15 Best eCommerce Business Examples To Learn From
eCommerce businesses are the future of sales. Retail eCommerce sales will reach $8.15 trillion by 2026. Online shopping continues growing, and now is the best time to join.
Starting your eCommerce business from scratch is tasking. There are a lot of things that go into making it a success. They include creating your eCommerce store design, picking the right products, managing inventory, and perfecting your marketing and fulfillment strategies.
Luckily, you don't have to waste time and resources trying to figure everything out on your own. Learn from thousands of profitable eCommerce stores and apply their best strategies to grow your eCommerce business.
Which do you prefer? Learning from your own mistakes or from already successful eCommerce companies?
The 15 Best eCommerce Business Examples To Learn From
Learning from the best eCommerce business examples is a no-brainer. “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do, and you'll achieve the same results” – Tony Robbins.
The lessons here apply to different types of eCommerce business models:
- Business to Business (B2B).
- Business to Consumer (B2C).
- Consumer to Business (C2B).
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C).
1. Warby Parker
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn Powerful Storytelling Techniques
Warby Parker is a great example of an eCommerce business that designs its products to solve a pressing problem, “expensive eyeglasses.”
Before Warby Parker came into the scene in 2010, eyewear was expensive.
The solution? The four students started a fashionable and low-cost online glasses retail. Although the business experienced some challenges at the start, today, it is one of the biggest eCommerce brands.
An Example of Warby Parker’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Warby Parker’s Success
- Storytelling: Warby Parker uses stories to make the process of buying eyeglasses fun and exciting for its customers. The online glasses retailer uses unconventional content marketing strategies to create videos that poke fun at their brand and products. The result? They got free word-of-mouth advertisements from their target market.
- Focus on User Experience: Creating a memorable customer experience is key to eCommerce success. Warby Parker provides a pleasurable online shopping experience for customers. Visitors can easily navigate to the products they want to buy, and the checkout process is seamless.
- Cheap Products and Attractive Incentives: Warby Parker came into the eCommerce scene to solve the expensive eyewear problem. They source their raw materials directly from manufacturers to offer cheaper products. Users get numerous incentives like free shipping, free try-on services, and a generous returns policy.
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn How to Focus on the Customer
Bonobos is an eCommerce store that sells men’s clothing. Despite competing with online retail giants like Amazon and eBay for the market, the men’s online retailer is thriving.
As a store owner, one of the best pieces of advice you will get is not to compete with massive online commerce companies. You simply can’t win the fight. They will outmuscle you by offering their products at a low cost you can’t afford.
So, how did Bonobos compete with online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist? The answers are easy to implement yet powerful.
An Example of Bonobos’ Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Bonobos’ Success
- Focus on One Thing: Brian Spaly and Andy Dunn launched Bonobos in 2017 with only one product, men’s pants. Although the company added more products, it focused on what it could offer that other competitors couldn’t. Bonobos could provide better fitting and looking clothes for their target demographic, male customers.
- Care About the Customers: One of the biggest mistakes many eCommerce businesses make is trying to get customers to buy many products. If you want to succeed like Bonobos, your job is to care about what your customers want and focus on providing it. The result? They attracted happy and loyal customers.
- Excellent Customer Service: The New York City-based men’s clothing store prioritizes the customer experience. Customers can reach out to its professional sales team via phone, email, or video chat. The eCommerce store is popular for its on-time and same-day delivery guarantee.
- High-Quality Product: Bonobos sell high-quality products that solve the male customer’s problem of finding better-fitting and better-looking clothing. There are personalized options for different categories of male customers, earning it a cult following.
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn Word-of-Mouth Advertising
Leesa is an eCommerce company that provides great mattresses at affordable pricing for its customers. Despite great competition for online mattress sales, the online store is prospering.
What makes Leesa’s achievements even more eye-catching is that it doesn’t spend its marketing budget on ads! While other online retailers in the mattress niche are spending heavily on ads, Lessa is not giving it attention but getting sales after sales.
