The first prototype of the present-day e-commerce kicked off in the 1980’s.It was not much of a success, but it surely got the wheel rolling. Almost three decades after, the internet world is teeming with virtual marketplaces that were inspired by the success stories of Amazon and Ebay.New online stores have mushroomed and fresh startups keep popping. Competition is getting tougher and tougher each year that each online business entity is working ways to offer unique services in order to stand out.
In Europe alone, online business forecasts are beaming positive, with reports of sales growing in leaps and bounds and investors coming in droves to fire up the newbies or keep the existing ones afloat.Some may have folded up after the first couple of years, but people never run out of ideas. And more and more entrepreneurs will decide that having an online business has more perks than drawbacks, among them the fact that technology works to their advantage in terms of market exposure and client reach. Hence, there really is no stopping the dot.com playing field to grow even more robust and exciting.
Here is a list of the top-performing online marketplaces in Europe.Find out what they have in store for the netizens who find it more efficient to do business with just a click and a swipe.
20. THE CHAPAR
“Cash rich but time poor. Doesn’t enjoy shopping, but wants to look good”. Such male issues.The solution?The Chapar! It is a company that offers online shopping with a bonus!Personal styling for free!What’s really great about this company’s founders’ system is that they build a personal relationship with their client by calling him up for interview about his preferences after he has filled up an online information form found at www.thechapar.com.Taking up after the consultation, they build up his wardrobe and send him a trunkful of mix-and-match choices in keeping with the client’s personality and offering pieces that would enhance his looks.The client pays for items that he likes and sends back via UPS, free of charge, those that do not satisfy his taste.This personal service has since become popular among men who don’t or simply won’t have time to do shopping at the malls.
Are you a shoeaholic? Then install Stylect now!It offers a virtual avenue for women who love shoes to do their window shopping from a vast selection of brands featured in the online catalogue at www.stylectapp.com.Browsing is made easy by searches customized according to style, color, price and brand.Stylect is now a free downloadable app for Apple and Android mobile gadgets. Downloaded for over 300,000 times in both desktops and mobile gadgets, this intelligent app allows collection ofinformation about footwear preferences of its users and extends to them notifications about updates on what’s hot and what’s on sale.
Go crazy over Mallzee! It’s another online market with free downloadable intelligent app that lets its users browse through endless items from about 200 brands of fashionable wear.It stores information about a user’s clothing preferences and, the next time around, shows her only those styles that she likes or suggest those that she might like.Mallzee makes browsing easy and online shopping an experience worth repeating.
Rad is a French portal that sells men’s and women’s hipster wardrobes and accouterments online at www.rad.com.Its founders have partnered with at least a couple of low-priced-and-never-goes-out-of-style apparels and accessories brand.It hopes to limit its competition by catering mostly to the young crowd. Rad started the e-tailing in 2012 with its focus in Europe, but it hopes to be able to penetrate the US market as well sometime in 2015.
16. CHIC BY CHOICE
Book it. Wear it. Return it. That’s how the operation of Chic by Choice is aptly described.This portal offers rental of designer dresses for any event at very affordable costs.It ships within Europe within 24 hours after booking is completed at www.chic-by-choice.com.Chic by Choice sends two different sizes of clothes for the customer to try on, and hires DHL courier to pick up the items when the customer is ready to return them after use. This portal hopes to serve as a base for buyers as well.Target market is women from age bracket 20s to 40s.
Dymant is a virtual bazaar for limited-edition handcrafted luxury items. By that it means the items are reasonably expensive and the clients are wealthy. Access to the website www.dymant.com is by-invitation-only to maintain its exclusivity. Just to give an idea on what Dymant stores up in its secret pantry, its artisans include glass blowers, lace makers, cabinet makers, engravers and jewelers. All these require that the craftsman put his heart into what he’s creating.What draws clients to Dymant?For people who have everything, what else could they want?To borrow the company’s words: “Each creation has a soul. Each object tells a story. Each design holds his secrets.” Dymant has a client base in Europe and the US, and is targeting to build up one in Asia.
Secretsales is another members-only online shopping portal that offers big, big discounts on designer clothes and fashion accessories, as well as commodities for the home. This company offers virtual assistance through its team of buyers who snap up discounts of up to 70% for its clients. Secretsales have partnered up with over 600 brands of merchandise from suppliers who intend to sell excess inventory exclusively to its club members who are on the look-out for great bargains.
Monshowroom.com is a French virtual shoppe that retails clothes for men, women and children. It targets an open market with its catalogue of over 15,000 items from over 20 brands. Monshowroom offers money-back guarantee for items returned within two weeks after delivery. It offers the services of personal consultants who recommend upbeat styles and trends for free. Plus factor for winning over clients is its loyalty voucher scheme. For every item ordered, the client receives a gift voucher and an aggregate of vouchers entitles him to redeem a product of equivalent value.
12. GIRL MEETS DRESS
Why buy when you can borrow?Check out fashion clothes for rent at www.girlmeetsdress.com.Here you will find choices of really cool high-end pieces for every occasion.Girl Meets Dress co-founder Anna Bance says the business is offering women a once-in-a-lifetime experience of luxury to wear expensive designer outfits. They don’t have to buy these normally-exorbitantly- priced garments. Renting makes it all affordable.Clients may reserve the outfits in advance, and may also avail of the optional VIP membership which entitles them to borrow one dress free for every month that they would rent more than one item.Now, who wouldn’t love to party?
