Interview with Dom, co-founder of WeShop, about building a global e-Commerce first-stop shop
During a sailing trip on the gorgeous Lake Qiandao in the summer of 2020, Dom felt a sense of deja vu while drinking Longjing Tea and talking about the global retail landscape, which gave birth to WeShop (https://www.weshop.com).
Around 2011, Dom left Alibaba, the e-commerce platform with a GMV twice that of Amazon, in pursuit of a world with an inclusive, diverse, and fair e-commerce platform. A platform, in Dom’s words, that “represents the consumer.”
DOM’s first baby, MOGU was born in an era when China’s consumer shopping patterns were not well defined. Online shoppers found the variety of online options overwhelming with low-quality products. As products and services were nearly impossible to distinguish, no institution could represent and comprehend what consumers wanted.
MOGU valued the concept of community-driven power. It created a wonderland in the early days of online shopping, where fellow shoppers shared their experiences, early influencers (before the term became as ubiquitous as it is today) could help others discover, and early forms of live-streaming, now popular in the US, were pioneered (yes, MOGU invented live-streaming back in 2016!). In essence, MOGU was able to eliminate the continual noise that online buyers experience, cutting the decision cost for consumers. MOGU is currently a publicly traded e-commerce company on the NYSE.
Dom discovered on Lake Qiandao two requirements in China for him to launch MOGU in 2011 now exist on a global scale.
• The community power is ever-growing, while e-commerce decision power is becoming more democratized.
• There is yet to be an undeniable monopoly power in e-commerce — granted, Amazon comes to mind — but with the developing and expanding dominance of Shopify, global customers are embracing a shift towards DTC (direct-to-consumer)
Dom co-founded WeShop using the same philosophy as MOGU and with the same vision. WeShop’s value propositions can be summed up in a popular Chinese phrase: “Duo, Kuai, Hao, Sheng, Haowan,” which means “A comprehensive collection of all products online, fastest delivery, better quality, deals, and fun in shopping!”
In WeShop’s approach, this entails providing a platform where a worldwide audience may access a selection of handpicked brands or merchants showcasing affordable and high-quality products.
• Over 6000 brands are featured (projected to reach 1M by 2023).
• Providing cheap bargains to online shoppers (by combining brand partnership exclusive discounts & compiling existing codes).
• Offering community-generated reviews of shopping experiences centered on specific sites/brands.
Dom’s ambition with WeShop is to disrupt a few status quos, similar to the story of David and Goliath. Aside from empowering consumers, another objective of WeShop is to experiment with a new type of organization – decentralized. Dom believes there are three forms of innovation. The first is technology-driven, such as the quick adoption of electric vehicles due to advances in battery technology and mass production output. Vertical expansion is another sort of innovation, such as Facebook venturing into the metaverse market as a social network corporation with its suite of hardware and software technologies. Finally, there is organizational structure innovation, where Dom wishes to reinvent the nature of the firm.
This is clear from the name, “WeShop:” “We” refers to all of us, the customers, and the community. In the case of eCommerce, the decentralized experiment adopts a three-pronged approach:
• The introduction of community-driven site reviews, which contribute to the site’s search ranking. This is consistent with the practices of many web 2.0 companies, including Yelp, Trustpilot, Pinterest, and China’s Xiaohongshu.
• The delegation of site management, content generation, and operations to a community of volunteers eager to share their thoughts. WeShop’s tokenomics, which rewards contributors with a pool of contributor resources, supports this.
• Decentralized company leadership, eventually transitioning to an autonomous organization and web 3.0 community ownership model. For the time being, “the plan is clear, and the concept is bold and ambitious,” Dom explains. Indeed, when asked what advice he would give to himself 10 years ago, he replied, “Be courageous. Dare to be different. Always remember where it all began: to establish a more equitable market and to engage customers.”
Alexia is the author at Research Snipers covering all technology news including Google, Apple, Android, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung News, and More.
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