What would have happened to the dot-com bubble crash if Pets.com could innovate like these Lithuanians?
Well, probably not much, but this company will get you thinking about how industries, like ecommerce, should start thinking about the bigger picture. The Lithuania-based Inside Warehouse team got their roots together four years ago in the ecommerce business, running a pet-related webshop targeted to pet owners. A Pets.com if you will. But taking a hard look at user acquisition they wondered where webshops really fit in.
"We were going step-by-step and we realized that retailers do not create any added value to a sales process," says . Users are already finding content, so the question to them was why they were trying to drive content from pubishers to webshops. Their solution is an ecommerce solution for publishers, similar to Helsinki-based Kiosked, which delivers in-site webshops through a publisher's visual content, or other similar ideas like 72lux in the US and Atosho in Denmark.
But where Inside Warehouse differs is that they're more Whitelabel than Kiosked; these bloggers and publishers aren't throwing another brand's store in their content (like a Kiosked webshop sitting inside a blogger's content) but instead are just extending a publishers own brand into the ecommerce field.
"If product source is another retailer, then automatically the publisher is competing with another retailer. We are joining in a more pure way from distributor and manufacturer," says Tadas Deksnys, CEO of Inside Warehouse.
An extension of this idea is that the consumer data then belongs to the publisher - not the webshop - which can change how these publishers act. If they dig into
readers data, then they can better focus on customer acquisition.
An approach like this is potentially more streamlined if you agree with Deksnys' thesis that publishers and webshops (sitting in content or not) are currently fighting each other for attention. But by being more whitelabel they have to build more trust between themselves and these publishers. If InsideWarehouse was to screw up, its the publisher's brand that would get hurt, which is something the company says they've really taken into consideration.
Rather than just being just embedable ecommerce, they're also focusing on building up the technology end to link content and products together. So if a blogger is blogging about Yorkshire Terriers, for example, InsideWarehouse knows that this type of dog is a smaller breed, and will present products for smaller dogs.
This pets angle is still a major vertical for the company, and they've also moved into the Baby sector. Currently the company is focused on filling these two 'buckets' - sellers and publishers.
InsideWarehouse raised $320,000 last April by Lithuanian investment company, BIP Group, and are now focused on the US market, where they already have connected with a publisher with one million uniques per month.
Still, there's value in moving powerfully through niches, and perhaps soon we'll hear about solid traction through U.S. bloggers and publishers.