New York-based ecommerce startup Lookboard is aiming to drag the fax, pen and paper B2B wholesale infrastructure into the twenty-first century with cutting-edge digital technology, acting as an online wholesale catalog which brings e‑retailers and small, up-and-coming suppliers together. This little newbie might just be one to watch for innovative e‑commerce managers and e‑commerce analysts.
Lookboard takes the donkeywork out of ecommerce-vendor relations
Launched on March 1st this year, the startup already claims leading daily deals sites like Living Social, No More Rack, Nordstrom’s HauteLook and Zulily amongst its biggest buyers and it’s also attracting interest from discovery-oriented e‑commerce ventures like Fab. The sellers featured in the digital catalog are rising, with lesser known designers included offering products across a range of categories from tech to jewelry, food to men’s clothing, home décor to women’s fashion.
The technology deployed, e‑commerce analysts will note, is like nothing else in the traditional B2B wholesale space. Lookboard uses a taste algorithm, so that when buyers sign up, their tastes are gauged through a photo-based quiz. As they curate their collections, the algorithm progressively refines its suggestions based on what’s been selected to date. And, crucially, the platform allows ecommerce firms to export Excel files containing product data and high-resolution images with no need for a retailer-vendor email thread.
Can it fly?
The more skeptical e‑commerce manager will doubtless want to know whether it’s catching on. Yes, is the short answer. Lookboard now has 3,000 buyers and 4,800 vendors on its digital books, and has more than 50,000 products available for purchase. Little wonder that CEO and founder Dan Hunh sounds confident that he’ll raise his target seed funding of $1 million shortly.
He explains, “If you look at a retailer today, to source products you have to hire five to 10 merchandisers or buyers. Then they have to travel to trade shows. It takes over six months to find products, which will cost hundreds of dollars. We streamline that entire process of sourcing products into one single line of code.”
Since launching in March, Lookboard has generated a total of $400,000 in revenue. Vendors can use the site’s simple dashboard to update their pricing and inventory every day, with each product having a unique URL.
This idea, we think, has wings.