The big question is, what exactly is Lessa doing instead?
An Example of Leesa’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Leesa’s Success
- Word of Mouth Marketing: Leesa offers high-quality mattress products that help it build a network of loyal customers. These customers, happy about their mattress quality, will voluntarily recommend the product to others. Lessa has an affiliate marketing program that rewards customers for referring others to buy the product.
- Insane Product Guarantee: People will naturally buy your product if you can convince them about its quality. Lessa does just that by offering a crazy 100-night free trial to its customers. Tell me, who will reject such an offer?
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn the Power of Transparency
Everlane is an online apparel store making waves in the fashion industry. Given how difficult it is to break into the crowded and competitive online market for apparel, Everlane deserves the best applause.
You can offer quality clothing but find it hard to place your pricing at or below your competitors without eating into your profit.
The fashion industry is a major global polluter. According to the World Bank, 20% of water pollution is due to textile processing. The desire to get cheap manufacturing clothing ends up polluting the environment and resulting in labor exploitation in underdeveloped countries.
Everlane stands out for its 100% commitment to keeping the environment healthy. What makes Everlane's success more remarkable is that they ditch the proven marketing strategy of low costs and minimal profits.
So what strategy did Everlane use that made it a success?
An Example of Everlane’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Everlane’s Success
- Transparency: Everlane adopts a transparent approach by giving customers a full view of its manufacturing process and costs. On Everlane’s product pages, customers get information about the materials used, taxes, and the profit made on each sale. This strategy helped it stand out as a transparent brand.
- Targets the Modern Customer: Customers today are more ethically aware and interested in knowing how companies source their raw materials. Everlane has adopted a clean manufacturing process that continues to earn loyal customers willing to recommend the brand.
- Simplified Checkout Process: Everlane optimizes its checkout process to improve the customer experience and boost its conversions. If you run a business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce model, eliminate any unnecessary steps like opening an account. Everlane uses Facebook Messenger to help customers quickly complete transactions.
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn How to Create a Great Social Mission
Greats is an online eCommerce store selling premium-quality shoes. Despite competing with shoe giants like Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and Puma, the online business is flourishing.
Given that many eCommerce sites fail, it is only natural to want to know what Greats is doing differently.
An Example of Greats’ Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Greats’ Success
- A Great Social Mission: Greats copies the proven formula that successful eCommerce websites use to generate massive online sales. What’s that formula? Provide a high-quality product and align it with a great social mission. The ‘why’ for Greats is to provide high-quality shoes like luxury brands but at a cheaper cost.
- Affordable Pricing: If you want to start a business online, know that your pricing strategy can either boost or kill your sales. Greats eliminate the middlemen and sell directly to customers to reduce product prices but deliver the same high quality as brands like Nike and Adidas.
- Solid Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy: People tend to buy a product based on the recommendations of other people. Greats offer its customers mouthwatering referral discounts they can’t ignore. When you combine high-quality and affordable products and generous referral discounts, your marketing campaign is going to be a success.
- Listening to Customers: Greats value customers’ feedback. Since customers are the buyers, listening to their opinions can boost your online stores. Greats started out by selling only men's shoes. However, after receiving tons of requests from female customers, they added women's shoes to their catalog.
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn How to Build a Strong Community
ModCloth is a women’s clothing brand that has a good grasp of the online marketing game. The eCommerce company launched in 2006 and started out as a small online retailer selling vintage clothes.
Today, ModCoth is a large eCommerce website that produces its own products. How did ModCloth transform from a small website started in the college dorm by co-founder Susan Gregg Koger to a global brand?
Here’s the simple answer. ModCloth actively involved its customers in its process.
The eCommerce industry is full of store owners trying to figure out the best ways to boost sales. They pay little attention to what the customer wants. While you can run your online store this way and attract sales, it won’t win your customers’ loyalty.
