The Top Boston Based eCommerce Websites In 2020
People usually refer to San Francisco or Silicon Valley as the technology capital of the United States, but the city of Boston could also be in the conversation for the top spot. Not only is the city of champions headquarters for Trellis, but Boston is home to hundreds of technology businesses leading the way in innovation. One of the latest leaps in technology has been centered in the realm of eCommerce and there is no shortage of successful eCommerce brands based in Boston. Today we will look at some of the most influential eCommerce companies that call Boston home.
Let’s Dive In
The Grommet is an online marketplace and product discovery platform based in Somerville, Massachusetts for consumer products from maker culture, inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. They find and review products and select certain ones to be promoted on their web site. Presenting new products with an editorial and video story allows for greater product insight. Members of the web site then give feedback on the product. This organic review system allows for greater consumer transparency and lets buyers learn as much as possible about a product pre-purchase. Some of their notable product launches include Fitbit, Otterbox, Simplisafe, and Sodastream.
Let’s continue with a two-parter. Gilt is an online shopping and lifestyle website based in the United States that launched in 2007. At one time valued at over $1 billion on paper, the company was eventually sold to Hudson’s Bay Company for approximately $250 million, far lower than the total obtained from its investors. Then in 2018, Boston-based Rue La La acquired Gilt from HBC. Rue La La is an invitation-only online store where members can shop brand name sale boutiques, each open for a brief period of time. Membership is free but for only those who are so cordially invited.
Converse is an American shoe company that designs, distributes and licenses sneakers, skating shoes, lifestyle brand footwear, apparel, and accessories. Converse was founded in 1908 but was acquired by Nike in 2003. They send sneakers all across the world as a truly global company. During World War II, Converse shifted its manufacturing to make footwear for the military and have become a part of Americana ever since. Converse shoes are distinguished by a number of features, including the company’s star insignia, the All Star’s rubber sole, smooth rounded toe, and wrap-around strip.
Ministry of Supply launched in 2012 and is a Boston-based high performance business wear men’s and women’s fashion brand. The brand was founded by former Massachusetts Institute of Technology students integrating some of the same temperature regulating material as NASA astronauts in their clothing. The company currently sells the majority of their clothing online and currently has brick and mortar retail locations in Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, Santa Monica, Boston, and Chicago.
Bodega’s original storefront in Boston is something you have to see to believe and fully understand. Celeb “sneakerheads” have been making pilgrimages to Boston since 2006 when one of the top sneaker boutiques in the world opened its doors (so to speak).
Even when Bodega’s door is open, it’s not exactly easy to find. With no advertising or storefront signage, you have to be in-the-know to find the store’s hidden entrance: at the back of the fully-functioning convenience store and tucked behind a Snapple machine. Their playful store is mirrored in their inventory as it draws in customers of all ages and places. They have a pretty sweet online store and are an amazing client here at Trellis.
Wayfair is one of the most successful Boston based eCommerce companies. With revenue increasing into the billions, they are one of the leading eCommerce focused companies in the US and will soon be a larger player in the IR 1000 list. Their growth rate is fairly substantial from an eCommerce perspective and they should become the online leader in home furnishings for the foreseeable future in the United States.
BooBub is a free service that helps you discover books you’ll love through unbeatable deals, handpicked recommendations, and updates from your favorite authors. BookBub doesn’t actually sell books but their platform introduces you to books you’ll love that are available on retailers like Amazon’s Kindle store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, Apple Books, and others. Their service serves as a portal for customers to navigate the internet and find ebooks easily online.
CarGurus started off as an automotive community blog where consumers could post reviews and questions about local dealers, shops, and types of cars. Dealers expressed interest in advertising on the site, and the company changed its business strategy to connect dealers and consumers by putting inventory on the site and web traffic boomed to over 21 million visitors per month.
Now, CarGurus is an automotive research and shopping website that assists users in comparing local listings for used and new cars and contacting sellers. CarGurus uses algorithms to analyze and compare prices and features on cars for sale. CarGurus has advanced search filtering that allows users to search for specific cars in their local area and compare listings by price, features, and dealership reputation. Their witty use of eCommerce strategy has allowed for their steady growth year over year.
Follain sells non-toxic, clean beauty products. Featured in “Vogue” and “InStyle,” the company offers skincare, makeup, hair and bath products that are clean free of harmful chemicals. What separates them from the pack is their personalized packages. Follain offers completely customized skincare kits chosen by their professionals to help consumers unsure of what to buy. Their website seeks to improve the buying process and make buying makeup online easier than ever.
M. Gemi is focused on reinventing the women’s luxury footwear industry by giving factories in Italy the ability to sell handcrafted shoes directly to the consumer online. Their mission is to bring a taste of Italy here to the States.
The idea is to give U.S. consumers the ability to buy high-end, handcrafted Italian leather shoes at lower price points by leveraging technology advances in order to flatten the supply chain. They want to eliminate wholesaling expensive showrooms. Via their website and mobile app, new designs are released every Monday to augment their constant collections.
CustomMade is the world’s first and largest online seller of custom products. Customers can browse listings and galleries based on criteria like the function of the item, the proximity of the custom maker, or build materials. Prior to 2015, the site operated simply as a portal to connect customers with artists but now they have set up shop as an eCommerce store. The site allows ustomers to search by category, such as “wine-room design” or “custom sapphire jewelry,” or by location, which gives the names of local custom makers. Custom builds are put up for auction so artists can bid for the opportunity to build the piece. Potential customers can also post a proposed item to the site’s Job Board and custom makers will bid for the chance to build it.
Infinite Stores is a new Virtual Reality Shopping Experience made for people who enjoy shopping as entertainment. Infinite Stores allows sellers to offer customers digital recreations of physical storefronts and gives shoppers a more interactive online shopping experience. They use simple browser-based tools to allow Etsy sellers to easily arrange display fixtures and visually merchandise products in their own virtual 3D shops and boutiques. Thanks to advances in VR headsets, users can get a better look at products without leaving home.
Invaluable is the world’s leading online marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectibles. Their team works with more than 4,000 of the world’s premier auction houses, dealers and galleries, Invaluable helps buyers from 200 countries connect with the things they love. Invaluable provides sellers with e-commerce and marketing solutions, as well as auction management software with a fixed-price system. They are headquartered in Boston, Invaluable but also have offices in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia.