Marc Lore leaves Walmart a little over four years after selling Jet.com for $3B

Marc Lore, the executive vice president, president and CEO of U.S. e-commerce for Walmart, is stepping down a little over four years after selling his e-commerce company Jet.com to the country’s largest retailer for $3 billion.

Lore’s tenure at the company was a mixed bag. Walmart instituted several new technology initiatives under Lore’s tenure, but the Jet.com service was shuttered last May and other initiatives from Lore, like an option to have customers order items via text, was also a money-loser for the Bentonville, AK-based company.

“After Mr. Lore retires on January 31, 2021, the U.S. business, including all the aspects of US retail eCommerce, will continue to report to John Furner, Executive Vice President, President and Chief Executive Officer, Walmart U.S., beginning on February 1, 2021,” Walmart said in a filing.

Walmart has continued to push ahead with a number of tech-related initiatives, including the launch of a new business that will focus on developing financial services.

That initiative is being undertaken through a strategic partnership with the fintech investment firm, Ribbit Capital and adds to a startup tech portfolio that also includes the incubator Store N⁰8, which launched in 2018.

“Reflecting on the past few years with so much pride – Walmart changed my life and the work we did together will keep changing the lives of customers for years to come. It has been an honor to be a part of the Walmart family and I look forward to providing advice and ideas in the future,” Lore said in a statement posted to Linkedin. “Looking forward, I’ll be taking some time off and plan to continue working with several startups. Excited to keep you all up to date on what’s next.”

 

 

 

Tresl’s Segments Analytics gives small online stores the same data analytics as large sellers

Tresl’s flagship product, e-commerce intelligence platform Segment Analytics, is designed to give small brands on Shopify access to the same kind of analytics larger online retailers have. Founded by former LinkedIn data scientists, Tresl is currently exhibiting at CES’ Taiwan Tech Arena.

Segments Analytics analyzes a Shopify store’s data and then automatically sorts visitors into more 30 pre-built customer segments based on their browsing habits, spending and how likely they are to make repeat purchases.

This means that brands can identify specific groups of shoppers and use Segments Analytics’ suggestions for targeted campaigns without spending too much on data analytics, marketing or user acquisition. For example, one of the segments the platform identifies are people who have made one purchase already, but are unlikely to buy again unless they are see an ad or promotion soon. Segments Analytics can be used for advertising across multiple channels, including email, Facebook and Google.

Tresl claims that brands using Segments Analytics have increased their clickthrough rates on abandoned cart flows (or reminders sent to customers who have unpurchased items) by 30% and grown sales by 40% month-over-month within one month of implementing the platform.

Segments Analytics is currently available through the Shopify App Store, with subscriptions starting from $79 a month.

Poshmark is pushing into the public market at a high-end valuation as the resale market sizzles

Poshmark, the nine-year-old, Redwood City Ca.-based online marketplace for second-hand clothing, beauty, and home decor products, is set to start trading as a public company on the Nasdaq tomorrow after pricing 6.6 million shares higher than originally planned, according to Bloomberg.

Per its report, the company, which originally planned to sell shares at between $35 and $39 million, saw enough demand to rationalize a $42-per-share price — one that values the company at $3.5 billion on a fully diluted basis.

Given investors’ feverish embrace of all kinds of newly public consumer brands, including Airbnb, DoorDash and, to a more moderate degree, Wish (trading currently where it opened when it hit the market in mid-December), most anticipate smooth sailing for the company as it makes the move from private to publicly traded company.

What it has going for it: More than 70 million Poshmark users having sold more than 130 million items through the platform since its inception, according to the company.

Its numbers are moving in the right direction. Poshmark makes money off commissions on peer-to-peer sales and on products that it sells sold via wholesale and the company turned profitable last year for the first time Specifically, according to its S-1, it produced net income of $21 million off revenue of $193 million during the nine months ended September 30, 2020, compared with a net loss of $34 million on revenue of $150 million during the same period in 2019.

Also, unlike many brick-and-mortar retail businesses to be hard hit by pandemic-related shutdowns  — J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, and Brooks Brothers are just a few in a line of companies that have declared bankruptcy — Poshmark only facilitates transactions between buyers and sellers so it doesn’t have the burden or expense of holding inventory.

More, resale platforms have the wind at their back right now. Shoppers are more interested than ever in sustainability, and buying someone else’s never- or lightly-used items is more environmentally friendly than supporting, say, a fast fashion brand. (Forever 21, the fast-fashion mall staple, filed for bankruptcy in 2019.)

What Poshmark is going up against: making public market investors understand how it differs from already publicly traded rivals like The RealReal, which went public in 2019 and whose current market cap is roughly $2.3 billion, as well as other newer entrants. For example, another company set to go public (unless it gets SPAC’d) is ThredUp, which filed a confidential registration statement with the SEC for an IPO last fall around the same time that Poshmark did this. Unlike The RealReal, which is focused exclusively on high-end luxury goods that it authenticates, Poshmark and ThredUp make accessible a wider range of more affordable items and compete more directly.

Further, while investors are excited about the many companies that are finally beginning to trade publicly, companies like Poshmark are competing for mindshare with other newer entrants.

Among these is the lending company Affirm. Its shares began trading earlier today.

Tokyo-based SODA, which runs Japan’s largest sneaker resell platform, lands $22 million led by SoftBank Ventures Asia

Tokyo-based SODA, which runs sneaker reselling platform SNKRDUNK, has raised a $22 million Series B led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. Investors also included basepartners, Colopl Next, THE GUILD and other strategic partners. Part of the funding will be used to expand into other Asian countries. Most of SNKRDUNK’s transactions are within Japan now, but it plans to become a cross-border marketplace.

Along with SODA’s $3 million Series A last year, this brings the startup’s total funding to $25 million.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was initially expected to put a damper on the sneaker resell market, C2C marketplaces have actually seen their business increase. For example, StockX, one of the biggest sneaker resell platforms in the world (which hit a valuation of $2.8 billion after its recent Series E), said May and June 2020 were its biggest months for sales ever.

SNKRDUNK’s sales also grew last year, and in December 2020, it recorded a 3,000% year-over-year increase in monthly gross merchandise value. Chief executive officer Yuta Uchiyama told TechCrunch this was because demand for sneakers remained high, while more people also started buying things online.

Launched in 2018, SNKRDUNK now has 2.5 million monthly users, which it says makes it the largest C2C sneaker marketplace in Japan. The Series B will allow it to speed up the pace of its international expansion, add more categories and expand its authentication facilities.

Like StockX and GOAT, SNKRDUNK’s user fees cover authentication holds before sneakers are sent to buyers. The company partners with FAKE BUSTERS, an authentication service based in Japan, to check sneakers before they are sent to buyers.

In addition to its marketplace, SNKRDUNK also runs a sneaker news site and an online community.

SODA plans to work with other companies in SoftBank Venture Asia’s portfolio that develop AI-based tech to help automate its operations, including logistics, payment, customer service and counterfeit inspection.

E-commerce optimization startup Tradeswell raises $15.5M

After launching in October, Tradeswell is announcing today that it has raised $15.5 million in Series A funding.

Co-founder and CEO Paul Palmieri previously led digital ad company Millennial Media (now owned by TechCrunch’s parent company Verizon Media), and he said the e-commerce market today is similar to the online ad market when he was leading Millennial — ready for more optimization and automation.

Tradeswell focuses on six components of e-commerce businesses — marketing, retail, inventory, logistics, forecasting, lifetime value and financials — with the key goal of allowing those businesses to improve their net margins, rather than simply driving more clicks or purchases. The platform can fully automate some processes, such as buying online ads.

To illustrate what it can accomplish, Tradeswell pointed to the work it did with a personal care brand on Amazon Prime Day, with total sales doubling versus the previous Prime Day and profits increasing 67%.

The startup has now raised a total of $18.8 million. The Series A was led by SignalFire, which also led Tradeswell’s seed round, while Construct Capital, Allen & Company and The Emerson Group also participated.

“With the explosion of ecommerce over the past year, Tradeswell is perfectly positioned to help brands manage the complexity of online sales across an ever-increasing number of platforms and marketplaces,” said SignalFire founder and CEO Chris Farmer in a statement. “Paul and his team bring together a unique blend of experience in data, marketing and logistics to address the challenges of today and a rapidly evolving market in the years ahead with a central command center to optimize profitable growth.”

Palmieri said the new funding will allow Tradeswell to continue investing in the product, which will also mean building more integrations so that more types of data become “more liquid,” which in turn means that the platform can “make much more real-time decisions.”

When Tradeswell launched publicly last fall, it already had 100 customers, and Palmieri told me that number has subsequently grown past 150. Nor does he expect the consumer shift in e-commerce to disappear once the pandemic ends.

“Some of it probably goes back to the way it was, some of it stays online,” he said. “I do think it’s important to point out there’s something in the middle — that something is this notion of high convenience, that is semi-brick-and-mortar with [elements of e-commerce], whether that’s mobile ordering or something like an Instacart.”

Naturally, he sees Tradeswell as the key platform to help businesses navigate that shift.

 

App stores saw record 218 billion downloads in 2020, consumer spend of $143 billion

Mobile adoption continued to grow in 2020, in part due to the market forces of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to App Annie’s annual “State of Mobile” industry report, mobile app downloads grew by 7% year-over-year to a record 218 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, consumer spending grew by 20% to also hit a new milestone of $143 billion, led by markets that included China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Consumers also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone, the report found.

In another shift, app usage in the U.S. surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours on their mobile device.

The increase in time spent is a trend that’s not unique to the U.S., but can be seen across several other countries, including both developing mobile markets like Indonesia, Brazil and India, as well as places like China, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., Germany, France and others.

The trend isn’t isolated to any one demographic, either, but is seen across age groups. In the U.S., for example, Gen Z, millennials and Gen X/Baby Boomers spent 16%, 18% and 30% more time in their most-used apps year-over-year, respectively. However, what those favorite apps looked like was very different.

For Gen Z in the U.S., top apps on Android phones included Snapchat, Twitch, TikTok, Roblox and Spotify.

Millennials favored Discord, LinkedIn, PayPal, Pandora and Amazon Music.

And Gen X/Baby Boomers used Ring, Nextdoor, The Weather Channel, Kindle and ColorNote Notepad Notes.

The pandemic didn’t necessarily change how consumers were using apps in 2020, but rather accelerated mobile adoption by two to three years’ time, the report found.

Investors were also eager to fuel mobile businesses as a result, pouring $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year. According to Crunchbase data, 26% of total global funding dollars in 2020 went to businesses that included a mobile solution.

From 2016 to 2020, global funding to mobile technology companies more than doubled compared with the previous five years, and was led by financial services, transportation, commerce and shopping.

Mobile gaming adoption also continued to grow in 2020. Casual games dominated the market in terms of downloads (78%), but Core games accounted for 66% of games’ consumer spend and 55% of the time spent.

With many stuck inside due to COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines, mobile games that offered social interaction boomed. Among Us, for example, became a breakout game in several markets in 2020, including the U.S.

Other app categories saw sizable increases over the past year, as well.

Time spent in Finance apps in 2020 was up 45% worldwide, outside of China, and participation in the stock market grew 55% on mobile, thanks to apps like Robinhood in the U.S. and others worldwide, that democratized investing and trading.

TikTok had a big year, too.

The app saw incredible 325% year-over-year growth, despite a ban in India, and ranked in the top five apps by time spent. The average monthly time spent per user also grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, including 65% in the U.S. and 80% in the U.K., surpassing Facebook. TikTok is now on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021, App Annie forecasts.

Other video services boomed in 2020, thanks to a combination of new market entrants and a lot of time spent at home. Consumers spent 40% more hours streaming on mobile devices, with time spent in streaming apps peaking in the second quarter in the west as the pandemic forced people inside.

YouTube benefitted from this trend, as it became the No. 1 streaming app by time spent among all markets analyzed except China. The time spent in YouTube is up to 6x that of the next closet app at 38 hours per month.

Of course, another big story for 2020 was the rise of e-commerce amid the pandemic. This made the past year the biggest ever for mobile shopping, with an over 30% increase in time spent in Shopping apps, as measured on Android phones outside of China.

Mobile commerce, however, looked less traditional in 2020.

Social shopping was a big trend, with global downloads of Pinterest and Instagram growing 50% and 20% year-over-year, respectively.

Livestreaming shopping grew, too, led by China. Downloads of live shopping TaoBao Live in China, Grip in South Korea and NTWRK in the U.S. grew 100%, 245% and 85%, respectively. NTWRK doubled in size last year, and now others are entering the space as well — including TikTok, to some extent.

The pandemic also prompted increased usage of mobile ordering apps. In the U.S., Argentina, the U.K., Indonesia and Russia, the app grew by 60%, 65%, 70%, 80% and 105%, respectively, in Q4.

Business apps, like Zoom and Google Meet among others, grew 275% in Q4, for example, as remote work and sometimes school, continued.

The analysis additionally included lists of the top apps by downloads, spending and monthly active users (MAUs).

Although TikTok had been topping year-end charts, Facebook continued to beat it in terms of MAUs. Facebook-owned apps controlled the top charts by MAUs, with Facebook at No. 1 followed by WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

TikTok, however, had more downloads than Facebook and ranked No. 2 by consumer spending, behind Tinder.

The full report is available only as an online interactive experience this year, not a download. The report largely uses data from both the iOS App Store and Google Play, except where otherwise noted.

E-commerce infrastructure startup Nacelle closes $18M Series A

Consumer online shopping habits have led to a windfall of revenues for these web storefronts, but COVID-era trends have also breathed new life into the market for developer tools that help e-commerce sites operate more smoothly for shoppers.

LA-based Nacelle is one of many e-commerce infrastructure startups to earn attention from investors amid COVID.

The web services company helps streamline the backends of e-commerce websites with a so-called “headless” platform that shifts how the front end of websites interact with content in the back end. The startup claims its tech can boost performance, promote better scalability, cut down on hosting costs and offer developers a more streamlined experience.

Nacelle has closed an $18 million Series A led by Inovia with participation from Accomplice, Index Ventures, High Alpha, Silas Capital and Lerer Hippeau. The company just closed a $4.8 million seed round in mid-2020, the speedy pace of their Series A’s close seems to speak to the investor enthusiasm that has deepened around companies operating in the e-commerce world.

“It’s not secret that commerce has done well during COVID,” CEO Brian Anderson tells TechCrunch. “Not only did we get this subtle structural change with COVID that I believe is long-lasting, but merchants have been focusing more on performance.”

One of the startup’s central points of focus has been ensuring that they can bring customers onboard its platform without causing undue headaches. It can be “very painful to migrate data” with other services, Anderson says. The company’s service is “anti-rip-and-replace,” meaning potential customers can integrate “without having to be rebuild their stores.”

The firm’s customer base is largely made up of small- to medium-sized e-commerce sites. Nacelle works closely with agencies for customer referrals, also tapping on Anderson’s past contacts from his days running a Shopify Plus agency.

This past August, data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index suggested that pandemic trends had accelerated the consumer shift from primarily visiting to physical stores to shopping on e-commerce storefronts by roughly five years.

MadeiraMadeira, Brazil’s answer to Wayfair and Ikea, is now worth over $1 billion

MadeiraMadeira, the Brazilian answer to Wayfair or Ikea, is now worth $1 billion after raising $190 million in late stage financing from investors led by SoftBank’s Latin American investment fund and the Brazilian public and private investment firm, Dynamo.

An online marketplace specializing in home products, MadeiraMadeira offers roughly 300,000 products so customers can build furnish, renovate and decorate their homes.

Founded in 2009 by Daniel Scandian, Marcelo Scandian and Robson Privado, the company has seen huge tailwinds come from the shift to online shopping in Brazil as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

With stores closed, online shopping in Brazil surged. As Daniel Scandian noted, before the pandemic ecommerce penetration in Brazil was at roughly 7%, that number ballooned to 17% at the height of the pandemic in Brazil and has now stabilized at around 10%.

Combining third party sales with private labeled goods and its own shipping and logistics facilities has meant that MadeiraMadeira can take the best practices from several online retailers and home furnishing stores, Scandian said.

There are more than 10,000 sellers on the MadeiraMadeira platform and roughly 2.5 million stock keeping units. In recent years the company has added showrooms to its mix of retail facilities, where customers can check out merchandise, but complete their orders online.

“That’s the way we can tackle the offline market with a digital mindset,” Scandian said. 

Money from the most recent financing will be used to invest in expanding its logistics capabilities with the addition of new warehouse facilities to expand on its existing ten locations. The company also intends to add same day delivery and the expansion of its private label services.

The new capital, likely the last round before a potential public offering, included previous investors like Flybridge and Monashees along with public-focused investment firms Velt, Brasil Capital and Lakewood.

Early investors like Monashees, Kaszek, Fundo Avila, Endeavour Catalyst and angel backers like Niraj Shah, the founder of Wayfair, and Build.com founder Christian Friedland were instrumental to MadeiraMadeira’s early success, Scandian said.

Based in Curitiba, MadeiraMadeira has over 1300 employees, with the majority of them focused on technology, logistics and product development.

“With this new investment, we are raising our commitment to MadeiraMadeira’s long-term value creation vision as the company consolidates its position as the leader in Latin America’s home goods market. Since our initial investment, MadeiraMadeira’s management team has delivered everything they’ve promised, and our faith in them continues to grow,” said Paulo Passoni, Managing Investment Partner to SoftBank Latin America fund.