Even if you sell on eCommerce platforms like Amazon, where potential customers go to search for products, you will struggle to stand out.
An Example of ModCloth’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from ModCloth’s Success
- More Power to Customers: ModCloth uses the “Be a Buyer” campaign to give customers the power to vote on potential clothing designs. This strategy makes their target audience feel important and key players in the brand. The results? A strong community of loyal customers and the ability to make good sales on each product launch.
- Social Media Marketing: The women’s clothing brand has a strong social shopping community that brings it closer to its target audience. Existing and potential customers can chat with ModStylists (its social media team) to get fashion advice and product questions across different social media platforms.
- Active Customer Involvement: The power to vote for potential clothing designs is not the end of the customers’ involvement. Customers can register to become models for ModCloth’s product landing pages. The best part? You don’t have to fit the traditional beauty standards to become a ModCloth model. Models are everyday people with varying body sizes and shapes.
- Fun and Engaging Online Shopping Experience: ModCloth knows its target market (women) and provides them with exactly what they need (fun and quirky clothes). Every product on its website has a specific name and story behind it and uses high-quality photos.
7. ASOS (As Seen On Screen)
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn Content Marketing Strategies
ASOS is a leading British online fashion and cosmetic retailer offering a wide range of products. Whatever latest trends you see your favorite celebrities are on, you can find them at ASOS.
If you want to grow your eCommerce business, the typical advice is to find your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and focus on it. This advice is great and worked for many eCommerce stores like Bonobos and ModCloth. However, it’s not the only route to success.
ASOS took the opposite strategy by covering an extensive range of clothing and beauty products. The website is similar to eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Etsy. You can find any product you want without leaving the site.
While I don’t recommend this approach, especially for new eCommerce business owners starting out with little capital, it worked for ASOS.
The results? ASOS grew into a multi-million dollar eCommerce store. It generated £3.9 billion in revenue in 2021. Small online retailers are learning from ASOS how to break into the saturated clothing market.
An Example of ASOS’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from ASOS’s Success
- Understand the Target Market: ASOS knows its target audience is young fashion enthusiasts who want to rock the latest styles and celebrities’ outfits. The online retailer focuses on selling trendy products that appeal to their customers. Every day, it adds new products to its catalog, ensuring its audience always finds what they want.
- Customer-First Policies: Everything ASOS does on its website is to improve the customer experience. Customers can easily navigate to and find products on the eCommerce site. The checkout process is simple and free of unnecessary steps. ASOS regularly creates customer surveys to find out ways to improve their shopping experience.
- Content Marketing Campaigns: The British online fashion and cosmetic retailer invests heavily in content marketing. It regularly updates its fashion feed with engaging content like styling tips that increase brand awareness and loyalty.
- Inclusion for Everyone: ASOS is a truly inclusive fashion brand that offers options for everyone. Irrespective of your gender, there are different styles available. Anyone can become an ASOS model.
8. Dollar Shave Club
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn How to Sell Convenience
Dollar Shave Club, founded by Michael Dubin and Mark Levine in 2011, is one of the best examples of subscription box businesses. The subscription model sells men shaving and grooming products.
In under five years of operations, Unilever bought the company for $1 billion.
If you are looking for a successful subscription box eCommerce business model to learn from, Dollar Shave Club is the go-to pick.
How was a small eCommerce site that started with selling razors they bulk purchased from China able to attract a $1 billion sale? Its products weren't new or unique. Dollar Shave Club tried different marketing tactics till it stumbled on a winning formula.
An Example of Dollar Shave’s Club Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Dollar Shave Club’s Success
- Sell Convenience: Dollar Shave Club introduced the revolutionary idea of sending subscription boxes to customers monthly. The $1 offer for delivering the razors was a no-brainer. At the time, the idea was new and won many customers. Dollar Shave Club did not just sell razors in subscription boxes, but it sold convenience.
