Online shopping has increased dramatically as a result of the pandemic, and all data suggests that this trend will continue. Across all age groups and demographics, there are now over 2 billion global digital shoppers spending more than $4.9 trillion annually. As a result, new businesses are created every day to fill a gap, solve a problem or solve a need in this fast-growing trillion dollar market. One such business is Wakuda, an online platform for black-owned, product-based businesses.
Wakuda was founded in 2020 by friends, serial entrepreneurs and investors Nathaniel Wade and Albert Larter. After the pandemic and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, the founders embarked on a mission to bring black-owned businesses to a larger mainstream audience in a meaningful way.
With the growing demand for online products and the significant shortage of black-owned businesses online, Wakuda sought to remove barriers to participation by providing a comprehensive solution to the community. They essentially make it simple and easy to create online presence, list products, and access masterclasses on Wakuda’s growing social media presence, mailing lists, PR opportunities and how to grow your business.
Their Ecommerce Lifecycle Journey
There are three lifecycle stages that every successful ecommerce company goes through. First there is the build phase. This is the stage where ideas are conceived and developed. At this stage, the founders try to understand their target audience, clarify their needs, and define a value proposition that resonates with them. Nathaniel and Albert took the time to get this right, an important step in any business.
Their study found that despite their mission, only 20% of their prospects were black. This is interesting, but more notably, their buying motives have a direct impact on customer retention. This insight allowed us to revise, modify, and anchor Launch, the second phase of the e-commerce lifecycle.
They pressed the button at the end of 2020 and quickly saw their customers grow very quickly. Their customer base is now 60% black, and this cohort boasts a retention rate of over 80%, a must for retailers. This was an important milestone for Wakuda as many e-commerce ventures did not successfully pass the launch phase. The perseverance and experience of our founding team has enabled us to fulfill our mission by building a comprehensive understanding of our customers and establishing Wakuda as a growing e-commerce brand.
Wakuda is now part of the elite club of a growing e-commerce business, the third phase of the e-commerce lifecycle. In my article, Phase 3 of Growth, I share how successful e-commerce companies tend to fall into one of these categories (Startup, Stagnant, or Expansion).
Wakuda fits exactly into the startup growth category of e-commerce growth businesses. Albert and Nathaniel enjoy the joy and excitement of validating their concepts in the marketplace. Real customers are coming in and it’s growing very fast. Most forecasts predict that the e-commerce market will grow by around 12% in 2022. Wakuda is growing at 45%, much higher than the market growth.
The founding team focuses on customer acquisition during the startup growth phase, gaining traction with repeatable customer offers and demonstrating that the offer is scalable. Albert and Nathaniel are no different. We are constantly focused on increasing the number of customers on both sides of the current market. That said, I went with Woocommerce because I was stuck in a complex technological system and didn’t have time to build an online platform. Many people at this stage of growth choose to use an external development company or use a platform like Shopify or Magento.
The data suggests that the e-commerce industry still has a lot of room for companies like them. As it continues to grow and gain popularity, you will begin to feel the pressure of increasing competition and rising acquisition costs. When they get there, the focus will shift to growing teams, analyzing data to optimize products, and transforming platforms as they prepare for large-scale migrations at scale. If the founders continue to use the right cards, Wakuda is poised to have a great year.