According to a recent eMarketer market, the total retail e-commerce market in South Korea is estimated to grow 11% this year to $36.76 billion, making them the third largest e-commerce market in the Asia-Pacific region, after China and Japan. E-commerce is expected to account for nearly 10% of South Korea’s total retail market share. The South Korean market is expected to grow to $47.8 billion by the year 2018. Billion Dollar Unicorn club member Coupang is already making big strides in the region.
I have repeatedly spoken about Billion Dollar Unicorns who have entered the club due to the frenzied investments by VCs who partake in initial funding rounds at spectacular valuations. Some of these companies are not able to address the expectation of a public company and implode when listed on the stock exchanges. One such instance is that of niche e-commerce player Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY), which appears to be stuck in a bit of a rut. Recent disappointing quarterly results accompanied with continuing absence of profits had sent the stock tumbling to below list price levels. As competition in the niche space increases, Etsy will have tougher battles to fight in the next few months.
Billion Dollar Unicorn club member and online niche flash sales site Zulily (Nasdaq: ZU) appears to be making a slow turnaround according to recent quarter results. The stock’s performance has been rather weak of late and it had entered the list of the Wall Street’s worst performing stocks for 2015 after having dropped 47% during the year. Their recent moves suggest that things may improve in the future.
A short discussion on how marketing and sales technologies are evolving.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to yourself as well as to your company.
Carol O’Kelley: Thanks for having me. I’m the CEO of Salesfusion. I joined the company earlier this year after having spent most of my career in technology, marketing, and operations. I’ve done a number of very small entrepreneurial things – everything from being the 34th employee at Retek, which was ultimately acquired by Oracle to starting and managing a self-storage business. I’ve also worked at larger companies like Red Prairie and Oracle. I’m passionate about technology. I love the pace of this business.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you based?
Carol O’Kelley: I’m based in Atlanta, Georgia. >>>
Last year, Chinese e-tail giant Alibaba went public on the New York Stock exchange. Alibaba has been the role model of several e-commerce companies. One of their avid followers, India-based Flipkart, is now eyeing an IPO in the US markets as well. The company is already seeing strong growth in its valuation driven by the growing e-commerce market in India. Gartner expects the Indian e-commerce market to grow 70% this year and Morgan Stanley estimates the Indian market to grow to $137 billion by the year 2020.
In our continued coverage of e-commerce entrepreneurs and their broadening horizons of online user experiences, this post focuses on Etsy’s post-IPO journey.
Earlier I spoke about how the VC funding frenzy has resulted in astronomical valuations for companies making it difficult for them to maintain these valuations if and when they go public. Niche e-commerce player and Billion Dollar Unicorn club member Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY) is one such player who has seen valuations fluctuate since they went public.
We’re always impressed by entrepreneurs who manage to build sizeable companies without outside capital. Read how Cleverbridge has maneuvered to $40 million in revenue and doesn’t want to deal with venture capital and private equity.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background?
Christian Blume: I was born in Cologne, Germany. I moved over to the US when I was seven years old. I stayed for two years in Detroit. Then, I moved back to Germany again for a couple of years. When I was 15, I moved to London and did my International Baccalaureate over there. Then I moved back to Germany again and did my apprenticeship as a car mechanic. I then went to study Economics and went to an asset management company based out of Frankfurt, which was addressing high net worth individuals who needed investment opportunities. >>>
This interview delves into a somewhat obscure aspect of e-commerce: margin optimization through non-core product recommendations. Quite an interesting subject in its own right.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some context about yourself as well as the company.
Bob Dufour: My background is in a couple of different disciplines—statistics and analytics, direct marketing, and psychology. That’s my background and that’s how I put these all together in a company like Fusion, which was started in 2007. Our go-to market strategy is in digital optimization. What do I mean by that? We were formed in 2007 and had our launch with our first client in November of 2007. What we did at that point was we were this intermediary company that sat in between companies that had products to sell through a digital media and distributors that had customers interacting through a digital media. We sat in the middle and did real-time recommendations and real-time optimization. That was how we got started. >>>