By Mario Toneguzzi
Etail21 is a new online B2B marketplace that connects retailers, influencers and brands to facilitate sales in the retail industry.
The idea is the brainchild of Isabelle Racicot who has been a well-known television and radio host for about 20 years.
Three years ago, she launched her online shopping website picoum.com with partners where she sells brands that she likes. This led to the new project Etail21 which is a drop shipping collective connecting independent brands with innovative retailers.
Racicot said Etail21 is an automated and easy-to-use technology that creates a unique sales channel between brands, influencers and retailers with the drop shipping model. It easily integrates e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Lightspeed and others, to create a seamless experience.
“I launched picoum.com a few years ago and realized the complexity of the project. We first developed Etail21 to automate our own system and connect branded products in real time in our e-shop. We quickly realized that our product would be of great help to others such as influencers and/or retailers who do not know where to start to create their online store or who already have one and find themselves buried by the management of it all,” said Racicot.
About 40 brands are using the Etail21 technology including M0851, Celine Dion Collection, LAMARQUE, Lolë, PILGRIM. influencers from Australia and the United States have already joined the platform. In Canada, Mitsou Boutique, Marina Bastarache, Charlie Paille, Melizanne Bergeron, Elisa Velazquez and Victoria Claire, to name a few, use Etail21 to sell the products of their favourite brands in their own online store, says Etail 21, a marketplace where influencers can, in one click, choose the products they like from any brand around the world on Etail21 and add it to their online store.
Bianca Lessard, co-owner of Etail21 and VP of Marketing, said the idea for the company started two years ago.
“Then we started programming all the technology and we started to add brands late May last year and retailers in September,” said Lessard.
Company offices exist in Montreal and Toronto.
“It’s a marketplace combined with technology that connects brands and retailers for drop shipping business. The brands are the ones that ship the orders directly from their warehouses. We cover a market that is untapped by Amazon. It’s the contemporary and lifestyle brands,” added Lessard.
“The technology we’ve developed allows the brands to multiply the number of online retailers they can have, scale the number of orders they can have and also allows them to have retailers outside of their local area.”
For brands, Etail21 allows them to multiply sales channels by being discovered by other resellers on the platform and to facilitate the relationship with retailers with an inventory that is connected in real time. Because the system is so simple, brands can offer their influencers the choice of opening an online store to promote their brand. Etail21 will have a marketplace for about 100 influencers in Canada and the United States.
Racicot said more and more brands are understanding the value of influencers.
“Because they have this connection with their followers they really have a power in terms of sales and you see it with different influencers right now. You see that brands are really associating themselves with them. It started several years ago. It was about giving a product to an influencer. They would post something and send the sales towards the brand. Nowadays influencers are getting smarter and I think that’s where Etail21 is going to be really interesting for them because they can really easily have their own online store and so instead of sending traffic to the brand, they’re actually going to make money and the brand will know exactly how much the sales are generated by their different influencers,” she said.
“It’s really a win-win situation for both the influencer and the brand. Everything now is on social media. It’s really the fastest and best way to connect with people and to sell the brand . . . I think it’s really going to take off in a way that we haven’t seen it yet but it’s growing and it’s going to get even stronger and bigger and those who will survive are those who will have understood how to play that game.”
Lessard said the popularity of Etail21 has grown a little faster than what they expected. Initially they went to trade shows to validate their technology to see if it was something interesting for people to have.
“Australia was the first one integrated. Our technology started in Australia without us going there,” said Lessard.
“When we connect the brands, we connect all their product information and in one click the retailer can push this information to their online website. That’s the connection we do.”
Lessard said there is definitely room for expansion in the future but right now the company is concentrating on fashion and lifestyle products. The retailers they approach are existing retailers on the online marketplace but it is also the only technology that will approach influencers.
“We create ready-to-go shops and the influencers only have to select the products they like from the brands they like and sell it through their ready-to-go shop and promote it on Instagram. So we’ve allowed the influencers to become the retailer,” she said. “And that’s something completely new in this retail world for now.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.