Verishop, the Los Angeles online retailer founded by former Snap executive Imran Khan, launched a little over a year ago to change the way people shop online. Now the company is launching a new initiative called "Verified Shops" which looks to change the way that up-and-coming retail brands can sell their wares.
As direct-to-consumer and upstart brands look for new ways to sell, they're increasingly turning to online partners to grow their businesses. Chiefly, the concern is that some retailers have been overrun with counterfeit products or unauthorized sellers that undercut pricing and dilute the brand's value with knock-off products, the company observed.
So Khan set out to change the selling experience for these new companies that want to have a better way to communicate with their potential customers... a way to really tell their story online.
"We started with the big brands," Khan said. "[Now] we’re launching 'Verified Shop' where any DTC brands can sell on our platform. They have to get through an approval process and verify that you’re a real direct to consumer brand you can sell on the platform."
That pitch appealed to retailers like David Manshoory, the founder of the popular cosmetics brand Alleyoop.
"Right now we don't work with any other e-commerce retailers," said Manshoory. "Verishop was the first online-only retail partner, because they've got a really large audience of customers that are in our demographic."
The year-old cosmetics brand went with Verishop because the number of retailers and types of sellers on the platform "seemed very curated," according to Manshoory. "There are brands in there that we recognized and respected."
The revenue share program that Verishop has created for the newer, smaller consumer brands that join the platform is also straightforward, Manshoory said. Brands in the Verified Shops channel only pay when they make a sale and it's just 10% to 15%, depending on the category, according to the company.
"Because they’re not buying inventory upfront they take a lower cut… which was a reason why I was attracted to it," said the cosmetics company founder. "We can get started right off the bat once the integration is up… we have full control over our store."
"E-commerce still starts in 1990," said Khan of the traditional shopping experience. "It's a search-based experience that's phenomenal if you know what you're looking for." However, as brands proliferate and consumers look to identify with particular brands and brand stories more closely, the question becomes how to find those new companies that are selling the types of products that resonate with particular shoppers.
It's the question that Verishop has set out to solve and the company is hoping that Verified Shops can be the onramp for the newest consumer brands to reach a millennial audience. Think of it as an online mall where a curated shopping ecosystem exists for each brand to develop its own digital storefront and tell its own story.
"Right now we sell fashion and home and beauty, but long-term why can’t you buy a car?" Khan asked. "It's this virtual mall or virtual shopping strip that you can walk through and discover and learn and hang out. We let the brands tell the story and let the consumers discover the stories."
Unlike other attempts to create a front-end digital storefront experience for brands, Khan said that Verishop is differentiated by its focus on a back-end e-commerce infrastructure and logistics capabilities that other virtual malls can't match.