Perfect Corp., developer of virtual beauty app YouCam Makeup, closes $50 million Series C led by Goldman Sachs

Spending on cosmetics has usually weathered economic crises, but that changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with stay-at-home orders and masks tempering people’s desire to wear makeup. This forced retailers to accelerate their online strategies, finding new ways to capture shoppers’ attention without in-store samples. Virtual beauty try-on technology, like the ones developed by Perfect Corp., will play an important role in this shift to digital. The company announced today it has raised a Series C of $50 million led by Goldman Sachs.

Based in New Taipei City, Taiwan and led by chief executive officer Alice Chang, Perfect Corp . is probably best known to consumers for its beauty app, YouCam Makeup, which lets users “try on” virtual samples from over 300 global brands, including ones owned by beauty conglomerates Estée Lauder and L’Oreal Paris. Launched in 2014, YouCam Makeup now counts about 40 million to 50 million monthly active users and has expanded from augmented selfies to include live-streams and tutorials from beauty influencers, social features and a “Skin Score” feature.

Perfect Corp.’s technology is also used for in-store retail, e-commerce and social media tools. For example, its tech helped create a new augmented reality-powered try-on tool for Google Search that launched last month (its was previously used for YouTube’s makeup try-on features, too). It also worked with Snap to integrate beauty try-on features into Snapchat.

The new funding brings Perfect Corp.’s total raised so far to about $130 million. Its last funding announcement was a $25 million Series A in October 2017. The Series C will be used to further develop Perfect Corp.’s technology for multichannel retail and open more international offices (it currently has operations in 11 cities).

In a press statement, Xinyi Feng, a managing director in the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, said, “The integration of technology through artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality into the beauty industry will unlock significant advantages, including amplification of digital sales channels, increased personalization and deeper consumer engagement.”

Perfect Corp. will also be part of the investment firm’s Launch with GS, a $500 million investment initiative to support a diverse, international cohort of entrepreneurs.

The company uses facial landmark tracking technology, which creates a “3D mesh” around users’ faces so beauty try-ons look more realistic. In terms of privacy, chief strategy officer Louis Chen told TechCrunch that no user data, including photos or biometrics, is saved, and all computing is done within the user’s phone.

The vast majority, or about 90%, of Perfect Corp’s clients are cosmetic or skincare brands, while the rest sell haircare, hair coloring or accessories. Chen said the goal of Perfect Corp’s technology is to replicate the experience of trying on makeup in a store as closely as possible. When a user virtually applies lipstick, for example, they don’t just see the color on their lips, but also the texture, like matte, glossy, shimmer or metallic (the company currently offers seven lipstick textures, which Chen said is the most in the industry).

While sales of makeup have dropped during the pandemic, interest in skincare has grown. A September 2020 report from the NPD Group found that American women are buying more types of products than they were last year, and using them more frequently. To help brands capitalize on that, Perfect Corp. recently launched a tool called AI Skin Diagnostic solution, which it says verified by dermatologists and grades facial skin on eight metrics, including moisture, wrinkles and dark circles. The tool can be used on skincare brand websites to recommend products to shoppers.

Before COVID-19, YouCam Makeup and the company’s augmented reality try-on tools appealed to Gen Z shoppers who are comfortable with selfies and filters. But the pandemic is forcing makeup and skincare brands to speed up their adaption of technology for all shoppers. As a McKinsey report about the impact of COVID-19 on the beauty industry put it, “the use of artificial intelligence for testing, discovery and customization will need to accelerate as concerns about safety and hygiene fundamentally disrupt product testing and in-person consultations.”

“Depending on the geography of the brand, in the past probably only 10%, no more than 20%, of their business was direct to consumer, while 80% was going through retail distribution and distribution partnerships, the network they already built over the year,” said Chen. But beauty companies are investing more heavily in e-commerce now, and Perfect Corp. capitalizes on that by offering its technology as a SaaS.

Another way Perfect Corp. has adapted its offerings during the pandemic is offering remote consultation tools, which means beauty and skincare consultants who usually work in salons or a store like Ulta can demonstrate makeup looks on clients through video calls instead.

“Every single thing we are building now is not a siloed technology,” said Chang. “It’s now always combined with video-streaming.” In addition to one-on-one chats, this also means live-cast shopping, which is extremely popular in China and gradually taking off in other countries, and the kind of AR technology that was integrated into YouTube and Snapchat.

