In a world where Amazon reigns and other marketplaces from Jet.com to Walmart compete in offering the same convenience and effortless customer service to consumers, it’s easy to think why it might be a daunting task for any new entrant.
Imran and Cate Khan don’t see it that way, as today, their new, curated e-commerce platform, Verishop, tries to begin its ascent. Snapchat’s former head of strategy and Quidsi’s former senior vp decided to build an online retailer “because we believe by building an online retail business, you can guarantee the consumer experience,” Imran Khan said.
Verishop rolls out with 160 brands and 4,000 items for sale. To start, Verishop is offering free returns and exchanges, 24/7 customer support, free two-day shipping, and most of all a platform with no third-party sellers or pay-to-play.
There are a variety of legacy brands like Levi’s and All Saints, and digitally native ones like Fur, and Boll & Branch (and function as a wholesale relationship with Verishop) on the platform. Verishop comes to market with six categories: women’s, men’s, beauty, home, “Tastemakers” and “The Responsible Shop.”
The latter two categories are more curated; the Tastemakers shop includes items handpicked by influencers (who get a percent cut of each sale generated). To start, Verishop is working with seven influencers: Alex Costa, Jess Conte, Megan Pormer, Tiffany Ma, Kahlana Barfield Brown, Allen Onyia and Karen O.
The “Responsible Shop” is for customers looking for ethically sourced items. In this category, customers can find products that are sustainable, eco-friendly, clean and other filters as those. Additionally, all of the products sold in the beauty section meet the 24 “clean beauty” standards Verishop has put in place, such as products that don’t include sulfates or synthetic fragrances.
The way Khan describes it, Verishop is completely different from a platform like Amazon because it’s a brand-safe environment, where fake reviews and counterfeit problems aren’t an issue. Instead, because Verishop curates and picks the brands itself, it’s less of a marketplace and more so an online department store. Khan wants Verishop to be a place where consumers can find brands they like, complete with a trusted consumer experience.
Come July 9, Verishop is rolling out a podcast dubbed “Finding Inspo with Alex Barinka,” hosted by Barinka, a former tech and deals reporter at Bloomberg. The biweekly show has 12 episodes set for its first season, and includes conversations with several of the leaders behind the brands being sold on Verishop. However, it’s not just another leadership podcast; a dedicated area will appear on Verishop that showcases products that both Barinka and the guest choose.
Verishop is coming of age during a time when customer acquisition costs are at a high for direct-to-consumer brands and where legacy brands are figuring out how to tap into that market and mindset. Other types of marketplaces have popped up, such as Italic, a luxury goods platform. Verishop also faces competition from other curated shopping experiences from Poshmark to Dote to Instagram and Snapchat itself—both of which are amping up their social commerce efforts.
But for now, Verishop’s biggest focus looks to take on Amazon—though Amazon itself is ramping up a variety of efforts to curate more shopping experiences for customers, from the rollout of StyleSnap to its partnership with influencers via “The Drop.” Khan, however, is optimistic.
“We want to be a company that is bringing joy back to the customers,” Khan said. “It’s a harder business to build, but we want to be [that] business and better for the consumer.”