- Honest and Fun Product Storytelling: Customers love an interesting product story. Dollar Shave Club’s fun and viral marketing videos catch the attention of a global audience. Its first viral video, “Our Blades Are F***ing Great,” was an honest and interesting CEO speech that brought in 12,000 orders in two days.
- A Mix of Social Media and Content Marketing: Dollar Shave Club does a great job of producing interesting and viral video content about its products. It actively posts content and engages potential customers on its social media platforms.
9. Luxy Hair
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn YouTube Marketing
Luxy Hair is one of the best eCommerce stores selling high-quality hair extensions. Alex Ikonn, Leyla Naghizada, and Mimi Ikonn wanted to get high-quality hair extensions but couldn’t find any eStore selling the product.
They immediately saw the opportunity to dominate an untapped sub-niche and started talking to suppliers. Today, Luxy Hair is the number one destination for buying high-quality hair extensions.
Lessons to Learn from Luxy Hair’s Success
- Identify Gaps in the Market: The founders of Luxy Hair wanted to get high-quality hair extensions online but couldn’t find the product. There’s a great lesson here to learn. If you struggle to find a particular product, there is a high chance others are struggling as well. Build your online store around providing the solution to the problem and watch your income soar.
- Free YouTube Traffic: Luxy Hair is the grand master of YouTube marketing. The eCommerce company has a popular YouTube channel that brings a good amount of traffic. On its channel, there are many high-quality and informative video tutorials on the best hair extensions for you and how to use them. Luxy Hair has 3.2 million YouTube followers.
- Put the Customer First: The customer is the most important player in the eCommerce process. Luxy Hair discovered a product that customers wanted but struggled to find and took it directly to them. If you put the customer first, organically growing a huge audience without paid ads is possible.
10. Skinnyme Tea
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn Influencer Marketing
Skinnyme Tea is an online store selling Teatox and Tea Detox. Australian Entrepreneur, Gretta Rose van Riel, founded Skinnyme Tea in 2012 with $24 in her bank account.
The lack of capital did not deter her. What is even more interesting is that she sold an entire “teatox” market on her website instead of one product.
Today, SkinnyMe Tea is a multi-million dollar eCommerce business.
Lessons to Learn from Skinnyme Tea’s Success
- Facebook Messenger and Chatbot: Skinnyme Tea leverages Facebook Messenger with 1.3 billion users monthly. The online store combines Facebook Messenger and Chatbot to increase conversions. Customers can click on the Facebook Messenger symbol on the site and have a chatbot interact with them and recommend products.
- People Over Product: One of the lessons Skinnyme Tea teaches is that your audience is more important than the product. You should find your target audience first and understand what they need before you start developing a product or selling the product.
- Strong Social Media Presence: Skinnyme Tea uses social media as a core part of its marketing and sales strategy. Why? It works. The online store grew its social media presence from 0 to 600,000 followers in 6 months! Skinnyme Tea’s strategy revolves around creating content that matches your target audience’s interests.
- Influencer Marketing: The eCommerce business excels at finding the right influencers to work with. It picks influencers whose personal branding best aligns with the company’s core values and brand identity. A great lesson to learn here is that the best influencers to work with are not always the ones with the largest audience.
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn the Power of Brand Voice
AppSumo is a daily deal website trusted by over 1M+ entrepreneurs to find and sell products for your business growth.
Noah Kagan, the founder, discovered that many online entrepreneurs were looking to find the best business software at a cheaper cost. He saw the gap in the market and created AppSumo to provide the solution.
Today, AppSumo is a multi-million dollar eCommerce business with only 8 employees! The eCommerce company has more revenue per employee than Amazon, Facebook, and Google. It achieved this with no venture capital or investor.
How did AppSumo grow from a small eCommerce business in 2010 to a successful Business-to-Business (B2B) eCommerce model?
Lessons to Learn from AppSumo’s Success
- Customer-Oriented Products: AppSumo knows its target market well, online entrepreneurs looking for the best business software at a great price bargain. The digital marketplace negotiates deals with technology companies like MailChimp and Evernote to offer its customers heavily discounted or lifetime deals.
