Conduit Market Maps: E-Commerce Infrastructure 101

Across the modern e-commerce industry, existing infrastructure fails to meet the needs of digital-first brands. As the entire retail industry shifts to e-commerce, there are a number of key bottlenecks to selling online at scale.

As these bottlenecks become more apparent, a wave of high-growth software companies has sprung up across multiple niches. In this piece, we’ll focus on hiring, logistics, and marketing.

Any brand that currently sells items online, or wants to move additional inventory through novel e-commerce channels, is a potential client for emerging logistics infrastructure companies. Within this new class of software-driven solutions, four logistics platforms stood out based on real-time analytics and feedback from founders and investors in the Conduit ecosystem.

Outerspace is reimagining the third-party logistics provider (3PL) to be the ops center for high-growth brands. Its turnkey services require zero operational lift, focusing on improved same-day delivery, just-in-production, and customization.

MasonHub is building a fulfillment and order management platform that allows you to meet your brand’s multichannel demand with visibility, scale, and total control. The company combines the best supply chain tech with reliable fulfillment, so brands can sell more while it takes care of inventory management, shipping, and returns at scale.

Among these new market entrants, Airhouse is particularly impressive: an all-in-one logistics software solution for modern e-commerce. Despite the fact that digital-first brands are transforming every industry ranging from fitness, travel, cosmetics, and grooming, brands continue to rely on weak operations and logistics options.

Put simply, Airhouse is the first managed marketplace that connects digital-first brands to third-party logistics providers, standardizing the operations, technology, and pricing for delivering their product to customers.

As new entrants flooded the digital shelves of retail verticals, whether that be cosmetics, home goods, pet care, apparel, or travel accessories, competition quickly grew and true sustainable competitive advantages were slowly removed. However, genuine advantages can be found by hiring lean freelance teams focused on development, marketing, and creative, among other disciplines.

MarketerHire made it easy to hire great marketers, full stop. With pre-vetted talent and expert hand-matching, you can add a proven marketer to your team in less than a week. Critically, the company removes key bottlenecks in hiring around job postings and lengthy interviews.

Toptal is an exclusive network of top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world. Top companies, including a host of high-growth brands, hire Toptal freelancers for their most important projects.

Among this cohort of new platforms, Likewise immediately stood out to our team: an end-to-end platform that helps brands find and work with the world’s best creatives. The company saves time, money, and reduces headache by allowing companies to quickly scale talent up and down, without the need for hiring, and also lets them avoid expensive agency fees.

Put simply, Likewise is building a hiring platform for the modern brand, giving them access to the best talent on demand. The platform unlocks significant earning potential for creatives. It creates demand and handles the business side of contracts, negotiation, and billing.

From the perspective of digital brands locked in intense intra-sector competition, a modern class of data-driven marketing platforms has emerged to offer new opportunities for differentiation. More specifically, this cohort of platforms focuses on real-time data to drive marketing campaigns and uncover previously untapped customer insights.

Yotpo is an eCommerce marketing platform that offers advanced solutions for customer reviews, visual marketing, loyalty, referrals, and SMS marketing. For example, through Yotpo’s online conversion tool, teams can lift generated sales through live, user-generated social proof.

Shoelace helps high-growth brands implement unforgettable customer journey marketing. The company’s team of experts leverage years of ad experience, pixel events, and data it has from working with thousands of merchants to create and manage revenue-driving social campaigns.

Among this final marketing-focused cohort, Yaguara stood out: a modern cross-team platform designed to aggregate and simply present data for all levels across e-commerce organizations. Yaguara’s proactive internal tools ensure that teams retain full transparency into the health of the business and are able to take intentional steps to ensure objectives are being met.

Put simply, the platform allows brands to understand performance in real-time, as data without context quickly leads to confusion. Yaguara helps your team tie unified data directly to your goals and projects so that you have a deep understanding of overall brand performance.

At Conduit, we connect the world’s best operator-investors and founders building the next generation of startups around the world. As we scale our platform, understanding key market shifts across verticals will become increasingly vital. Our team will be digging deeper into emerging trends and first movers in the coming weeks, which you can find here.

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