Inc.’s outsized growth is making it difficult for other online retailers to compete. After all, more than half of respondents in a March Internet Retailer/Bizrate Insights consumer survey said Amazon is the first site or app they visit when shopping online, and the retail giant is gobbling up a growing share of previously impenetrable categories like food and home improvement products. But difficult is not impossible, as the retailers featured in the growth category in the Hot 100 can attest to.

There are many paths to growth

Last year, U.S. e-commerce grew 15.8% while fast growers like Shoprunner-owned Spring, a fashion and beauty marketplace, and Govberg Jewelers, a luxury watch retailer, nearly tripled their sales. Others outpaced the overall market with less astronomical but still impressive growth numbers. For instance, Moda Operandi, a luxury apparel destination, increased sales by an estimated 93%, and alcohol marketplace Drizly registered an estimated revenue bump north of 60%.

The retailers featured in the growth category employed a variety of tactics to achieve growth. For example, as retail chains are shuttering storefronts, there’s a reverse trend afoot. Some ambitious digitally native brands have turned to physical stores to capitalize on brand buzz.

Thanks to blurbs in GQ and Vogue prior to launching in 2010, eye wear upstart Warby Parker had a wait list of 20,000 right off the bat, and the founder opened his home to customers who asked to preview out-of-stock items. The retailer later opened a showroom and went on a cross-country tour with a school bus as a mobile storefront to test markets before signing leases. Executives have said they could envision 800 to 1,000 locations in the brand’s future, and the retailer has opened 86 stores to date.

Allbirds, an online brand of sustainably made footwear that launched in March 2016, similarly branched out by opening
three permanent retail storefronts in New York, San Francisco and London. Co-founder Tim Brown says the company has been “blown away” by in-store sales and the reception of customers.

Allbirds expanded to Canada this year and has its sights set on customers in the United Kingdom. The merchant also is diversifying its shoes by sourcing from new materials—tree and sugar products rather than just wool.

Meanwhile, lingerie and costume retailer Yandy capitalized on its peak season—Halloween—by adding 1,500 new costumes to its inventory last year in an effort to have new offerings ready for the influx of traffic in October. Drizly is on track to more than double the number of retailers that sell through its marketplace.


Andie Swim: A better swimwear shopping experience

The swimwear shopping experience is broken, says Melanie Travis, founder and CEO of online-only women’s swimwear retailer Andie Swim. And she aims to fix it by making shopping for the right swimsuit an easier—and maybe even enjoyable—process.

Andie Swim: A better swimwear shopping experience

Travis aims to save shoppers a trip to the store, which can often be a frustrating experience when attempting to find a swimsuit that is both price- and age-appropriate.

The swimwear retailer sells its products directly to consumers on It offers 26 swimsuit styles and 135 SKUs, which will increase to 225 SKUs when it launches a new resort collection this month.

Launched in April 2017, Andie Swim has grown sales 500% year over year, she says, declining to provide specific figures.

Poshmark: A social commerce leader

Online marketplace Poshmark has sold more than $1 billion worth of apparel products since launching in
2011. Technology and community engagement have been the company’s key growth drivers thus far, says Manish Chandra, the online marketplace’s founder and CEO.

Poshmark: A social commerce leader

While Poshmark initially launched as a peer-to-peer site for the sale of used goods, now one in three products sold is a new item. The marketplace has 5 million sellers on its marketplace with 75 million items for sale. It takes a $2.95 commission on all sales under $15 and a 20% commission on any sales above $15. And, in addition to its peer-to-peer marketplace, Poshmark operates a wholesale marketplace on which more than 100 fashion brands sell their items to retailers.

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