2020 was a defining year for cannabis: What comes next?

To say that COVID-19 has dominated the past year would be an understatement. We’ve seen the pandemic reorient how we interact with businesses, each other and the world around us. It’s accelerated many trends in business — from e-commerce to digital payments — by several years in a matter of months.

The cannabis industry is no exception. Cannabis was already the country’s fastest-growing industry, but 2020 has taken the space to another level. A record-high percentage of Americans now support cannabis legalization.

By all accounts, cannabis was one of the biggest winners on Election Day, with legalization passing in Arizona, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey and South Dakota. More than one-third of the country — over 111 million people — now live in a state with legal recreational cannabis. By 2021, the legal industry is expected to be worth $24.5 billion.

A record-high percentage of Americans now support cannabis legalization.

Never has it been more clear that cannabis is now a staple in mainstream America. As we look toward 2021, this upward trajectory not only opens new doors for the industry, but the economy as a whole, with greater innovation, investment and employment opportunities flowing into the space.

A green economy

More than 57 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March. While the financial and employment opportunities around cannabis are not a silver bullet, they’re certainly not something we should ignore.

Legal cannabis sales reached nearly $20 billion this past year and are expected to top $40 billion annually within the next four years. As the industry continues to grow, companies are hiring to keep pace. The legal cannabis market supports 243,700 full-time-equivalent American jobs, which are set to multiply by 250% between 2018 and 2028. This makes the cannabis industry America’s largest source for new jobs.

Cannabis can also strengthen state economies and generate opportunities for increased tax revenue, particularly as state and local budgets dwindle. For example, with its new legalization measure, Arizona will issue a 16% tax on cannabis sales that will go toward community colleges, police, fire departments and public health programs.

Accelerating cannabis e-commerce

If there’s one point that’s been reinforced this year, it’s that cannabis is a highly demanded and indispensable consumer good.

At the height of widespread shelter-in-place orders this spring, dispensaries were classified as “essential” in many states alongside grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies. While people couldn’t shop at department stores or go to the movies, they could still purchase from their local dispensary. This government recognition was a major signal to the market that the space has been elevated to the mainstream.

A resounding response from consumers followed with record cannabis sales. Unprecedented demand forced cannabis retailers to revolutionize the ways they do business and how customers purchase products. To minimize direct person-to-person contact that can potentially spread the virus, dispensaries turned quickly to e-commerce and digital payment solutions to keep employees and consumers safe while modernizing their business.

As a result of these changes across industries, online sales will reach $794.5 billion by the end of the year, far surpassing original estimates. Experts estimate that the pandemic accelerated the shift to e-commerce by five years. At Dutchie, we’ve seen this firsthand. Since March, we’ve experienced a 700% surge in online orders and a 32% increase in average order size.

Looking ahead to 2021

These political and business transformations were milestones that we’ve fast-forwarded to at breakneck speed. So, what comes next?

I see technological innovation at the forefront of the legal industry moving forward. Technology will enable dispensaries to streamline operations in a highly regulated space where compliance is essential. In turn, data will increasingly become more important as retailers will need to better understand their data to make more proactive, informed decisions. This will be a focus for dispensaries of all sizes, but in particular larger businesses that are looking for an increasingly high level of sophistication for their online experiences.

To meet this need, we’re finally seeing new enterprise-level solutions on the market that empower dispensaries to fully leverage their data to design their unique online identity so they can remain competitive as more players join the space.

As legalization continues to spread, wider adoption will further legitimize the industry and de-stigmatize cannabis sales and use. We will likely see cannabis companies attracting more top talent from some of the most notable companies across mainstream industries, and more software platforms, businesses and investors that were formerly hesitant to enter the space begin to work with and invest in cannabis-related businesses. Federal legalization of cannabis also has the potential to enhance liquidity and open the floodgates to more investment deals.

Additionally, as we’ve already begun to see, there will be an increasing trend toward consolidation across the space as retailers continue to make big acquisitions and mergers. More multistate operators will consume smaller players and smaller players will combine forces, creating a space that is more cohesive and less fragmented.

The future of cannabis

The cannabis industry is still in its infancy, but its potential is crystal clear.

As more states legalize and the industry grows and matures, we will see the needle move even closer to where we want to be: Where legal cannabis is afforded the same technological and financial resources as other mainstream industries; innovators can more freely come together to develop modern technology solutions to push the space forward; and where consumers and patients can get what they want more conveniently.