The growing number of influential Weibo commentators are increasingly opening their own online shops or promoting products.
Talk about a growth spurt: Revenue for NoMoreRack.com Inc. spiked 1023% year over year in 2012, giving the flash-sale retailer the second-fastest growth rate in this year's Top 500 Guide.
Talk about a growth spurt: Revenue for NoMoreRack.com Inc. spiked 1023% year over year in 2012, giving the flash-sale retailer the second-fastest growth rate in this year's Top 500 Guide, behind Groupon Inc. and ahead of such merchants as Fab.com and Nasty Gal Inc. Overall, it ranks No. 202.
A big reason for that success is the 3-year-old retailer's use of word-of-mouth and social media marketing, says founder and CEO Deepak Agarwal. For instance, it gives shoppers site credits for referring other consumers to the site, which offers limited-time deals for a variety of products, including clothes, electronics, kitchen tools and jewelry. NoMoreRack has gained more than 1 million Facebook Likes, in part through the use of the social network's ads that ask Facebook users to Like its page.
"Social media is a key driver for NoMoreRack's success, and a perfect platform to engage and connect with our loyal customer base," Agarwal says. According to the Top 500 Guide, 76% of its customers are return shoppers. They will certainly help the e-retailer, whose revenue reached $100 million in 2012, work toward its goal of $400 million in online sales this year. For comparison, that would approach Groupon's $454.7 million worth of sales (the sales figure is based on revenue earned via Groupon Goods) in 2012.
NoMoreRack, which charges a $2 flat rate for shipping, says it sells an average of 40,000 items each day and that the site's discounts range as high as 90%. Products come from manufacturers—including some closeouts and overstocks—and are drop-shipped by suppliers.
The retailer benefited from its move last year to New York City—not far from flash-sale retailer Gilt Groupe Inc.'s Park Avenue headquarters—from Vancouver, British Columbia. "A lot of our suppliers are here in New York," Agarwal says, "and the energy level is really second to none. It was difficult to recruit talent in B.C." The retailer had 58 employees as of early May, he adds.
As of that time, the retailer still had most of the $12 million in capital it raised in late 2012, he says. NoMoreRack.com says it will use the funds to expand internationally and scale operations. Other plans for 2013 include mobile commerce investments. Some 35% of NoMoreRack's traffic comes from mobile devices, though they account for only perhaps 10% of purchases, Argawal says. That's partly because the retailer lacks a mobile site. As of early May, NoMoreRack was about two months away from releasing a mobile-optimized site, along with iPad, iPhone and Android phones apps. "We are very underserved in the mobile area," Agarwal says.
That promises to change this year.