Have your own gorgeous outfit that you want to sell? Come to the virtual marketplace www.videdressing.comand do your trade here. Videdressing is a website and an iOS app that invites fashionistas to buy or sell new or pre-loved items conveniently. In turn, it receives 10% commission for every sold item.At Videdressing, a seller can make her own virtual boutique and manage it methodically after her items had been authenticated.The company assures its clients of trustworthiness of its products by issuing certificates of authenticity as well as maintaining a team of legal experts on online fraud. Hence, buyers can make purchases happily and confidently because secure payment transaction is always guaranteed.
Showroom is like a display window of fashion garments, shoes, bags, jewelry and other accessories for both men and women.These products are conscientiously hand-picked by Showroom staff to assure that its clients are getting only quality items. In this aspect, Showroom acts as a go-between for the client and the designer. The client chooses the fashion pieces desired at www.shwrm.com and adds them to a virtual basket, and then pays Showroom via PayPal or credit card.Showroom ascertains that payments are made securely and that its client receives the products he bought in the best condition.It’s service de luxe, indeed!
Nuji is like an online department store that offers a wide array of enticing items ranging from fashion clothes, accessories, household items, cameras, furniture, etc. It features over 40,000 shops that offer more than 500,000 products. One can narrow down his choices by swiping to a folder to the right those items to his liking, and Nuji suggests similar styles in the next sign-in.Nuji is also a downloadable app on Apple mobile gadgets, which is quite ideal for an easy shopping spree through the internet.
Miinto is a leading portal in online fashion retail in Denmarkeyeing the mid-range to high-end clients. It features more than 2,000 retail stores taking advantage of Miinto as a host for some 180,000 products being catered to 5 countries in London. What’s striking about Miinto is that the business concept was developed by high school entrepreneurs and was backed up with investment by two topnotch businessmen who saw the business through its peak.Another striking detail about this online business is that Miinto does not keep its own inventory. Rather, it works around existing stocks available in the warehouse of its partner stores.Miinto is always kept apprised by its suppliers hence the online shop showcases only the latest craze.
Navabi is like the answer to ardent prayers of a market that is just waiting to happen. It is an online portal for plus-sized women who are looking for avant-garde fashion, despite the curves.A portion of the online store is devoted to style guides for different body types. Very client-friendly.The company should expand to much of Asia, in addition to its large market in the UK.Plus-size clientele is actually an underestimated niche in the fashion industry.The Navabi team sees that as an opportunity, not only as a profit-making enterprise but also as a way to issue a statement to the world: Navabi is a rebel, a pool of innovative minds and collected efforts determined to reverse the conventional.
Make your runway dreams come true! This online boutique is for fashionistas who are prepared to indulge in pricey modish attires. Lyst is the right place to be when you want to be the first to know if the designer outfits of your dreams are out in the market, straight from the runway shows. This is called the Runway Tracking, a special feature introduced by Lyst. . Follow your favorite designer www.lyst.com and get the privilege to receive notifications about the latest updates.
5. VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE
Looking for first-class expensive items at rock-bottom prices?Vestiaire is a French online resale marketplace where clients can buy and sell luxury pre-loved fashion articles. Because it trades valuable premium items, the Vestiaire staff goes through the length of detailed physical inspection of each article before shipping off to buyers.Authenticity and excellent quality are foremost in the minds of the staff in order to protect their buyers’ interests as well as Vestiaire’s integrity.To date, to say that there must be at least a million members registered at the www.vestiairecollective.com is truly an understatement.
At Vinted, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Here, people buy and sell new and pre-loved clothes and other items. Sign in, chat and make friends.Be so lucky as to be bequeathed with a much-desired item by a new chum. The website has a forums section where members talk to each other and consult with the admin.At the forums complaints and other issues are aired and addressed as they come.A business partner describes it as“half social network and chatting and half clothing exchange.” Originally conceptualized as just a hobby outlet, the website clicked and grew bigger such that its presence is felt in Europe and big investors were attracted to provide funding. As of 2013, Vinted has 3 million members who are called Vinties, and it has expanded to the US on a yet-limited capacity.
Spartoo is an online store that is into shoe retailing.It has reportedly sold around 2 million shoes in 2012.Well, it originally sold just shoes and other footwear. But as it expanded its network to a dozen other countries, its services incorporated other goods as well, like bags, leather goods, jewelry and clothes for men, women and children.Its online catalogue is jam-packed with over 500 labels and a very large collection of at least 30,000items.Have you done online shopping at Spartoo? Then it’s time to do it again, shopping part two.
Far-fetched no more. The idea that online marketplaces will be a hit among global netizens used to be implausible. But Farfetch itself is the proof that would debunk that myth.Farfetch is currently one of the largest online fashion store in Europe, hosting 300 autonomous retail stores and 2000 fashion designersin its website farfetch.com.Farfetch sets them all into three style clusters: Contemporary, Lab and Luxe,giving a rich shopping experience to clients from Europe, Asia and the United States, its biggest market to date.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery.Thumped for being a copycat of US-based Zappos, Zalando is currently Europe’s biggest online boutique for men’s, women’s and children’s wear. It caters to 15 European countries, with its largest market being Germany.Originally a portal for footwear, Zalando has grown into a virtual retail giant that continues to grow even bigger ever since the inclusion of a wide variety of fashion wear in its catalogue. Every big brand you know is probably one of Zalando’s suppliers providing quality products at www.zalando-lounge.com.