The Kings and Queens of E-commerce
Queen Elizabeth isn’t the only queen in the world. She does rule the United Kingdom, but the makeup industry is dominated by another lady: Kylie Jenner.
Jenner started her makeup business with lip kits in 2015. There was so much demand on the day of the lip kit release that her website crashed; when they were restocked, the kits sold out in less than one minute. Her company became Kylie Cosmetics, a brand that sold not only lipstick, but also eyeshadows, highlighters, concealers, and more. These products have established their presence online and ultimately led to the opening of pop-up shops across the US (located within Topshop in seven locations across the U.S).
Brands such as Kylie Cosmetics demonstrate how e-commerce is a powerful force that threatens malls and even the business of physical stores. 1,100 malls still exist in the U.S., according to Credit Suisse, and a quarter of them could close over the next 5 years. The only malls that continue to thrive are luxury malls such as Crystals in Las Vegas and the Bal Harbour shops in Miami. These stores appeal to the select group of consumers who shop at high-end stores and do not need to worry about securing deals online.
Nonetheless, there is still a universal sentiment of easiness to shopping online. You can search for exactly what you want, what occasion you want an item for, and what size you need. Sites such as etsy have even allowed people to sell their own products online. The Internet has expanded our reach as to what we can purchase, whether that means groceries from a local store to accessories from another country.
Cyber Monday is a holiday that capitalizes on the ability of people to reach stores in all niches of the world through the Internet. CNBC reports that in 2017, $6.59 billion was purchased in total on Cyber Monday, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history.
While Jenner has had undeniable success as a lip kit queen, the most powerful form of e-commerce is led by Jeff Bezos through Amazon. According to Statista, Amazon garnered around $178 billion in net sales within the U.S. Statista reports that the company’s massive profit made it the number one source of online retail in the United States. Amazon’s site was launched in 2001 and ever since, the company has been using its e-commerce platform to revolutionize markets.
From the delivery of organic products online to AmazonFresh to voice-assistants like Alexa, Amazon’s technology has provided ease to the lives of its consumers, especially through AmazonPrime, their membership program. This membership includes multiple benefits, from being able to borrow books through the Prime program, to free shipping, to unlimited access to Prime Music playlists.
Amazon’s forward-thinking business model doesn’t stop at these membership policies. The company recently launched Amazon Prime Air, which is their drone delivery system. With Amazon Prime Air, a customer can get products in 30 minutes or less through an unmanned drone. These drones highlight the efficiency of the company and how Amazon is trying to stay updated with trends in technology. E-commerce is the foundation on which Amazon can actually beat apple to become a $1 trillion company. It will be interesting to see how else they change the economy and consumer decisions, and add new texture to the landscape of e-commerce.
Other apps have emerged that not only enhance the e-commerce experience, but do it in unique ways compared to the existing giants like Kylie Cosmetics and Amazon. Charles Nouboue and Gaetan Roguevin-Baville created an app called Fitle that allows consumers to try on clothes through a virtual 3D avatar of themselves. To use it, consumers have to enter their height and take four pictures of themselves at different angles. Fitle needs only 30 seconds to create an avatar for each individual that is accurate to one’s dimensions 99% of the time, according to Nouboue and Roguevin-Baville.
The purpose of the app is to use the search history of their consumers to find clothes that align with their fit and style, as the name of the app suggests. This service is done through the app’s website, through which people can have virtual closets and try clothes on. People can also scan barcodes to enter into their virtual closets if the company has digitized their products with Fitle.
Innovative apps like Fitle have built on the e-commerce experience, demonstrating not only the increased engagement and interaction between people and the Internet, but its evolution. Ultimately, the burgeoning industry of e-commerce is expanding, and businesses, even currently existing e-commerce rulers, will have to keep up to stay on top and maintain their royal status.