Business driving change
Alibaba and its sister sites have worked hard to eliminate the frictions involved in international trade. They include a number of very popular eCommerce sites in China and other companies that offer marketing, financial services, cloud computing and logistics.
alibaba.com – Leading wholesale marketplace for global trade
taobao.com – China’s largest mobile commerce destination
tmall.com – China’s largest 3rd-party platform for brands & retail
1688.com – Leading online wholesale marketplace in China
aliexpress.com – Popular global consumer marketplace
alimama.com – Leading marketing technology platform
aliyun.com – cloud computing and data management
Cainiao Network – Logistics data platform operator
Founded 4 April 1999
Founders Jack Ma, Peng Lei
Headquarters Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Area served Worldwide
Employees 50,092 (2017)
Amazon (easy, innovative)
Amazon is the dominant eCommerce company in the USA and many other parts of the world. They continue to innovate in many areas and have a very customer-focused attitude. Alexa, 1-Click checkout, Amazon Go, product scanner, and the Dash Button are just a few of the ways they are innovating in order to create great user experiences.
Founded July 5, 1994 (as Cadabra)
Founder Jeff Bezos
Headquarters Seattle, Washington
Area served Worldwide
Employees 341,400 (2017)
Apple (shop anywhere)
Apple may be one of the largest eCommerce sites in the world but that is not why they are on this list. The technology that they control has an enormous impact on how people interact with online stores. Whether it is shopping online using a MacBook, iPad, or iPhone, Apple Pay or other apps, Apple plays a part in many of the eCommerce transactions that take place.
Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne
Headquarters Cupertino, California,
Locations 496 Apple retail stores, 21 countries (2017)
Area served Worldwide
Employees 116,000 (2016)
Craigslist (low barrier to entry for sellers)
Most items can be posted on Craigslist for free. This allows for new types of transactions that would not otherwise take place. In the past, people may have discarded or donated many items they no longer use, but Craigslist allows people to sell products in a new way to those that are close by. They have removed the need for classified ads in newspapers eliminating about 30 percent of newspaper revenue yet allowing a new retail experience to occur.
Founded 1995 (incorporated 1999)
Founder Craig Newmark
Headquarters San Francisco, California
Area served 57000 cities in 70 countries
Employees 50 (2017)
eBay (discover unique deals)
eBay allows anyone to sell anything (almost) with a low barrier to entry. eBay was originally an auction site for used or one-of-a-kind goods but now more users buy new products at a Buy Now price. Many users still expect a great deal and unique products even if the bulk of eBay’s business comes from new sales. It is often the best place to go for these items because of the low barrier to posting a product for sale and the ability to reach a national or global audience.
Founded September 3, 1995
Founder Pierre Omidyar
Headquarters San Jose, California
Google (discover stores, products, low prices)
Google is where many people start their shopping or product research. Users can see ads by retailers, click on a specific product and sort by price, see store reviews, product reviews, similar items, and even save to a shopping list associated with their Google account. They are also experimenting with allowing users to buy right on their site, without leaving the trusted Google ecosystem.
Founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin
Headquarters Googleplex, Mountain View, California,
Employees 57,100 (2015)
Other eCommerce stores with interesting features
The Honest Company (curation of kid-safe products)
Honest.com eliminates the needs for shoppers to read every label. If the product is good enough for the site, it is likely a safe, organic and nontoxic product.
Jet (matches cost to price)
Jet understands the real price of a transaction and uses interesting incentives to match buyer and seller. They know that credit cards and debit cards incur different costs to the retailer, shipping costs are determined by many factors and the more customers buy the more valuable they are. They do a great job of matching incentives and encouraging more balanced transactions.
Zappos (great customer service, free returns)
Zappos is known for excellent customer service and easy returns. They have eliminated many of the anxieties related to shopping online.
Wish (browse and discover products)
Wish is great for discovering inexpensive products that you did not know you wanted. For example, shoes that light up or a backpack for two dollars. They offer cheap, international goods at great prices to the world with an endless scrolling interface. There is a search bar at the top but this is not how people generally navigate the site. Most find it fun to browse the way you would at a store with unique products at great prices.