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Case Study
Dec 19, 2023

BRANDLESS Multi-Vendor Marketplace Case Study And How to Start Your Own

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Brandless.com is a refreshing online marketplace, offering a curated selection of high-quality, affordable products. It's all about simplifying shopping with a focus on value and transparency, making it a smart choice for savvy shoppers. Thinking about launching your own marketplace? Consider Vendo for its ease of use and cost-effective features. 

Vendo streamlines the setup process, enabling you to showcase popular domestic brands while efficiently handling inventory and shipping tasks. Vendo's seamless operational management allows you to focus on making your marketplace distinctive and appealing.

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Vendo is a one-stop-shop for all your marketplace needs, providing you with a marketplace platform automating day-to-day operation, a catalog of brands to pick from or an ability to invite your own brands, merchandising and promotional tools, ability to sell through multiple channels (your existing website, emails & SMS, mobile app, social media), and ongoing daily support scaling your marketplace business.

Brandless.com: A Story of Reinvention in the Marketplace

1. The Ambitious Beginning

Brandless, an innovative startup from San Francisco, made its debut in 2017 with a unique concept: creating products without traditional brand names. The idea was to provide consumers with high-quality, mainstream store-brand-type products, challenging the conventional market with a direct-to-consumer approach. This strategy was initially successful, attracting significant investments, including a massive $240 million from Softbank’s Vision Fund in 2018​​.

2. Challenges and Transformation

However, the company faced challenges, leading to a dramatic turn in 2020 when it had to lay off a significant portion of its workforce and cease operations. This downfall occurred despite the massive investments and a leadership change, including the removal of co-founder and CEO Tina Sharkey. The rapid changes at the top level, coupled with operational difficulties, led to the company's temporary shutdown​​.

3. A Resurgence with New Leadership

In a remarkable turnaround, Brandless was acquired by Clarke Capital Partners and Ryan Treft, a Utah marketing executive. Under the new leadership, Brandless underwent substantial restructuring. The new team focused on overhauling business strategies, creating product bundles to move unsold inventory, and redefining the company's vision. This period marked a significant shift towards health, wellness, and daily routine products​​.

4. Strategic Expansion and Diverse Offerings

Under CEO Cydni Tetro, Brandless raised $118 million in 2021, one of the largest funding rounds led by a female CEO. The funds were aimed at accelerating growth and acquiring mission-driven, digitally-native brands. This expansion aligned with Brandless's commitment to better-for-you products, emphasizing quality over packaging and people over promotion. The company's product range diversified significantly, encompassing personal health, beauty, home goods, and even pet products, reflecting a broader vision for the direct-to-consumer market​​.

5. Emulating Brandless Marketplace Success

For those looking to replicate Brandless success in the marketplace, the key lessons are adaptability, customer focus, and a commitment to quality and values. Start by identifying a unique market gap or a consumer need that is underserved. Embrace innovation and be willing to pivot your strategy in response to market feedback and operational challenges. Prioritize customer engagement and community-led product development, as Brandless did with its focus on collaboration and influence-as-a-service. Finally, ensure that your products and services align with your brand values, as consumers increasingly seek out brands that reflect their own beliefs and lifestyles.

Brandless journey is a testament to the power of resilience, innovation, and a strong customer-centric approach in the competitive world of online marketplaces.

Get started with a marketplace like Brandless on Vendo!

START YOUR OWN MULTI-BRAND MARKETPLACE ON VENDO

  • Book a demo call: We’ll set up your demo marketplace and populate it with products
  • Customize your Storefront: We’ll help you craft a storefront that aligns with your brand identity, ensuring a cohesive and on-brand shopping experience for your customers.
  • Onboard Brands: Invite your favorite brands or choose brands from the Vendo brand catalog. We can also start reaching out to brands you’d like to sell on your behalf.
  • Select Products: Curate product collections manually or automate the process to efficiently manage your catalog and meet customer demand.
  • Embed products: Make your editorial content shoppable with products embedded right where your customers expect them to find. Simplify and streamline product discovery.
  • Start Selling Programmatically: Push products through multiple touch points: on your website, share it on social media, and include products in your newsletters.
  • Get Paid: Get paid as soon as products are shipped by the brands. No need to wait 30-60 days or worry about orders not attributable to your affiliate links.
  • Get Repeat Sales: Since you’re not linking out, your customers will keep coming back. We’ll help them with abandoned cart emails and promotional email blasts.

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