E-commerce startup ShopRunner, backed by Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), has more than doubled its users in the past year. The company hopes to double that figure again in 2015 as it expands into China.
ShopRunner, which has been selling online for five years, is determined to build a better shopping experience out of convenience rather than savings, like its competitor Amazon. The online retailer's ties to Alibaba suggest a more direct road for U.S. retailers looking to sell in China, reported Reuters.
Scott Thompson, CEO of ShopRunner, said the retailer is an online mall that showcases brand merchandise at prices higher than the norm, while providing retail partners ownership of customer data and relationships.
"These businesses spend a lot of money to do the right thing with their brands," Thompson told Reuters. "I want the segment of customer who says I want to pay a fair price, but I want the experience to be predictable."
ShopRunner currently has 2.4 million members, some of whom are signed up through American Express, which offers cardholders free membership. And members are extending spending on the platform to more and more brands. In 2014, members who started buying from two or more online storefronts continued to purchase from additional storefronts at an expansion rate of 60 percent, up from 20 percent the previous year.
ShopRunner is one of several U.S. e-commerce companies working with Alibaba and Alipay to help U.S. retailers get access to China. The company's ePass allows Chinese consumers to buy and pay for goods from the United States, free of hassle.
Online shopping in China is booming. For example, last year Suning, China's biggest retail chain, generated about $17 billion over the course of the year, and Alibaba made almost half that in its Tmall in just one day, Singles Day. A host of retailers are now trying to get a piece of the growing Chinese e-commerce market, including brands such as Gilt, Costco (NASDAQ:COSTCO), Ikea and Zara.
-See this Reuters article
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