Josh Wexler sees a future of online shopping that is dominated by “marketplaces.” Marketplaces are a type of site that lets brands sell directly to consumers, while taking a fee for helping to facilitate that sale.
Think of Amazon. If a product you are looking at is being sold by someone other than Amazon, that means it exists in Amazon’s ecommerce marketplace.
Here’s an example of a phone being sold by Motorola:
Marketplaces are huge business. Just Amazon and Alibaba’s marketplaces alone approach $US500 billion in sales, Wexler tells Business Insider. It can be appealing for brands to have the control to sell — more or less — directly to their customers. But there is one big problem: it can be painful for brands to integrate with all the different marketplaces available to them.
Wexler’s new startup, RevCascade, aims to fix that problem.
“When you look at mid to high-end retailers, think Macy’s or Bloomingdales, they are all launching marketplaces, or have already done so,” Wexler says. They want to compete with companies like Amazon before it’s too late.
But for brands who want to sell in these new marketplaces, today it’s mostly a manual process, Wexler says. You have to go into each individual one, and input the same information over and over again. RevCascade is working to unify that, and is targeting mid to high-end marketplaces and brands.
Here’s how it works.
“Once a brand plugs into RevCascade, we give them access to all the retailers they want,” Wexler says. “And they can then curate their products so each retailer has a unique assortment. You can sell some things in the Urban Outfitters marketplace, and others in the Macy’s one.” RevCascade provides the tech that enables these brands to easily manipulate price, selection, and even business terms with specific marketplaces.
The idea is that you should be able to do everything without leaving the platform.
RevCascade is built around the concept that automation can help brands rapidly scale their selling options without spending countless hours inputting data. This is where the value is.
Wexler is no stranger to the idea of using automation to make the process of selling more seamless on the web. He’s a veteran of Rubicon Project, a startup focused on programmatic advertising that went public last year.
RevCascade is currently working in stealth mode, with a “who’s who” of big retailers, according to Wexler, and a more public rollout is planned by the end of this year.
The company has so far raised around $US3 million dollars from investors like Michael Barrett, the CEO of Millennial Media, prominent Macy’s executive John Harper, and angel investor Gil Penchina.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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