- Focus on Core Customers: Many eCommerce businesses make the mistake of focusing on multiple audiences. AppSumo tried to sell its services to many audiences but got poor results. Quickly, the online marketplace changed strategy and focused on eCommerce companies and saw a growth in sales.
- Unique Brand Voice: The reason why AppSumo has some of the most loyal fans ready to talk about the brand is because of its unique brand voice that resonates with its audience. AppSumo used one email to generate $250,000 in sales.
Learn How to Create a First-Rate Online Experience
Torrid is one of the best examples of a brick-and-mortar store that successfully moved into the eCommerce space. Before entering the online clothing industry, the women’s fashion store had over 600 brick-and-mortar stores.
Customer feedback and market research are crucial for eCommerce success. Torrid listened to customers' feedback and branded around providing the best clothing for plus-size customers.
Instead of following other fashion brands to create standard clothing sizes, it opted for clothes that fit plus-size female customers with curvy bodies.
Torrid has a multi-billion dollar valuation and attributes 70% of its sales volume to online purchases.
How was a traditional brick-and-mortar store able to dominate the plus-size women’s clothing market both offline and online?
An example of Torrid’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Torrid’s Success
- First-Rate Online Experience: Torrid provides an excellent navigation experience for users on its website. With its on-site search, customers can find the products they want without having to browse through 100s of categories. What I love about the search engine is the result’s accuracy.
- Customer-Oriented Products: The women’s fashion store does not only know its target audience (plus-sized customers) but makes products they love. The use of plus-sized models and influencers is a genius marketing move that inspires its young curvy customers to put on Torrid’s body-fitted clothes.
13. Frank Body
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn How to Use Social Proof
Frank Body is an eCommerce store that sells coffee-based skincare products. The skincare niche is very competitive, with top companies like Estée Lauder, Nivea, and L’Oréal Paris dominating the market.
If you want to break into the skincare market, you would expect to spend big on ads to gain some traction. However, Frank Body didn’t have huge funding. Instead, it focused on what it could control, its great products, and building a strong connection with customers.
The result? The coffee-based skincare online store grew to more than eight figures in annual revenue.
Even though Frank Body now has the huge funding to run ads, it still sticks to the less capital-intensive methods that made it successful. Frank Body is proof that you don’t need a huge marketing budget to succeed in the eCommerce space.
An Example of Frank Body’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Frank Body’s Success
- Testimonials: Frank Body uses social media platforms, especially Instagram, to create a great connection with customers. Every product you buy comes with a short note encouraging you to share your feedback. Frank Body encourages customers to post pictures of its products by offering reward incentives. Each post from a customer is a strong social proof and endorsement of the brand.
- Influencer Marketing: The coffee-based skincare company uses influencers to spread the word about its products. Frank Body picks influencers that fit the brand’s values instead of the lazy hopeful approach of going for the ones with the most followers. Big Instagram influencers like Jen Selter worked with Frank Body.
- Powerful Email Marketing Campaigns: Email newsletters are one of the best mediums to convert visitors into paying customers. When you visit Frank Body’s site, a small pop-up appears that promises you 10% off your next purchase in exchange for an email subscription. Frank Body sends you beautiful and personalized email newsletters once or twice per week.
- Great Product Pages: A clean and easy-to-navigate product page is necessary for making online sales. You can attract a truckload of traffic to your site, but if the product page is poor, your conversion rates will be low. Every Frank Body product page comes with “How-to-Use Instructions and Videos” and social proof.
Best eCommerce Business Example to Mix Online and Offline Marketing
Gymshark is an online fitness apparel and accessories store founded in 2012 by Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan. Targeting the fitness apparel market is no easy task. You have to compete against established names like Adidas and Nike with unlimited financial resources.
Despite the challenges, in 2020, the eCommerce brand got a £1 billion valuation. What makes this valuation even more impressive is that the brand started with low capital.
