC system so they need an online store that can easily uncover parts based on model number. Doing this manually has proved to be daunting. Not only do you need to make the customer wait, the searching process can be equally daunting as well. Through an online search feature in an ecommerce platform, they managed to lower their bounce rate and increase their sales. And they are also able to provide so much more information about the products. The best part is that it reduced the number of phone calls that the company gets by a significant amount.
What You Can Learn: Having a searchable website can help your customers without your intervention. With the search feature, they can find what they need and proceed with the purchase. And if you put enough information about the products, they would not even need to ask questions.
8 - Protective Enclosures Company
An idea that was initially geared towards bars and restaurants found its way through other industries through the power of ecommerce. When Protective Enclosures created their product, they wanted to help restaurant owners. But then, the demand for their product has expanded to food processing facilities, food trucks and others. Protective Enclosures is a company that creates protection for televisions. They call it as a TV Shield or a Display Shield. They thought that it is perfect for restaurants that have a television. But then other industries also said that they wanted it.
What You Can Learn: This is an example on how an innovative product can really turn things around. Many ecommerce website owners sell products that they don't own. Usually, it comes from a supplier. But if you create your own product and you are able to communicate its value. It will keep on selling itself. You no longer need to overly promote it. In this case, all they did is look for a market and eventually, it gained branches to other industries as well.
9 - Anchor and Crew
One of the reasons why international companies are apprehensive in adopting an ecommerce platform is the complexity. But in reality, it is not that complex at all. Anchor and Crew is a company that has stores in Europe, China, US, France and more. But they are able to consolidate everything in their website and that's what makes them amazing.
It is all about centralization. What they did is they centralized everything in one location so that their users from all over the world can see what they have to offer. By doing this, they are able to drive their conversions higher.
Another thing that you'll love about this ecommerce site is the social integration. It has an Instagram dropdown which their competitors don't have. Aside from that, the design is revamped and it is also SEO optimized. All of these contributed to the success that it has today.
What You Can Learn: International companies should not shy away from ecommerce. It is a great platform to organize everything into one website and also boost sales.
10 - Stationery Xpress
There has been a greater demand for custom products. It seems that customers are no longer contented in buying another 'off the rack' product. They want something that is specifically designed for them or the people who they plan to give the product to. This is what Stationery Xpress knows. So they created more than an online website. They created a platform where customers can customize their own products in real time and the changes will be applied and viewable.
The problem with custom products is the misunderstandings that may come up with improper communication. But by allowing your customers to customize their own products, they know what to expect.
What happened when Stationery Xpress implemented this? Well, they received a 5% increase in their conversion rate. It may seem small but it is actually huge when it comes to their profit. Also, customers feel that they have more control over the final product.
What You Can Learn: Customization is essential to today’s ecommerce websites. It is about including the customer in the creation process.
What do you think? What startup inspired you the most? Tell me all about it below.