Sometimes all it takes to succeed is a change in ownership.
Judging by some reports, business had taken a turn for the worse at Spring, a millennial-centric fashion marketplace startup that once resorted to a Tinder-like approach to shopping. Reports detailed a work environment that had spoiled and a business model that took a definite turn south. However, with 2,000 retailers available in its marketplace and 1 million users on its web and mobile app platforms, Spring still holds value in the e-commerce space.
That’s where ShopRunner comes in. Rumored to be involved in takeover talks since early October, the ShopRunner acquisition may represent the last, best hope for Spring to become a major player.
The two organizations do seem to pair well. ShopRunner operates an annual subscription service that provides users with free two-day shipping from a number of different shops under its umbrella, including Cole Haan, Giorgio Armani, Kate Spade and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The service helps ShopRunner’s retail partners compete with the ease and speed of Amazon’s Prime shipping. Combine that with Spring’s street reputation and access to thousands of brands, and a new life for the marketplace starts to seem possible.
“We couldn’t be more excited to join forces, strengthening and accelerating our ability to deliver on our shared missions of empowering consumers with the best shopping experiences, wherever they are,” Alan Tisch, Spring’s founder and CEO said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “ShopRunner’s immense scale, unique partnerships and retailer-centric products perfectly complement the marketplace and brand community that Spring has built over the last four years.”
Spring has undergone three rounds of funding, raising $100 million, without much to show for it in terms of growth or disruption. However, the business’ overall concept seems strong, with similar marketplaces like Asos and Farfetch finding plenty of room in fashion retail. It’s possible Spring’s fertile ecosystem of brands and valuable millennial following could help it set itself apart if successfully combined with ShopRunner’s experience in shipping and distribution.
“We have committed to catalyzing a cross-retailer ecosystem to provide better shopping experiences for customers and provide retailers with opportunities to aggregate scale, acquire and retain customers, and otherwise grow their businesses,” said ShopRunner CEO Sam Yagan. “Spring expands both the retailer and member sides of our network and brings on board a team with unparalleled expertise in building innovative mobile commerce experiences.”
For ShopRunner, this acquisition will allow the company to create its own marketplace instead of relying on other online retailers or even becoming one of Amazon’s third parties. Considering much of the challenge of competing with Amazon is going toe-to-toe with its sophisticated and massive distribution network, it’s possible this revamped marketplace is off to a good start.