Some small retailers are calling it a match made in e-commerce heaven: On Monday, Wanelo and Shopify launched a partnership that aims to further help level the playing field for independent e- stores.
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“When we started talking to stores on Wanelo, we found that so many of our favorite stores were on Shopify, so we kept getting more and more excited about launching Shopify-specific integration,” Wanelo Founder and CEO Deena Varshavskaya told FOXBusiness.com.
In fact, Varshavskaya said, a lot of these stores have built a very significant following on Wanelo and some have “as much or more visibility than some of the top national brands” using the platform.
“Outside of Wanelo, these independent shops are hard to discover,” Varshavskaya said. “They all sit on different platforms, and there’s nothing to tie them together and make it easier for [users] to discover and shop from them. I want to change that.”
The news adds another dimension to the November launch of Wanelo’s “Buy on Wanelo” feature that enables in-app transactions, allowing users to purchase items directly from the app rather than being redirected to a retailer’s website.
“Wanelo’s users come to do nothing but shop,” Varshavskaya said, adding that they introduced Buy on Wanelo to give the shoppers a “frictionless checkout experience.”
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Before the app launched, some 8,000 Shopify-powered stores already had a presence on Wanelo. As of midday Monday, Shopify said 140-and-counting of their merchants had downloaded the “on Shopify” app. The app, which is available on Shopify’s app store, lets merchants sync their product catalogs to the Wanelo marketplace and participate in the Buy on Wanelo feature.
“Here at Shopify we’re always on the hunt for the next great app to help our stores … to engage with current and new customers,” Atlee Clark, head of App Store and Third Party Developer Ecosystem at Shopify, said to FOXBusiness.com. “And there are so many tools for these small businesses to engage with customers; platforms like Wanelo, with the new app, are driving the ability for the small guys to really compete.”
For Wanelo, timing is everything.
“I believe the time is just right to invest our efforts in this space,” Varshavskaya said. “The independent e-commerce market is exploding with over two million online stores in operation today – more than 14x the number that existed five years ago.”
Natasha Wong, co-founder of lifestyle boutique Seldom Seen, described the partnership as a “much-needed step in [the e-commerce] space to help small shops gain exposure.” Seldom Seen has more than 20,000 followers on Wanelo.
Adela Mei Co-Owner and Founder Stacy Leung, who has a background in e-commerce, said the coming-together of the two makes sense as people’s shopping habits keep evolving.
“[Shoppers] want an easier experience, where instead of going to five stores, they want to shop everywhere in one place. That’s what Wanelo is,” Leung said. “And the integration allows [smaller merchants] to be a part of it.”