At a point in the company’s history, Ben Francis emptied his bank account to secure a space at the BodyPower trade show floor. That decision proved to mark the turning point in the brand’s fortune.
How did Gymshark grow from a small online retailer to a modern-day niche eCommerce giant?
An Example of Gymshark’s Marketing Campaign
Lessons to Learn from Gymshark’s Success
- Target a Niche Market: One of Gymshark’s founders, Ben Francis, discovered that no one was designing fashionable workout gear for young (18-25-year-old) fitness enthusiasts. Gymshark created affordable and fashionable sportswear targeting young gym-goers. This was the reason for its success in the online fitness industry.
- Influencer Marketing: Gymshark relies on social media to raise brand awareness, promote its products, and reach out to target consumers. The eCommerce company works with fitness influencers and has seen a huge boost in sales. Guess what? It even gets better. Many influencers have become brand ambassadors, famously called ‘Gymshark athletes.’
- Mix Online and Offline Marketing: Although Gymshark is an eCommerce brand, it doesn’t narrow itself to online marketing strategies. Gymshark's first big success was from the offline marketing strategy of showcasing at trade shows (made $42,000 in a single day). It runs community-focused events that attract the best fitness influencers.
- User-Generated Content: There is no better marketing strategy than having a strong online community that posts about your brand. Gymshark creates workout videos on YouTube and includes there the best replicas from its audience. This strategy helps to create strong social proof and makes the audience feel valued and part of the brand.
15. Wine Library
Best eCommerce Business Example to Learn Video Marketing
Wine Library is one of the first wine companies to enter the eCommerce space. Gary Vaynerchuk, the founder of Wine Library, took his father’s liquor store online. Through smart marketing, he grew the business from $3 million in annual revenue to $60 million.
Perhaps you know Gary Vaynerchuk, who wouldn’t? The man is a popular business and content marketing personality with almost 10 million Instagram followers. With such celebrity status, wouldn’t it be easy for him to generate traffic to his eCommerce store?
When Gary Vaynerchuk started Wine Library, he didn’t have any of these advantages. His success at Wine Library served as the fuel for his other achievements.
How did Gary Vaynerchuk take a brick-and-mortar liquor store into the world wide web and increase its revenue by 20 times?
Lessons to Learn from Wine Library’s Success
- Video Marketing: Wine Library owes its success to video marketing. Gary Vaynerchuk launched Wine Library TV on YouTube as part of his strategy to build awareness about the online store. The YouTube show provided helpful content for wine lovers and ran up to a thousand episodes.
- Social Media Marketing: The number one brand ambassador for an online store is the owner. Gary Vaynerchuk understood this early and, thanks to his vast experience in the wine business, positioned himself as a wine expert. He actively joined social media discussions and freely shared his expertise.
Next Step: Build Your Own eCommerce Business
Building a successful eCommerce business is tough, especially for new online entrepreneurs with little or no experience. The cost of starting one can be huge, especially when you factor in website development, inventory management, marketing, and advertising costs.
Many of our eCommerce business examples started with little capital. With Connective eCommerce, you can build your eCommerce website at no cost, use the proven dropshipping model, and take advantage of free traffic sources.
However, while the Connective eCommerce method is great for starting your online store, you need better strategies to grow and compete with other top brands.
The best way to build your eCommerce brand is to learn from the inspiring examples of others. What strategies did they use to grow into multi-billion dollar companies? How did they enter into a hyper-competitive niche with global brands and steal a chunk of the market share?
If you want to learn more about building your eCommerce business, check out these detailed Founderjar articles:
- What Is An eCommerce Website & How to Build One?
- 14 Best eCommerce Platforms
- The Ultimate List of eCommerce Statistics
- Best eCommerce Website Design
- How to Start a Profitable Online Store
- 9 Best eCommerce Hosting Providers
- Best eCommerce Website Builders